The Philco Television Playhouse is an American television anthology series that was broadcast live on NBC from 1948 to 1955. (The reference book Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 lists the program as having been broadcast 1948-1956.) Produced by Fred Coe, the series was sponsored by Philco. It was one of the most respected dramatic shows of the Golden Age of Television, winning a 1954 Peabody Award and receiving eight Emmy nominations between 1951 and 1956.
|The Philco Television Playhouse|
Fred Coe, producer of The Philco Television Playhouse
|Directed by||Fred Coe|
Vincent J. Donehue
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||251|
|Running time||46–50 minutes|
|Original release||October 3, 1948 – October 2, 1955|
|Related shows||Goodyear Television Playhouse|
The Alcoa Hour
The first season featured adaptations of popular Broadway plays and musicals. Ronald Wayne Rodman, in his book Tuning in: American Narrative Television Music, noted, "Despite ensuing complications over the legalities of broadcasting copyrighted plays on television and several legal battles that ensued, the show flourished."
The first episode was Dinner at Eight by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber. The second season consisted mostly of adaptations of popular novels from the Book of the Month Club. During later seasons, both original stories and adaptations were used. The title of the show was briefly changed to Repertory Theatre and Arena Theatre during part of the first season, but then reverted to The Philco Television Playhouse.
The series launched the television writing careers of Robert Alan Aurthur, Paddy Chayefsky, Sumner Locke Elliott, Horton Foote, Tad Mosel, William Templeton, Arnold Schulman, and Gore Vidal. Its most famous drama was Chayefsky's Marty (May 24, 1953), which starred Rod Steiger and was later made into a movie that won an Academy Award for Ernest Borgnine.
Among the many performers on the Philco Television Playhouse were Dennis Cross, Lillian Gish, Janet De Gore, Melvyn Douglas, Grace Kelly, Jack Klugman, Cloris Leachman, Walter Matthau, Steve McQueen, Paul Muni, ZaSu Pitts, Eva Marie Saint, Everett Sloane, Kim Stanley, Eli Wallach and Joanne Woodward. Many of these actors were making their first television appearance; one was Jose Ferrer, who recreated his stage performance in a one-hour television condensation of Cyrano de Bergerac a full year before the 1950 film version, for which Ferrer won an Oscar, was released. Another was Paul Muni, who starred in the 1948 presentation Counsellor-at Law.
Beginning in 1951, Philco shared sponsorship of the program with Goodyear, with the title alternating between Philco Television Playhouse and Goodyear Television Playhouse to reflect that week's sponsor. In 1955, the show was retitled The Alcoa Hour. The three series were essentially the same, with the only real difference being the name of the sponsor.
In the sixth season, Cathleen Nesbitt and Maureen Stapleton starred in Chayefsky's The Mother (April 4, 1954). This is one of the rare teleplays from television's Golden Age to be restaged on TV decades later, a Great Performances production on October 24, 1994, with Anne Bancroft and Joan Cusack.
The seventh season began September 19, 1954, with E. G. Marshall and Eva Marie Saint in Chayefsky's Middle of the Night, a play which moved to Broadway 15 months later and was filmed by Columbia Pictures in 1959.
On August 7, 1955, John Cassavetes played an American artist expatriate in A Room in Paris. This adaptation of Peggy Mann's novel (her first novel for adults) was published March 3, 1955, by Doubleday, followed by Popular Library's paperback edition.
The final Philco production, on October 2, 1955, was Robert Alan Aurthur's A Man Is Ten Feet Tall, co-starring Don Murray and Sidney Poitier, which was adapted and expanded into the 1957 MGM feature film, Edge of the City, with Poitier recreating his original role and John Cassavetes in Murray's part.
Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of The Philco Television Playhouse on NBC.
|Season||TV season||Ranking||Viewers (in millions)|
|1951||Nominated||Emmy Award||Best Dramatic Show|
|1952||Nominated||Emmy Award||Best Dramatic Show|
|1953||Nominated||Emmy Award||Best Dramatic Show|
|1954||Nominated||Emmy Award||Best Dramatic Show|
|1955||Nominated||Emmy Award||Best Written Dramatic Material||Paddy Chayefsky|
|Nominated||Emmy Award||Best Dramatic Show|
|Nominated||Emmy Award||Best Actress in a Single Performance||Eva Marie Saint (For episode "Middle of the Night")|
|1956||Nominated||Emmy Award||Best Original Teleplay Writing||Robert Alan Aurthur (For episode "A Man Is Ten Feet Tall")|
In 2006, the NBC series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip referenced The Philco Television Playhouse as The Philco Comedy Hour, a comedy show that aired on the fictional NBS network. Eli Wallach made a guest appearance on Studio 60, playing a former show writer who was blacklisted in the 1950s.
|Title||Original air date|
|1||1||"Dinner at Eight"||October 3, 1948|
|2||2||"Rebecca"||October 10, 1948|
|3||3||"Counselor-at-Law"||October 17, 1948|
|4||4||"Angel in the Wings"||October 24, 1948|
|5||5||"Street Scene"||October 31, 1948|
|6||6||"This Thing Called Love"||November 7, 1948|
|7||7||"Camille"||November 14, 1948:245-246|
|8||8||"An Inspector Calls"||November 21, 1948:246|
|9||9||"I Like It Here"||November 28, 1948:246|
|10||10||"Suspect"||December 5, 1948:246|
|11||11||"Parlor Story"||December 12, 1948:246|
|12||12||"A Christmas Carol"||December 19, 1948|
|13||13||"The Old Lady Shows Her Medals"||December 26, 1948|
|14||14||"Ramshackle Inn"||January 2, 1949|
|15||15||"Cyrano de Bergerac"||January 9, 1949|
|16||16||"Papa Is All"||January 16, 1949|
|17||17||"Pride and Prejudice"||January 23, 1949|
|18||18||"Dark Hammock"||January 30, 1949|
|19||19||"The Late Christopher Bean"||February 6, 1949|
|20||20||"The Story of Mary Surratt"||February 13, 1949:249|
|21||21||"Twelfth Night"||February 20, 1949:249|
|22||22||"St. Helena"||February 27, 1949:249|
|23||23||"The Druid Circle"||March 6, 1949|
|24||24||"Quality Street"||March 13, 1949|
|25||25||"Dinner at Antoine's"||March 20, 1949|
|26||26||"Becky Sharp"||March 27, 1949|
|27||27||"And Never Been Kissed"||April 3, 1949|
|28||28||"What Makes Sammy Run?"||April 10, 1949|
|29||29||"Mr. Mergenthwirker's Lobblies"||April 17, 1949|
|30||30||"Burlesque"||April 24, 1949|
|31||31||"Macbeth"||May 1, 1949|
|32||32||"Romeo and Juliet"||May 15, 1949|
|33||33||"This Time, Next Year"||June 5, 1949|
|34||34||"It Pays To Advertise"||June 12, 1949|
|35||35||"Summer Formal"||June 19, 1949|
|36||36||"Jenny Kissed Me"||June 26, 1949|
|37||37||"Dark of the Moon"||July 3, 1949|
|38||38||"For Love or Money"||July 10, 1949|
|39||39||"The Five Lives of Richard Gordon"||July 17, 1949|
|40||40||"You Touched Me!"||July 24, 1949|
|41||41||"The Fourth Wall"||July 31, 1949|
|42||42||"Enter Madame"||August 7, 1949|
|43||43||"A Murder Has Been Arranged"||August 14, 1949|
|44||44||"Pretty Little Parlor"||August 21, 1949|
|45||45||"Three Concerned Moon"||August 28, 1949|
|Title||Original air date|
|46||1||"What Every Woman Knows"||September 4, 1949|
|47||2||"Pride's Castle"||September 11, 1949|
|48||3||"The Little Sister"||September 18, 1949|
|49||4||"The Lonely"||September 25, 1949|
|50||5||"The Queen Bee"||October 2, 1949|
|51||6||"Something's Got To Give"||October 9, 1949|
|52||7||"The Last Tycoon"||October 16, 1949:262|
|53||8||"Because of the Lockwoods"||October 23, 1949:262|
|54||9||"Damion's Daughter"||October 30, 1949:263|
|55||10||"The House of the Seven Gables"||November 6, 1949:263|
|56||11||"The Promise"||November 13, 1949:264|
|57||12||"Medical Meeting"||November 20, 1949:264|
|58||13||"The Wonderful Mrs. Ingram"||November 27, 1949:265|
|59||14||"Mist on the Water's"||December 4, 1949:265|
|60||15||"The Beautiful Bequest"||December 11, 1949:266|
|61||16||"The Strange Christmas Dinner"||December 18, 1949:266|
|62||17||"In Beauty Like the Night"||December 25, 1949:267|
|63||18||"Little Boy Lost"||January 1, 1950:267|
|64||19||"Bethel Merriday"||January 8, 1950:268|
