Ford Star Jubilee
- For other TV series sponsored by Ford Motor Company, see Ford Television Theatre, Ford Startime, Ford Festival, and The Ford Show.
|Ford Star Jubilee|
Judy Garland rehearsing for the program's premiere, September 24, 1955.
|Written by||Maxwell Anderson
John Cherry Monks, Jr.
Franklin J. Schaffner
|Directed by||Seymour Berns
Frederick de Cordova
Franklin J. Schaffner
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||12|
|Executive producer(s)||Richard Lewine|
|Running time||90 mins. (approx)|
|Original release||September 24, 1955– November 3, 1956|
Ford Star Jubilee is an American anthology series that aired once a month on Saturday nights on CBS at 9:00 P.M., E.S.T. from the fall of 1955 to the fall of 1956. (However, it did not air at all during the summer of '56.) The series was approximately 90 minutes long, aired in black-and-white and color, and was typically broadcast live. Ford Star Jubilee was sponsored by the Ford Motor Company.
Ford Star Jubilee routinely featured major stars, such as Judy Garland, Betty Grable, Orson Welles, Julie Andrews (at the time that she was preparing for her starring role in My Fair Lady on Broadway), Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Lillian Gish, Charles Laughton, Jack Lemmon, Raymond Massey, Lauren Bacall, Claudette Colbert, Noël Coward, Nat 'King' Cole, Mary Martin, Eddie Fisher, Ella Fitzgerald, Red Skelton and Debbie Reynolds.
Instead of the usual live performance staged especially for Ford Star Jubilee, the final episode on November 3, 1956 was a special, two-hour presentation of the 1939 MGM theatrical Technicolor film The Wizard of Oz, hosted by Bert Lahr, 10-year-old Liza Minnelli and young Oz expert Justin Schiller. This marked the first time that the film had ever been shown on television, and the only time that one of the film's actual actors (Lahr) as well as one of the children of the film's star (Judy Garland) hosted it. The broadcast was a critical and ratings smash, but the film was not shown on TV again until 1959, when it was presented by CBS at 6:00 P.M., E.S.T. rather than 9:00 P.M., and this time as a Christmas season special in its own right, not as part of an anthology series. The 1959 telecast was hosted by comedian Red Skelton and his daughter Valentina. This broadcast attracted an even wider audience, because children were able to watch, and thus began the tradition of showing the film annually on television.
Another rare instance of Ford Star Jubilee presenting a filmed, rather than live, program was their 1956 musical version of Maxwell Anderson's High Tor, starring Bing Crosby and Julie Andrews. Music was by Arthur Schwartz, noted composer of such scores as those for The Band Wagon and Revenge with Music. Crosby, according to sources, had insisted the production be filmed rather than presented live, because he did not feel comfortable acting in a live television musical play. Although it was filmed in color, the musical version of High Tor has never been released on VHS or DVD.
|Episode #||Episode title||Original airdate|
|1||"The Judy Garland Show"||September 24, 1955|
|2||"Together With Music"||October 22, 1955|
|3||"The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial"||November 19, 1955|
|4||"I Hear America Singing"||December 17, 1955|
|5||"Blithe Spirit"||January 14, 1956|
|6||"The Day Lincoln Was Shot"||February 11, 1956|
|7||"High Tor"||March 10, 1956|
|8||"Twentieth Century"||April 7, 1956|
|9||"This Happy Breed"||May 5, 1956|
|10||"A Bell For Adano"||June 2, 1956|
|11||"You're the Top"||October 6, 1956|
|12||"The Wizard of Oz"||November 3, 1956|
Awards and nominations
|1956||Primetime Emmy Award||Nominated||Best Variety Series||
|Best Single Program of the Year||
|Best Musical Contribution||Mary Martin and Noël Coward (For the song "Camarata" in the episode "Together with Music")|
|Best Actor - Single Performance||Barry Sullivan (For the role of Defense Attorney Greenwald in the "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial" episode)|
|Won||Best Television Adaptation||Paul Gregory and Franklin J. Schaffner (For the "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial" episode)|
|Best Director - Live Series||Franklin J. Schaffner (For the "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial" episode)|
|Best Actor - Single Performance||Lloyd Nolan (For the role of Capt. Queeg in the "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial" episode)|
- Other reasons it was filmed: "High Tor will not be telecast live, the usual form for a large-scale show. It will be produced as a color film, which will permit later theatrical exhibition overseas and this will bring additional revenue to its originators." Oscar Godbout, "Hollywood Notes", The New York Times, September 4, 1955, p. X9. It was actually shot in black and white. "Christmas Can Stay — Radio and TV Are for It", The Washington Post, December 11, 1955, p. J3.