Season 1
1950-51

The NBC Comedy Hour
1956

With half a season left to fill following the demise of The Colgate Comedy Hour, NBC quickly cobbled something together. Demonstrating an originality unparalleled in the history of television, they decided to call it The NBC Comedy Hour. The stated intent was to provide "top comedy favorites and rising young comic discoveries, in sketches, monologues, black-outs, gags, songs and dances...60 fast, funny minutes featuring the new, the original, the unexpected."

Despite an impressive cast, the program just wasn't very funny. TV Guide found it "a weak and woebegone show." Variety stated bluntly, "A more poorly conceived, routined and paced outing would be difficult to imagine."

Baseball star Leo Durocher, hired several month earlier as an NBC vice president (presumably in a consulting role), was inexplicably assigned to host the first three episodes. After he and successor Gale Storm failed to make a dent in the ratings, NBC gave up, reverting to the "different star each week" format, and allowed the program to die quietly. Lasting barely five months, The NBC Comedy Hour was replaced by The Steve Allen Show on June 24, 1956.

Series
#
Season
#
Airdate
Host & Guests
001
1-01
1/8/1956

Host: Leo Durocher
Guests: Bob and Ray, Pat Carroll, William Frawley, Paul Gilbert, Ming and Ling, Jonathan Winters, Henny Youngman, George Liberace, Ina Ray Hutton, Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra
Announcer: Hy Averback
Note: Variety warned, "If NBC has serious ambitions in translating Sunday 8 to 9 into a major competitive showcase, it's inconceivable that the network could have actually blueprinted this Comedy Hour the way it played. Even summer replacement stanzas in such a formidable 'cream of the evening' slotting have made greater pertentions toward qualitative programming."

002
1-02
1/15/1956
Host: Leo Durocher
Guests: Sue Carson, Wally Cox, Allen Funt, Paul Gilbert, Ernie Kovacs, Edith Adams, Irene Ryan, Jonathan Winters, Henny Youngman, The Gentlemaniacs, Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra; cameo by Willie Mays
Announcer: Hy Averback
003
1-03
1/22/1956
Host: Leo Durocher
Guests: Wally Cox, The Gentlemaniacs, Paul Gilbert, Eddie Mayehoff, Jonathan Winters, Faye De Witt
Note: TV Guide lists Ernie Kovacs as a guest, but The New York Times doesn't.
1/29/1956
Pre-empted by "Inside Beverly Hills"
004
1-04
2/5/1956
Host: Gale Storm
Guests: Jonathan Winters, Georgie Kaye, Shecky Greene, Peter Donald, Hans Conried, Eddie Bracken, Frank Faylen, Beatrice Kaye, Jack Albertson
Announcer: Hy Averback
Note: Gale, in her first hosting turn, sings "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" and "Teenage Prayer."
005
1-05
2/12/1956
Guests: Jonathan Winters, Pat Sheehan, Peter Donald, Bert Wheeler, Stan Freberg, Connie Russell, Joey Carter, Tom D'Andrea
006
1-06
2/19/1956
Host: Gale Storm
Guests: Ben Blue, Peter Donald, Jonathan Winters, Tom D'Andrea, Larry Blake
Note: TV Guide lists Peter Donald as the host, but The New York Times says its Gale Storm.
2/26/1956
Pre-empted by "Panorama" with Imogene Coca
007
1-07
3/4/1956

Host: Gale Storm
Guests: Ben Blue, Hans Conried, Stan Freberg, Tom D'Andrea and Larry Blake, Bill Thompson, Jonathan Winters, Jack Albertson, James Flavin, Julie Oshins, Bill Elliot, Al Goodman and his Orchestra
Announcer: Hy Averback

Note: This episode includes a clip from You Bet Your Life featuring Groucho Marx and Gonzalez Gonzalez. Bert Lahr was scheduled as a guest but apparently postponed his appearance until the following week.

008
1-08
3/11/1956
Host: Gale Storm
Guests: Bert Lahr, David Burns, Stan Freberg, Jonathan Winters, The Three Slate Brothers
009
1-09
3/18/1956
Host: Gale Storm
Guests: Joey Carter, Jonathan Winters, Stan Freberg, Harry Mimmo
3/25/1956
Pre-empted by "Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl"
010
1-10
4/1/1956
Host: Gale Storm
Guests: Emmett Kelly, Georgie Kaye, Stan Freberg, Jonathan Winters, Bert Wheeler, Cesar Romero
011
1-11
4/8/1956
Host: Gale Storm
Guests: Kaye Ballard, Joe Frisco, Jonathan Winters
   
4/15/1956
Pre-empted by "Salute to Baseball"
012
1-12
4/22/1956
Host: Gloria De Haven
Guests: William Bendix, Jonathan Winters
013
1-13
4/29/1956
Host: Jane Froman
Guests: Jonathan Winters, Larry Storch, Pat Stanley, Cliff Arquette, Dave Willock
014
1-14
5/6/1956
Host: June Havoc
Guests: Ben Blue, Reginald Gardiner, Jonathan Winters
015
1-15
5/13/1956
Guests: Cliff Arquette, Dave Willock, Stan Freberg, Mort Sahl, Jonathan Winters, Hy Averback
5/20/1956
Pre-empted by "The Maurice Chevalier Show"
016
1-16
5/27/1956
Guests: Vivian Blaine, Ben Blue, Florence Halop, Alan Mowbray, Walter O'Keefe
017
1-17
6/3/1956
Host: Alan Young
Guests: Guy Mitchell, Gretchen Wyler, Jonathan Winters, Shecky Greene, Jan Arvan, Chuckie Bradley, Billy Curtis, Gil Frye, Paul Maxey, Sid Melton, Pat Moran, Frankie Ray, Fay Spain, Claude Stroud
Announcer: Hy Averback
018
1-18
6/10/1956
Host: Gloria De Haven
Guests: Jonathan Winters, Dennis O'Keefe, Marilyn Erskine, Don Tannen, vocalist Hank Penny
Note: The Marquis Chimps do their version of Cinderella.
6/17/1956
Pre-empted by "The Road to Hollywood" starring Bob Hope
    Replaced by The Steve Allen Show