Historic Program From 1952 Loaded With Early TV Stars
STARS IN THEIR EYE was an apparently live television special broadcast on CBS to commemorate the opening of their $7 million dollar new studio, CBS Television City in Los Angeles. The program features dozens of stars and supporting players from CBS shows of the era, many appearing as themselves but a number in character as their TV roles.
Jack Benny has the largest part as himself, who supposedly has lent CBS the money to open the studio and determined to now control it. The stars of AMOS N' ANDY open the show in a hilarious skit on an airplane as they fly to attend the opening. George Burns and Gracie Allen appear in separate segments; Gracie has one of her funniest bits ever as she visits the real Governor of California with some political advice. Lucille Ball, then in her seventh month of pregnancy with Desi Jr. appears only on film not at the actual live broadcast in an amusing segment in which Jack Benny repeatedly plays bit parts in real life I LOVE LUCY segments and consistently interrupts the performance attempting to persuade Lucy to appear on the show (Vivian Vance and William Frawley also only appear in this filmed segment, although Desi appears live on the show to introduce the stunt Benny has been pulling on the ILL set.) The casts of such long forgotten CBS shows LIFE WITH LUIGI and MEET MILLIE appear in character; Eve Arden is on hand for a segment with Benny and the Mayor of Los Angeles whereas the delightful Marie Wilson only makes a brief appearance in another segment. CBS contractees Margaret Whiting, Bob Crosby, and Gisselle Mackenzie perform musical numbers and comedienne Cass Daley has a comic/variety number. I'm not sure just what Ms. Daley's association with CBS was; best known for featured comedy parts in several 1940's Paramount films, she apparently was under contract to CBS at the time but it doesn't appear to have amounted to a regular series or anything. Maybe the unappealing, loud sketch she's in here didn't help her career at the network. Art Linkletter interacts with Bob Crosby's son and Eve Arden's daughter in a skit that recalls his "Kids Say The Darnest Things" segments.
It's not particularly great entertainment but STARS IN THEIR EYE (the title of course refers to the famous CBS "eye" logo) is a fascinating bit of television history that for it's cast alone deserves to be remembered. This show is so obscure it wasn't even listed on IMDb until I emailed them all the details of the program. A kineoscope of the program can be found on the DVD set THE BEST OF JOHNNY Carson AND FRIENDS and is perhaps worth the price of the set alone for nostalgia fans and those into television history.
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