Remember Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder singing “Ebony and Ivory”? It wasn’t …

Written by on April 8, 2018


Remember Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder singing “Ebony and Ivory”? It wasn’t always that easy.

Petula Clark did her first and only US TV special on April 8, 1968. It was called “Petula” and was on NBC. Petula’s featuring guest star was Harry Belafonte. The two performed a duet on an antiwar song she’d written called “On The Path Of Glory.”

During taping, Clark had reached out to touch Belafonte’s arm in a spontaneous gesture, causing the show’s sponsor Chrysler to protest, fearing the interracial contact would upset viewers in the American south.

As a result, the show became infamous even before it aired. Petula and the show’s executive producer, her husband Claude Wolff, responded to the sponsor pressure by having all other takes of Petula and Harry destroyed so that the gesture would have to be aired. It was, historically, the first interracial contact to be broadcast on American television.

This was 50 years ago tonight. It is amazing how much has changed since then, and, how much seems the same. Do any of you remember seeing this broadcast when it first aired?




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