The Danny Kaye Show

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The Danny Kaye Show
Joyce Van Patten-Danny Kaye (1965).JPG
Joyce Van Patten & Danny Kaye in The Danny Kaye Show (1965)
Genre Variety show
Written by Herbert Baker
Billy Barnes
Presented by Danny Kaye
Theme music composer Sylvia Fine
Sammy Cahn
Paul Weston
Nat Farber
Opening theme "Life Could Not Better Be"
Ending theme "Rendezvous In May"
Composer(s) Paul Weston
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 120
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 45–48 minutes
Production company(s) Columbia Broadcasting System
Dena Pictures, Inc.
Original network CBS
Picture format Black-and-white (1963–65)
Color (1965–67)
Audio format Monaural
Original release September 25, 1963 (1963-09-25) – June 28, 1967 (1967-06-28)

The Danny Kaye Show is an American variety show hosted by Danny Kaye that aired on CBS from September 25, 1963, to June 7, 1967, on Wednesday nights.[1] Directed by Robert Scheerer, the show premiered in black-and-white, but later switched to color broadcasts. At the time, Kaye was at the height of his popularity, having starred in a string of successful films in the 1940s and '50's, made successful personal appearances at such venues as the London Palladium, and appeared many times on television. His most recent films had been considered disappointing, but the television specials he starred in were triumphant, leading to this series. Prior to his television and film career, Kaye had made a name for himself with his own radio show, also titled The Danny Kaye Show, and numerous other guest appearances on other shows.


At the beginning of the 1963–64 season, James T. Aubrey, then head of CBS, firmly believed he had scored a major coup by signing Judy Garland and Danny Kaye to headline their own variety shows. Kaye's program was originally slated to air on Sunday nights at 9:00 P.M. (EST) following The Ed Sullivan Show. However, that particular time slot was regarded as "the graveyard slot" because NBC's top-rated show Bonanza was also shown at that hour. CBS offered Kaye the 9:00 P.M. time slot and he flatly refused. As a result, the network moved Kaye's show to Wednesday nights at 10:00 P.M. (replacing the alternating The United States Steel Hour and Armstrong Circle Theatre drama anthologies), and scheduled Garland's show at 9:00 P.M. on Sunday nights.


The Danny Kaye Show followed the usual variety-show format, with an emphasis on comedy (Danny became the weekly equivalent of Sid Caesar and Carol Burnett), and was one of many variety shows that filled television schedules between 1948 and 1973, when the format had its heyday. Larry Gelbart worked as a consultant with the producers in formulating the basic framework for the show before it began production. He was also involved in the selection of talent, and the program featured many relative newcomers.

Comedian Harvey Korman and actress Joyce Van Patten were featured performers on the show.[2] Tony Charmoli, who would later go on to direct many television specials himself, including Mikhail Baryshnikov's staging of The Nutcracker (1977), was the choreographer for the musical numbers. The program's orchestra was conducted by gifted arranger-composer Paul Weston,[3] husband of Jo Stafford.

In the comedy elements of The Danny Kaye Show a recurring character was painfully shy guy "Jerome" (Kaye), getting into weekly scrapes through his shyness; the Jerome sketches were often introduced by Kaye doing a short monologue.

A "best of" compilation of The Danny Kaye Show series was released as a DVD.

On November 20, 2012, a DVD called Christmas With Danny Kaye was released, featuring two episodes.

Ratings and popularity[edit]

In the spring of 1964, The Danny Kaye Show ended its first season in 30th place, though the show won an Emmy for best variety series. The Judy Garland Show was also nominated for an Emmy in the same category, but was unsuccessful in competing against Bonanza, and was cancelled.


In 1963, The Danny Kaye Show won a Peabody Award. The show was cited for having "added lustre and dimension to family-type comedy."[4] The citation added, "Through the inimitable style, wit, and charm of a master comedian in multiple roles, American televiewers have been treated to a season of delightful entertainment."[4]

The program won four Emmy Awards in 1964—for Outstanding Variety Music Or Comedy Series, Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Musical Program or Series (Danny Kaye), Outstanding Directing For A Variety Series (Robert Scheerer), and Outstanding Achievement In Electronic Camera Work. Additionally, it was nominated for the following Emmy Awards: Outstanding Variety Music Or Comedy Series (1966), Outstanding Writing For A Variety Series (1966), Special Classifications Of Individual Achievements (1966), Outstanding Individual Achievements in Entertainment Actors and Performers (1965), and Outstanding Art Direction For A Series (1964).[5]


In the spring of 1967, the ratings had slipped, and so, after four years on CBS, The Danny Kaye Show ended its prime-time run. Show regular Harvey Korman quickly signed up for another CBS variety series set to start in September 1967 - The Carol Burnett Show, where he would remain as a regular for ten years.


  1. ^ McNeil, Alex (1996). Total Television (4th ed.). New York, New York: Penguin Books USA, Inc. p. 197. ISBN 0-14-02-4916-8. 
  2. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (1979). he Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows: 1946-Present. New York, New York: Ballantine Books. p. 145. ISBN 0-345-25525-9. 
  3. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7 P. 234..
  4. ^ a b "The Danny Kaye Show". Peabody. Retrieved 14 May 2016. 
  5. ^ "Awards Search: Danny Kaye Show". Television Academy. Retrieved 14 May 2016. 

External links[edit]