Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts was a 30 Minute talent competition reality TV show on CBS where the host, Arthur Godfrey found the contestants by sending out talent scouts to look for them. Many types of acts were showcased with the most popular being Country Singers, Pop Singers, and Comedians. The performers would do their acts and then the audience applauded for each one. There was an audio meter that appeared on the TV screen and whichever act got the highest score (loudest applause) won! It was pretty close to being the "American Idol" of the 1940s and 50s.
Talent Scouts CastArthur Godfrey ............. Host
George Bryan ............... Announcer
Tony Marvin ................ Announcer
Archie Bleyer .............. Orchestra Leader (1948-1954)
Jerry Bresler .............. Orchestra Leader (1954-1955)
Bert Farber ................ Orchestra Leader (1955-1958)
Will Roland ................ Orchestra Leader (1955-1958)
Talent Scouts TriviaArthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts premiered on television on December 6, 1948. It was inspired by the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts radio show which had already been on the air for 2 1/2 years. The two versions of the show aired simultaneously for eight years until the radio show finally ended its 14 year run on October 1, 1956. The TV series continued on for nearly another two years until its final episode on July 20, 1958.
Arthur Godfrey had urged the executives at CBS to change his radio show from being only locally broadcast to being aired nationally and they kept turning his down. Then Godfrey was assigned to cover the funeral of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on April 12, 1945. The same CBS executives were so impressed with his sincere and compassionate coverage that they gave in and put his show on the full CBS network a few months later!
Arthur Godfrey's popularity at that time is almost impossible to believe today! In addition to having the radio and TV versions of Talent Scouts running at the same time for eight years, Arthur also had another TV series titled, "Arthur Godfrey and His Friends" that was also broadcast during most of that time and he even found time in 1950 to do a short series where he taught lessons on how to play his favorite musical instrument. That series was titled, "Arthur Godfrey and his Ukulele". The Ukulele was Arthur Godfrey's trademark.
The radio version of Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts was on the air for a whopping three hours! The television series began with a length of one hour and then later expanded to 1 1/2 hours.
Art Carney (who played the dim-witted Ed Norton on "The Honeymooners") was one of the producers of Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. It was the only series that he would ever produce.
Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts reached the #1 television series in the 1951-1952 season and it maintained a respectable position in the ratings until the 1954-1955 season when the show's popular bandleader, "Archie Bleyer" left the series. The ratings did come back up for a season and a half or so after that but it was only temporary. Audiences eventually were becoming bored with variety series and were switching channels to watch Westerns, Crime series, and comedies. When, in 1957, the series fell out of the top 30 Nielsen ratings, it resulted in the series being canceled.
Among the contestants on the show were: Tony Bennett, Pat Boone, Lenny Bruce, Roy Clark ("Hee Haw"), Patsy Cline, Rosemary Clooney ("The Rosemary Clooney Show), Wally Cox ("The Adventures of Hiram Holliday"), Vic Damone, Eddie Fisher, Connie Francis, Don Knotts ("The Andy Griffith Show"), Steve Lawrence, The McGuire Sisters, Leslie Uggams, and Jonathan Winters ("Davis Rules"). As you can see, the talent scouts got it right many times, but when it came to the more untraditional acts, they often "missed the boat". Both Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley auditioned for the show and were turned down!
Arthur Godfrey's nickname was "The Ol' Redhead". As previously mentioned, his trademark was his Ukulele. His theme song was, "Seems Like Old Times".
Episodes List With Original Air DatesNOTE: We have only been able to find information about contestant names and air dates for a very few episodes of this series.
First Episode (Contestants Unknown) (12/6/1948)
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