1 9 5 0 – 1 9 5 1 (USA)
Broadway Open House was an informal late-night variety program – the forerunner of The Tonight Show and The Jack Paar Show – which opened locally on NBC in New York on 22 May 1950.
Entertainers dropped in to perform at their leisure between other appearances. In addition to the top ranking guest stars, promising newcomers performed on the show.
The off-the-cuff, adlib nature of Broadway Open House gave it sparkle and spontaneity that were to be emulated by subsequent late-night variety programs. Lester’s pixieish humour and his ‘Beanbag Club’ are still fondly remembered by the show’s loyal viewers.
Morey Amsterdam was in charge of the proceedings on a semi-permanent basis. On 20 June 1950, Jerry Lester (pictured above, centre) was added to the permanent cast, alternating with Amsterdam.
Dagmar (real name: Virginia Ruth Egnor) joined the show permanently the same month and she and Lester stayed with the show until its end on 24 August 1951 amid rumours of a feud between Lester and Dagmar.
Regular cast members included Milton Delugg, Dave Street, Ray Malone and Wayne Howell.
Jack E Leonard