Kraft Music Hall (1933-1958)
Kraft Music Hall
Cast: Paul Whiteman, Ford Bond, Bing Crosby and Al Jolson
Kraft Music Hall was a very long running musical variety program that drew some of the biggest names in show business. Kraft Music Hall was broadcast on NBC from 1933 to 1958. Starting out with band leader Paul Whiteman as host and star of the show , Paul Whiteman was billed as the "King of Jazz" and became one of America's first musical superstars. After Paul Whiteman left in 1935, Bing Crosby took over as master of ceremonies until 1946. Bing Crosby held the job longest, and under his hand the show flourished. The Kraft Music Hall reached a wide audience due to Bing Crosby's musical talent and easy-going demeanor.
After Bing Crosby left in 1946, a series of hosts tried unsuccessfully to fill his shoes. Edward Everett Horton, Eddie Foy, Frank Morgan, all tried their hand between 1945 and 1947. In 1947 the Kraft Music Hall bounced back from a slide into limbo when jazz legend Al Jolson took over as permanent host. Jolson had been a regular guest on the show , but his move to regular host gave the show the boost it needed to get ratings back to the levels when Bing Crosby was hosting.
In 1958 the radio show made the jump to television with Milton Berle and Perry Como becoming hosts. The popular Dean Martin roasts were originally segments of the Kraft Music Hall TV show.