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Jubilee Showcase's 50th anniversary

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Jubilee Showcase's 50th anniversary

Jubilee Showcase premiered 50 years ago on WLS-TV. Airing Sunday mornings from 1963 to 1984, the groundbreaking, locally-produced show featured most of Chicago’s (and the nation’s) best-known gospel music acts of the time: Mahalia Jackson, The Staple Singers, Albertina Walker, Andrae Crouch, James Cleveland, Thomas Dorsey (who created gospel music), the Dixie Hummingbirds and more. Jubilee Showcase was created and hosted by Sid Ordower, a Jewish man who was active in Chicago’s black civil rights movement. Jubilee Showcase premiered five years before Soul Train, that other pioneering black musical show created in Chicago. Soul Train and its baritone-voiced host Don Cornelius went on to become a national cultural institutions, Jubilee Showcase never aired beyond Chicago. And those great live performances of classic gospel artists at the peak of their abilities have gone largely unseen for at least 30 years. Steven Ordower, one of Sid Ordower’s sons, wants to bring new attention to his father’s program. He’s with us in studio to talk about Jubilee Showcase on the 50th anniversary of its original airing. He’ll also discuss a documentary he is producing on the show. Also with us is blues man Otis Clay who was a gospel performer on the show, and WBEZ’s own Richard Steele. Did you watch Jubilee Showcase? What are your memories of the show? (Photo: Jubilee Showcase)

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