The Garry Moore Show

The Garry Moore Show

Cast photo: Garry Moore, Carol Burnett, and Durward Kirby, 1961.
Created by Garry Moore
Starring Garry Moore
Carol Burnett (1959-62)
Durward Kirby
Marion Lorne (1958-62)
Country of origin United States
Running time 30/60 minutes
Original network CBS
Original release June 26, 1950 – January 8, 1967

The Garry Moore Show is the name for several separate American variety series on the CBS television network in the 1950s and 1960s. Hosted by experienced radio performer Garry Moore, the series helped launch the careers of many comedic talents, such as Dorothy Loudon, Don Adams, George Gobel, Carol Burnett, Don Knotts, Lee Goodman, James Kirkwood, Jr. and Jonathan Winters. The Garry Moore Show garnered a number of Emmy nominations and wins.


The show originally started as a radio program; CBS eventually awarded Garry his own early evening television show in its place. Garry's radio partner since 1940, Durward Kirby, made the move to TV with him and appeared throughout all three versions of the TV show.

Original version (1950–1958)

The first incarnation of the show began in June 1950 as a Monday-through-Friday 30-minute evening series. It was also simulcast on radio. The show changed to a once-weekly one-hour format by August. In the fall of 1950 CBS rescheduled the show each weekday in the afternoon, and it ran in this format until mid-1958 (another prime-time edition, The Garry Moore Evening Show, alternated with The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show on Thursday nights from September through December 1951). The series featured a relaxed and flexible combination of comedy skits, monologues, singing, and interaction with the studio audience. The show became an important commercial success for CBS.

Second version (1958–1964)

Larry Blyden with Carol Burnett, 1960.

In 1958, Moore ended the previous show because of his demanding work schedule, but he returned in the fall with a weekly hour-long evening series, with the same title and similar format. Allen Funt's Candid Camera segments became a regular feature of this series, along with a lengthy recap segment called "That Wonderful Year." In 1959 Moore produced one LP record, That Wonderful Year, 1940. In its first season, this version of The Garry Moore Show faced competition on NBC from the drama series with a western setting, The Californians, and the ABC crime/police reality show, Confession, hosted by Jack Wyatt.[1]

The cast of the second version included Marion Lorne (who appeared as her other Broadway and acting commitments would permit throughout this run), and rising star Carol Burnett (1959–62), who honed her comedic skills for her own future successful variety show. In addition to the performances of the cast and guests, vocal performers included the George Becker Singers and the dancers under the choreography of Ernest Flatt, including lead dancer Don Crichton.

Bob Banner was the Executive Producer, Joe Hamilton (Burnett's future husband) was series Producer, and Irwin Kostal was the orchestra leader.

In the summer of 1960, the series was replaced for nine weeks by the Patrick O'Neal medical/police drama Diagnosis: Unknown. The Garry Moore Show was removed from the CBS line-up in 1964, at Moore's request in order to take a long needed vacation which lasted for more than two years.[2][3]

Final version (1966–1967)

Moore returned with yet another version of the show in the fall of 1966. Due to very tough competition from Bonanza on NBC, the show was canceled after only four months. It was replaced on the CBS schedule by The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

Episodes on DVD

As of 2012, at least four episodes of the second version of the show are available on DVD.

- The Garry Moore Show Presents: A Carol Burnett Christmas (2012) features the Christmas episodes from 1959, 1960 and 1961.[4] Guests included Mahalia Jackson and Henry Morgan (1959), Jonathan Winters and Louise O'Brien (1960), and Julie Andrews and Gwen Verdon (1961). The 1961 show includes Julie's earliest televised recording of "My Favorite Things", three years before filming The Sound of Music.

- The Carol Burnett Show: Carol's Favorites (2012) includes as a bonus feature the March 6, 1962 episode where Burnett, playing Supergirl, delivers her first televised "Tarzan yell".[5] The episode guests included Alan King and Barbara McNair, and a peek at the end credits shows how a lot of the production and writing staff she relied on during her own show came from those she worked with on The Garry Moore Show.


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