April 1954 The Rodgers-Hammerstein Show hits record audience of 80.000.000


In the first week of April 1954 80 million Americans were simultaneously watching the same TV show, half the population and easily the biggest single audience in the history of visual entertainment. The 90-minute show, done all by major networks, consisted of scenes and songs from six Rodgers-Hammerstein musicals, starting with Oklahoma!, and was put on by General Foods to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Many members of the original casts were on hand to sing their hits and, just to make everything bigger, three noted comics - Groucho Marx, Jack Benny and Edgar Bergen - were hired to guarantee yaks. They were not too funny but it didnțt matter. What really counted were the songs. Handsomely staged and well sung by $200.000worth of talent, they sounded just as lovely as ever and were reason enough for 80 million people to stay in for an evening.


images and info provided by the LIFE Magazine / LIFE Magazine International / LIFE Magazine Atlantic ARCHIVE from the Zetu Harrys Collection

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