The Donald O'Connor Show
|The Donald O'Connor Show|
|Directed by||Donald O'Connor
|Composer(s)||Al Goodman Orchestra|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||19|
|Producer(s)||Ernest D. Glicksman|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Original run||October 9, 1954– September 10, 1955|
The Donald O'Connor Show (also known as Here Comes Donald) is an American musical situation comedy television series starring singer/dancer Donald O'Connor. It appeared on NBC from October 9, 1954, to September 10, 1955, alternating on the Saturday evening schedule with The Jimmy Durante Show; both were sponsored by Texaco.
O'Connor, the son of circus performers and formerly an alternating host on The Colgate Comedy Hour, and his co-director and co-star Sidney Miller portray young struggling songwriters trying to find buyers for their musical compositions. This scenario allows the two to break out in song and dance throughout the program. In the segment which aired on December 4, 1954, three daughters of a theater owner have a dream about O'Connor the dancer: he is viewed as a marshal in the American West, as a knight in the Middle Ages, or as a famous composer such as Beethoven, Chopin, or Arthur Sullivan.
Joyce Cunning, also known also as Joyce Smight, co-starred in the series in the role of Doreen, the songwriters' secretary.  Other regulars were Regina Gleason, Joyce Holden, Jan Orvan, Olan Soule, and the Al Goodman Orchestra. Most musical programs at the time were shown live or on Kinescope. However, The Donald O'Connor Show was shot on film.
Guest stars included the dancer Sharon Baird, singer Mitzi Gaynor, singer and musical composer Johnny Mercer, 8-year-old Tim Rooney (son of Mickey Rooney), then 11-year-old Harry Shearer, Boris Karloff, Reginald Denny, and Douglas Fowley. The Robert Mitchell Boys Choir appeared with O'Connor and Miller on the Christmas night 1954 episode.
In 1964, nine years after the original The Donald O'Connor Show had folded, Lucille Ball tried in vain to revive the idea of another The Donald O'Connor Show script to ABC after it was rejected by NBC and CBS. That year her own The Lucy Show was the only Desilu Production on the networks.
O'Connor instead returned to television in the middle 1960s to host The Bell Telephone Hour; one of his episodes focuses on Cole Porter. In the 1968-1969 season, O'Connor hosted a syndicated talk show, also called The Donald O'Connor Show. This second series had Joyce Jameson as the announcer and the accompaniment of the Alan Copland Orchestra. Numerous well-known guest stars, such as Sterling Holloway, Meredith MacRae, Barrie Chase, Irwin Corey, Peter Breck, Mike Minor, Dana Wynter, and musicians Ike and Tina Turner. The programs aired unspecified episodes between November 18, 1968, and August 4, 1969, though it may have begun some weeks earlier than indicated.
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, appendix with network television schedule
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- Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Network and Cable TV Programs, 1946-Present, 2003, p. 241
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- Coyne Steve Sanders; Tom Gilbert. Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. New York City: William Morrow and Company, 1993, ISBN 0-688-13514-5. Retrieved March 19, 2011.
- "Television: May 21, 1965". Time, May 21, 1965. May 21, 1965. Retrieved March 19, 2011.
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, p. 231
- "The Donald O'Connor Show (1969)". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved March 6, 2011.