The Big Show

1950s US variety show hosted by Tallulah Bankhead
from archive.org

In 1950, the advent of television was not only causing concern in the film industry but radio was beginning to feel the effect as well. In short, audiences were dwindling. To combat the problem, NBC spent lots of money to produce The Big Show, a 90 minute radio program which would feature famous guests performing skits, songs, and comedic routines.

Tallulah Bankhead was asked to host the show. She had guested in various radio programs in the past but had never done anything on an ongoing basis before. She was nervous and didn't really know what to expect or what her duty actually was so she approached the show with guarded anticipation.

The Big Show premiered on November 5, 1950 and played every Sunday night for the next three years. It was a rousing success and Tallulah was a great success. The guest list varied but included such names as Ethel Merman, Danny Thomas, Fanny Brice, Phil Silvers, Bob Hope, Clifton Webb, Gloria Swanson, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Holliday, Ethel Barrymore, Jimmy Durante, Milton Berle, Josephine Baker, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, George Sanders, Yul Brynner, Shirley Booth, Peggy Lee, Rosalind Russell and Merv Griffin.

NOTE: Updated Release! Fixed known issues with MP3 files freezing on Episodes 7 and 24, and other minor miscellaneous changes (12-Jul-2012).

  1. Fred Allen, Jimmy Durante (20.2Mb)
  2. Groucho Marx, Fanny Brice (20.4Mb)
  3. Eddie Cantor, Mindy Carson (19.9Mb)
  4. Fred Allen, Ed Wynn, Jack Carson (20.2Mb)
  5. Fred Allen, Phil Silvers (20.5Mb)
  6. Clifton Webb, Jimmy Durante (20.2Mb)
  7. Bob Hope, Phil Harris (20.2Mb)
  8. Jimmy Durante, Robert Merrill (20.1Mb)
  9. Vivian Blaine, Jose Ferrer (20Mb)
  10. Fred Allen, Danny Thomas (20.2Mb)
  11. Louis Calhern, Jack Carter (19.6Mb)
  12. Fred Allen, Eddie Cantor (19.7Mb)
  13. Ray Bolger, Gary Cooper (19.7Mb)
  14. Fred Allen, Robert Cummings (19.7Mb)
  15. Groucho Marx, Judy Garland (20.3Mb)
  16. Fred Allen, Jack Carson (19.7Mb)
  17. Jack Haley, Paul Kelly (20.1Mb)
  18. Fred Allen, Clive Brook (20.2Mb)
  19. Bob Burns, Jimmy Durante (19.8Mb)
  20. Fred Allen, Phil Baker (20.4Mb)
  21. Judy Holliday, Carmen Miranda (20.1Mb)
  22. Groucho Marx, Bob Hope (20.5Mb)
  23. Fred Allen, Vivian Blaine (23.7Mb)
  24. Eddie Cantor, Jack Carson (19.9Mb)
  25. Fred Allen, Portland Hoffa (20Mb)
  26. Jimmy Durante, Milton Berle (20.1Mb)
  27. Fred Allen, Georgie Jessell (20.1Mb)
  28. George Sanders, Bea Lillie (13.2Mb)
  29. Jimmy Durante, Jack Carson (7Mb)
  30. Richard Eatham, Joe Frisco (19.8Mb)

MP3 files hosted by archive.org.