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Bell Telephone Hour

The TV show, seen on NBC from January 12, 1959 to 1968, was one of the first TV series to be telecast exclusively in color, using the color TV system perfected by RCA in 1954. For much of the early part of its run, the show didn't have a weekly time slot but usually had to share with another program, meaning it aired every other week. By the mid-1960s, however, it had received a weekly time slot, usually on Friday or Saturday evenings. It was noted for its Christmas specials, frequently featuring opera stars as well as stars of musical theater and ballet. In the fall of 1965, the show was switched to an earlier time slot of Sundays at 6:30pm. In 1967, the format changed from a videotaped and mostly musical presentation to filmed documentaries about classical musicians made on location.

One of the most notable documentary programs combined a tour of the Museo del Prado in Madrid, with performances by such noted Spanish musicians as Andrés Segovia, Alicia de Larrocha, and Victoria de los Angeles. Another was a profile of Cleveland Orchestra conductor George Szell. This one was not a biography of Szell, but a documentary showing how he worked with the orchestra.

One of the last, and most notable episodes done in the videotape format, was "First Ladies of Opera", featuring Joan Sutherland, Leontyne Price, Renata Tebaldi and Birgit Nilsson, all on one program.

Google Links | Conductor Donald Voorhees