The Edsel Show was an hour-long television special broadcast live on CBS in the United States on October 13, 1957, intended to promote Ford Motor Company's new Edsel cars. It was a milestone in Bing Crosby's career, and was notable as the first CBS entertainment program to be recorded on videotape, for rebroadcasting it in the western part of the country after the show was performed live for the east.
The Edsel Show starred Bing Crosby and featured Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Louis Armstrong, and Lindsay Crosby performing with the Four Preps. It also featured an appearance by a "mystery guest" who turned out to be Bob Hope. The special replaced the Ed Sullivan Show, for the same sponsor, on CBS' Sunday lineup for one evening only, and was one of the year's most successful programs, although its popularity did not transfer to the Edsel cars.
It has been credited as Bing Crosby's real television breakthrough , and set the pattern for his many television specials to come; in its wake he signed a lucrative contract with ABC under which he would produce two specials per year.
The show was performed at CBS Television City in the afternoon in California and broadcast live in the eastern part of the country. A videotape was made of the performance and was played back three hours later for western audiences. As videotape was a new technology, CBS made a film-based kinescope of the show and played it back alongside the videotape, so that the broadcast could switch to the kinescope if problems were encountered with the tape; there were none.
Videotape was a technology that had interested Crosby for several years, and his company Bing Crosby Enterprises had investigated several technologies, ultimately investing in Ampex, the first company to demonstrate a practical broadcast-quality videotape system when it unveiled the first 2" Quadruplex videotape machine in 1956. Crosby's interest as a performer was to avoid having to make repeated live performances of the same show, as he had originally done on radio.
An embarrassing momentEdit
In her autobiography, Girl Singer (Doubleday, 1999), Rosemary Clooney recalled an incident that happened the afternoon of The Edsel Show's telecast:
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|Edsel Ford||The Edsel Registry||A brand of the Ford Motor Company|
- A page about the show featuring a short clip
- From the same site, about the discovery of the master videotape
- Another clip showing various Edsel models
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