Broadway Open House
Broadway Open House was one of network TV’s first late-night comedy-variety series, telecast live on NBC from 1950 to 1951. It’s perhaps most famous for leading to the development of The Tonight Show. From Slate about one of the show’s hosts, whose popularity reportedly made co-host Jerry Lester so jealous he walked off his own show:
The show’s breakout star was the uncharismatic and monotonous Dagmar, née Jennie Lewis, née Virginia Ruth Egnor, a tall, blonde West Virginian whose job was to sit on stage for the entire show, wear a low-cut dress, and occasionally come on stage and be leered at. Dagmar was billed as the singer for the Broadway Open House band, but the running joke was that she never sang. (Dagmar would later record a novelty duet with Frank Sinatra called ‘Mama Will Bark,’ which has been called the worst thing Sinatra ever recorded.) Instead she purveyed deadpan malapropisms that inevitably set Lester off in spasms of sexual innuendo. ‘This is Prince Glockenspiel. He is one of my sweaters,’ said Dagmar in one bit from Jan. 30, 1951. ‘Suitors,’ Lester responded, before turning to the audience and saying ‘ ’Course, sweaters isn’t bad either, you know?” Every single Dagmar segment is sort of like that: gleefully sexist and unfunny, yet somehow redeemed by Dagmar’s odd, icy sense of dignity. (‘I thank you’ was her standard closing line.)
Watch Broadway Open House on Archive.org.
The Wilton North Report
Part newsy, part friendly banter. Think of The Wilton North Report as a prototype for something like The Daily Show. Watch a short film about a suburban dominatrix featured on the show, above.
Michaels’ Movie Madness
From IMDb about the ‘80s-era series Michaels’ Movie Madness, which featured science fiction icon Forrest J. Ackerman:
Hosted by writer/director Peter Michaels that appeared sporadically across the US. Forrest J Ackerman appeared every Friday evening with Michaels giving insights on the Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy films broadcast as well as showing off many of the Fantasy Artifacts from his home that Peter Michaels tried so hard and valiantly to place in a permanent and proper museum. The museum, of course and forever tragically, never happened even with the best of efforts — but Michaels’ Movie Madness has entered a kind of cult status with rumors of a modern revamp today with Peter Michaels himself returning along with the late Forrest J Ackerman via Michaels’ back catalog of video and audio tape on Turner Classic Movies (TCM).