The Kate Smith Show

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The Kate Smith Show
Genre Variety

Kate Smith

Harry Simeone Chorale
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes ca. 25

Ted Collins

Greg Garrison
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 30 minutes
Original network CBS
Picture format Black and white
Audio format Monaural
Original release January 25 (1960-01-25) – July 18, 1960 (1960-07-18)

The Kate Smith Show is a half-hour variety program which aired on CBS television from January 25 to July 18, 1960. The program features singer Kate Smith and the Harry Simeone Chorale.[1]


A Virginia native who dropped out of nursing school to pursue a singing career, Smith was a radio personality from 1930 to 1951. From 1950 to 1954, she hosted an afternoon weekday program on NBC television. The program was co-produced by Barry Wood and Smith's long-time manager, Ted Collins, formerly an officer of Columbia Records. One of the segments called "Cracker Barrel" is an interview of her guests. The program also features segments entitled "The House in the Garden", "America Sings," and "Ethel and Albert," a domestic comedy strip.[1]

In the 1951-1952 season, Smith hosted The Kate Smith Evening Hour on NBC, produced by Greg Garrison, later of The Dean Martin Show.[1] This program aired on Wednesday evenings at 8 p.m. Eastern opposite CBS's Arthur Godfrey and Friends.

In 1956, Ted Collins sustained a critical heart attack. Smith cancelled all engagements and determined to leave television permanently. She spent months either in the hospital or at home praying for Collins' recovery. Collins was married, and Smith was single; there was no romantic connection between the two.[2]

CBS program launched[edit]

More than a year after his recovery, Smith and Collins launched The Kate Smith Show on CBS, with the theme song "When the Moon Comes over the Mountain", first adopted in 1931 on radio, rather than Smith's better known rendition of "God Bless America" by the composer, Irving Berlin, which she began singing in 1938.[2] The early evening time slot, her previous absence from the limelight, and the growing popularity of rock and roll netted low ratings. Despite otherwise good reviews, the show was cancelled after nearly six months on the air. Collins died in 1964. Thereafter, Smith worked sporadically in making personal appearances.[2]

There is no complete listing of Smith's guest stars, but one was Country singer Billy Byrd, also a guitar maker from Nashville, Tennessee. Hank Williams is also listed as a guest, but he died seven years earlier.[3]

The Kate Smith Show replaced Masquerade Party at mid-season. It aired at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on Mondays with competition from David Janssen's Richard Diamond, Private Detective on NBC and Clint Walker's western series, Cheyenne on ABC. The Kate Smith Show preceded the second of the two seasons of the Rory Calhoun western, The Texan[4]

The Ford Show guest[edit]

On January 15 and 22, 1959, Smith had been the only guest to appear in two consecutive episodes of NBC's The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford. She performed "It Was So Beautiful," "Somebody Loves Me," and "There's a Goldmine in the Sky", as well as "When The Moon Comes Over The Mountain.". Smith and Tennessee Ernie Ford performed duets: "You're Just in Love" and "Hey Good Lookin'".[5]

Later career[edit]

From 1969 to 1976, Smith's singing of "God Bless America" at the Philadelphia Flyers hockey games attracted national attention after she had been out of the public limelight for several years.[1]Smith spent her last years in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 1982, U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan traveled to Raleigh in the company of U.S. Senator Jesse Helms, a Smith admirer, to award her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.[6]In 1942, as an actor, Reagan had appeared with Smith in Irving Berlin's This Is the Army. In 1984, Reagan granted the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Tennessee Ernie Ford. Like Smith, he had also appeared on The Ford Show in 1959 but in different episodes.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d Alex McNeil, Total Television, (New York: Penguin Books, 4th ed., 1996), pp. 446-447 and appendix with television schedule
  2. ^ a b c "Kate Smith". Retrieved December 1, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Billy Byrd". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved December 1, 2010. 
  4. ^ Total Television, appendix
  5. ^ "The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show". Retrieved November 26, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Remarks on Presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Kate Smith in Raleigh, North Carolina, October 26, 1982". Retrieved December 1, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Tennessee Ernie Ford Biography". Retrieved December 1, 2010.