TFTP's Monochrome Monday: "The Arthur Murray Show" from DuMont (Oct. 22, 1950)
Posted to Internet Archive by user 'zigoto'
Length - 29:26
TFTP's Monochrome Monday brings you a classic black & white TV program or clip every Monday morning to kick off the week....
Although not widely remembered today, Arthur Murray was a huge cultural presence from the 1930s through the 1950s due to his franchised chain of dance studios and then his television programs. By the end of the 1930s, Arthur Murray Studios had begun to establish a presence in most major American cities, and it's safe to say that by the time his TV program started in 1950, around the time of the above episode, that "Arthur Murray" had become synonymous with dance instruction in the U.S.
Murray's TV show aired for a decade between 1950 and 1960, at different times on all four networks and at different lengths ranging from 15 minutes to 60 minutes. For almost all of its run the show was called "The Arthur Murray Party", except for the year-and-a-half that it was on the DuMont network, when it was simply called "The Arthur Murray Show".
In the clip above, which is the second half of an hour-long episode from October of 1950, from during the show's DuMont run, we see host Kathryn Murray, Arthur Murray's wife and business partner, vivaciously usher guests and dancing couples in and out of the spotlight. (Curiously, Arthur Murray himself does not appear in this half-episode; it's not clear whether or not he appeared regularly.) Actors Reginald Gardiner and Beatrice Lillie guest star on this episode and both appear in comedy bits (Lillie alongside a very young Carl Reiner).
The entire program comes off more or less like an infomercial for Arthur Murray Dance Studios, as the chain of studios and the lessons available therein is mentioned several times throughout. This includes one segment with a dancing couple who had had just two Arthur Murray Studio dance lessons!