The Big Show - Single Episodes

(4.5 stars; 4 reviews)


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 (21-Jul-2012).

From the Old Time Radio Researcher's Group. See "Note" Section below for more information on the OTRR.

This recording is part of the Old Time Radio collection.




(4 stars)

Be prepared for a vaudeville-variety format and some kind-of silly interstitial banter between guests. Beyond that this is a great representation of the biggest talents from this era. I do enjoy it and save it for a long weekend afternoon of cooking and dishwashing.

They don't make talent like this anymore...

(5 stars)

These are true classics--great talent, great writing, it's hard to ask for more. It's just unfortunate that so many episodes seem to be missing. Thank you, NBC, for throwing away your history...

Great series but skip the last available show

(4 stars)

Cleopatra" by Vivien Leigh and then-husband Laurence Olivier. The 4/1/51 episode has great repartee between TB and Ethel Barrymore. This is a must for theater buffs.

The Big Show

(5 stars)

Listening to the greats of yesteryear is a lesson in true talent.