Classic TV: The 40s : The late 1940's rocked- best clothes, hats, watches…

The late 1940's rocked- best clothes, hats, watches…

And Cab Calloway's music, dancing and energy has never been equalled for sheer effusive multi-talented entertainment. But blacks weren't on TV at that time let alonethere being a black hosted TV show, unfortunately.

My votes:

Re: The late 1940's rocked- best clothes, hats, watches…

First sitcom to have a Black character was "The Laytons" (1948, DuMont), although it was a stereotypical role (a maid).

One early Black-hosted series was a 1947-1951 local series that started around 1948 called "Elder Michaux". For a short while during the 1948-1949 season, it was picked up as a network series (DuMont). It was a religious series with preaching and music.

Blacks almost never got acting roles, and I'm sorry to say that only singers and dancers had any chance of getting on TV, on series like "Cavalcade of Stars", "Doorway to Fame", "Toast of the Town", etc etc. I did some reseach, and the oldest surviving kinescope recording to feature a Black performer is the 31 October 1948 episode of "Welcome Aboard" (NBC, held by the Library of Congress), which included an appearance by a gospel group called Deep River Boys.

EDIT: An earler recording of a Black performer on TV is a 1947 fragment from British television special "Variety in Sepia". Adelaide Hall sings two songs to good response from the studio audience. The clip is on YouYube. Note: "Sepia" was slang in the 1940s to refer to things related to African-Americans. For example, there was a film in 1947 called "Sepia Cinderella", and a "race film" actor of the era was nick-named as "The Sepia Valentino" (the actual name of the actor escapes me). The other BBC specials Adelaide Hall appeared in (now-lost) had titles including "Dark Sophistication", "Black Magic", and "Harlem in Mayfair". Very un-PC!

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Re: The late 1940's rocked- best clothes, hats, watches…

Hello Warrior of the Silver Tube, have U ever written a book on all this as your collection of facts and history sound like one is in the making if it has not already appeared. And by the by, thanks for all of it!

Reference is inscrutable because there is nothing to scrute.

Re: The late 1940's rocked- best clothes, hats, watches…

Nah, not writing a book. I love researching classic TV, but I don't really have any new infomation to add (since my rather limited knowledge in based on researching through books and websites and the viewing of surviving episodes, instead of first-hand experience of the era). I would love to do a book outlining and in some cases detailing all the surviving kinescopes of DuMont Network programming, but I have two problems:
1. I don't live in the US, so I don't have access to the original kinescopes and film prints (I've searched all over the Internet and DVDs to see the ones that I've seen, which is about 50 or so episodes)
2. My writing skills are poor, so I'd need a co-writer
3. With over 600 extant examples of "kinescoped" and "filmed" episodes of DuMont series, it'd be a pretty big book considering the amount of info that would be given for each episode (such as cast list, description of contents, whether it contains original commercials, etc etc).

Slightly worn, but dignified, and not too old for sex

Re: The late 1940's rocked- best clothes, hats, watches…

Don't forget, BIGGEST WAR! Wonder if there was a drop in the mushroom market?

Re: The late 1940's rocked- best clothes, hats, watches…

WW2 ended 1945...that's before the late-1940s

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Re: The late 1940's rocked- best clothes, hats, watches…

Cab Calloway actually DID appear on 1940s TV: a 1949 episode "The Gulf Road Show Starring Bob Smith". The episode still exists. In the episode (broadcast on NBC on 23 June 1949), he sings two songs, including "Minnie the Moocher".

Source:,21 &Search%5FArg=cab%20calloway&SL=None&Search%5FCode=GKEY%5E &CNT=50&PID=albcpclJsJ9vHSFWAxGH5elJE0qJ&SEQ=2013031918253 2&SID=1

I haven't been playing dead! You know that, right, Kankuro?

Re: The late 1940's rocked- best clothes, hats, watches…

Speaking of African-Americans on TV, and going back further from the late-1940s to the mid-1940s, as I mentioned on the WW2 on TV thread, WCBW showed in 1944 a bunch of WW2 information films, most of them long forgotten and probably forgettable, but for which also included two notable films related to the above topic, "Negro Colleges in Wartime" and "The Negro Soldier". The broadcasts of these films is described in old 1944 editions of "Billboard" magazine. While not produced specifically for television, they nevertheless represent early example of content broadcast on the very young medium.

The question - What was the first show to feature a "Black" person - I don't know the answer, but the BBC's 1938 production of "The Emperor Jones" is a contender:
The production is lost, like all pre-1947 BBC live shows, but actor Robert Adams, for those who are curious, can be viewed in a supporting role the 1935 film "Midshipman Easy", released on DVD on the set "Ealing Studios Rarities Collection - Volume 2".
But of course that is the 1930s and not the late-1940s.

As for the early days of mainstream TV (late-1940s US), it depended on the show, the host, the producer and even the sponsor. I don't think any African-Americans ever appeared on Fred Waring's show or "Howdy Doody", but they were featured relatively often on Ed Sullivan's show and a few others. Admittedly, these appearances fell into the stale cliché of African-Americans being entertainers (singers, dancers, occasional comedy act) which I admit shows a lack of progressive thinking on behalf of NBC, CBS, DuMont and ABC.

We're not fighting! We're in complete agreement! We hate each other!

Re: The late 1940's rocked- best clothes, hats, watches…

It was considered daring for many African American entertainers to appear on TV at the time, other than the most famous and/or those who catered the most to white tastes. Sullivan was a pioneer in having many black guests.

Re: The late 1940's rocked- best clothes, hats, watches…

Music back then not noise like now.