In the 1950s it was rare for a black person to have their own show on Television. That ceiling was broken by a great piano player/singer named NAT KING COLE (born Nathaniel Adams Coles). Nat was the personification of cool, a true "gentle man," and that made him more palatable for the racial separators of that day.
But the show was destined to fail because no national advertisers were willing to stick their necks out and sponsor it. Mr. Cole was a transitional figure in the evolution of Pop Music into what was becoming Rock and Roll; his jazz piano and hip arrangements were use by many more artists over the years.
Nat King Cole died in 1965 at age 45, a heavy smoker he died of Lung Cancer. He was inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, in recognition of his major influence on early rock and roll. Here he is in an early Kinescope performing what had become his signature and a standard, ROUTE 66. @therealdonrocks