Status of You’re in the Picture/The Jackie Gleason Show

Jackie Gleason’s infamous game show flop You’re in the Picture premiered on CBS on Friday, January 20th, 1961. Gleason served as a host, with Pat Carroll, Jan Sterling, Arthur Treacher, Kennen Wynn as panelists. The following week, Gleason spent a half-hour apologizing for the previous week’s broadcast. You’re in the Picture never aired again. Reportedly, a second episode was videotaped but shelved after the premiere bombed.

For the next eight weeks, Gleason hosted a talk show eventually called The Jackie Gleason Show. Guests included Art Carney, Jayne Mansfield, Bobby Darin, and Ingemar Johansson.

The Paley Center for Media has in its collection the debut episode of You’re in the Picture as well as Gleason’s apology the next week. It also has the March 3rd and March 10th episodes of The Jackie Gleason Show, both of which supposedly featured Jayne Mansfield.

According to Phil Gries of Archival Television Audio, Inc., Mansfield was only a guest on the March 3rd episode. Archival Television Audio has audio recordings of the final six episodes of The Jackie Gleason Show.

As always, just because these specific archives/museums don’t have every episode of You’re in the Picture or The Jackie Gleason Show doesn’t mean the episodes are lost.

# Episode Title Airdate Status
1 1st Episode of You’re in the Picture 01/20/1961 Paley
N/A 2nd Episode of You’re in the Picture Unaired  
2 Jackie Gleason’s on-air apology 01/27/1961 Paley
3 Jackie Gleason monologue; chimpanzee guest 02/03/1961  
4 With Jack Haley 02/10/1961  
5 With Art Carney 02/20/1961 ATA
6 With Gordon and Sheila MacRae 02/24/1961 ATA
7 With Jayne Mansfield 03/03/1961 ATA/Paley
8 With Floyd Patterson, Ingemar Johansson 03/10/1961 ATA/Paley
9 With Bobby Darin 03/17/1961 ATA
10 With George Jessel, Rudy Vallee 03/24/1961 ATA

Copies of the debut episode of You’re in the Picture as well as Jackie Gleason’s apology the following week circulate among private collectors.

Revised April 19th, 2016


  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    I believe all the episodes of the “THE JACKIE GLEASON SHOW” are on deposit in Jackie’s air-conditioned vault in Florida, as he always insisted on receiving a kinescope or videotape copy of virtually everything he did from the network. Whether they’ll ever be seen by the general public again, I don’t know.

  • Phil Gries says:

    I have never found confirmation from any public or confidential resource that the “Jackie Gleason Show” (Jan. 27- March 24, 1961) survives. I constanly hear stories about a definitive Gleason estate archive. For once I would love to get definitive confirmation on what he was able to retain and what eluded him.

    Having personally audio taped a number of “The Jackie Gleason Shows” in question, at the time they originally aired 48 years ago, I have been motivated to further research the broadcast history of this short interim series, and set the record straight.

    After the aborted “You’r In The Picture” flopped, before it even left the air, Gleason insisted on coming on CBS the following Friday night with an apology show which aired on Jan. 27, 1961.

    For the record ATA also has an audio air check of this show.

    The following week (Feb. 3, 1961), still without a defined concept for a filler program in mind, Gleason returned to the air with only a chimpanzee as his guest. The official title for this program was “Jackie Gleason and Friend.”

    Gleason then recommended that for the remaining run of shows he do an informal interview program. Beginning the following week (Feb. 10, 1961) the title of the show was changed to”The Jackie Gleason Show.” Norman Leyden was named as Musical Director. Mickey Rooney was scheduled to be Gleason’s first guest but dropped out at the last minute…replaced by Jack Haley.

    It is interesting to note that on January 24, 1961, just four days after the airing of “Your In The Picture,” and three days before Gleason’s apology broadcast, Jackie Gleason and Arthur Godfrey were substitute guests, on the “The Red Skelton Show.” Skelton was ill (he was away from TV for nine weeks…Jan and Feb). The format of the show was an informal unrehearsed conversation between Godfrey and Gleason. The tables were turned, however, for it was Arthur Godfrey who was asking the questions, and Jackie Gleason who was ad-libbing his responses. I persoanlly recorded an audio air check of this program which is containted in the ATA collection (not yet included on the ATA website).

    This interview concept broadcast seemed to generate an idea to Gleason to use the same format for his interim series, “The Jackie Gleason Show” which required a format immediately.

    Jayne Mansfield was scheduled to appear with Gleason on the Feb. 24, 1961 show. At the last minute she dropped out (a scenario similar to Rooney dropping out at the last minute). Sheila and Gordon MacRae were guests in her place. Mansfield returned the following week to guest with Gleason (March 3, 1961). This was her only appearance, and she did not return for another show.

    The remaining air dates and guest information are correct as compiled above.

    Since newspaper accounts are seemingly accurate only for the day they are published and sparce and no infomation exists in TV Guide, and most all other salient reference resources related to the series in question, it is understandable how different conflicting and ambiguous information came to be.

    I trust an accurate account of the broadcast history of “The Jackie Gleason Show” as broadcast on CBS television, January 27, 1961 thru March 24, 1961 is now realized with some additional enlightenment.

    Phil Gries

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