For Your Pleasure, the first TV show hosted by Kyle MacDonnell, premiered 70 years ago today in 1948. The 15-minute musical/variety show aired from 8-8:15PM ET on NBC. Kyle sang two songs (“How High the Moon” and “I Wish I Didn’t Love You So”) during the episode. It also featured comic Dan Henry and dancers Jack and Jill. Fred Coe served as director with Frank Burns as technical director. Not surprisingly given its age, For Your Pleasure is a lost TV show.
Although it ran for just 20 episodes, For Your Pleasure propelled Kyle MacDonnell to stardom. Here’s a glowing review from The New York Time‘s Jack Gould, published three weeks after For Your Pleasure‘s debut:
But it is in her singing that Miss MacDonnell has most immediately carved a niche for herself. If on stage her voice is a little weak, on television the amplifying qualities of the microphone stand her in good stead. Her mezzo-soprano comes over true and clear yet in a straight torch number she can inject a meaningful sultriness which is box-office plus. Thanks to her theatrical training, she also knows what to do with her face during a number, something that cannot be said for many feminine vocalists accustomed to the unseeing microphone. Her change of expression compliments rather than contradicts the lyrics. All in all, Miss MacDonnell is providing that rare treat among performances–the vivacity of youth combined with professional stage presence.
The Norman Paris Trio were regulars on the show but did not appear in the first episode. Another dance team, Blaire and Deane, replaced Jack and Jill after two few months.
The last episode of For Your Pleasure aired September 1st. The following week, Kyle MacDonnell began hosting Girl About Town, her second TV show–this one with a sponsor. It ran for more than 40 episodes, ending in June 1949. Curiously, a month after Girl About Town went off the air, NBC revived For Your Pleasure for seven more weeks.
No footage from either incarnation of For Your Pleasure survives. Several behind-the-scenes photographs were printed in the May 1st, 1948 issue of LIFE magazine. The magazine also printed a single photograph of Kyle on a TV screen. Getty Images currently licenses these photographs and I’ve collected them here. Notice the contact sheet with nine photographs of Kyle on a TV screen, including the one LIFE published. They may be from a rehearsal rather than a live For Your Pleasure broadcast.
Learn more about For Your Pleasure and Kyle MacDonnell by reading my article Kyle MacDonnell: TV’s Forgotten Star.