Five Star Jubilee was an American television country music variety show carried by NBC during the summer of 1961. The live program, a spin-off of ABC-TV’s Jubilee USA, was the first network color television series to originate outside New York City or Hollywood.48small
From March 17 to May 5, the weekly program aired on Fridays from 8-8:30 p.m. Eastern Time, but moved to 8:30-9 p.m. from May 12 to September 22. The program featured five rotating hosts: Snooky Lanson (first show March 17), Tex Ritter (March 24), Rex Allen (March 31), Jimmy Wakely (April 7) and Carl Smith (April 14). All five appeared on the May 12 show, which was the first in color.
Produced from the Landers Theatre in Springfield, Missouri, the program was similar to Jubilee USA and featured some of the same performers, including the Jubilaires, the Promenaders, Johnny Gimble, Speedy Haworth and Slim Wilson’s Jubilee Band. Barbara Mandrell (who had toured with Red Foley and a Jubilee USA personal appearance unit) made her network debut on the program at age 12. The final program was hosted by Foley, who also appeared on the July 7 show. The sponsor was Massey Ferguson.
- Roy Acuff and the Smoky Mountain Boys
- Jeanne and Janie Black
- Margie Bowes
- Uncle Cyp and Aunt Sap Brasfield
- Cecil Brower and John Gimble
- Martha Carson
- June Carter
- The Carter Family
- Jimmy Dean
- Jimmy Driftwood
- Ralph Emery
- Flatt and Scruggs
- The Foggy River Boys
- Red Foley
Five Star Jubilee debuted March 17, 1961 in black-and-white, but switched to color on May 12. The first two color programs (May 12 and 19) were videotaped beginning at 1:30 a.m. local time Friday (for playback that evening) after nearby KTTS-AM signed off at 1:00 a.m., because of unforeseen RF interference from its transmitter with the color TV picture. Despite the hour, both shows had audiences. NBC resolved the problem for the May 26 program, which was the first color show carried live. The series was aired by 150 NBC affiliates, although not by WNBC-TV in New York.
The program was produced from the Landers Theatre with KYTV-TV’s assistance using two new NBC color moble unites (built for World Series coverage) and three RCA TK-41 cameras. Because it was the first color TV series outside New York City or Hollywood, scenic designer Andy Miller created the first color TV stage sets outside those two cities. The director was Fred Rains (floor director for Jubilee USA) and the consulting producer was the Jubilee’s Bryan Bisney.
- Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (1992), The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows, Ballentine Books, ISBN 0-345-37792-3.
- Byrne, Bridget “Barbara Mandrell: Just a Mom at ‘Heart’” (January 19, 2000), BPI Entertainment News Wire
- Hocklander, Sony “Celebrating 100 Years” (August 10, 2008), Springfield News-Leader, “Life,” p. 1C
- “Interference Disrupts 5-Star Jubilee Plans” (May 12, 1961), Springfield Leader-Press
- “‘Jubilee’ Turning to Color TV” (April 30, 1961), Springfield Leader-Press
- Terry, Dickson “The Show that Put a Town on the Map” (August 6, 1961), TV Guide, p. 8
- Weekly program listings (1961), TV Guide, Vol. 9, March-September
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