1 9 5 4 – 1 9 5 6 (USA)
The opening of Stage Show featured the camera – used as the eyes of the home viewer – entering the theater, moving down the aisle to its seat, and then awaiting the start of the show.
The theme song was I’m Getting Sentimental over You, long identified with the Dorsey brothers, Tommy and Jimmy, who alternated as hosts.
At the end of the CBS show, the camera again became the eyes of the viewer, rising from its seat, leaving the theatre, and moving out into the bustle of Manhattan on a Saturday night.
Stage Show was produced under the supervision of Jackie Gleason and was the 1954 summer replacement for Gleason’s Saturday night show. It aired intermittently in the Gleason time slot as a special during the 1954-1955 season, and when the half-hour Honeymooners became Gleason’s regular series in 1955, Stage Show was used to fill the remainder of the hour every week.
Gleason himself did the booking for the show.
Probably the most memorable night in the entire run was 28 January 1956, when the guest was a young country-rock singer from Memphis who was just beginning to attract national attention.
This was the TV debut of Elvis Presley, the first time he had been seen or heard by most Americans, and he created pandemonium. He sang Heartbreak Hotel on that first telecast. Released as a single, it quickly became a multimillion seller.
Elvis was booked for a total of six consecutive appearances on Stage Show, then went on to a career that dwarfed even that of the fabulous Dorseys. Ironically, the biggest superstar in the history of rock was introduced by two greats of the big-band swing era, in one of their last professional appearances.
Both Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey passed away shortly after this series ended its run, Tommy in November 1956 and brother Jimmy in June 1957.
The June Taylor Dancers