The Edsel Show
|The Edsel Show|
The Four Preps
|Narrated by||Warren Hull|
|Ending theme||"On the Sunny Side of the Street"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||58 minutes|
|Picture format||NTSC black and white|
|Original release||October 13, 1957|
The Edsel Show is an hour-long television special broadcast live on CBS in the United States on October 13, 1957, intended to promote Ford Motor Company's new Edsel cars. It was a milestone in Bing Crosby's career, and was notable as the first CBS entertainment program to be recorded on videotape, for rebroadcasting it in the western part of the country after the show was performed live for the east.
The Edsel Show stars Bing Crosby and features Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Louis Armstrong, and Lindsay Crosby performing with the Four Preps. It also features an appearance by a "mystery guest" who turned out to be Bob Hope.
The special replaced The Ed Sullivan Show, for the same sponsor, on CBS' Sunday lineup for one evening only, and was one of the year's most successful programs, although its popularity did not transfer to the Edsel cars.
The show has been credited as Bing Crosby's real television breakthrough, and set the pattern for his many television specials to come; in its wake he signed a lucrative contract with ABC under which he would produce two specials per year.
The show was performed at CBS Television City in the afternoon in California and broadcast live in the eastern part of the country. A videotape was made of the performance and was played back three hours later for western audiences. As videotape was a new technology, CBS made a film-based kinescope of the show and played it back alongside the videotape, so that the broadcast could switch to the kinescope if problems were encountered with the tape; there were none.
Videotape was a technology that had interested Crosby for several years, and his company Bing Crosby Enterprises had investigated several technologies, ultimately investing in Ampex, the first company to demonstrate a practical broadcast-quality videotape system when it unveiled the first 2" Quadruplex videotape machine in 1956. Crosby's interest as a performer was to avoid having to make repeated live performances of the same show, as he had originally done on radio.
An embarrassing moment
In her autobiography, Girl Singer (Doubleday, 1999), Rosemary Clooney recalled an incident that happened the afternoon of The Edsel Show's telecast:
|“||The show was built around the newest Ford offering, the 1958 Edsel. A new vista of motoring pleasure, unlike any other car you've ever seen. The only Edsel I ever saw was one they gave me to drive while I was rehearsing. I came out of the CBS Building, up those little steps to the street where my purple Edsel was waiting, like the Normandie in drydock. Mr. Ford was right behind me, heading for his Edsel. I opened the door of my car and the handle came off. I turned to him, holding it out to him. "About your car..."||”|
- "The Edsel Show" (website). On November 30, 1956, CBS played a delayed broadcast of Douglas Edwards and the News from New York to the Pacific Time Zone. Ampex Corporation, Ampex Chronology. On December 24, 1956, Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, based in New York, became the first entertainment program to be videotaped for rebroadcast in the Pacific Time Zone. Val Adams, "C.B.S. Shows Off Tape-Recorded TV", The New York Times, December 21, 1956, p. 43. "TV Quietly Going to Tape Recording", Billboard, March 16, 1957, p. 3. On January 22, 1957, nine months before The Edsel Show, the NBC game show Truth or Consequences, produced in Hollywood, became the first program to be broadcast in all time zones from a prerecorded videotape. "Daily N.B.C. Show Will Be on Tape", The New York Times, January 18, 1957, p. 31.
- Foreman, Joel (1997). The Other Fifties: Interrogating Midcentury American Icons. University of Illinois Press. p. 38. ISBN 0-252-06574-3.
- "On Television (1948-1977)". hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
- Clooney, Rosemary; Barthel, Joan (2001-10-09). Girl Singer: An Autobiography. Broadway. p. 161. ISBN 0-7679-0555-5.
- A page about the show featuring a short clip
- From the same site, about the discovery of the master videotape
- Another clip showing various Edsel models
- The Edsel Show at the Internet Movie Database
- Car being highlighted on show on YouTube