February 26, 1951-April 26, 1968
"The Late Show" which for years would be New York's top feature film show, premiered on WCBS TV New York on Feb. 26, 1951 "The Late Late Show" followed not long after, as did "The Early Show." As its run accumulated, WCBS would commemorate its anniversary the week of Feb. 26 in different ways. On Feb. 26, 1963, for example, Ch. 2 celebrated "The Late Show's 4,327th broadcast...12th anniversary by inaugurating an extended broadcast day that ended after 5 A.M., unprecedented for its time.
The standard opening of "The Late Show" had the announcer state the title of the film, its cast and some additional relevant anecdotal piece of information related to the film. The musical opening was "The Syncopated Clock," written by Leroy Anderson and recorded by Percy Faith in 1951 (released by Columbia Records). The catchy melody was noticed by the producers of the new WCBS-TV program "The Late Show," that was to be the station's first venture into late night television. Faith's rendition was chosen as the theme music for The Late Show by WCBS and several other CBS owned-and-operated stations around the country, which helped Anderson's composition become a tune that many Americans could readily hum or whistle, even if few knew the name of its composer. WCBS would also use the Faith recording to introduce a weekday afternoon movie (The Early Show) and a later-night movie offering, The Late Late Show.
In 2006 a shortened version of The Syncopated Clock theme music would become the standard opening of the Archival Television Audio, Inc. archived collection...musical intro preceding a specific mastered TV Audio Air Check, which had been processed and mastered from the original off the air recording.
The last time the moniker "The Late Show" was broadcast on WCBS television, in New York, was April 26, 1968 (WOLF LARSEN (1958). The series lasted 17 years and two months, totaling 6,189 Movie broadcasts. Films still ran in the 11:30pm time slot afterwards, but without the "Late Show" opening. During the years to follow, thru the 1970's, other facsimile Late Show openings were created, a secondary version of the original series.
"The Syncopated Clock" instrumental standard opening is heard. The announcer introduces "The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre."
We're told to look for a man in a white hat, played by director John Huston, who gives a coin to Humphrey Bogart (Fred C. Dobbs' character in the film).