Irene Dunne Sparks Exhibit of New Cars
by John Lester
As is its annual costum, Auto-Lite by-passed its regurly weekly "Suspense" show last night, Tuesdays, CBS-TV, 9.30 to 10, to present 30 minutes of the annual "Parade of Stars Auto Show," currently at the Waldorf Astoria.
Irene Dunne was the guest of honor of the special telecast and also was listed as mistress of ceremonies, but served, instead, as a charming and elegant thread of continuity througout the show.
Whether Miss Dunne's inspiring presence did the trick or not I don't know, but this year's show was a real show for a change and not the embarrassing, fluff-studded, awkward, confused production it has been in the past, without an exception that I can recall at the moment.
Rex Marshall was the principal off-screen commentator who introduced Miss Dunne and announced the various new cars in their turn.
A second commentator then took over to elaborate on the special features of each new model, and a third handled accompanying descriptions on the film clips that showed rough wheather and hard road performance etc.
AN OFF-SCREEN vocal group added further production class by delivering a flattering theme as each new car was presented, such as "Your're the Tops" for the Nash, "Here Comes the Show Boat" for the new Plymouth, and so on.
Miss Dunne was supposed to be shopping for a new car as she made her way from model to model, but stopped mid-way to remark they were all so wonderful "I just can't make up my mind about cars, but my favorite singer is Robert Merrill."
And so the Met star was introduced to sing "Thine Alone."
Earlier, the Peter Birch Dancing Group served a musical and visual relief.
Aside from being well produced, dignified but not stuffy, and presented on a high professional plane, this year's Auto-Lite tele-cast of the auto show was one of the best examples of a cleverly contrived and effective commercial this department has seen in some time.
After all, it was one long commercial but the viewer couldn't help watching it with interest.
I hope some sponsors were watching last night and take a hint.
(Long Island Star-Journal, April 8, 1953)