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. In this edition, host Jim Morske examines the musical comedies of the 1920s. The CBS Orchestra opens the program with a number from the 1923 musical "Kid Boots," after which Morske introduces conductor Hal Hastings. Morske mentions that in the first half of the 1920s, revues were generally more popular than musical comedies, which fell into three categories, all of which are represented by the work of Harry Tierney. The sweet and simple musical is typified by his "Irene," from which Joy Clements sings "Alice Blue Gown" and "Castle of Dreams" which was based on Chopin's Minute Waltz. An example of a musical geared to a particular personality is Tierney's "Kid Boots," written as a showcase for Eddie Cantor. The lavish musical style is illustrated by Tierney's "Rio Rita" from which the CBS Orchestra plays the title song. The most popular of the musicals, however, those like "Irene," were charming, tuneful, and sentimental. "Mary," another one of this genre, with lyrics by Otto Harbach, contained the song "Love Nest," sung here by Clements, which later became the theme song for George Burns and Gracie Allen. At this point, Morske introduces lyricist Harbach, who explains the different techniques employed by musical comedies and musical plays. Clements then sings "Every Little Movement" after Harbach tells the story behind the lyrics of the song. Next, Harbach describes what it was like to work with different composers, and compares Jerome Kern and Rudolf Friml in this context. Clements performs Harbach's "Bambalina" as well as "Wild Flower," which he wrote with Vincent Youmans, and Harbach tells of Oscar Hammerstein II's contribution to the piece. After Clements sings Kern and Harbach's "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," the orchestra closes the program with a reprisal of the piece.

Cataloging of this program was made possible by a grant from the GRAMMY Foundation.


  • DATE: February 20, 1960 Saturday 12:30 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:28:03
  • COLOR/B&W: B&W
  • CATALOG ID: T:55286
  • GENRE: Music
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Music, popular (songs, etc.)
  • SERIES RUN: WCBS (New York, NY) - TV series, 1959-1965


  • Ned Cramer … Producer
  • Ethel Burns … Associate Producer, For the Board of Education
  • Neal Finn … Director
  • Harry Tierney … Composer
  • Otto Harbach … Lyricist
  • Hal Hastings … Conductor
  • CBS Orchestra, The … Music Group
  • Jim Morske … Host
  • Joy Clements … Singer
  • Otto Harbach … Guest
  • Gracie Allen
  • George Burns
  • Eddie Cantor
  • Rudolf Friml
  • Hammerstein, Oscar, II
  • Jerome Kern
  • Harry Tierney