The Golden Age of Television

The Golden Age of Television

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.
Marty 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.
Patterns 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.
The Comedian 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.

Film Info

  • United States
  • 485 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • English
  • Spine #495

Special Features

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)
  • Audio commentaries by directors John Frankenheimer, Delbert Mann, Ralph Nelson, and Daniel Petrie
  • Interviews with Frankenheimer; actors Andy Griffith, Julie Harris, Kim Hunter, Richard Kiley, Piper Laurie, Nancy Marchand, Jack Palance, Cliff Robertson, Mickey Rooney, Rod Steiger, and Mel Tormé; and Carol Serling, Rod Serling’s widow
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by curator Ron Simon and his extensive liner notes on each program

New cover by F. Ron Miller

Purchase Options

Special Features

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)
  • Audio commentaries by directors John Frankenheimer, Delbert Mann, Ralph Nelson, and Daniel Petrie
  • Interviews with Frankenheimer; actors Andy Griffith, Julie Harris, Kim Hunter, Richard Kiley, Piper Laurie, Nancy Marchand, Jack Palance, Cliff Robertson, Mickey Rooney, Rod Steiger, and Mel Tormé; and Carol Serling, Rod Serling’s widow
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by curator Ron Simon and his extensive liner notes on each program

New cover by F. Ron Miller

The Golden Age of Television
Cast
MARTY
Rod Steiger
Marty
Nancy Marchand
Girl
Esther Minciotti
Mother
Joe Mantell
Angie
Augusta Ciolli
Aunt Catherine
PATTERNS
Everett Sloane
Mr. Ramsey
Richard Kiley
Fred Staples
Ed Begley
Andy Sloane
Elizabeth Wilson
Marge Fleming
Elizabeth Montgomery
Ann Evans
June Dayton
Fran Staples
NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS
Andy Griffith
Will Stockdale
Harry Clark
Sgt. King
Robert Emhardt
Major
Eddie Le Roy
Ben Whiteledge
Alexander Clark
Captain
A WIND FROM THE SOUTH
Julie Harris
Shevawn
Donald Woods
Robert
Haila Stoddard
Jean
REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT
Jack Palance
Harlan “Mountain” McClintock
Keenan Wynn
Maish
Kim Hunter
Grace Carney
Ed Wynn
Army
BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY
Paul Newman
Henry Wiggen
Albert Salmi
Bruce Pearson
Rudy Bond
Dutch
George Peppard
Piney Woods
THE COMEDIAN
Mickey Rooney
Sammy Hogarth
Edmond O'Brien
Al Preston
Mel Tormé
Lester Hogarth
Whit Bissell
Elwell
DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES
Cliff Robertson
Joe Clay
Piper Laurie
Kirsten Arensen Clay
Credits
Marty directed by
Delbert Mann
Television play by
Paddy Chayefsky

Patterns directed by
Fielder Cook
Written by
Rod Serling

No Time for Sergeants directed by
Alex Segal
Based on the novel by
Mac Hyman
Written for television by
Ira Levin

A Wind from the South directed by
Daniel Petrie
and written by
James Costigan

Requiem for a Heavyweight directed by
Ralph Nelson
Teleplay by
Rod Serling

Bang the Drum Slowly directed by
Daniel Petrie
Adapted by
Arnold Schulman
From the book by
Mark Harris

The Comedian directed by
John Frankenheimer
Teleplay
Rod Serling
From a novelette by
Ernest Lehman

Days of Wine and Roses directed by
John Frankenheimer
Writer
JP Miller

From The Current

The Golden Age of Television, Act III
The Golden Age of Television, Act III

For twenty years, the remains of television’s self-proclaimed golden age lay dormant in the vaults of the commercial networks. I remember traveling, as a young researcher for NBC, to Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, where the old shows of the fifties …

By Ron Simon

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The Golden Age of Sonny Fox
The Golden Age of Sonny Fox

Television legend Sonny Fox has been the talk of the town lately. The eighty-seven-year-old, Brooklyn-born Emmy winner—who produced the PBS series featured in our box set The Golden Age of Television—has been making the rounds in the New York are…

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Richard Ayoade’s Top 10

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Scott Morse’s Top Ten

Scott Morse is a storyteller with one foot in the world of comics and the other in the world of film.


Joe Mantegna’s Top 10

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TV on the Radio
TV on the Radio

Ron Simon, the curator of television and radio at the Paley Center for Media and the writer of the liner notes for our current best-selling DVD set The Golden Age of Television, stopped by WNYC’s The Leonard Lopate Show to chat about the live 1950s…

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