Sunday, January 18, 2009

Things Go Better With Eddie Fisher







In the early 1950's, before Bill Haley and Elvis Presley shook up the pop music scene, crooners still ruled the airwaves.   Parents had Frank Sinatra , Der Bingle (Crosby), and Perry Como . . . but for teenagers, the hot singer of the early 1950's was Eddie Fisher.


Born in 1928,  Eddie would be `discovered' by the irrepressible Eddie Cantor, singing at at Borscht Belt resort called Grossinger's, in 1949.  Cantor would be instrumental in helping the 20 year-old's career along.


Fisher's career was interrupted, however, by military service.  In 1951 he was drafted, and was forced to put his career on hold for a couple of years.    Here is Eddie Cantor's Farewell to Fisher on the Colgate Comedy Hour.



Fisher would continue to sing, however.  After basic training, he spent a year in Korea, then became the official soloist for the United States Army Band and a member in the United States Army Band Chorus.


After his discharge 1953, Fisher was tagged by NBC to host his own show, called  Coke Time with Eddie Fisher.   The show ran 15 minutes (not unusual in the 1950's) and aired on Wednesday and Friday nights after NBC's nightly news (also a 15 minute show).


Amazingly, TV network news shows would not go to the 30 minute format until the early 1960's.


Many of Eddie's shows, which ran until 1957, featured guest stars. But he would occasionally be the only performer.  The house band was Axel Stordahl and His Orchestra, who is probably best remembered for his work with Sinatra in the 1940's and early 1950's.


Coca Cola was the wholesome sponsor of the show, and was featured prominently throughout the show.


Before Rock & Roll derailed his career, Fisher would have seventeen songs in the Top 10 on the music charts, and thirty-five top forty singles.  


By the early 1950's, demand for Fisher's style of singing has waned, but not gone away.  Sinatra, Jerry Vale, Andy Williams, and a handful of others continued to work. 


A high profile divorce from first wife Debbie Reynolds in 1959, followed by his marriage to Elizabeth Taylor (1959-64) made Fisher a constant feature of the movie magazines and scandal sheets, but did little to encourage record labels to hire him. 


RCA dropped him in 1960.   After that he recorded for his own label (Ramrod) and for DOT records.  RCA would release 3 albums of his work in the mid-to-late 1960's.


Fisher would have a another bona fide hit in 1965 with Sunrise, Sunset, and a moderately successful album the following year called Games that Lovers Play


But after that, his days as a chart topper were over.  


We've 3 episodes of Coke Time With Eddie Fisher available.  Perhaps more will become available with time.



Coke Time with Eddie Fisher (Classic TV)
An episode of the classic 50's musical TV series "Coke Time with Eddie Fisher", complete with original commercials. The show ran from 1953 to 1957 and features Eddie Fisher singing popular hits of the day. Info from Wikipedia: Coke Time with Eddie Fisher was a musical variety television series starring singer Eddie Fisher which was broadcast by NBC on Wednesday nights in early prime time from 1953 to 1957...

Episode of the Classic 50's TV series "Coke Time"
(This episode features Diahann Carroll). And yes, It also features commercials for Coca-Cola! (As with most live TV shows of the 50's, The copyright was not renewed).

'Coke Time' from 1955 (Classic TV)
Complete Episode of "Coke Time" from 1955, with a winter theme. Originally aired 20 January 1955.




A few more clips from Fisher's heyday are available on Youtube, including:



You Gotta Have  Heart.




Ain't She Sweet



Almost Like Being In Love


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