Original document of a Press Release on famous actress Judy Garland
issued by CBS Television News
dated October 18, 1956. This historic document has a color image of the CBS logo. The document hand typed document is the originally circulated official announcement of "Ford Star Jubilee" presenting "Wizard of Oz" Saturday, November 3, and is over 56 years old. 3 typewritten pages.
It was CBS first full color special broadcast live, Judy's salary for the show was $100,000, the highest for an artist at that time. According to The World's Greatest Entertainer, by John Fricke, CBS stated at the time that, "This show was the greatest personal triumph in their history" and that, their switchboards were still lit up a full 24 hours after the broadcast. They had also never had such an intimate response to an artist by the public in their history.
It should also be noted that 40 million households tuned into watch this program, the largest audience in the history of television for a special.
Judy Garland had signed a contract with Capitol Records shortly before appearing on this program. It was arranged that her first Capital album would be released the day after this show aired. The title of that album was: Miss Show Business and contained most of the songs perfromed on the CBS special.
Ford Star Jubilee was a usually live, ninety minute, color anthology series that aired once a month on Saturday nights on CBS at 9:00 P.M., E.S.T. from the fall of 1955 to the fall of 1956. The series was sponsored by the Ford Motor Company.
Ford Star Jubilee routinely featured major stars, such as Judy Garland, Betty Grable, Orson Welles, Julie Andrews (at the time that she was preparing for her starring role in My Fair Lady on Broadway), Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Lillian Gish, Charles Laughton, Jack Lemmon, Raymond Massey, Lauren Bacall, Claudette Colbert, Noël Coward, Nat 'King' Cole, Mary Martin, Eddie Fisher, Ella Fitzgerald, Red Skelton and Debbie Reynolds.
Instead of the usual live performance staged especially for Ford Star Jubilee, the final episode on November 3, 1956 was a special, two-hour presentation of the 1939 MGM theatrical Technicolor film The Wizard of Oz, hosted by Bert Lahr, 10 year old Liza Minnelli and young Oz expert Justin Schiller. This marked the first time that the film had ever been shown on television, and the only time that one of the film's actual actors (Lahr) as well as one of the children of the film's star (Judy Garland) hosted it. The broadcast was a critical and ratings smash, but the film was not shown on TV again until 1959, when it was presented by CBS at 6:00 P.M., E.S.T. rather than 9:00 P.M., and this time as a Christmas season special in its own right, not as part of an anthology series. The 1959 telecast was hosted by comedian Red Skelton and his daughter Valentina. This broadcast attracted an even wider audience, because children were able to watch, and thus began the tradition of showing the film annually on television
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