The King Family Show

The King Family Show is an American musical variety series that featured The King Sisters and their extended musical family.  The series first aired on ABC from January 1965 to January 1966.  The series was revived in 1969, airing from March to September 1969.

After an appearance on The Hollywood Palace in May 1964 drew a reported 53,000 letters, ABC decided to give the Kings their own hour-long special.  The Family is King aired on August 29th, 1964 to great ratings.  More letters poured into ABC and The King Family was given their own hour-long weekly musical variety series (replacing The Outer Limits), debuting on Saturday, January 23rd, 1965 (the King Family made a third Hollywood Palace appearance a week before the debut of their own series in order to promote it).  Bing Crosby introduced the premiere episode.  The series was full of songs from Broadway, Film, The Great American Songbook and contemporary pop hits of the day.  The show starred the Grammy nominated vocal group The King Sisters (Yvonne, Alyce, Luise and Marilyn), along with their husbands, siblings, and children and The Alvino Rey Orchestra.  In all, some thirty-nine members of the King family, ranging in age from seven months to 79 years, were seen on the show.  Yvonne King’s daughter Tina Cole, later featured on My Three Sons, also regularly appeared.  At the beginning of the series, King Family patriarch, William King Driggs appeared in every episode, but suffered a stroke on set and died a week later on April 6th, 1965.
The series consisted of a remarkable crew including director and choreographer Marc Breaux with choreographer Dee Dee Wood (known for Mary Poppins, and The Sound of Music) and costumer Bob Mackie.  This series was Bob Mackie’s first credit on his own.
While the show was somewhat successful in its initial season, the network trimmed it to a half-hour on September 18th, 1965 and the ratings declined – up against Jackie Gleason on CBS and I Dream Of Jeannie on NBC – but the show did inspire an intensely loyal following.  One letter to ABC enthused, “the King Family was beautiful, talented, and completely entertaining. We are buying Wisk and Clairol tomorrow.”  Still, the show was canceled in January 1966.
Season One consisted of 22 hour-long episodes from January to June 1965.  Season Two consisted of 17 half-hour episodes from September 1965 to January 1966.
During the run of the initial show in 1965, Warner Bros. Records released six albums The King Family Show, The King Family Album, The King Family Live! In the Round, Christmas with the King Family, Sunday with the King Family and The New Sounds of the Fabulous King Sisters.