Broadcast on January 17, 1972, the network television special ‘S Wonderful, ‘S Marvelous, ‘S Gershwin was a musical biography of George Gershwin. As heard in an audio representation on this soundtrack album, it is dominated by musical performances, although actor Jack Lemmon provides a linking narration between the musical segments in the form of various texts that allow him to exercise his acting chops. He repeats reminiscences from the likes of music publisher Max Dreyfus, orchestra conductor Paul Whiteman, and a journalist, Jimmy Fidler, and at one point even pretends to be lyricist Ira Gershwin trying to think of the right words to "I've Got a Crush on You" before breaking into song himself; it turns out he has a credible singing voice. He is surrounded, however, by more bravura vocalists, including Leslie Uggams, Larry Kert, and Robert Guillaume. Pianist Peter Nero re-creates parts of Gershwin orchestral works like "Rhapsody in Blue," accompanied by the Elliot Lawrence Orchestra, and Fred Astaire performs a nine-minute medley of Gershwin songs from his movies. It all culminates in a 12-plus-minute reduction of Porgy and Bess, after which Lemmon recites a brief obituary. As a biography, it's fragmentary, but there are some excellent performances of Gershwin's better works.
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