Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents




In December 1948, after more than a decade on radio, principally for CBS, Arthur Godfrey ventured onto primetime TV by simply permitting the televising of his radio hit Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. On TV Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts ran until July 1958 on Monday nights at 8:30 P.M. for a half hour and proved Godfrey's best venue on television. Fans embraced this amateur showcase, and during the 1951-52 TV season it reached number one in the ratings. Next season I Love Lucy vaulted into first place, but thereafter through most of the 1950s Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts regularly finished in TV's primetime top ten.

The formula for Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts was simple enough. "Scouts" brought on their discoveries to a converted New York theater to perform before a live studio audience. Most of these "discoveries" were in fact struggling professionals looking for a break, and so the quality of the talent was quite high. At the program's conclusion, the studio audience selected the winner by way of an applause meter.

In his day Godfrey significantly assisted the careers of Pat Boone, Tony Bennett, Eddie Fisher, Connie Francis, Leslie Uggams, Lenny Bruce, Steve Lawrence, Connie Francis, Roy Clark, and Patsy Cline. His "discovery" of Patsy Cline on 21 January 1957 was typical. Her scout, actually her mother Hilda Hensley, presented Patsy who sang her recent recording Walkin' After Midnight. Though this was heralded as a country song, and recorded in Nashville, Godfrey's staff insisted Cline not wear one of her mother's hand crafted cowgirl outfits but appear in a cocktail dress. The audience's ovations stopped the meter at its apex, and for a couple of months thereafter Cline appeared regularly on Godfrey's radio program. In short although Cline had been performing for nearly a decade, and had been recording and appearing on local Washington, D.C. TV for more than two years, it is Godfrey, because of the great ratings and fame Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, who is heralded as making Patsy Cline a star. Yet Godfrey proved fallible. He turned down both Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly!

Arthur Godfrey

Tony Marvin

Archie Bleyer (1948-1954)
Jerry Bresler (1954-1955)
Will Roland and Bert Farber (1955-1958)


December 1948-July 1958 Monday 8:30-9:00

Who talked about this show

Edie Adams

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Edie Adams on her first television appearances; on appearing on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts

Steve Allen

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Steve Allen on Arthur Godfrey being one of the earliest radio personalities to venture into television

Charlie Andrews

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Charlie Andrews on the various acts on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts
Charlie Andrews on the directors of Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts

Pat Boone

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Pat Boone on going on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts
Pat Boone on Arthur Godfrey

Diahann Carroll

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Diahann Carroll on appearing on Arthur Godfrey's shows 

Roy Clark

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Roy Clark on appearing on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts

Andy Rooney with Emerson College

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Andy Rooney on writing for television shows, including Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts and The Garry Moore Show

Don Knotts

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Don Knotts on asking a friend to be a talent scout to "discover" him when he was booked on (the radio/TV simulcast of) Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts

John Moffitt

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John Moffitt on Arthur Godfrey doing radio and TV shows from CBS

Tony Randall

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Tony Randall on replacing Arthur Godfrey for a couple weeks on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts

Andy Rooney

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Andy Rooney on writing for Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, and on CBS' entry into television, and attempts at color television
Andy Rooney on his experience of working for Arthur Godfrey on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts
Andy Rooney on making changes to his writing style when he started working for Arthur Godfrey
Andy Rooney on Arthur Godfrey's firing of Julius La Rosa on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts

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