Around the time that Terry Teachout was watching Victor Borge on an old What’s My Line? episode (read TT’s reminiscence here ), I was perusing Luther Henderson’s papers and came across…Victor Borge.
One Wednesday evening, February 19, 1958 at 9 PM to be exact, CBS-TV broadcast “Victor Borge’s Comedy and Music.” This one-hour show was “Presented by the Big Bold Pontiac and your authorized Pontiac Dealer.” I know this because among Luther’s papers was a program, and I am guessing that there was a live TV audience. (Why else would there be a program for a television show?)
The opening number was described as follows:
Liechtensteiner Polka . . . . . . . VICTOR BORGE and the Orchestra
Mr. Popp’s arrangement of Mr. Borge’s conception of SHAMPOO MUSIC for the 16-piece orchestra under the baton of LUTHER HENDERSON, JR., Conductor and Arranger for the Polly Bergen TV show, Lena Horne, Duke Ellington, Andre Kostelanetz, and other top names in American music.
Pontiac got their monies worth as the program included several “commercial” numbers including:
STILL ANOTHER COMMERCIAL . . . . . starring MILTON CROSS narrator, and VICTOR BORGE
Mr. Borge performs variations on the themes of Pontiac greatness: style, performance and handling…and reaches an impressive conclusion. Narrated by Milton Cross.
There are a number of old television programs I’d like to view as part of my research for “Seeking Harmony: The Life and Music of Luther Henderson.” Thanks to the Museum of Television & Radio , I should be able to see this show, the Polly Bergen show, and a number of other programs for which Luther composed, arranged, and/or conducted music. Bea Arthur tells me that Luther even made an on-camera appearance in an episode of Maude, and I’m really looking forward to seeing that!