The Polly Bergen Show

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The Polly Bergen Show
Genre Comedy/ Variety
Written by Marvin Worth
Starring Polly Bergen
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 18
Producer(s) Bill Colleran
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 25 min.
Original channel NBC
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original run September 21, 1957 (1957-09-21) – May 31, 1958 (1958-05-31)

The Polly Ber'gen Show was a half-hour 18-episode comedy/variety show, starring then 27-year-old Polly Bergen, which aired on NBC in the 1957–1958 television season. The program is remembered for its impressive guest-star lineup as well as its closing theme song, "The Party's Over" (1956).[1]The Polly Bergen Show alternated in the 9 p.m. EST Saturday time slot with the equally short-lived Club Oasis.[1]

Premiere episode[edit]

In the premiere on September 21, 1957, the guests include Julius LaRosa, Jack Carson, Sylvia Sidney and Bud Collyer, the first emcee of CBS's To Tell the Truth, on which Bergen was a long-term panelist. Bergen and LaRosa perform a duet "When You and I Were Young Maggie Blues." Carson performs "Top Banana" with Bergen, who herself sings "Tammy" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." Coincidentally, four months earlier on May 16, 1957, Bergen played the title role of singer Helen Morgan in "The Helen Morgan Story" of CBS's Playhouse 90; Sylvia Sidney, one of her guests in the first episode of The Polly Bergen Show, played Helen Morgan's mother, Lulu Morgan. Bergen won an Emmy award for her portrayal of Helen Morgan.[1]

Other 1957 episodes[edit]

On October 5, 1957, guest star Ernie Kovacs and Bergen performed the duet, "We're a Couple of Swells." Bergen also sings on this episode "But Not for Me" and "Every Little Movement". On October 19, Bergen's guests are Howard Morris and English actress Kay Kendall, the latter in her television debut. Following the recent launch of Sputnik I by the former Soviet Union, Bergen sings "How High the Moon", "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" and "It's Only a Paper Moon".[1]

On November 2, Don Ameche guest stars, as he and Bergen perform a medley of Irving Berlin songs: "It's a Lovely Day Today" and "Play a Simple Melody." The whole cast closes with Alexander's Ragtime Band. On November 16, Kay Kendall and Howard Morris return for a second appearance, with songs such as "Side by Side" and "Friendship." Iconoclastic actress Tallulah Bankhead appeared as the only guest on November 30.[1]

Howard Keel appears with Bergen on December 7 and sings "Affair to Remember." Bill Bergen, Polly's father, originally William Hugh Burgin of Knoxville, Tennessee, also guest stars in this episode, the first of his several appearances on his daughter's program. On December 14, ventriloquist Paul Winchell appears with his dummy "Jerry Mahoney". Winchell and Bergen duet with "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" and "Let It Snow". In this Christmas segment, Bergen also sings "The Christmas Song" and joins her father again in "I'll Buy You A Star."[1]

1958 episodes[edit]

On January 11, 1958, Bergen returns after a three-week absence to play "Musical Questions" with Julius LaRosa. The two play a medley of "How Deep Is the Ocean?" and "Why is There a Rainbow in the Sky?" On January 25, Burr Tillstrom and his puppets Kukla and Ollie are the guests. Bergen opens with "Tonight, I Love Everybody." Polly and her father perform a duet of "Crawdad Song". Jack Paar is the guest on February 8. He and Bergen duet with "Memories". Bergen performs solo "I Want to Be Happy", "New Fangled Tango" and "I've Got a Crush on You".[1]

On February 22, Gordon MacRae guest stars. He and Bergen perform a medley with "Pennies from Heaven", "Cabin in the Sky," "I Don't Want To Set the World On Fire," and "I've Got the World on a String." The two also did a duet of "How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Loved You When You Know I've Been a Liar All My Life". Bill Bergen and MacRae yodel, "I Like Mountain Music". On March 8, Jack Paar returns, as Bergen sings "Lucky Day", "I'm Through With Love" and "Every Time We Say Goodbye". The closing number is "Takes Two to Tango". On March 22, Johnny Carson, then the host of Do You Trust Your Wife? was the only guest star.[1]

Bob Hope appeared on April 19. Bergen sings "When the World Was Young," and she and Hope perform a song-and-dane medley about Paris. On May 3, comedian Joey Bishop is the guest. The cast sings "New York, New York," and Bergen does a solo in a hansom cab to the tune of "It's A Grand Night For Singing". She and Bishop also perform "East Side, West Side". Peter Gennaro with Bergen and the dancers perform "Saturday Night In Central Park". [1]

On May 17, Dick Van Dyke, Carol Haney, and Peter Gennaro are the guests. Bergen sings "That's Entertainment", "I'm In the Mood For Love". Haney and Bergen perform a duet of "The Way You Look Tonight". Van Dyke, Haney and Bergen sing Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things." Gennaro, Van Dyke, Bergen, and Haney sing "Side By Side". Luther Henderson, Jr., conducts the orchestra in this episode.

In the series finale on May 31, Jack Carter helps Bergen reminisce in a nostalgic look at the past seventeen episodes. Bergen sings "Today I Love Everybody" and "You'll Never Know". The casts is leaving for Las Vegas after the concluding episode. Songs performed are "I'm Late", "Cuanto Le Gusta," and "Ridin' High".[2]


The Polly Bergen Show and Club Oasis followed The Perry Como Show and preceded The Gisele MacKenzie Show, both NBC variety programs. Cast opposite The Polly Bergen Show was The Gale Storm Show, a CBS situation comedy, known in syndication as Oh, Susanna, and the first half of Lawrence Welk's Dodge Dancing Party on ABC.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "The Polly Bergen Show". Classic Television Archives. Retrieved January 9, 2011. 
  2. ^ "The Polly Bergen Show". Retrieved January 9, 2011. 
  3. ^ Alex McNeil, Total Television, 1957-1958 network television schedule, appendix