70th Anniversary of Girl About Town

Forgotten NBC musical variety show Girl About Town, hosted by Kyle MacDonnell, premiered 70 years ago today in 1948. It was Kyle’s second television series on NBC–the first was the original incarnation of For Your Pleasure. Sponsored by Bates Fabrics, Girl About Town ran for 43 episodes between September 1948 and June 1949.

Girl About Town gave viewers the impression Kyle was running around New York City performing in night clubs and other venues. Actor Johnny Downs played her “press agent” who booked her performances around New York City. Earl Wrightson replaced Downs in October or November 1948. The Norman Paris Trio served as Kyle’s band.

Scan of a black-and-white advertisement for Girl About Town.
Advertisement for Girl About Town, Circa September 1948

Singer Tommy Dorsey, dancers Ellsworth and Fairchild, and dancers Pancho and Diane were just a few of the guests seen on Girl About Town.

The show aired live on NBC’s Eastern network. As early as January 1949, NBC shipped kinescope recordings to Chicago for broadcast over the network’s Midwest network on a delayed basis. Unfortunately, the odds of any of those kinecopes surviving nearly seven decades later is slim to none.

Learn more about Kyle MacDonnell and Girl About Town in my article Kyle MacDonnell: TV’s Forgotten Star.

2 Replies to “70th Anniversary of Girl About Town”

  1. For me the most remarkable part of this article is learning that an early TV show was sponsored by a fabric company. I’m old enough to remember when you could actually save money by sewing your own clothes, and though I vaguely remember seeing a few Singer sewing machine commercials, it never occurred to me that a fabric company would have ever advertised on television.

    Thanks for the article — and the advertisement illustration.

    1. It seems the manufacturing company shut down in 2001. There is a fabric store connected to it.
      https://www.batesmillstore.com/pages/our-story

      I don’t suppose their ads are all that different now from the manufacturer “ads” like Dupont that show up on PBS. Fabricland use to run a lot of ads on TV, but that’s a store. However, fabric is the sort of thing only found in specialty stores (and online) now. You just don’t have the outlets like Woolworth selling them or even still existing.

      The advertising of early TV is very similar to the advertising now found on many YouTube channels. There’s a single manufacturer promoting the show. I also have to wonder how many of those will become lost in future years. Early TV was valued about the same as YouTube videos are now.

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