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The Gisele MacKenzie Show, starring Canadianmarker-born singer Gisele MacKenzie, is a 25-episode half-hour variety program which aired live on NBC from September 28, 1957, to March 29, 1958. The Curfew Kids appeared on the program as semi-regulars. MacKenzie had been a regular on the earlier NBC musical series Your Hit Parade from 1953-1957. She had also appeared on radio with Bob Crosby, brother of Bing Crosby, and had toured with Jack Benny and guest starred on The Jack Benny Program. Benny in fact had recommended her to the producers of Your Hit Parade.

With Reagan, Linkletter, Crosby, and Benny

Her series featured numerous well-known guest stars, including Ronald Reagan, who appeared in the third episode, which aired on October 12, 1957. Reagan and MacKenzie perform duets of "I've Got a Crush on You" and "You're the Top". She also presents solos of “Goody-Goody" and "Fascination".

In the premiere episode, Art Linkletter joins MacKenzie in a duet of "Paper Moon". He also presents a “This Is Your Life” segment on MacKenzie, who did the solos "Merci Beaucoup", "I Love Paris", and "Tammy". Dennis Day, a recurring actor on The Jack Benny Program, guest starred in the second episode, as the two perform a duet of "Blue Suede Shoes".

Bob Crosby appears in the fourth episode as he and MacKenzie perform "Singing the Blues". MacKenzie also does a solo of "Tip Toe Through the Tulips". In the fifth episode, MacKenzie and Jack Benny perform on the violin and reminisce over the days that Benny’s troupe toured Londonmarker and Benny and MacKenzie working together in Las Vegasmarker, Nevadamarker. MacKenzie sings "Chances Are", a Johnny Mathis hit. MacKenzie appeared seven times on The Jack Benny Program between 1953 and 1964. Benny and Charles Isaacs were co-executive producers of The Giselle MacKenzie Show.

Guests Fisher, Martin, and Karloff

Eddie Fisher joined MacKenzie in a rendition of "Mutual Admiration Society" and “You Do Something to Me”. Dean Martin and George Raft appeared together with MacKenzie. She and Martin perform "Walking My Baby Back Home", a continuation of the preceding NBC program that evening, Club Oasis. Raft teams with MacKenzie and her Curfew Kids for a dance number "Top Hat". The finale has George Raft and Gisele doing the tango to "Orchids in the Moonlight".

In still another episode, Boris Karloff, of monster films, and Johnny Desmond appear with McKenzie. Karloff sings "Those Were the Good Old Days" from Damn Yankees, and MacKenzie solos “Give Me the Simple Life". Desmond croons "Keep Me In Mind". The finale includes the trio in “The Girl Friend of the Whirling Dervish". Margaret Truman Daniel (1924-2008) appears too, having joined MacKenzie and the Curfew Kids in the song and dance "The Huckle Buck". MacKenzie solos with "Them There Eyes". She and Truman perform the duet of "I Only Have Eyes For You" and play the piano together in a version of "Sisters".

Other guest stars

Anna Maria Alberghetti, another program guest, performs "I’ve Got a Crush on You", and MacKenzie solos with "Till" and "Never Go Away". In another episode, Cesar Romero and MacKenzie dance the mambo to “Who’s Got the Pain”. MacKenzie dances with the Curfew Kids to "The Lord Loves a Laughing Man" and performs a Christmas song, "Too Fat For the Chimney".

The Christmas program on December 21, 1957, features Edgar Bergen as the guest. MacKenzie and the Curfew Kids, perform a song-and-dance version of "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers". She also performs "The Christmas Waltz", "Frosty the Snowman", and a Frenchmarker version of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer".

Edie Adams and MacKenzie perform a duet of "It's So Nice to Have a Man Around the House" and "It's Delightful to be Married". The Curfew Kids join MacKenzie for "Tip Toe Through the Tulips".

Other MacKenzie guests include Molly Bee, Robert Clary, George DeWitt (twice), Eddie Foy, Jr., Stubby Kaye, Snooky Lanson, Johnny Mercer, George Montgomery, Jimmie Rodgers, and folk singer Randy Sparks (twice),

In the series finale, the guests are Miyoshi Umeki and NBC cameraman Lee Mossman, both in second appearances. Mossman was actually discovered as a singer by MacKenzie. Umekii performs "How Deep Is the Ocean", and MacKenzie sings numbers from The King and I. When the series ended, MacKenzie began starring in San Franciscomarker, Californiamarker, in a stage version of The King and I.

The Giselle MacKenzie Show aired at 9:30 p.m. Eastern on Saturdays opposite the first season of Richard Boone's western series Have Gun - Will Travel on CBS and the second-half of The Lawrence Welk Show (aka Lawrence Welk's Dodge Dancing Party) on ABC. Because of the popularity of those shows, Giselle lacked enough viewers to be renewed for an entire 39 week season, and never headlined another weekly variety show.

References

  1. Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, 1997, appendix



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