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SHOWCASE

A CFN Production

 

 

1963-1964

"Showcase" was an excellent variety show which was developed, filmed and produced by Jack Mulvain, Lee Bayley and Ralph Murphine beginning about 1963. Bill Fleming and Jack Mulvain came up with the idea of doing a "Tonight Show" type of program. The idea was approved and they set about putting it together. Capt. Kingsbury used some of his influence to work a deal with the Continental Hotel for their international talent to perform on "Showcase".  The show featured international talent from the Hotel Continental plus some local talent. 

It was hosted by Lee Bayley, whose impressive list of accomplishments propelled him to the top of the broadcast industry, culminating as an impressive executive in the major market stations such as Los Angeles, Disney and his own company. 

Jack Mulvain remembers Lee Bayley's "Ed MacMahon" sidekick as Chris Kelley, who was later, a Pentagon Correspondent for CBS. Lee Bayley remembers his sidekick as Joe Cioken... we are working on solving this puzzle.

Wayne Cummins also did a hilarious weekly segment, "Ronnie Redbird, the Cherokee weatherman".

Showcase also had a band made up of members of the U.S. Army Band which were some top notch musicians. The trumpet player played with Billy May. The sax and clarinet player, Perry Robinson, studied under famed jazz clarinetist Jimmy Giufre and later did an album with Dave Brubeck. 

The opening intro for the program began with a fast speed view of Lee Bayley somewhere in the canal zone which followed him all the way to the studio and up to the desk where the theme song started. The filming of that intro took an entire day for Ralph Murphine to film & follow Lee Bayley. Murphine did the editing to create the final version of that intro. 

Their talent search also came up with some local performers. One of the regulars was a vocalist who sang like Billy Eckstine. Jack went to  the CFN art director, Carlos Pineda, who was brilliant and told him what they wanted to do. Carlos designed and built the perfect set.  CFN then advertised for a studio audience which became a part of the show. 

Sometimes if they came up short on material they improvised. Perry Robinson, who played clarinet in the band was also a master of "sleight of hand." So he would occasionally perform some of his magic on the show.

One week they were a little short so Jack Mulvain suggested he should perform his fire eating act. When he was a boy his father used to bring home all types of characters. One was a circus performer and he taught Jack how to eat fire. Well, Capt. Kingsbury heard about this and called Jack into his office. "Can  you really eat fire?" he asked.

"Yea", Jack replied.

He said "I'd like to see that."

"OK, let me get my torches and fuel" Jack replied.. He then went to fetch his "tools". Well, he lit the first torch and proceeded to swallow the flame and blow a flame from his mouth to light a second torch. When he had finished his performance Jack saw the Captain looking at the ceiling of his pristine white office. Jack looked up to see what had drawn his attention to the ceiling and to his horror the ceiling was black with smoke from the torch. He had to have the office repainted but Jack went on and did his act on the show.

1964-1966

With the departure of Lee Bayley, Jack Mulvain & Ralph Murphine, a new group of talent moved into the Showcase variety slot.

If anyone has any photos or stories, we would love to have copies of them.

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Chris Kelley

71st Army Band

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Jack Mulvain & Joe Cioken (Navajo Joe)

 

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