Ed Wynn Show, The

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents




From Wikipedia:

In the 1949-50, Ed Wynn hosted one of the first comedy-variety television shows, on CBS, and won an Emmy Award in 1949. Buster Keaton, Lucille Ball, and The Three Stooges all made guest appearances with Wynn. This was the first CBS variety television show to originate in Los Angeles, with programs filmed via kinescope for distribution in the Midwest and East. Wynn was also a rotating host of NBC's Four Star Revue from 1950 through 1952.

After the end of Wynn's third television series, The Ed Wynn Show (a short-lived situation comedy on NBC's 1958-59 schedule), his son, actor Keenan Wynn, encouraged him to make the career change rather than retire. The comedian reluctantly began a career as a dramatic actor in television and movies. Father and son appeared in three productions, the first of which was the 1956 Playhouse 90 broadcast of Rod Serling's play "Requiem for a Heavyweight." Ed was terrified of straight acting and kept goofing his lines in rehearsal. When the producers wanted to fire him, star Jack Palance said he would quit if they fired Ed. (However, unbeknownst to Wynn, supporting player Ned Glass was his secret understudy in case something did happen before air time.) On live broadcast night, Wynn surprised everyone with his pitch-perfect performance, and his quick ad libs to cover his mistakes. A dramatization of what happened during the production was later staged as an April 1960 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse episode, "The Man In the Funny Suit", starring both senior and junior Wynns, with key figures involved in the original production also portraying themselves. Ed and his son also worked together in the Jose Ferrer film The Great Man, with Ed again proving his unexpected skills in drama.

"Requiem" established Wynn as serious dramatic actor who could easily hold his own with the best. His role in The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) won him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Also in 1959, Wynn appeared on Serling's TV series The Twilight Zone in "One for the Angels". Serling, a longtime admirer, had written that episode especially for him, and Wynn later starred in the episode "Ninety Years Without Slumbering". For the rest of his life, Ed skillfully moved between comic and dramatic roles. He appeared in feature films and anthology television, endearing himself to new generations of fans.


Who talked about this show

Seaman Jacobs

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Seaman Jacobs on writing for Fred Allen's radio show and for Ed Wynn's radio show, and later for The Ed Wynn Show on television
Seaman Jacobs on the environment for the writers on The Ed Wynn Show with Hal Cantor
Seaman Jacobs on the format of The Ed Wynn Show, and on various bits that Ed Wynn did on his show

Hal Kanter

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Hal Kanter on his very first television writing job on The Ed Wynn Show
Hal Kanter on the production of The Ed Wynn Show, and on phone calls from Fanny Brice
Hal Kanter on the guest-stars of The Ed Wynn Show including The Three Stooges, Victor Moore and on attempting to get Al Jolson
Hal Kanter on Buster Keaton and Lucille Ball appearing on The Ed Wynn Show
Hal Kanter on Gloria Swanson and Gary Cooper appearing as a guest-stars on The Ed Wynn Show
Hal Kanter on Ann Sheridan filling in for Gary Cooper on The Ed Wynn Show
Hal Kanter on Dinah Shore appearing on The Ed Wynn Show
Hal Kanter on the process of producing a live episode of The Ed Wynn Show each week
Hal Kanter on The Ed Wynn Show winning Emmy Awards

Barney McNulty

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Barney McNulty on early talk about television on CBS -- Ed Wynn comes out from NY to start a variety show to compete with Texaco Star Theater
Barney McNulty on how he became involved with The Ed Wynn Show, where he first became involved in writing out cue cards
Barney McNulty on the format of The Ed Wynn Show
Barney McNulty on a typical workweek writing cue cards for The Ed Wynn Show and working on The George Gobel Show
Barney McNulty on the logistics of his weekly duties writing cue cards for several CBS shows, including The Ed Wynn Show
Barney McNulty on CBS and The Ed Wynn Show in the early days of television
Barney McNulty on the studio of The Ed Wynn Show
Barney McNulty on where he was positioned in the studio with his cue cards for The Ed Wynn Show; on his other duties on the show
Barney McNulty on the end of The Ed Wynn Show

Anne Nelson

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Anne Nelson on moving stars like Ed Wynn and Jack Benny to television, and on her earliest experiences seeing television
Anne Nelson on helping put together the deal for The Ed Wynn Show
Anne Nelson on the production of The Ed Wynn Show coming out of Studio A at CBS on Sunset Boulevard live, and the technological advances in television

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