1 user 2 critic

Pioneers of Primetime (1995)

An in-depth look at the early days of television and its first stars.


Steve Boettcher


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?



Credited cast:
Gracie Allen ... Herself (archive footage)
Steve Allen ... Himself
Desi Arnaz ... Himself / Ricky Ricardo (archive footage)
Lucille Ball ... Herself / Lucy Ricardo (archive footage)
Bea Benaderet ... Herself / Blanche Morton (archive footage)
Jack Benny ... Himself (archive footage)
Milton Berle ... Himself
George Burns ... Himself (archive footage)
Sid Caesar ... Himself
Art Carney ... Himself / Ed Norton (archive footage)
Bing Crosby ... Himself (archive footage)
Sammy Davis Jr. ... Himself (archive footage)
Buddy Ebsen ... Himself
Vilma Ebsen Vilma Ebsen ... Herself (archive footage)
William Frawley ... Himself / Fred Mertz (archive footage)


An in-depth look at the early days of television and its first stars.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

9 November 1995 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


See full technical specs »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Far from perfect but a nice overview of the early kings and queens of television.
8 May 2013 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"Pioneers of Primetime" is a good general overview of the early days of American television. For those who have no knowledge about this time, it's an invaluable introduction. For someone wanting something a little more in depth or academic, then this might not suit your needs.

This hour-long special was broadcast on Public Television many years ago and I saw only bits and pieces of it. I was happy when I saw it on Netflix and ordered it. I enjoyed the stroll down memory lane as it talked about some of the early biggies on TV--Milton Berle, Bob Hope, Red Skelton and others. I also appreciated how it explored the roots of this sort of entertainment--from vaudeville to radio to television--and it did this in a very reverent and entertaining manner.

Now there were a few problems with the show. Although I loved all the interviews, I really didn't understand why they interviewed Buddy Ebsen. In the early days of TV he was NOT a well-known or important entertainer and it seemed like they interviewed him simply because he was available. Another problem is that often they didn't label who the people were. I knew (since I am a trivia junkie for this sort of stuff) but my wife kept asking me who everyone was. Also, their short mentioning of Jackie Gleason and "The Honeymooners" was rather inaccurate--saying it was on for five seasons while it was really a stand alone show for one--with a few of the other sketches being a part of a much longer (and very successful) variety show. Additionally, a few of the early TV greats weren't mentioned at all and the show really would have worked better as a longer special or even a mini-series. Overall, a nice BRIEF overview but it was perhaps too brief--at least for my taste.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See one user review »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed