TelevisionWeek Executive Editor Tom Gilbert joins our roster of bloggers with this forum all about classic television, where anything from "Leave It to Beaver" to "Malcolm in the Middle" is fair game for discussion. Reunion specials, DVD releases of classic shows, vintage commercials -- anything that's ever been telecast is the hot topic here.


Timeless TV

Manie’s Many Friends

April 14, 2008 2:47 PM

Historical Curio Dept.: In 1959, NBC broadcast a 90-minute prime-time posthumous tribute to a man few outside of entertainment circles had ever heard of: Manie Sacks, a Columbia Records and later an RCA and NBC-TV executive who died of leukemia in 1958 at the age of 56.

Mounting a show like “Some of Manie’s Friends” was an unbelievable thing for a network to do even in 1959; today it would be unthinkable.

What made it possible was the star power behind the special—Manie, he of sage advice and a penchant for matching material with artist, endeared himself to a slew of popular music and other entertainment heavyweights who he had mentored, many of whom lent their star power to the occasion (and raised $200,000 for leukemia research along the way). Perry Como, Dinah Shore, Frank Sinatra, Eddie Fisher, Kay Starr, Bob Hope, Sid Caesar, Danny Thomas Rosemary Clooney, Jane Wyman and Harry James all showed up in a big way for Manie. And the money Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co. paid for its ads in the show was donated to the cause as well. (Check out the painfully long cigarette commercials!)

Ed Rothhaar of KVCR-TV’s “I Remember Television" unearthed this black-and-white copy of the show; there’s no telling if a color copy still exists. But color or not, it’s a precious gem.


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Comments (3)

Snooky Handsome:

Wow, there's a spectacular "spectacular" I don't even remember, and I thought I remembered them all. 'Don't remember Oasis cigarettes, either, though there was a tv series for a while called "Club Oasis" and it WAS a smoke-filled room. Why can't shows like this rarity -- along with such legendary specials as "The Fabulous Fifties" and "The Ford 50th Anniversary Show" -- be made available on DVD? The famous Ethel Merman & Mary Martin duet from "Ford" IS available but only that part of what was an astounding two-hour, two-network telecast. Would love to have this Manie Sacks show too. Perry Como doesn't exactly get it off to a rousing start, but Dinah Shore is great. Makes one want to see more....


There is a color clip from that special floating around YouTube .. Sinatra and Shore. Fantastic.

Jeffrey Macauley:

The color clip is available on Frank Sinatra's "Classic Duets" DVD as a "bonus." If that clip exists, I'd imagine the whole color broadcast exists on videotape, which NBC started using more extensively in 1959, including "The Dinah Shore Chevy Show."

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