Ozark Jubilee [TV Series] (1955)

Genres - Music  |   Sub-Genres - Variety Show [TV], Vocal Music  |   Countries - USA  |  
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This country and western musical variety show ran live from Springfield, Missouri, and lasted from January 1955 through September 1960. Aired by ABC and hosted by Grand Old Opry stalwart Red Foley, it served as an unofficial precursor to Hee-Haw by blending country-flavored music and comedy acts. Stars who appeared on the program included Pete Stamper, Porter Wagoner, Webb Pierce, and The Foggy River Boys vocal quartet, though the show's biggest discovery arrived in March 1956, in the form of a preternaturally gifted 11-year-old vocalist named Brenda Lee. It may intrigue country and western fans to know that the series ended not because of low ratings, but because the federal government indicted Foley for tax fraud and forced him to stand trial - a well-publicized development that dramatically cut against the grain of Foley's wholesome image. The network never formally admitted this, however, and instead claimed that it was cancelling the program because it had picked up the Gillette prize fights and wanted to air them on Saturday nights in Jubilee's stead. The program generally lasted an hour, though producers expanded it to 90 minutes from July 1955 through September 1956, and temporarily reduced it to half an hour from June through September of 1957.