Surrealist nightclub comedian and pianist Don Hornsby had signed a five-year contract to host the series (based on an endorsement from Bob Hope), but was diagnosed with polio a week before the debut and died less than a week later. See more »
I saw Broadway Open House at least several times back in the day, when I was 9. Even at that age Dagmar, of the large chest, made an impression. (Faye Emerson around the same time was a TV sensation with her "plunging neckline" dresses. But I digress). The occasion for this comment is my recent viewing of some old kinescopes of the show. It is barely tolerable now, but with a little imagination I can see why it would have been popular in 1950. It was slightly racy, had a lot of (phoney?) ad-libbing, and Jerry's impish personality was perfect for a ten inch screen. I don't hold with the school of criticism that enjoys something and then puts it down years later for being old-fashioned or otherwise not up to current standards. Unfortunately, Dagmar became the star attraction and drove Lester to despair. There's a little about this in The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows.
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