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Premiered
Jan. 04, 1964
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Country
USA
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Series Fun Facts

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  • A parking lot adjacent to the Hollywood Palace Studio/Theater became a production area for circus trapeze and animal acts, which required a greater footprint for staging. CBS' The Ed Sullivan…
    [show]
    A parking lot adjacent to the Hollywood Palace Studio/Theater became a production area for circus trapeze and animal acts, which required a greater footprint for staging. CBS' The Ed Sullivan Show in New York could not accommodate these performers. The unique staging area became a major asset for the performers appearing on this show. All of these acts were performed at night, with an audience sitting in bleachers. Engineering required extra facilities requirements, which included cameras, sound, lighting, costumes, scenery and technical staffs. These acts and performances were "banked" on tape (held in the tape vault) and slotted into the series show schedule. These acts and performances required considerable financial outlay for travel expenses, set-ups, residential accommodations and contract agreements. Producers Nick Vanoff and William O. Harbach spared no expense to showcase novel world-renowned performers. On a side note, the Knickerbocker Hotel was located directly behind the Hollywood Palace Theater and the hotel's rooftop sign could be seen in the show's opening credits, leading many viewers who were planning a vacation in Hollywood to attempt to book reservations at the hotel. However, the Knickerbocker had been purchased by the Methodist Church for a retirement home; the Methodists were not running a hotel and were constantly turning away telephone reservation requests.
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  • Many Hollywood revived and expanded their careers by appearing on the show. Dean Martin's hosting deal negotiated with producers Nick Vanoff and William O. Harbach allowed him to "sail into…
    [show]
    Many Hollywood revived and expanded their careers by appearing on the show. Dean Martin's hosting deal negotiated with producers Nick Vanoff and William O. Harbach allowed him to "sail into the theater" from the golf course, to tape the first (videotaped) rehearsal show, followed by the actual shows taping, with an hour crew-cast break; this allowed the audience to be turned around, director Grey Lockwood to give pick-up notes, and Jack Denton (IV) to correct lighting and/or re-jelling lamp fixtures. Martin's musical material had previously been rehearsed by the orchestra the night before,. The show was rehearsed with full cast minus Martin's participation, with "Woody", the Stage Manager, delivering the scripted introductions for the show's guests. Because the show was so easy for Martin to perform, he and his producer Greg Garrison were able to pitch a variety series starring Martin to rival NBC. Hosts Dan Rowan and Dick Martin later hosted "Laugh-In" (1967) on NBC. their hosting assignment by creating the "Laugh In" NBC TV Series. Fred Astaire and his production company taped a second special in 1967-68. The show's production designer, James Trittipo divided his responsibilities between the show and designing scenery for Astaire's special. Actually, Hub Braden, the Art Director, designed the Palace scenery while Trittipo was at NBC. Production manager Jerry McPhie commented that producer Nick Vanoff never knew that Trittipo was out of sight during the month of the special's production. He would show up on the day of taping and supervise in the control room booth.
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  • During the first two (televised in black and white) seasons, Liberace performed as a guest with Jimmy Durante (host [1]-#16-4/18/64) and with Milton Berle (host [2]-#11-12/4/66). Liberace…
    [show]
    During the first two (televised in black and white) seasons, Liberace performed as a guest with Jimmy Durante (host [1]-#16-4/18/64) and with Milton Berle (host [2]-#11-12/4/66). Liberace performed as host (during the second mid-season B&W [2]-#15-1/9/65) with Edward G. Robinson in a dance routine of "Me And My Shadow"; Shani Wallace, and Rowan and Martin (comedy team) were guests. In the third "color season", Vanoff built Liberace's second host assignment as a "Liberace Special Appearance" (season [3]-#22-2/26/66); featuring a different piano from Liberace's piano collection in each of his keyboard segments. The art department design team met with Liberace at his Hollywood Boulevard Sunset Strip home to review the collection. Liberace's Louis XIV style concert grand piano case instrument was the show's opening showcase, featured on a 2-step (12" high) semi-circular platform, with double (framed) doors featured at the platform back edge. After the first opening piano number, the double doors snapped closed, revealing a mirrored double door setting. A musical dance number featuring Hollywood Palace Showgirls concluded the show's opening number. A honky-tonk upright featured Liberace performing New Orleans' piano jazz. Liberace also performed on his Ebony Black Baldwin Concert Grand with the 1" thick plastic-glass raised on the clear glass stick. This Baldwin was Liberace's West Coast performance grand piano with his crystal candelabra, which had a duplicate twin piano, located on the East Coast (in storage, used on his Eastern Coast appearances, Candelabra included). The HP design team rented four other candelabras for the other instruments used during the show's segments. Lee considered pulling his pipe organ, to use on the show as well, but Jim Trittipo convinced Liberace the show would need another TV musical hour. The honky-tonk upright piano was stored in the residence's subterranean hillside-garage. Liberace, conducting the seek-the-piano-house tour, explained to the design team his leisure past time home decorating hobby; gluing gold tassel fringe to all the pieces of furniture, to the ceilings crown molding, to the window draped lambrican headers, as well as painting moldings with gold paint. The afternoon house tour was memorable.
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