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Your Hit Parade

1 9 5 0 – 1 9 5 9 (USA)

Your Hit Parade premiered on NBC as a summer replacement for Robert Montgomery Presents on 10 July 1950.

Opening with the song Be Happy Go Lucky, the Hit Paraders (Snooky Lanson, Gisele MacKenzie and Dorothy Collins among others) went on to sing the week’s Top 10 tunes as compiled in the “official survey”. Choreographer Bob Fosse was one of the dancers.

Songs were not necessarily presented in rank order, although the rank of each was prominently featured and #1 was always presented last, with great fanfare. Since many songs stayed on the charts for months, considerable ingenuity was required to vary the treatment of a song from week to week.

The ballads of the early 1950s were fine for TV presentation by a regular cast of singers, but trouble began to brew for Your Hit Parade in 1955 when rock ‘n’ roll music invaded the charts.

Not only were the Hit Parade regulars ill-suited to perform this new, raucous music, but the youngsters who bought the records wanted to see only the original performers. There was something ludicrous about Snooky Lanson attempting Hound Dog in a different setting each week.

Although most of the Hit Parade singers were recording artists in their own right, only one of them ever had a hit big enough to appear on the program’s top seven while a regular on the show. That was Gisele MacKenzie’s Hard to Get, which made the list briefly in 1955.

Ironically, one-time Hit Parade regular June Valli had the biggest hit of her career, Crying in the Chapel, only two months after leaving the show in June 1953.

The cast changed in 1957 to a younger, more “contemporary” lineup, including  Tommy Leonetti, Jill Corey, Alan Copeland and Virginia Gibson.

Hit Parade left NBC on 7 June 1958. Dorothy Collins and Johnny Desmond reintroduced it on CBS on 10 October 1958.

The show ended on 24 April 1959. An abortive attempt was made at reviving the show in the summer of 1974, with the emphasis on Your Hit Parade songs from selected broadcasts of specific weeks in the 1940s and 1950s, mixed with currently popular hits performed by the original artists.

Andre Baruch (1950)
Del Sharbutt (1957)
The Hit Paraders
Snooky Lanson
Eileen Wilson
Gisele MacKenzie
Dorothy Collins
Sue Bennett
Tommy Leonetti
Jill Corey
Alan Copeland
Virginia Gibson
Johnny Desmond