The Jackie Gleason Show

The Jackie Gleason Show

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The Jackie Gleason Show

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The Jackie Gleason Show is the name of a series of popular American network television shows that starred Jackie Gleason, which ran from 1952 to 1970.

Cavalcade of Stars

Gleason's first variety series was aired on the DuMont Television Network under the title Cavalcade of Stars. The show's first host was Jack Carter, who was followed by Jerry Lester. After Lester quit the show in June 1950 (soon to become the star of NBC's first late-night series, Broadway Open House), Gleason—who had made his mark on the first television incarnation of The Life of Riley sitcom—stepped into Cavalcade on July 15, 1950, and became an immediate sensation.

The show was broadcast live, in front of a theater audience, and offered the same kind of vaudevillian entertainment common to early-TV revues. Jackie's guests included New York-based performers of stage and screen, including Bert Wheeler, Smith and Dale, and Vivian Blaine. Production values were decent but not spectacular, owing to DuMont's humble facilities and a thrifty sponsor (Quality Drugs, representing most of the nation's neighborhood drug stores).

In 1952, CBS president William S. Paley offered Gleason a much higher salary, with which DuMont could not compete. The series was retitled The Jackie Gleason Show and premiered on CBS on September 20, 1952.

While much of DuMont's programming archive was later destroyed after they ceased...
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