The Polly Bergen Show

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The Polly Bergen Show
Genre Comedy/ Variety
Written by Marvin Worth
Starring Polly Bergen
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 18
Production
Producer(s) Bill Colleran
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 25 min.
Release
Original network NBC
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original release September 21, 1957 (1957-09-21) – May 31, 1958 (1958-05-31)

The Polly Bergen Show was a half-hour 18-episode comedy/variety show, starring then 27-year-old Polly Bergen, which aired on NBC in the 1957–1958 television season. The program is remembered for its impressive guest-star lineup as well as its closing theme song, "The Party's Over" (1956).[1]The Polly Bergen Show alternated in the 9 p.m. EST Saturday time slot with the equally short-lived Club Oasis.[1]

Premiere episode[edit]

In the premiere on September 21, 1957, the guests included Julius LaRosa, Jack Carson, Sylvia Sidney and Bud Collyer, the first emcee of CBS's To Tell the Truth, on which Bergen was a long-term panelist. Bergen and LaRosa performed a duet "When You and I Were Young Maggie Blues." Carson performed "Top Banana" with Bergen, who by herself sang "Tammy" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." Coincidentally, four months earlier on May 16, 1957, Bergen played the title role of singer Helen Morgan in "The Helen Morgan Story" of CBS's Playhouse 90; Sylvia Sidney, one of her guests in the first episode of The Polly Bergen Show, played Helen's mother, Lulu Morgan. Bergen won an Emmy award for her portrayal of Helen Morgan.[1]

Other 1957 episodes[edit]

On October 5, 1957, guest star Ernie Kovacs and Bergen performed the duet, "We're a Couple of Swells." Bergen sang "But Not for Me" and "Every Little Movement." On October 19, Bergen's guests were Howard Morris and English actress Kay Kendall, the latter in her television debut. Following the recent launch of Sputnik I by the Soviet Union, Bergen did a medley of "How High the Moon", "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" and "It's Only a Paper Moon".[1]

On November 2, Don Ameche guest-starred, he and Bergen performing a medley of Irving Berlin songs: "It's a Lovely Day Today" and "Play a Simple Melody." The whole cast closed with Alexander's Ragtime Band. On November 16, Kay Kendall and Howard Morris returned for a second appearance, with songs such as "Side by Side" and "Friendship." Iconoclastic actress Tallulah Bankhead appeared as the only guest on November 30.[1]

Howard Keel joined Bergen on December 7 and sang "Affair to Remember." Bill Bergen, Polly's father, originally William Hugh Burgin of Knoxville, Tennessee, also was a guest in this episode, the first of his several appearances on his daughter's program.

On December 14, ventriloquist Paul Winchell appeared with his dummy "Jerry Mahoney", and Winchell and Bergen did a duet of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" and "Let It Snow." In this holiday segment, Bergen also sang "The Christmas Song" and joined her father again for "I'll Buy You A Star."[1]

1958 episodes[edit]

On January 11, 1958, Bergen returned after a three-week absence to play "Musical Questions" with Julius LaRosa. The two did a medley of "How Deep Is the Ocean?" and "Why is There a Rainbow in the Sky?" On January 25, Burr Tillstrom and his puppets Kukla and Ollie were the guests. Bergen opened with "Tonight, I Love Everybody." Polly and her father performed a duet of "Crawdad Song". Jack Paar was the guest on February 8. In a rare performing effort by Paar, the talk-show host and Bergen did a duet with "Memories," and then Bergen performed solo "I Want to Be Happy", "New Fangled Tango" and "I've Got a Crush on You."[1]

On February 22, Gordon MacRae guest starred. He and Bergen performed a medley with "Pennies from Heaven", "Cabin in the Sky," "I Don't Want To Set the World On Fire," and "I've Got the World on a String." The two also did a duet of "How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Loved You When You Know I've Been a Liar All My Life". Bill Bergen and MacRae yodeled "I Like Mountain Music". On March 8, Jack Paar returned, as Bergen sang "Lucky Day", "I'm Through With Love" and "Every Time We Say Goodbye". The closing number was "Takes Two to Tango". On March 22, Johnny Carson, then the host of Do You Trust Your Wife? was the only guest star.[1]

Bob Hope appeared on April 19. Bergen sang "When the World Was Young," and she and Hope performed a song-and-dance medley about Paris. On May 3, comedian Joey Bishop was the guest. The cast sang "New York, New York," and Bergen did a solo in a hansom cab to the tune of "It's A Grand Night For Singing". She and Bishop also performed "East Side, West Side." Peter Gennaro and his dancers performed "Saturday Night In Central Park." [1]

On May 17, Dick Van Dyke, Carol Haney, and Gennaro were the guests. Bergen sang "That's Entertainment", "I'm In the Mood For Love". Haney and Bergen performed a duet of "The Way You Look Tonight". Van Dyke, Haney and Bergen sang Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things" and all guests joined the host to sing "Side By Side". Luther Henderson, Jr., conducted the orchestra.

In the series finale on May 31, Jack Carter helped Bergen reminisce in a nostalgic look at the past seventeen episodes. Bergen sang "Today I Love Everybody" and "You'll Never Know". The cast was said to be leaving for Las Vegas after the concluding episode. Songs performed were "I'm Late", "Cuanto Le Gusta," and "Ridin' High."[2]

Scheduling[edit]

The Polly Bergen Show and Club Oasis followed The Perry Como Show and preceded The Gisele MacKenzie Show, both NBC variety programs. Cast opposite The Polly Bergen Show was The Gale Storm Show, a CBS situation comedy, known in syndication as Oh, Susanna, and the first half of Lawrence Welk's Dodge Dancing Party on ABC.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "The Polly Bergen Show". Classic Television Archives. Retrieved January 9, 2011. 
  2. ^ "The Polly Bergen Show". tv.com. Retrieved January 9, 2011. 
  3. ^ Alex McNeil, Total Television, 1957-1958 network television schedule, appendix