The Jazz Singer (Ford Startime)

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"The Jazz Singer"
Ford Startime episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 2
Written byOliver Crawford
Ernest D. Glucksman
Ralph Nelson
Samson Raphaelson
Produced byErnest D. Glucksman
Featured musicWalter Scharf
(musical director)
Original air dateOctober 13, 1959 (1959-10-13)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Wonderful World of Entertainment"
Next →
"The Turn of the Screw"
List of Ford Startime episodes

The Jazz Singer is a videotaped adaptation, starring Jerry Lewis, of Samson Raphaelson's play of the same name. It was broadcast on October 13, 1959, as the second episode of the American television anthology series on NBC, Ford Startime.[1]


Cantor Rabinowitz (Eduard Franz) is upset that his son Joey (Jerry Lewis) has left home to pursue a career as a singer/comedian after showing no interest in carrying on the family's tradition of being Cantors in the synagogue. After five generations of doing so, it appears that Joey is more interested in making jokes and singing jazz music.

After a few years on his own, Joey, who now calls himself Joey Robbins, gets an opportunity to perform on the television show with Ginny Gibbons (Anna Maria Alberghetti). Unfortunately, his father falls ill during his rehearsal performance, and he runs to his side, putting show business aside for his family obligations.




The Jazz Singer was produced on color videotape[2] and aired as a one-hour episode of the short-lived TV series Lincoln-Mercury Startime (aka Ford Startime). It was preserved on black & white kinescope film.[3] It has never been rebroadcast on NBC.

Eduard Franz, who played the role of the aged and ailing cantor battling his son, had played the same role in the similar theatrical film version of the story starring Danny Thomas that had been released just seven years earlier, in 1952.

The first official home video release, a DVD including both the kinescope and color videotape material from Lewis' personal holdings, was released on February 7, 2012.[4]


  1. ^ "See them all on… FORD STARTIME". Traverse City Record-Eagle. October 6, 1959. p. 7. Retrieved April 22, 2016 – via open access publication – free to read
  2. ^ The Jazz Singer (color, 1959) on YouTube
  3. ^ The Jazz Singer (1959, kinescope) on YouTube
  4. ^ Heldenfels, Rich (2011-12-15). "Jerry Lewis "Jazz Singer" to DVD". Retrieved December 17, 2011.

External links[edit]