AMERICAN MUSICAL THEATRE {IRVING BERLIN TRIBUTE} (TV)

Summary

One in this educational public affairs series that traces the origins and development of the American musical theater and examines the careers and contributions of the creative artists who have made the musical a native American art form. In an informal workshop setting, New York City high school students meet the composers, lyricists, and performers who have shaped the American musical and question them about their work. This edition is a salute to the music of Irving Berlin as he approaches his seventy-fifth birthday. Host Earl Wrightson, along with Susan Johnson and Ralph Curtis, perform a selection of Berlin's most popular songs, accompanied by the CBS Orchestra. The orchestra opens the show by playing "There's No Business Like Show Business." Following the introductions, Wrightson sings "The Girl That I Marry," Johnson sings "It's a Lovely Day Today," and Curtis sings "They Say It's Wonderful." The orchestra then plays "Alexander's Ragtime Band," Berlin's first big hit from 1911. Wrightson next asks the audience of high school students some questions about the previous songs and the musical shows they come from. He then traces Berlin's early years, from his childhood growing up on the streets of New York City's Lower East Side as a child of immigrants to his prolific songwriting career that made him America's outstanding composer of popular music. From the period of the Ziegfeld Follies and Berlin's musical revues, Johnson sings "Say It With Music" and Wrightson sings "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody." A selection of his simple and tender ballads is presented next with Curtis performing "All Alone," Johnson singing "What'll I Do?" and Wrightson performing "Always." The orchestra plays "The Piccolino" as an example of the dance tunes Berlin composed for the movie musicals of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Next, the performers focus on the popular songs Berlin composed outside of his work for the musical theater, with Johnson singing "Remember" and "The Song Is Ended" and Curtis singing "Blue Skies" and "How Deep Is the Ocean?" The program ends as the students join Wrightson, Johnson, and Curtis in singing America's unofficial second national anthem, "God Bless America."

Cataloging of this program was made possible by The Marc Haas and Helen Hotze Haas Foundation, 1998.

Details

  • NETWORK: WCBS-TV
  • DATE: January 26, 1963 Saturday 2:30 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:27:31
  • COLOR/B&W: B&W
  • CATALOG ID: T:53924
  • GENRE: Music
  • SUBJECT HEADING:
  • SERIES RUN: WCBS (New York, NY) - TV series, 1959-1965
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Ned Cramer … Producer
    • Ethel Burns … Associate Producer
    • Anthony Farrar … Director
    • Irving Berlin … Composer, Lyricist
    • Alfred Antonini … Conductor
    • CBS Orchestra, The … Music Group
    • Earl Wrightson … Host, Performer, Singer
    • Susan Johnson … Performer, Singer
    • Ralph Curtis … Performer, Singer
    • Irving Berlin