Four Star Revue

NBC (ended 1953)
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 4 : Ep 4

    December 26, 1953

    Aired 12/28/53

  • S 4 : Ep 3

    November 28, 1953

    Aired 11/28/53

  • S 4 : Ep 2

    October 31, 1953

    Aired 10/31/53

  • S 4 : Ep 1

    October 3, 1953

    Aired 10/3/53

  • S 3 : Ep 33

    April 18, 1953

    Aired 4/18/53

  • Cast & Crew
  • Jimmy Durante

    Host/Performer

  • Danny Thomas

    Host/Performer

  • Ed Wynn

    Host/Performer

  • Martha Raye

    Host/Performer

  • Tallulah Bankhead

    Host/Performer

  • show Description
  • This big-time, big-budget variety series starred Danny Thomas, Jimmy Durante, Jack Carson and Ed Wynn -- the four stars of the title -- with each hosting a different week in the month. Four Star Revue was one TV's most expensive hours (initial budget was $50,000-a-week) with big money spent for name entertainers. That high cost, especially compared with other cheaper programs drawing bigger audiences, made it hard for the series to hold onto sponsors. Among the initial hosts, Durante came with his act and show already in place. He brought along his old nightclub partner Eddie Jackson and musicians Jules Buffano, Jack Roth and Candy Candido. Ed Wynn had his own well-established identity already from vaudeville, radio and a previous TV series. Nightclub performer Danny Thomas soon featured child performer Bunny Lewbel every week as well as vocalist Kay Starr. Film actor Jack Carson kept a large crowd of weekly company: comics Jack Norton and the team of Bob Sweeney and Hal March, The Honey Brothers, sisters Betty and Jane Kean and singer Lola Albright. With the series' second season premiere in the fall of 1951, the title was changed to All Star Revue as other stars like Bob Hope, Spike Jones and Paul Winchell were brought into host. The series continued during the summer of 1952 under the title All Star Summer Revue and featured lesser known (i.e. cheaper) performers keeping the time slot warm. By the fall of 1952, Durante was the only one of the original hosts still with the program. Added to the rotation was Tallulah Bankhead drawing laughs by poking fun at her larger-than-life image. "Toastmaster" George Jessel held down a spot, as did Martha Raye whose programs were primarily "book" productions, with Raye playing a night club singer with dumb-but-sweet boyfriend Rocky Graziano. Finding sponsors had become such a problem by the end of this season that the program was canceled as a weekly series. As luck would have it, NBC's Your Show of Shows decided to lighten its load by only doing three shows a month beginning fall 1953. Needing to fill that fourth week with a variety program, the network brought back All Star Review for a monthly airing with Martha Raye headlining.moreless

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  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (5)

    • Durante: (complaining about a musician) That trumpet player is only using one lip!

    • Durante: (complaining about having so many television sets) I got six of 'em. Everywhere I go in the house Faye Emerson is peeking at me. There comes a time in a man's life when he wants to take a bubble bath by himself!

    • Durante: (making reference to his TV competition Nobody watches The Goldbergs when Durante is on!

    • Durante: (taking a very tall woman in his arms and bending her over backwards) When my women are too tall, I fold 'em in half.

    • Durante: (with a beautiful woman in his shopping cart) I'd have taken two, but they'd get stale.

    Notes (21)

    • Jimmy Durante was scheduled to host this week's program, but with the sudden death of his friend and manager Lou Clayton, he requested a few weeks off. Ed Wynn stepped in.

    • Jimmy Durante won rave reviews for this, his debut show. Syndicated television critic John Crosby went as far as to say, "I think--chosing my words as carefully as possible here and after due consultation with our Restraint Department--that it was the best show I ever saw on television."

    • Durante and Traubel proved so popular, RCA recorded their duets of "The Song's Gotta Come From the Heart" and "A Real Piano Player". They were released in March 1951 by RCA's classical "Red Seal" label on 78s and 45s.

    • The 1951 Emmy Awards were held January 23, 1951 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Four Star Revue was nominated for Best Variety Show, along with The Alan Young Show, The Ken Murray Show, and Texaco Star Theater starring Milton Berle. The winner was The Alan Young Show.

    • Because there was only one microwave link for coast-to-coast television, all four networks had to share time. As a result, this Martha Raye program was only seen live on the Eastern and Midwestern stations connected to New York by coaxial cable. Other markets watched a kinescope of the 12/15/1951 telecast with Olsen and Johnson.

    • Jimmy Durante was nominated for an Emmy as "Best Comedian or Comedienne" along with Herb Shriner, Lucille Ball, Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin, and Red Skelton. Skelton was the winner.

    • The 4nd Emmy Awards ceremony was held a few days prior to this telecast (2/18/1952) at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles. Four Star Revue was nominated as Best Variety Show, along with Your Show of Shows, The Colgate Comedy Hour, The Fred Waring Show and Toast of the Town. The Emmy was awarded to Your Show of Shows.

    • O&J would perform the same "avoid paying their rent" sketch when they were featured on the 4/24/1956 episode of The Milton Berle Show.

    Show More Notes

    Trivia (1)

    • The "singing waiter" sketch employed an elaborate two-story set.

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