Posted ByGerry O. on March 30, 2003 at 17:38:04:
I may be wrong, but I believe that during the 1950's, Jack Benny's TV series was the only one to alternate between live and filmed episodes within the same season.
Some TV series started out one way and then made a permanent change to another way...For instance, the first couple of TV seasons of "Burns & Allen" were performed live on a stage with a studio audience, but in 1952 the series switched to doing all of the shows on film with canned laughter.
However, Jack's show switched from episode to episode. He might do two or three live shows (from CBS' Television City with studio audiences) and then the next episode would be a filmed show with a canned laugh track...then he would do one or two more live shows, then one or two filmed shows, etc.
This continued throughout the 1950's (in the 1960's I believe that all of Jack's half-hour shows were on film), and again, I think that the Benny show was the only case of two different formats (live broadcasting and filmed episodes) being alternated within a single season.
I know that one of the reasons for the filmed episodes was so Mary Livingstone and certain big-name guest stars could be featured. Mary and certain guests were deathly afraid to appear on live TV before a studio audience, and agreed to appear ONLY if the show was filmed with no studio audience present.
Has anyone else here noticed this unique characteristic of Jack's 1950's TV shows, and was there any other TV series which alternated "live" and "filmed" formats in a similar manner?