Celebrating Black Entertainment of Television: PIONEER: William Marshall – Harlem Detective (1953-54) to Emmy Winning Actor and Producer (1974)

William Marshall (1924 – 2003) began his career with aplomb, landing roles on Broadway with diverse works like Carmen Jones, Othello, and numerous other Shakespeare plays. Working across Europe and America, the classically trained actor quickly established himself as a hot commodity.The London Sunday Times labeled him “The Greatest Othello of Our Time” and Jet […]

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Black Entertainment of Television: Iconic Superstar Jackie Robinson

It’s not a stretch to label Jackie Robinson the first African-American superstar on television. His inaugural year in fact, 1947, was the same year National League Baseball began regular broadcasts on network television. And Jackie Robinson was the discussion, initially for the wrong reasons, around television sets across the country. By October 1947, with the […]

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Celebrating Black Entertainment in Television: NAT KING COLE: “Madison Ave. is afraid of the dark.”

Nat King Cole was TV’s perennial and favorite guest star in the 1950s and 1960s. Beginning with Ed Sullivan in 1950 (he ultimately made 14 appearances on that show), his smooth vocals and classic songs enamored audiences on the biggest TV shows of the day. Gleason, Skelton, Benny, Berle, Gobel, Paar, and Shore, to name […]

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Celebrating Black Entertainment on Television: First Black Cast TV Commercial

The first commercial broadcast (1947) featuring a black cast. Sponsor is Jax beer.

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Celebrating Black Entertainment on Television: Beulah: 1950 – 1953, ABC’s First Hit Sitcom

Beulah, the long-running radio show starring Hattie McDaniel, moved to TV in 1950. While Hattie continued on radio, legendary entertainer and Oscar-nominated actress Ethel Waters originated the role on ABC-TV. According to press releases of the day, she was “the queen of the kitchen and manager of the house.” Butterfly McQueen was her co-star and […]

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