The Betty White Show was a daytime talk show that also featured entertainment segments that are quite similar to today’s variety shows. It was first aired in KTLA in 1952 and then again on NBC in 1954. But did you know about the controversy behind the show’s end?
In 1954, Betty White refused to remove a black dancer from her show. Instead, she offered Arthur Duncan even more air time. Despite the show doing well in terms of ratings, it was cancelled because of this reason.
Betty White, the First Lady of Television
The late Betty White, simply put, is a US national treasure. While the 99-year-old actress was beloved by many and had an unbelievably successful career for more than 80 years. She was a pet enthusiast and an animal welfare advocate, having worked with several organizations like the Los Angeles Zoo, The Morris Animal Foundation, African Wildlife Foundation, and even the Actors and Others for Animals. White donated over $100,000 in April 2008 alone, according to these organizations.
White is also a supporter and advocate of LGBT rights.
If a couple has been together all that time – and there are gay relationships that are more solid than some heterosexual ones – I think it’s fine if they want to get married. I don’t know how people can get so anti-something. Mind your own business, take care of your affairs, and don’t worry about other people so much.Betty White
In addition to this, she also stood against racial injustice, even if it meant that it would affect her career. The Southern States widely criticized her for having Arthur Duncan on her show back in 1954. (Source: USA Today)
Arthur Duncan on The Betty White Show
Arthur Duncan was born in Pasadena, California, in September 1933. He first started his career at the age of 13. After a short stint in studying pharmacology, he returned to show business in his early 20s. His career indeed took off thanks to his performances on The Jimmie Rodgers Show and The Betty White Show.
In 1954, Ducan was invited as a recurring performer on The Betty White Show. After becoming a booming success in terms of ratings, the show really took a hit after White refused to take Duncan out of her show. NBC was not too happy and kept rescheduling the show, and these changes eventually ended in the cancellation of the show.
Duncan appeared in three episodes of The Betty White Show, and according to reports, this was when people started criticizing White. Many stations and viewers in the Southern States unless Duncan was removed. Back then, segregation laws were still in place. In response to this, White gave Duncan more airtime and told them to live with it.
After his breakthrough on the show, Duncan was invited to be part of Bob Hope’s troupe of performers that toured US Military Bases. he was the first African-American to do so. Later on, Duncan was discovered by Sam Lutz and was included in Welk’s musical family.
Duncan and White reunited on the Little Big Shots: Forever Young. (Source: USA Today)