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  • I saw Broadway Open House at least several times back in the day, when I was 9. Even at that age Dagmar, of the large chest, made an impression. (Faye Emerson around the same time was a TV sensation with her "plunging neckline" dresses. But I digress). The occasion for this comment is my recent viewing of some old kinescopes of the show. It is barely tolerable now, but with a little imagination I can see why it would have been popular in 1950. It was slightly racy, had a lot of (phoney?) ad-libbing, and Jerry's impish personality was perfect for a ten inch screen. I don't hold with the school of criticism that enjoys something and then puts it down years later for being old-fashioned or otherwise not up to current standards. Unfortunately, Dagmar became the star attraction and drove Lester to despair. There's a little about this in The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows.
  • When "Broadway Open House" first aired, Jerry Lester and comedian Morey Amsterdam (later a side kick on the "Dick Van Dyke Show") hosted their own versions of the show on alternate weekday nights. The version described above (with Milton Delugg and Dagmar) is the Jerry Lester version. It was the more popular of the two, probably because of Dagmar. Recall that this was the era when movies and TV never showed even husbands and wives in the same bed, and showing any cleavage on TV could bring an FCC censorship crack down.

    The program originated in New York City at 11 pm Eastern Time. In those days all television shows originated as live black and white television. Studios did not yet have a means of making electronic recordings of television shows. The only recordings were called "kinescopes," made by filming the TV screen in a manner that adjusted for difference between 24 frame per second standard camera shutter speeds and the TV camera scanning speed. I wonder whether NBC California stations showed this late night program as early as 8 pm Pacific Time?