|65||20||"Murder at the Stork Club"||January 15, 1950:268|
|66||21||"The Marriages"||January 22, 1950|
|67||22||"Uncle Dynamite"||January 29, 1950|
|68||23||"The Sudden Guest"||February 5, 1950|
|69||24||"Ann Rutledge"||February 12, 1950|
|70||25||"Letter to Mr Priest"||February 19, 1950|
|71||26||"Hometown"||February 26, 1950|
|72||27||"The Life of Vincent Van Gogh"||March 5, 1950|
|73||28||"The Uncertain Molly Collicutt"||March 12, 1950|
|74||29||"The Trial of Steve Kent"||March 19, 1950|
|75||30||"The Second Oldest Profession"||March 26, 1950|
|76||31||"Nocturne"||April 2, 1950|
|77||32||"Dirty Eddie"||April 9, 1950|
|78||33||"The End Is Known"||April 16, 1950|
|79||34||"The Man in the Black Hat"||April 23, 1950|
|80||35||"The American"||April 30, 1950|
|81||36||"The Feast"||May 7, 1950|
|82||37||"Brat Farrar"||May 14, 1950|
|83||38||"The Charmed Circle"||May 21, 1950|
|84||39||"Semmelweis"||May 28, 1950|
|85||40||"Sense and Sensibility"||June 4, 1950|
|86||41||"The Bump on Brannigan's Head"||June 11, 1950|
|87||42||"Anything Can Happen"||June 18, 1950|
|88||43||"Hear My Heart Speak"||June 25, 1950|
|89||44||"The Reluctant Landlord"||July 2, 1950|
|90||45||"The Tentacles"||July 9, 1950|
|Title||Original air date|
|91||1||"High Tor"||September 10, 1950|
The 7th Emmy Awards, later referred to as the 7th Primetime Emmy Awards, were held on March 7, 1955, to honor the best in television of the year. The ceremony was held at the "Moulin Rouge Nightclub" in Hollywood, California. The ceremony, hosted by Steve Allen and broadcast on NBC, was the first Emmy Awards ceremony to be televised nationally. All nominations are listed, with winners in bold and series' networks are in parentheses.
New categories for this ceremony included awards for writing and directing, as well as one-time performances in anthology series, (this category would eventually morph into the current guest-acting category). Studio One was the most successful show of the night, winning three awards.
Fredric March made Emmy history when he became the first actor to be nominated for two different works in the same category. However, he lost for both of his performances in the category of Best Actor in a Single Performance.Eva Marie Saint
Eva Marie Saint (born July 4, 1924) is an American actress. In a career spanning 70 years, she is possibly best known for starring in Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront (1954), for which she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959). She received Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations for A Hatful of Rain (1957) and won a Primetime Emmy Award for the television miniseries People Like Us (1990). Her film career also includes roles in Raintree County (1957), Exodus (1960), The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1965), Grand Prix (1966), Nothing in Common (1986), Because of Winn-Dixie (2005), Superman Returns (2006), and Winter's Tale (2014).Florence Reed
Florence Reed (January 10, 1883 – November 21, 1967) was an American stage and film actress. She is remembered for several outstanding stage productions, including The Shanghai Gesture, The Lullaby, The Yellow Ticket and The Wanderer. Her best remembered movie role was as Miss Havisham in the 1934 production of Great Expectations. In this version, however, Miss Havisham was changed from a completely insane woman to an eccentric, who did not wear her wedding veil constantly, and who dies peacefully rather than as a result of suffering burns in a fire. In the 1950s Reed performed in several early television shows, such as The Philco Television Playhouse, Kraft Television Theatre and The United States Steel Hour.She is a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame.Fred Coe
Fred Coe (December 13, 1914 – April 29, 1979), nicknamed Pappy, was an American television producer and director most famous for The Goodyear Television Playhouse/The Philco Television Playhouse in 1948-1955 and Playhouse 90 from 1957 to 1959. Among the live TV dramas he produced were Marty and The Trip to Bountiful for Goodyear/Philco, Peter Pan for Producers' Showcase, and Days of Wine and Roses for Playhouse 90.
