The cast of Pioneers of Television
Dick Van Dyke, Phyllis Diller, Betty White, Florence Henderson
What is Pioneers of Television about?
This four-part documentary looks at some of the programs and stars from the early days of U.S. television. The segment on late night focuses on the vaudevillian origins of the genre and the Tonight Show, with its three early stars: Steve Allen, Jack Paar and Johnny Carson. The episode on sitcoms focuses on the contribution of several classics from the 1950s and 60s including The Honeymooners, I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show and the Dick van Dyke Show. The segment on variety shows focuses first on the Ed Sullivan Show and the hosts ability to book acts that the audience wanted to see. Others include Milton Berle's show, Sis Caesar's Your Show of Shows, Red Skelton, Arthur Godfrey and many others. In the final episode, game shows are the focus. Early game shows had their origins in radio but hit a road block during the game show scandals where it was revealed that contestants were being given the answers to questions. The genre eventually re-established itself and made stars of many of the emcees.