A Piece of TV History Goes Up for Auction: Overlooked Show Featured Performances by Many of the Greats, Including Count Basie, Steve Allen, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Bob Newhart and Lena Horne … and of Course, Judy

Dec 21, 2012  •  Post A Comment

A sizable chunk of television history is going up for auction, with the rights to a largely forgotten — but memorable — show being put up for sale. CNN reports that the rights to “The Judy Garland Show” are on the auction block.

The variety series, which cost CBS $24 million to put on the air back in 1963, has a starting bid of $1 million in the online auction being conducted by The Royalty Exchange. The bidding is set to end Sunday afternoon, the piece reports.

The show is being sold by music producer Darryl Payne, who bought the rights in 1998 from Garland’s former husband, Sam Luft.

"This would be a great Christmas gift for somebody," said Payne. “You get Judy Garland. She’s singing, she’s dancing. You get all the biggest stars of that era."

The report notes: “Then-rising star Barbra Streisand sang a memorable duet with Garland in one episode, before the singer filmed ‘Funny Girl,’ her breakout movie. The appearance earned Streisand her first Emmy nomination.”

“Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli, then 17, was a guest,” the report adds, “along with many other entertainment legends: Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Peggy Lee, Count Basie, Mickey Rooney, Ethel Merman, Bob Newhart, Donald O’Connor, Steve Allen, Jane Powell, Peter Lawford, Vic Damone and Jack Jones.”

The series was canceled in March 1964, and the material has generally not been aired since.

“The buyer can sell DVDs or rebroadcast in the United States the 26 star-filled episodes hosted by Garland for a season on CBS starting in 1963,” the report notes. “The new owner could also license the series for streaming online or downloading, Payne said.”

Five years after the show went off the air, its star, Garland, died of a drug overdose at age 47.

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