The Arthur Murray Party

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The Arthur Murray Party
Arthur Murray Party 1953.jpg
Photo from the program, 1953. Kathryn Murray is at center.
Genre Variety show
Directed by Barry Shear
Burt Shevelove
Presented by Arthur Murray
Kathryn Murray
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Executive producerJack Philbin
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time15 min/30 min/60 min
Original network ABC
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original releaseJuly 20, 1950 (1950-07-20) –
September 6, 1960 (1960-09-06)

The Arthur Murray Party is an American television variety show which ran from July 1950 until September 1960. [1] The show was hosted by famous dancers Arthur and Kathryn Murray, and was basically one long advertisement for their chain of dance studios. Each week the couple performed a mystery dance, and the viewer who correctly identified the dance would receive two free lessons at a local studio.

The Arthur Murray Party is notable for being one of the few TV series—the others were Down You Go, The Ernie Kovacs Show, Pantomime Quiz, The Original Amateur Hour, and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet—broadcast on all four major commercial networks in the 1950s during the Golden Age of Television. It may, in fact, be the only series which had a run on all four networks at least twice.


The show was set up like a large party, with Kathryn hosting a variety of guests, from sports stars to actors or musicians. Murray dance studio instructors would help Kathryn and Arthur to show their guests how to perform a particular dance step. At the end of the show, the couple would perform a Johann Strauss waltz.

The dancers often dressed in elegant clothing, which could cause amusing problems at times. In one surviving episode (February 15, 1954), available on Internet Archive, the well-dressed female dancers are heard squealing with teenage-like excitement at guest star Johnnie Ray. Buddy Holly and The Crickets performed " Peggy Sue" on the December 29, 1957 telecast, also preserved on a kinescope.

The J. Fred and Leslie W. MacDonald Collection at the Library of Congress contains thirteen kinescoped programs and partial programs of the various incarnations of Arthur Murray on TV. These include a complete one-hour show from late 1950 featuring guests The DeMarco Sisters plus Andy and Della Russell; a complete half-hour show from August 17, 1954, featuring guest Don Cornell; a segment from September 27, 1956, in which The Platters perform " You'll Never Know" and Andy Williams sings " Canadian Sunset"; and a segment from August 5, 1957, in which celebrities Jack E. Leonard, Bert Lahr, Paul Winchell, and June Havoc compete in a dance contest.

Broadcast history

The show appeared on ABC for the first few months of its broadcast as Arthur Murray Party Time, [2] then moved to the DuMont, ABC, CBS, DuMont, CBS, NBC, CBS, and finally NBC (in that order).

The time slots for Season One are as follows: [3]

  • July 1950 – Sept 1950 Thursdays 9:00–9:30pm ET (ABC)
  • Oct 1950 – Jan 1951 Sundays 9:00–10:00pm ET (DuMont)
  • Jan 1951 – March 1951 Sundays 9:00–9:30pm ET (DuMont)
  • Apr 1951 – June 1951 Mondays 9:00–9:30pm ET (ABC)

When the series first moved to DuMont in the fall of 1950, its title was changed to The Arthur Murray Show, which it retained for over a year-and-a-half, before adapting the more familiar Arthur Murray Party moniker in the summer of 1952.

See also

Note: The Arthur Murray Party aired outside of prime time in certain TV seasons.


  1. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2007-10-17). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946–Present (9 ed.). Ballantine Books. p. 82. ISBN  0-345-49773-2.
  2. ^ Weiner, Ed; Editors of TV Guide (1992). The TV Guide TV Book: 40 Years of the All-Time Greatest Television Facts, Fads, Hits, and History. New York: Harper Collins. p.  214. ISBN  0-06-096914-8. {{ cite book}}: |author2= has generic name ( help)
  3. ^ CTVA entry


External links