The Jazz Singer (Ford Startime)

"The Jazz Singer" is a videotaped adaptation, starring Jerry Lewis, of Samson Raphaelson's play of the same title. It was broadcast on October 13, 1959, as the second episode of the American television anthology series Ford Startime on NBC.[1]

"The Jazz Singer"
Ford Startime episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 2
Directed byRalph Nelson
Written byOliver Crawford
Ernest D. Glucksman
Ralph Nelson
Samson Raphaelson
Produced byErnest D. Glucksman
Featured musicWalter Scharf
(musical director)
Original air dateOctober 13, 1959 (1959-10-13)
Guest appearances
Jerry Lewis
Anna Maria Alberghetti
Episode chronology
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Cantor Rabinowitz (Eduard Franz) is upset that his son Joey (Jerry Lewis) has left home to pursue a career as a singer/comedian after showing no interest in carrying on the family's tradition of being Cantors in the synagogue. After five generations of doing so, it appears that Joey is more interested in making jokes and singing jazz music.

After a few years on his own, Joey, who now calls himself Joey Robbins, gets an opportunity to perform on the television show with Ginny Gibbons (Anna Maria Alberghetti). Unfortunately, his father falls ill during his rehearsal performance, and he runs to his side, putting show business aside for his family obligations.




The Jazz Singer was produced on color videotape[2] and aired as a one-hour episode of the short-lived TV series Lincoln-Mercury Startime (aka Ford Startime). It was preserved on black & white kinescope film.[3] It has never been rebroadcast on NBC.

Eduard Franz, who played the role of the aged and ailing cantor battling his son, had played the same role in the similar theatrical film version of the story starring Danny Thomas that had been released just seven years earlier in 1952.

Home mediaEdit

The first official home video release, a DVD including both the kinescope and color videotape material from Lewis' personal holdings, was released on February 7, 2012.[4]


  1. ^ "See them all on… FORD STARTIME". Traverse City Record-Eagle. Traverse City Record-Eagle. October 6, 1959. p. 7. Retrieved April 22, 2016 – via  
  2. ^ The Jazz Singer (color, 1959) on YouTube
  3. ^ The Jazz Singer (1959, kinescope) on YouTube
  4. ^ Heldenfels, Rich (December 15, 2011). "Jerry Lewis "Jazz Singer" to DVD". Retrieved December 17, 2011.

External linksEdit