Show: Remembering When

Episode: 868-125 The Liberace Show


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Episode Description:

Liberace mostly bypassed radio before trying a television career, thinking radio unsuitable given his act's dependency on the visual. Despite his enthusiasm about the possibilities of television, Liberace was disappointed after his early guest appearances on CBS's The Kate Smith Show, starring Kate Smith, and DuMont's Cavalcade of Stars, with Jackie Gleason (later The Jackie Gleason Show on CBS). Liberace was particularly displeased with the frenetic camera work and his short appearance time. He soon wanted his own show where he could control his presentation as he did with his club shows. His first show on local television in Los Angeles was a smash hit, earning the highest ratings of any local show, which he parlayed into a sold out appearance at the Hollywood Bowl. That led to a summer replacement program for Dinah Shore.

The fifteen-minute network television program, The Liberace Show, began on July 1, 1952, but did not lead to a regular network series. Instead producer Duke Goldstone mounted a filmed version of Liberace's local show performed before a live audience for syndication in 1953, and sold it to scores of local stations. The widespread exposure of the syndicated series made the pianist more popular and prosperous than ever. His first two years earnings from television netted him $7,000,000 and on future re-runs he earned up to 80% of the profits. Liberace learned early on to add "schmaltz" to his television show and to cater to the tastes of the mass audience by joking and chatting to the camera, as if performing in the viewer's own living room. He also used dramatic lighting, split images, costume changes, and exaggerated hand movements to create visual interest. His television performances featured enthusiasm and humor.

Liberace also employed "ritualistic domesticity", used by such early TV greats as Jack Benny and Lucille Ball. His brother George often appeared as guest violinist and orchestra director, and his mother was usually in the front row of the audience, with brother Rudy and sister Angelina often mentioned to lend an air of "family." Liberace began each show in the same way, then mixed production numbers with chat, and signed off each broadcast softly singing "I'll Be Seeing You," which he made his theme song. His musical selections were broad, including classics, show tunes, film melodies, Latin rhythms, ethnic songs, and boogie-woogie.

The show was so popular with his mostly female television audience that he drew over thirty million viewers at any one time and received ten thousand fan letters per week. His show was also one of the first to be shown on British commercial television in the 1950s, where it was broadcast on Sunday afternoons by Lew Grade's Associated TeleVision. This exposure gave Liberace a dedicated following in the United Kingdom

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[SD File Downloads]: 12

[HD File Downloads]: 0

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SD (Standard Definition) File

File Name of SD Episode: 868-125 The Liberace Show.mpg

Total SD Episode Video Runtime (hh:mm:ss): 00:28:26

File Size of SD Episode Video: 1,329,757,018 Bytes

Resolution of SD Episode Video: 720x480

Date SD Episode Video Uploaded: Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 01:08


HD (High Definition) File


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