Ford Star Jubilee

Ford Star Jubilee is an American anthology series that aired once a month on Saturday nights on CBS at 9:00 P.M., E.S.T. from the fall of 1955 to the fall of 1956 (With a summer hiatus). The series was approximately 90 minutes long, broadcast in black-and-white and color, and was typically telecast live. Ford Star Jubilee was sponsored by the Ford Motor Company.

For other TV series sponsored by Ford Motor Company, see Ford Television Theatre, Ford Startime, Ford Festival, and The Ford Show.
Ford Star Jubilee
Judy Garland rehearsing for the program's premiere, September 24, 1955.
Written byMaxwell Anderson
Herbert Baker
Jim Bishop
Robert Buckner
Carroll Carroll
Noël Coward
Paul Gregory
Ben Hecht
John Hersey
Jean Holloway
Charles MacArthur
John Cherry Monks, Jr.
Denis Sanders
Terry Sanders
Franklin J. Schaffner
John Tackaberry
Herman Wouk
Directed bySeymour Berns
Noël Coward
Frederick de Cordova
Paul Harrison
Delbert Mann
James Neilson
Ralph Nelson
Paul Nickell
Franklin J. Schaffner
Jerome Shaw
Composer(s)Frank Denning
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes12
Executive producer(s)Richard Lewine
Producer(s)Robert Alton
Paul Gregory
Lance Hamilton
Sidney Luft
Ken Murray
Jack Rayal
Charles Russell
Arthur Schwartz
Running time90 mins. (approx)
Original networkCBS
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 24, 1955 (1955-09-24) 
November 3, 1956 (1956-11-03)


Ford Star Jubilee routinely featured major stars, such as Judy Garland, Betty Grable, Orson Welles, Julie Andrews (at the time that she was preparing for her starring role in My Fair Lady on Broadway), Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Lillian Gish, Charles Laughton, Jack Lemmon, Raymond Massey, Lauren Bacall, Claudette Colbert, Noël Coward, Nat 'King' Cole, Mary Martin, Eddie Fisher, Ella Fitzgerald, Red Skelton and Debbie Reynolds.

Instead of the usual live performance staged especially for Ford Star Jubilee, the final episode on November 3, 1956 was a special, two-hour presentation of the 1939 MGM theatrical Technicolor film The Wizard of Oz, hosted by Bert Lahr, 10-year-old Liza Minnelli and young Oz expert Justin Schiller. This marked the first time that the film had ever been shown on television, and the only time that one of the film's actual actors (Lahr) as well as one of the children of the film's star (Judy Garland) hosted it. The broadcast was a ratings smash with a Nielsen rating of 33.9 and an audience share of 53%.[1]

Another rare instance of Ford Star Jubilee presenting a filmed, rather than live, program was their 1956 musical version of Maxwell Anderson's High Tor, starring Bing Crosby and Julie Andrews. Music was by Arthur Schwartz, composer of such scores as those for The Band Wagon and Revenge with Music. Crosby, according to sources, had insisted the production be filmed rather than presented live, because he did not feel comfortable acting in a live television musical play.[2] Although it was filmed in color, the musical version of High Tor has never been released on VHS or DVD.


Episode #Episode titleOriginal airdate
1"The Judy Garland Special"September 24, 1955
2"Together With Music"October 22, 1955
3"The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial"November 19, 1955
4"I Hear America Singing"December 17, 1955
5"Blithe Spirit"January 14, 1956
6"The Day Lincoln Was Shot"February 11, 1956
7"High Tor"March 10, 1956
8"Twentieth Century"April 7, 1956
9"This Happy Breed"May 5, 1956
10"A Bell For Adano"June 2, 1956
11"You're the Top"October 6, 1956
12The Wizard of OzNovember 3, 1956

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1956Primetime Emmy AwardNominatedBest Variety Series
Best Single Program of the Year
Best Musical ContributionMary Martin and Noël Coward (For the song "Camarata" in the episode "Together with Music")
Best Actor - Single PerformanceBarry Sullivan (For the role of Defense Attorney Greenwald in "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial" episode)
WonBest Television AdaptationPaul Gregory and Franklin J. Schaffner (For "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial" episode)
Best Director - Live SeriesFranklin J. Schaffner (For "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial" episode)
Best Actor - Single PerformanceLloyd Nolan (For the role of Capt. Queeg in "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial" episode)


  1. "Hit Movies on U.S. TV Since 1961". Variety. January 24, 1990. p. 160.
  2. Other reasons it was filmed: "High Tor will not be telecast live, the usual form for a large-scale show. It will be produced as a color film, which will permit later theatrical exhibition overseas and this will bring additional revenue to its originators." Oscar Godbout, "Hollywood Notes", The New York Times, September 4, 1955, p. X9. It was actually shot in black and white. "Christmas Can Stay — Radio and TV Are for It", The Washington Post, December 11, 1955, p. J3.
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