Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dancing with the Stars, 1950s style

More than 50 years before guys like Evander Holyfield, Emmitt Smith, Clyde Drexler, Jerry Rice and other athletes appeared on Dancing with the Stars, star baseball players were hoofing it on national television.

On April 26, 1953, John Mize, Billy Martin and Bobby Thomson appeared on the half-hour prime time program Arthur Murray's Dance Party on the DuMont television network.

That program, really just one long commercial for Murray's syndicated chain of ballroom dance instructional studios, had the ballplayers dancing with Mrs. Kathryn Murray and other women in the cast.

Later that season, on June 28, Martin reprised his appearance, joined by teammates Mickey Mantle, Ed Lopat and Allie Reynolds.

Yankees manager Casey Stengel was reported to have been particularly unhappy with the timing of his players' appearance dancing on live TV. That day the Yankees had lost their seventh straight game at home.

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