The Kraft Music Hall was a major NBC radio variety program, featuring top show business entertainers, in a 16-year span from 1933 to 1949. Kraft Foods was the first advertiser to sponsor a two-hour radio program, in an era when many radio programs were only 15 minutes long and few were longer than a half hour.

 

The Kraft Program debuted June 26, 1933 to promote a new product in the Kraft family, Miracle Whip. The musical-variety program featured orchestra leader Paul Whiteman and served to supplement the print advertising and in-store displays in promoting Kraft products. Al Jolson was the show's star vocalist. During its first year the show went through a series of name changes, including Kraft Musical Revue, until it finally settled on Kraft Music Hall in 1934. Paul Whiteman remained the host until December 6, 1935. Ford Bond was the announcer.

 

Bing Crosby took over as master of ceremonies January 2, 1936. Crosby was host until May 9, 1946.

 

After Crosby Kraft Music Hall went through a handful of short-lived hosts. Edward Everett Horton, Eddie Foy and Frank Morgan all hosted from 1945 through 1947. Nelson Eddy took over the summer spots in 1947 and with costar Dorothy Kirsten in 1948 and 1949. The show had a strong supporting cast: pianist-vocalist Ramona, soprano Helen Jepson, tenor Jack Fulton, pianist Roy Bargy and music critic Deems Taylor.

 

Al Jolson dotted the Kraft Music Hall landscape, first as a singer from 1933 to 1935, then later as the star and host from 1947 to 1949 while his sarcastic pianist and sidekick Oscar Levant piped in with his dry wit. Jolson kept working until shortly before his death in 1950, with these shows as some of his last. Many of the show’s recurring jokes and funny remarks were about Jolson's education (which was, in fact, not the very best), his age and his relationships to women.

 

Kraft Music Hall made the move to television in 1958, replacing the dramatic anthology series Kraft Television Theatre. Milton Berle hosted during the 1958 season. Beginning with the fall 1959 season, singer Perry Como became the host, and continued until 1967. During the summer seasons, the show continued with new episodes, with a variety of guest hosts replacing Berle/Como. This rotation of guest hosts became a permanent feature when Como left the series in the winter of 1967 and continued until the series ended in 1971.

 

Kraft Music Hall. (2008, October 10). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:53, October 26, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kraft_Music_Hall&oldid=244424719