Classic TV & Movie Hits
|The Original Amateur Hour|
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Ted Mack's durable talent show made the rounds of all four networks during its 22 sporadic years on television, including ten (1960-1970)on Sunday afternoons. It was first brought to television on the DuMont network in 1948, a year and a half after the original radio version had ended due to the death of Major Bowes, the founder and original host. It quickly became a Sunday night institution (the rado version was also revived, from 1948 to 1952). The Amateur Hour was DuMont's most popular program, and one of the few that was competitive with NBC and CBS - so it was soon stolen away by NBC, in 1949. (This was a pattern which was often repeated during the existence of the DuMont network - whenever a successful program was developed, one of the major networks lured it away with the promise of much more money.)
The format was taken directly from radio's Major Bowes' Amateur Hour, on which Mack had been an assistant. Mack, in fact, used the same booking staff and even the same Whell of Fortune ("Round and round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows"). He presided over the weekly parade of mimics, kazoo players, and one-man bands with genial good humor. Viewers voted for their favorites by telephone or post-card, and the finalists were awarded scholarships.
Although thousands of hopefuls appeared on the Original Amateur Hour over the years and hundreds were winners, surprisingly few ever went on to major or even minor stardom in show business. Probably the most famous "find" of radio days was Frank Sinatra, in 1937. On TV, seven-year-old Gladys Knight and 18-year-old college sophomore Pat Boone were among the grand prize winners. On August 10, 1954, the program celebrated its 1,001st broadcast with a lineup of all-time talent who had graduated from the show.
A familiar feature during the early TV days (1948-1952) was the dancing Old Gold cigarette pack and matchbook (with very shapely legs!) of sponsor _. Lorillard Tobacco Company. There was a 1992 revival on cable's Family Channel called The New Original Amateur Hour.
|> Airing History & Information|
|Last Airing||Sep 26, 1960|
|Premiere||January 18, 1948|
|Network||NBC / ABC|
|Format/Time||Black & White / 30 Minutes|
|Upcoming Airs||Not currently airing|
Ted Mack.... Host
Bob Shepard.... Show Announcer (1957-1970)
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