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Murphy's Law Of 50's Live Television Mr. DuMont, we have a problem! By 1957, major market network affiliate TV stations had expanded their broadcast day to signing on at 5AM rather than 5PM and signing off past midnight, usually showing a late night movie after the 11P< news. The ailing DuMont network, despite having commodity shows such as Alan Freed's, Bishop Sheen, Kate Smith, Captain Video, among others, were losing daytime TV hosts. Bert Parks, Johnny Olson, et al, who taped afternoon shows at WABD (which became WNEW and now WNYW) in New York, were being lured by rival network affiliates WCBS, WNBC and WABC.

The boom was dropping on Freed and DuMont, hungry for sponsor money, made an agreement with Proctor & Gamble's ad agency to produce and air live a teen age beauty pageant to promote April Showers shampoo targeting the high school bopper set.

Straight from Splish Splash & Queen Of The Hop came a brash wannabe TV show host Bobby Darin. To date, Darin's TV experience had been limited to lip synching ...I was takin' a bath on bandstand shows like Freed's and Dick Clark's.

"No rehearsal, just wing it." Well, maybe Johnny Carson (who was hosting daytime game shows back then) could, but Darin's attempt at impromptu television ended up the disaster you saw here.

Don't be mad at OTV for running the clip. Sure, we love Bobby. In his defense, he was given short notice to fill, for one week, in for the 5-6PM hosting void left by the station's (WNEW-TV channel 5 NYC) suddenly firing Alan Freed (Eventually, Richard Hayes became the host of the weekday teen music show). It was the first time Bobby Darin ever hosted a television show, live no less. The director, Vern Diamond, himself a greenhorn let go by competing station ch. 9, wasn't much help. When a New York ad agency got the bright idea of a teen beauty pageant (USA Network's "Dance Party" mimicked this appeal in the 80's), it was quickly thrown together at the Metromedia Studios with girls who danced on the show suddenly became beauty contestants (eeny, meeny, miny mo...you, you and you). Most likely, Bobby, who presumed he'd just be announcing intros to records the kids danced to, was suddenly faced with the "April Showers: hair spray gimmick. A lessor talent might have just quit.

But the shark has pretty teeth, dear. Gifted Bobby Darin, polished by the time Mack The Knife hit number one on the national charts, had better success with a prime time variety show on both NBC and a special on CBS.

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9.04.2012 MollyRolly, PA Are you guys picking on Bobby or what? I think he did a great job under the circumstances.

3.31.2013 >Hah, MN Boy, was he nervous!


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