Four Star Revue

NBC (ended 1953)




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Four Star Revue

Show Summary

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