The Oscar Levant Show (1958-60)

Oscar and June Levant

Levant was a pianist, actor, comedian, writer and composer. He became addicted to prescription drugs and spent time in several mental hospitals. This show was live with a studio audience until an offhand remark about Marilyn Monroe got it cancelled. It was renewed later but was on tape. You never knew what he would say next and he didn’t seem to care.

This may be the only suviving episode and some of it is missing. His guest is Fred Astaire. The set was really small. Astaire was on a stool. Oscar was at the piano and wife June was standing next to him. Levant acted disorganized and seemed to lose his train of thought.

The show started with a piano solo from Oscar and then Asatire came out. Oscar said Ethel Barrymoore requested he play some Bach so he played a little bit……Fred sang “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.”…Then a strange commercial for Standard Car Leasing…Fred sings “Lady Be Good.”

At Oscar’s urging, Fred played a jazzy tune on the piano. Then Oscar asked him to sing “Our Love Is Here To Stay” as Producer Samuel Goldwyn would do it and Fred obliged…..The three discussed the Fred and Ginger movies. Fred said his favorite was “Top Hat.”….Irving Berlin’s birthday was coming up soon and the three discussed Berlin and his family. Fred sang “Change Partners.” The rest of the show is lost.

Levant was a good ad libber and it’s too bad more episodes aren’t around.

 

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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