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Thursday, January 31, 2013



Commentary © James A. Harrod, Copyright Protected; All Rights Reserved

Previous entries for this examination of the Stars of Jazz series have isolated the TV Guide entry for each program and passed comment regarding how complete or accurate the listing was for that particular show.

We thought it would be useful, educational and rewarding to display the entire page so that readers can place the Stars of Jazz in context for October 22, 1956.  Readers who watched the original series won’t be surprised to note that there are only channels [2] through [13] listed in the guide.  There were only twelve TV channels viewable back then, TV sets only received those twelve channels.  If you peruse the offerings it would seem that the variety available for viewing was quite varied and hopefully would satisfy the five million residents living in Los Angeles at that time although the number of households with televisions was probably a fraction of that population, and the number of households tuning in Stars of Jazz was probably a fraction of that fraction.

The Firehouse Five Plus Two were one of the anchors of Les Koenig’s Good Time Jazz label with Turk Murphy, Kid Ory and Bob Scobey providing an equal draw for lovers of traditional, Dixieland, New Orleans style jazz. It also helped that Los Angeles supported numerous nightclubs and other venues that featured traditional jazz providing work for these groups.

The producers of Stars of Jazz recognized that their presentation of jazz groups on the program had to embrace all aspects of the music and the first program that featured a Stan Getz combo plus a Kid Ory group let viewers know that “their” type of jazz would be presented as well as that “other stuff” that they tolerated.

If readers have been following the assignment of show numbers to each program as noted on the front page of the script you will note that the producers have repeated show #17 on this script as well as the previous script for Charlie Barnet's appearance that was show #17.    

These Good Time Jazz catalogue pages are from 1956 and display the wide range of recordings available on Les Koenig’s label.

(Danny Alguire, Ward Kimball, Les Koenig & Frank Thomas listen to a playback)

Show #18
October 22, 1956
The Firehouse Five Plus Two: Danny Alguire, cornet; Ward Kimball, trombone; George Probert, reeds; George Bruns, tuba, acoustic double bass; Frank Thomas, piano; Dick Roberts, banjo; Eddie Forrest, drums. Jeanne Gayle, vocal

Production credits for this show:
Producer: Jimmie Baker
Writer: Bob Arbogast
Director: Norman Abbott
Audio: Chuck Lewis
Cameramen: Sal Folino, Jack Denton
Technical Director: Ted Hurley
Lighting Director: Vince Cilurzo
Video: Mahoney

The photos that greatly enhance this presentation have been provided courtesy of the Ray Avery Estate.  The author would like to extend a most heartfelt thanks to Cynthia Sesso, Licensing Administrator of the Ray Avery Photo Archives.  Please note that these photos remain the property of the Ray Avery Estate and are used here with permission.  Any inquiries regarding their use, commercial or otherwise, should be directed to:  Cynthia Sesso at CTSIMAGES.

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