Your Hit Parade


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tabs

About

Your Hit Parade was a weekly network television program that aired from 1950 to 1959. The program enjoyed some popularity but was never as successful as its radio predecessor which began in 1935 and ran for fifteen years before moving to television. Both the radio and television versions featured the most popular songs of the previous week as determined by a national "survey" of record and sheet music sales. The methodology behind this survey was never revealed but most audience members were willing to accept the tabulations without question. Both the TV and radio versions were sponsored by the American Tobacco Company's Lucky Strike cigarettes.

Original cast members for the TV program included Eileen Wilson, Snooky Lanson, Dorothy Collins and a wholesome array of young fresh-scrubbed "Hit Parade Singers and Dancers." Gisele MacKenzie joined the cast in 1953.

The TV version featured the top seven tunes of the week and several Lucky Strike extras. These extras were older more established popular songs that were very familiar to audiences. The top seven tunes were presented in reverse order not unlike the various popular music count-downs currently heard on radio. The top three songs were presented with an extra flourish and audience members would speculate among themselves as to which tunes would climb to the top three positions and how long they would stay there.

The continuing popularity of certain songs over a multiple-week period had never been a problem for the radio version of the program with its "Top Ten" list. Regular listeners were willing to hear a repeat performance of last week's songs perhaps with a different vocalist than the previous week to provide variation. The television Hit Parade attempted to dramatize each song with innovative skits, elaborate sets, and a large entourage of performers. Creating new skits for longer running popular songs proved much more difficult on television, particularly when we recall such hits from the period as "How Much Is That Doggie In the Window" and "Shrimp Boats Are Coming."

A much more serious problem facing the program was the changing taste in American popular music. Rock 'n' roll was displacing the syrupy ballads that had been the mainstay of popular music during the 1930s and 1940s. The earlier music had a multi-generational appeal and the radio version of Your Hit Parade catered to a family audience. The rock music of the 1950s was clearly targeted to younger listeners and actually thrived on the disdain of its older critics.

Further, much of the popularity of the faster paced rock hits was dependent on complex instrumental arrangements and the unique styling of a particular artist or group. Rock music's first major star, the brooding, sensuous Elvis Presley, was a sharp contrast to the sedate styles of Snooky Lanson and Dorothy Collins. As rock (and Presley) gained In popularity, the ratings for Your Hit Parade plummeted. The cast was changed in 1957, the show temporarily canceled in 1958, but revived under new management with Dorothy Collins and Johnny Desmond in 1953. Despite these changes, the program was simply out of touch with the current musical scene and the last program was broadcast on 24 April 1959.
-Norman Felsenthal

ANNOUNCERS
Andre Baruch (1950-1957)
Del Sharbutt (1957-1958)

VOCALISTS
Eileen Wilson (1950-1952)
Snooky Lanson (1950-1957)
Dorothy Collins (1950-1957,1958-1959)
Sue Bennett (1951-1952)
June Valli (1952-1953)
Russell Arms (1952-1957)
Gisele MacKenzie (1953-1957)
Tommy Leonetti (1957-1958)
Jill Corey (1957-1958)
Alan Copeland (1957-1958)
Virginia Gibson (1957-1958)
Johnny Desmond (1958-1959)
Kelly Garrett (1974)
Chuck Woolery 11974)
Sheralee (1974)

DANCERS
The Hit Paraders (chorus & dancers) (1950-1958) Peter Gennaro Dancers (1958-1959)
Tom Hansen Dancers (1974)

ORCHESTRA
Raymond Scott (1950-1957)
Harry Sosnik (1958-1959)
Milton Delugg (1974)

PRODUCERS Dan Lounsberry, Ted Fetter

PROGRAMMING HISTORY
NBC
July 1955-August 1950 Monday 9:00-9:30
October 1950-June 1958 Saturday 10:30-11:00

CBS
October 1958-April 1959 Friday 7:30-8:00
August 1974 Friday 8:00-8:30

 

 

FURTHER READING
Williams, John R. This Was Your Hit Parade. Camden, Maine (np), 1973.

Highlights
Tony Charmoli on choreographing the show Your Hit Parade
05:09
William Klages on being the video man for Your Hit Parade
02:03
William Clotworthy on remotes and the popularity of Your Hit Parade
03:06
Michael Dann on revamping Your Hit Parade
06:58
Milton Delugg on the 1974 short-lived revival of Your Hit Parade
01:30
Who talked about this show

Tony Charmoli

View Interview
Tony Charmoli on choreographing the show Your Hit Parade
05:09
Tony Charmoli on choreographing Giselle McKenzie for Your Hit Parade and the challenges of working in live TV
05:23
Tony Charmoli on receiving an Emmy Award and a Dance Magazine Award for his choreography on Your Hit Parade
03:55
Tony Charmoli on B-roll footage of Your Hit Parade dancers
00:56

William Clotworthy

View Interview
William Clotworthy on remotes and the popularity of Your Hit Parade
03:06
William Clotworthy on representing client American Tobacco in television shows Robert Montgomery Presents, Your Hit Parade, and This is Show Business
05:46

Michael Dann

View Interview
Michael Dann on revamping Your Hit Parade
06:58

Milton Delugg

View Interview
Milton Delugg on the 1974 short-lived revival of Your Hit Parade
01:30

Rod Erickson

View Interview
Rod Erickson on going to work for the advertising agency Foote, Cone & Belding as executive director of the radio version of "Your Hit Parade" on behalf of American Tobacco
03:39

William Klages

View Interview
William Klages on being the video man for Your Hit Parade
02:03
William Klages on being the video man for Your Hit Parade
01:10

Perry Lafferty

View Interview
Perry Lafferty on producing Your Hit Parade, directed by Norman Jewison
03:28

Don Pike

View Interview
Don Pike on being technical director for Lights Out and Your Hit Parade 
04:31

Sid Smith

View Interview
Sid Smith on becoming an AD on and directing an episode of Your Hit Parade
01:31
Sid Smith on the format and setup on Your Hit Parade
01:34
Sid Smith on color production on Your Hit Parade  
01:39
Sid Smith on telecasts, preparation, surveys, and the host for and Your Hit Parade  
02:27
Sid Smith on guests, regulars, and his duties on Your Hit Parade
03:19
Sid Smith on sponsor Lucky Strike's involvement with Your Hit Parade
01:59
Sid Smith on Jimmy Durante seeing him direct Your Hit Parade and wanting him to direct his show
02:16
Sid Smith on a photo of Your Hit Parade
00:42

All Shows

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
J
L
M
P
R
S
T
W