This web site is devoted to the classic radio and
television series: “THE ORIGINAL AMATEUR HOUR” AND IS
DEDICATED TO THE FOLLOWING FOUR PEOPLE WHO WERE INSTRUMENTAL
IN THE LONG RUNNING SUCCESS OF THE SERIES:
EDWARD BOWES – HOST OF THE RADIO EDITION OF “THE ORIGINAL
A real estste speculator who got into the entertainment
business by buying aBoston theatre, Bowes built the famed
Capitol Theatre in New York City in 1918 and was its
managing director until his radio interests forced him to
quit in the late 1930’s.
“The Original Amateur Hour” grew out of his interest in the
Capitol Theatre. In the early days of radio, as a promotion
feature for the theatre, Bowes started a Sunday noon hour
broadcast over local radio station WHN. By 1934, the idea of
the Amateur Hour had evolved and the program was presented
It was an instant success. Bowes’ name became a byword, his
sing-song “All right, all right,” when waving aside an inept
performer was mimicked by millions. Major Bowes’ Amateur
Hour units toured the country, taking the place of
vaudeville. Bowes himself began a series of travels and
personal appearances that reached its climax when 67 cities
had named him honorary mayor.
The program stayed at the top of the polls for the rest of
the 1930’s, but just before WW II, it started to fall off.
The war finished it. One of the features of the Amateur Hour
was audience participation – the listeners were invited to
telephone in their choices for best performer on each
program. These calls ran to 20,000 an hour in half a dozen
cities. Wartime telephone restrictions forced Bowes to
abandon this feature.
He kept the show going throughout the war, however, playing
at Army camps whenever possible. But the taste had changed
and in April, 1945, Bowes retired from radio.
He died at his country home in Rumson, NJ on June 14, 1946
on the eve of his 72nd birthday.
MACK – HOST OF THE TELEVISION EDITION OF “THE ORIGINAL
Ted Mack was born in Greeley, CO and named Edward McGuiness.
When he became a band leader and his name would not fit on a
theatre marquees, the theatre manager shortened his name to
Ted Mack … and it stuck. He was an accomplished clarinet and
saxaphone player and musical conductor. He was associated
with well-known big bands such as Glenn Miller, Benny
Goodman, Red Nichols, Jack Teagarden and Ben Pollack.
Ted was host of “The Original Amateur Hour” on television
for 24 years. He joined the staff of Major Bowes radio
Amateur Hour in 1935 as a telent scout and one of Bowes’
first assistants. On Bowes death in 1946, Mack took over as
host and fronted the show on TV in 1948 on the Dumont
network. The show lasted until 1970 when Ted and his
producers pulled the show off the air. It was estimated that
over 1,000,000 aspirants auditioned for the show during its
long tenure from WHN radio to all three major TV networks.
Like his mentor, Major Bowes, Ted Mack also died on the eve
of his 72 nd birthday … on July 14, 1976.
MARX – PARTNER, DIRECTOR AND MUSICAL CONDUCTOR FOR “THE
ORIGINAL AMATEUR HOUR”
Lloyd Marx was a partner, director and musical conductor for
“The Original Amateur Hour” from the time it began with
Major Bowes at New York’s Capitol Theatre in 1935 and on
through its TV days with Ted Mack.
In addition, Mr. Marx was a staff conductor for CBS for 11
years. He was a founding member of the New York chapter of
The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and a
member of The American Federation of Musicians, The
Directors Guild of America and ASCAP.
He was also the musical conductor for the annual Clio
Awards, The New York and International Emmy Awards and the
DGA Awards. He passed away on May 26, 1988.
GRAHAM – EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF “THE ORIGINAL AMATEUR HOUR”
Louis Graham, also known as Lou Goldberg, was with both
Major Bowes and Ted Mack from the very inception of “The
original Amateur Hour.”
Prior to his Amateur Hour affiliation, Graham was
responsible for publicity and promotion for the Publix
theatres, Loews, Paramount, Criterion, Rialto and Warner
It was Graham who convinced Bowes to begin a national troupe
of “Amateur s On Tour” comprising winning acts from “The
Original Amateur Hour.” After Bowes died, Graham brought the
series to television with Ted Mack as host. He ran the show
until it went off the air in 1970.
Graham wrote a number of novels and has a world famous
collection of music boxes and player pianos which toured the
country in a fleet of trucks for many years. Upon his death
in 1983, Graham left the rights to “The Original Amateur
Hour” to his partner, Lloyd Marx.