General Electric Theater: Season 3, Episode 19

The Big Shot (30 Jan. 1955)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Drama
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Singer Johnnie Pulaski goes on an important audition and impresses. There is one condition that makes him want to refuse their offer--they ask him to change his last name. His girlfriend ... See full summary »

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Johnnie Ray ...
Johnnie Pulaski
Nancy Gates ...
Katherine
Steven Geray ...
Mr. Pulaski
Ralph Sanford ...
Norris
Helen Eby-Rock ...
Mrs. Stone
...
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Himself - Host
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Storyline

Singer Johnnie Pulaski goes on an important audition and impresses. There is one condition that makes him want to refuse their offer--they ask him to change his last name. His girlfriend convinces him that the name is unimportant if he can sing. Ray, as Pulaski, introduces a new single, "Path to Paradise." Written by Jay Phelps <jaynashvil@aol.com>

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Comedy | Drama

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30 January 1955 (USA)  »

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(RCA Sound Recording)

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1.33 : 1
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A Fifties Icon
9 October 2012 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The GE Theater which helped launch Ronald Reagan on his path to the White House featured in this episode of the anthology, a story about a young man who refuses to change his ethnic name from Johnny Pulaski if he wants to have a singing career. Singer Johnnie Ray who was cresting in his popularity at the time was the guest star with Nancy Gates as the girl next door.

Seems as though producer Ralph Sanford wants to audition him and after getting used to his sound wants to change his name to something more universally ethnic neuter. Ray won't do it and that's essentially the episode and I won't say what happens.

I will say that two guys who changed their names were the Martins, Dean and Tony. Didn't hurt either of their careers not being called Dino Crocetti and Alfred Morris. And Bobby Vinton did do rather well later on when even with the name change he became unashamedly Polish.

Ray was not any kind of actor, this was the second attempt to make him one after his appearance in There's No Business Like Show Business. I guess the phones weren't ringing off the hook after that film for him. Of course he was deaf and while he could sing and feel a song, dialog was probably a bit much.

Ray introduced one of his song hits Path To Paradise in this TV show, but his vogue would come to an end with rock and roll around the corner.

Reagan hosted the show and occasionally acted in them. It was interesting to see how he hawked the General Electric name and product on the air. Conservative Reagan was certainly right at home in this broadcast trumpeting the virtues of Junior Achievement which he and the company backed.

A well acted episode, no. But an interesting look at the Fifties and one of its icons, singer Johnnie Ray.


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