October 22, 2012
- United States
- 478 minutes
- Black and White
- Spine #495
The hugely popular live American television plays of the 1950s have become the stuff of legend. Combining elements of theater, radio, and filmmaking, they were produced at a moment when TV technology was growing more mobile and art was being made accessible to a newly suburban postwar demographic. These astonishingly choreographed, brilliantly acted, and socially progressive “teleplays” constituted an artistic high for the medium, bringing Broadway-quality drama to all of America. The award-winning programs included in this box set—originally curated for PBS in the early 1980s as the series The Golden Age of Television, featuring recollections from key cast and crew members—were conceived by such up-and-comers as Rod Serling and John Frankenheimer and star the likes of Paul Newman, Mickey Rooney, Rod Steiger, Julie Harris, and Piper Laurie.
Renowned dramatist Paddy Chayefsky’s poignant and touching character study of a lonely, middle-aged butcher (Rod Steiger) looking for love helped usher in the naturalistic style of television drama in the 1950s. Marty, directed by Delbert Mann, remains an enduring classic of the age of live television.
Nothing less than a milestone in television drama, writer Rod Serling’s Patterns examines a power struggle between a corporate boss (Everett Sloane), a washed-up company man (Ed Begley), and the young executive groomed to take his place (Richard Kiley). A huge hit when first broadcast, the production was re-aired the following week, which was unprecedented at the time.
No Time for Sergeants
Andy Griffith makes his first television appearance as Will Stockdale, a bumptious Air Force draftee who manages to drive his sergeant (Harry King) and the jokers who share his barracks crazy. No Time for Sergeants is a riotous military comedy and launched newcomer Griffith to stardom.
A Wind from the South
Julie Harris stars as Shivawn, an Irish country innkeeper who finds new meaning in her life when she finally experiences her first love, with a troubled tourist (Donald Woods). Written by playwright James Costigan, A Wind from the South features a typically marvelous performance from Harris and a surprising turn from Merv Griffin, who sings the show’s theme song.
Requiem for a Heavyweight
A punch-drunk prizefighter (Jack Palance) is forced to face life outside the ring in Rod Serling’s searing indictment of the professional boxing underworld. Costarring father and son Ed and Keenan Wynn, the former in his dramatic debut, and directed by Ralph Nelson, the Emmy Award–winning Requiem for a Heavyweight is a moving portrait of a would-be champion.
Bang the Drum Slowly
Paul Newman is the star pitcher of a professional baseball team who helps a terminally ill country bumpkin catcher (Albert Salmi) live out one last season on the diamond. A touching and honest tale of friendship, Bang the Drum Slowly is also considered one of the finest baseball stories of all time.
Mickey Rooney stars as a raging, tyrannical TV star stepping on anyone on his way to the top, including his browbeaten brother (Mel Tormé), despairing wife (Kim Hunter), and washed-up scriptwriter (Edmond O’Brien). Powerfully directed by John Frankenheimer from a script adapted for the screen by Rod Serling, The Comedian is a volatile glimpse behind the showbiz curtain.
Days of Wine and Roses
A young married couple falls into a downward spiral of alcoholism and self-destruction in writer JP Miller’s devastating Days of Wine and Roses. Masterfully directed by John Frankenheimer, this acclaimed production features riveting performances from Piper Laurie, Cliff Robertson, and Charles Bickford.
|Aunt Catherine||Augusta Ciolli|
|Mr. Ramsey||Everett Sloane|
|Fred Staples||Richard Kiley|
|Andy Sloane||Ed Begley|
|Marge Fleming||Elizabeth Wilson|
|Ann Evans||Elizabeth Montgomery|
|Fran Staples||June Dayton|
|NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS|
|Will Stockdale||Andy Griffith|
|Sgt. King||Harry Clark|
|Ben Whiteledge||Eddie Le Roy|
|A WIND FROM THE SOUTH|
|REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT|
|Harlan “Mountain” McClintock||Jack Palance|
|Grace Carney||Kim Hunter|
|BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY|
|Henry Wiggen||Paul Newman|
|Bruce Pearson||Albert Salmi|
|Piney Woods||George Peppard|
|Sammy Hogarth||Mickey Rooney|
|Al Preston||Edmond O'Brien|
|Lester Hogarth||Mel Tormé|
|DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES|
|Joe Clay||Cliff Robertson|
|Kirsten Arensen Clay||Piper Laurie|
|Marty directed by||Delbert Mann|
|Television play by||Paddy Chayefsky|
Patterns directed by
|Written by||Rod Serling|
No Time for Sergeants directed by
|Based on the novel by||Mac Hyman|
|Written for television by||Ira Levin|
A Wind from the South directed by
|and written by||James Costigan|
Requiem for a Heavyweight directed by
|Teleplay by||Rod Serling|
Bang the Drum Slowly directed by
|Adapted by||Arnold Schulman|
|From the book by||Mark Harris|
The Comedian directed by
|From a novelette by||Ernest Lehman|
Days of Wine and Roses directed by
SPECIAL EDITION THREE-DISC SET
- Kinescopes of the live broadcasts of Marty (1953), Patterns (1955), No Time for Sergeants (1955), A Wind from the South (1955), Bang the Drum Slowly (1956), Requiem for a Heavyweight (1956), The Comedian (1957), and Days of Wine and Roses (1958)
- Commentaries by directors John Frankenheimer, Delbert Mann, Ralph Nelson, and Daniel Petrie
- Interviews with select cast and crew, including Frankenheimer, Andy Griffith, Julie Harris, Kim Hunter, Richard Kiley, Piper Laurie, Nancy Marchand, Jack Palance, Cliff Robertson, Mickey Rooney, Carol Serling, Rod Steiger, and Mel Tormé
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by curator Ron Simon and his extensive liner notes on each program