The Gisele MacKenzie Show
The Gisele MacKenzie Show was an American variety show hosted by Canadian singer Gisele MacKenzie. The series aired live on NBC from September 28, 1957, to March 29, 1958. The Curfew Kids appeared on the program as semi-regulars.
|The Gisele MacKenzie Show|
|Presented by||Gisele MacKenzie|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||25|
|Executive producer(s)||Jack Benny|
|Running time||24-26 minutes|
|Original release||September 28, 1957 –|
March 29, 1958
MacKenzie had been a regular on the earlier NBC musical series Your Hit Parade from 1953 to 1957. She had also worked in radio with Bob Crosby and had toured with Jack Benny and guest starred on The Jack Benny Program. Benny had recommended her to the producers of Your Hit Parade.
In the premiere episode, Art Linkletter joined MacKenzie in a duet of "Paper Moon." He also presented a "This Is Your Life" segment on MacKenzie, who did the solos "Merci Beaucoup," "I Love Paris" and "Tammy." Dennis Day, a recurring actor on The Jack Benny Program, guest-starred in the second episode, the two performing a duet of "Blue Suede Shoes."
The series featured numerous well-known guests, including Ronald Reagan, who appeared in the third episode, which aired on October 12, 1957. Reagan and MacKenzie performed duets of "I've Got a Crush on You" and "You're the Top." She also did solos of "Goody-Goody" and "Fascination."
Bob Crosby appeared in the fourth episode; he and MacKenzie performed "Singing the Blues," while MacKenzie also did a solo of "Tip Toe Through the Tulips." In the fifth episode, MacKenzie and Jack Benny performed on the violin and reminisced over the days that Benny's troupe toured London and Benny and MacKenzie working together in Las Vegas, Nevada. MacKenzie sang "Chances Are," a Johnny Mathis hit.
Eddie Fisher joined MacKenzie in a rendition of "Mutual Admiration Society" and "You Do Something to Me." Dean Martin and George Raft appeared together with MacKenzie. She and Martin performed "Walking My Baby Back Home", a continuation of the preceding NBC program that evening, Club Oasis. Raft teamed with MacKenzie and her Curfew Kids for a dance number, "Top Hat." The finale had Raft and MacKenzie doing the tango to "Orchids in the Moonlight."
In another episode, Boris Karloff, and Johnny Desmond appeared with MacKenzie. Karloff sang "Those Were the Good Old Days" from Damn Yankees, and MacKenzie soloed "Give Me the Simple Life" while Desmond crooned "Keep Me In Mind." The finale included the trio in "Girl Friend of the Whirling Dervish".
Margaret Truman Daniel appeared too, former President Truman's daughter joining MacKenzie and the Curfew Kids in the song and dance "The Huckle Buck." MacKenzie soloed with "Them There Eyes." She and Truman performed the duet of "I Only Have Eyes For You" and played the piano together in a version of "Sisters."
Anna Maria Alberghetti, another guest, performed "I’ve Got a Crush on You," and MacKenzie soloed with "Till" and "Never Go Away." In another episode, Cesar Romero and MacKenzie danced the mambo to "Who's Got the Pain." MacKenzie danced with the Curfew Kids to "The Lord Loves a Laughing Man" and performed a Christmas song, "Too Fat For the Chimney."
The Christmas program on December 21, 1957, featured Edgar Bergen as the guest. MacKenzie and the Curfew Kids performed a song-and-dance version of "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers." She also did "The Christmas Waltz," "Frosty the Snowman" and a French version of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."
Other MacKenzie guests included June Hutton, Molly Bee, Robert Clary, George DeWitt (twice), Eddie Foy, Jr., Stubby Kaye, Snooky Lanson, Johnny Mercer, George Montgomery, Jimmie Rodgers, and folk singer Randy Sparks (twice).
In the series finale, the guests were Miyoshi Umeki and NBC cameraman Lee Mossman, both in second appearances. Mossman was discovered as a singer by MacKenzie. Umeki performed "How Deep Is the Ocean" and MacKenzie sang numbers from The King and I. When the series ended, MacKenzie began starring in San Francisco in a stage version of The King and I.
The Gisele MacKenzie Show aired at 9:30 p.m. EST on Saturdays following on NBC The Polly Bergen Show, rotating with Club Oasis. The program was cast opposite the first season of Richard Boone's western series Have Gun - Will Travel on CBS and the second half of Lawrence Welk's Dodge Dancing Party on ABC. Because of the popularity of those shows, MacKenzie lacked enough viewers to be renewed for an entire 39-week season, and she never headlined another weekly series.
- "Northern Stars: Gisele MacKenzie". NorthernStars.ca.actors. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
- "Gisele MacKenzie: Canada's First Lady of Song". London: Independent.co.uk. September 16, 2003. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
- "Gisele MacKenzie and Edie Adams tribute. Marriage Medley, 1958". Nme.com/artists. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
- Stanley, Alessandra. "Gisele MacKenzie Show". The New York Times. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, 1997, appendix