Great Performances (1971– )
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The Great American Songbook 


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Episode credited cast:
Michael Feinstein ... Himself - Host
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robert Alda ... Himself (archive footage)
June Allyson ... Herself (archive footage)
Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson ... Himself (archive footage)
The Andrews Sisters ... Themselves (archive footage)
Harold Arlen Harold Arlen ... Himself (archive footage)
Fred Astaire ... Himself (archive footage)
Irving Berlin ... Himself (archive footage)
Fanny Brice ... Herself (archive footage)
Anne Brown Anne Brown ... Herself (archive footage)
Virginia Bruce ... Herself (archive footage)
James Cagney ... Himself (archive footage)
Eddie Cantor ... Himself (archive footage)
Ben Carter ... Himself (archive footage)
Maurice Chevalier ... Himself (archive footage)


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Release Date:

11 March 2003 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

KQED See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Vernon Duke, the Russian-born songwriter mentioned in the film, studied music at the St. Petersburg Conservatory under his original name, Vladimir Dukelsky. One of his classmates was Sergei Prokofieff, who became a major classical composer: the two were lifelong friends and regularly wrote letters to each other until Prokofieff's death in 1953. (The letters were an important source for Harlow Robinson's biography of Prokofieff.) See more »


This film repeats the mistake from the 1999 documentary "Yours for a Song: The Women of Tin Pan Alley" that claimed Dorothy Fields was the first woman to break through male-dominated Broadway and write the lyrics for a hit musical. Before Fields, Rida Johnson Young had written "The Naughty Marietta" with Victor Herbert and Dorothy Donnelly had written "The Student Prince" with Sigmund Romberg. (Both Herbert and Romberg are mentioned in this show, but their female collaborators aren't.) See more »


Features Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938) See more »

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User Reviews

Too Much Judy!
16 October 2005 | by nnepreviloSee all my reviews

I believe I saw this documentary on PBS. If this is the same one with Michael Fienstein talking about composers and showing clips throughout, it must be the same one. I watched the show because Doris Day was prominently advertised, but it turned out to be another "Judy Garland Show." You'd think by looking at all these documentaries about movie musicals, etc., that Garland was the ONLY female making this type of film. FYI, Doris Day, almost single-handedly, saved this dying art form upon arriving at Warner Brothers to make "Romance on the High Seas" in 1948. During her seven hear contract at WB, she made 17 pictures, mostly musicals, including the legendary, "Calamity Jane."

Day, because of the backlash she received during the late 60s (the sexual revolution was taking place), is purposely slighted when today's retrospectives on Hollywood's "golden age" are presented. People felt it "fashionable" to disparage Doris Day as "un hip" and a "goody goody girl." Of course, all of this was nonsense, but it DID impact on how Day would later be treated when look-backs centered on the 50s and 60s movie stars. You'd think, by looking at these shows that Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and Elizabeth Taylor were bigger stars than Day. They were not. Doris Day remains, to this day, the top female box office attraction in the HISTORY of films. They can't take THAT away from her.

As I recall about this documentary, there was one clip of Doris Day, even though they have prominently placed her on the DVD box-cover. That's just to sell the product. Misleading.

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