The Bell Telephone Hour (1959)
“The Bell Telephone Hour” was a musical variety show that aired on “NBC” TV from 12 January 1959 to 14 June 1968 that showcased the best in Broadway, Classical, Concert, Jazz and Popular music each week. The series had its’ own house band appropriately named the “Bell Telephone Orchestra”. The show also had its’ own theme song being the “Bell Waltz” composed by “Donald Voorhees” who was also the show's Orchestra conductor. Some of the greatest violinists of the 1960’s performed on this show that aired in the old “Black & White” format. Some of these great violinists included “Erica Mornin”, “Isaac Stern", "Michael Rabin", "Ruggiero Ricci", "Yehudi Menuhin" and "Zino Francesacatti". From time to time some of the great singers and bandleaders of the 1960’s would perform on the show as well. Some of these were “Bing Crosby”, “Gordon MacRae”, “John Gary”, “Leslie Uggams”, “Mary Martin”, “Nelson Eddy”, “Patti Page” and “Roy Rogers”. The TV show followed on the heels of its’ predecessor with the same name on “NBC” radio that aired from 29 April 1940 to 1958 on Monday nights at 8 PM. The name of the show was derived from its’ Major sponsor “Bell Telephone Laboratories”. The TV version began airing on Friday nights at 8:30 PM once a month. It later was given it’s same time slot now airing every other week alternating with another show on the other weeks such as News shows and specials. The show time slot changed quite often over the years. In September 1960 it aired at 9 PM and in September 1961 it moved to 9:30 PM. In October 1963 it moved to Tuesday nights at 10 PM, September 1965 it moved to Sunday night at 6:30 PM and in September 1967 it made its' final move back to Friday night at 10 PM.
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