Ken Murray

The Ken Murray
Budweiser Show

CBS / 1950 - 1953

In early days, when a TV series wasn't sponsored by cigarettes, it was often sponsored by booze or beer.

Television in 1950 was still radio's sleazy step-child, viewed by the mainstream media the way the internet is viewed today. For instance, the movie studios wouldn't allow a television to be seen anywhere in their films unless it was key to the plot. And it almost never was.

Ken Murray starred in the very first commercial TV broadcast in 1930. He was also well-known as the guy with the Hollywood Home Movies, a popular film feature that displayed the biggest movie stars in their natural habitat. He seemed to be friends with everyone in old Hollywood.

In 1950, CBS gave Ken Murray a primetime Saturday night variety show - but production values being what they were at the time, the whole thing was a slapdash affair.

The 'Ken Murray Budweiser Show' was like an early version of 'The Man Show.' This was hardly highbrow entertainment, Darla Hood (the babe from the Our Gang comedies all grown up), the Glamourlovelies (more eye candy) and Joe Besser (The Three Stooges) were regulars during the first season.

In this episode, one of the few preserved from the three-year run, Ken and his sidekick are seen knocking back a couple of brewskis to start off the telecast. Only, this being 1950, instead of talking about women's breasts, they're discussing coffee table nick-nacks and where to buy them. Later, it's on to a rousing salute to the U.S. Air Force, as World War Two was still fresh in everyone's mind.

To end the Armed Forces tribute, Murray welcomed Colonel Paul Tibbets, who piloted the Enola Gay, the airplane that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. Now that was a brave stunt!

The next time you're watching 'Jackass' or some sports stunt show, and you see a guy jump a car or set himself on fire or whatever, think about Col. Paul Tibbetts - who took off in a 40's era airplane, flew it over the ocean with the biggest bomb ever made shoved up his ass, dropped that mega-bomb on target and - here's the best part - made it back alive! And ended a World War! Oh, and now you get a day off every year because of it.

In the clip, Murray seems to lose control of the show toward the end and wants to hold on to Col. Tibbets for dear life. This time it's Ken Murray who's doing the bombing.

Cue the Clydesdales!

UPDATE: After piloting his B-29 on the first tactical nuclear strike in history, Tibbets went on to a distinguished career and is today a retired General. Ken Murray went on to be a guest on just about every variety and talk show in the 50s and 60s (once again with his Hollywood Home Movies) in addition to small acting roles on sitcoms. He died in 1988.

 

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The Fabulous Forties and Fifties

 

Thanks to Jeff Vilencia
for the rare video!

 

 

 

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