Top Ten Videos to watch

A Man Operating A Tv Camera
Maurice White
'News One Now' With Roland Martin Taping
Bill Cosby
Activists In Los Angeles Gather To Burn Likenesses Of The Confederate Flag
Flint Firebirds V Windsor Spitfires
CBC Message To America: Rep. Conyers Addresses The Damage Inflicted On Our Communities By Poverty, Mass Incarceration And Lack Of Economic Development
Iowa Caucus Ted Cruz
NewsOne Now NAACP Image Awards Preview
Student sitting at a desk in a classroom
Slavery Stock image
The 16th Annual Wall Street Project Gala Fundraising Reception
Ava DuVernay
Roland Martin Blasts Stacey Dash For Comments About BET, Black Networks
President Obama Delivers State Of The Union Address At U.S. Capitol
Ava DuVernay
2016 North American International Auto Show
Democratic National Committee Presidential Primary Debate
88th Oscars Nominations Announcement
Democratic debate
Dream Speech
GOP Presidential Candidates Debate In Charleston
US President Barack Obama speaks on the
2011 Winter TCA Tour - Day 5
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18, 2015: Two wooden stand-in Oscar statuettes are ready to be taken on
Woman Holding Dollars - Isolated
President Barack Obama Delivers His State Of The Union Address
Leave a comment

LOS ANGELES — Television’s groundbreaking “The Nat ‘King’ Cole Show” is getting a digital release more than 50 years after it aired.

Cole’s widow, Maria, saved kinescopes – copies made by filming a TV monitor – of the 1956-57 show that have been remastered for release on Apple Inc.’s iTunes beginning Tuesday.

Cole was the first African-American to star in a network variety program and he attracted a constellation of major black singers and musicians as guests, including Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Sammy Davis Jr. and Cab Calloway.

Mel Torme, Peggy Lee and Tony Bennett were among the white performers who appeared.

“I knew these TV shows were too important to have something happen to them, so that’s why I held on them all these years,” Maria Cole said in a statement.

“Nat never looked or sounded better in those shows. It’s just a shame that the show lasted just a little more than a year.”

At least 25 episodes will be released, four a month, with a suggested retail price of $1.99 an episode for download and 99 cents an episode for video on demand or rental. Some videos will be available for sale.

Not all the show’s 64 original episodes have survived, according to a project spokesman.

Cole, who started as a jazz pianist, was a smoothly elegant vocalist who became a pop star in the 1940s. His hit songs included “Unforgettable,” “Mona Lisa” and “Walking My Baby Back Home.”

But viewers and advertisers snubbed his TV show, which debuted in November 1956. NBC kept it on the air despite low ratings and lack of national sponsors but it ended in December 1957.

“Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark,” Cole is quoted as saying later about advertisers’ racial skittishness.

TV historians have noted that variety shows with other celebrated singers, including Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland, were short-lived.

But there was clearly an entrenched resistance to shows with black stars. It would be close to a decade before other series featuring African-Americans, including “I Spy” with Bill Cosby and “Julia” with Diahann Carroll, gained a place on network TV, and the medium still has an uneven grasp on ethnic diversity.

Cole died in 1965 at age 45. His daughter, Natalie Cole, recorded a Grammy-winning tribute album to her dad in 1991 that included a version of “Unforgettable” combining her voice with his recording of the song.

Also On News One: