Crooners In The Golden Age of TV Variety Shows Featuring 5 Vintage Videos

Rick Margin
4 min readJul 9

The term “crooner” is generally associated with males who sang sentimental songs beginning on live radio programs and sound recordings in the late 1920’s and evolved to include TV in the 1950’s. A few of the best known crooners would include Al Jolson, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Tony Bennett and Dean Martin. Probably, Engelbert Humperdinck, a very underrated performer, was the last true example of a singer committed to crooning. Gradually the term wore out its welcome and by 1970 membership in the club began to slowly dwindle.

Allow me to digress to remind you that American TV offered only 3 national networks who all produced similar content from the late 1950’s to the early 1980’s. During much of this period, most households had one TV which had to be shared by the entire household during the evening prime time. We were all “eating from the same trough” so to speak.

The early generation of baby boomers were fortunate to be introduced to these crooners’ engaging talent and personalities through the many TV variety shows that also sadly declined in popularity. Examples of variety show hosts included Gary Moore, Jack Benny, Danny Thomas, Red Skelton, Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason, Smother Brothers, Dean Martin, Rowan & Martin, Carol Burnett, Flip Wilson, Sonny & Cher, Glen Campbell and John Denver. We liked variety shows because of their always changing mix of comedy, animal trainers, magicians, puppeteers and music, which had to be both consistently fun and relevant because of the very wide ranging age of their audience.

Probably one of the best examples of engaging entertainment was a 1960 TV special welcoming Elvis Presley back home from his 2 year stint in the Army. Frank Sinatra (1915–1998) hosted the show and shared the stage with Elvis for a song. Frank was 20 years older and had himself been an idol of the young fans called “bobbysoxers” when he was beginning his solo career in his late 20’s. Here’s the song.

Rick Margin

A curious guy interested in both understanding & writing about meaningful issues. Email @ Join in at

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