Born in Alligator, Mississippi, United States, Coe attended high school in Nashville, Tennessee, and college in Nashville at Peabody College, now part of Vanderbilt University, before studying at the Yale Drama School.Goodyear Television Playhouse
The Goodyear Television Playhouse is an American anthology series that was telecast live on NBC from 1951 to 1957 during the "Golden Age of Television". Sponsored by Goodyear, Goodyear alternated sponsorship with Philco, and the Philco Television Playhouse was seen on alternate weeks.
In 1955, the title was shortened to The Goodyear Playhouse and it aired on alternate weeks with The Alcoa Hour. The three series were essentially the same, with the only real difference being the name of the sponsor.
Producer Fred Coe nurtured and encouraged a group of young, mostly unknown writers that included Robert Alan Aurthur, George Baxt, Paddy Chayefsky, Horton Foote, Howard Richardson, Tad Mosel and Gore Vidal. Notable productions included Chayefsky's Marty (May 24, 1953) starring Rod Steiger, Chayefsky's The Bachelor Party (1955), Vidal's Visit to a Small Planet (1955), Richardson's Ark of Safety and Foote's The Trip to Bountiful.
From 1957 to 1960, it became a taped, half-hour series titled Goodyear Theater, seen on Mondays at 9:30 p.m.
Goodyear Television Playhouse finished #16 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1951-1952 season, #15 for 1952-1953 and #22 for 1953-1954.Grace Kelly filmography
Grace Kelly (November 12, 1929 – September 14, 1982) was an American actress who made her debut on television in the play "Old Lady Robbins" (1948) on the anthology series, Kraft Television Theatre. In 1950, she made numerous television appearances on anthology series including The Philco Television Playhouse, Studio One, The Clock, The Web, and Danger. The following year, Kelly played Helen Pettigrew in the television play "Berkeley Square" on the Prudential Family Playhouse. In 1952, she portrayed Dulcinea in the drama "Don Quixote" on the anthology series CBS Television Workshop. In the same year, Kelly also starred in a number of other anthology series including Hallmark Hall of Fame, Lux Video Theatre, and Suspense.
Kelly's film debut was a minor role in the 1951 drama Fourteen Hours. She followed this with an appearance in the western High Noon opposite Gary Cooper. For her performance as Linda Nortley in John Ford's Mogambo she received the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress, and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. In 1954, she starred in Alfred Hitchcock's thrillers Dial M for Murder opposite Ray Milland, and Rear Window opposite James Stewart. In the same year, she portrayed a long-suffering wife of an alcoholic actor played by Bing Crosby in The Country Girl (1954) for which Kelly received the Academy Award for Best Actress, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama in 1955. She reteamed with Hitchcock on the romantic thriller To Catch a Thief (1955) opposite Cary Grant. In 1956, she appeared in the romantic comedy The Swan, and the musical comedy High Society. Later that year, the 26-year-old Kelly retired from acting to marry Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, and become the Princess of Monaco.Ira Skutch
Ira Skutch (September 12, 1921 – March 16, 2010) was an American television director, producer, and, in his later years, an author. In the early days of television he produced and directed episodes of Kraft Television Theatre and The Philco Television Playhouse. Skutch also worked as an executive for Goodson-Todman Productions and produced or directed the game shows Play Your Hunch, I've Got a Secret, Match Game, Concentration and many others.Janet De Gore
Janet De Gore (born 1930) is a retired American actress best known for her supporting roles on the ABC television series, The Law and Mr. Jones, in which she portrayed the legal secretary, Marsha Spear, to attorney Abraham Lincoln Jones, played by James Whitmore (1921–2009).
Thereafter, De Gore played a young widow, Louise Howard, the romantic interest of Richard Crenna (1927–2003) in his revised role as the recently widowed Luke McCoy on CBS' The Real McCoys, starring Walter Brennan, which had premiered on ABC in 1957 but switched networks to CBS and nights from Thursday to Sunday opposite NBC's Bonanza for its final year.
Most of De Gore's acting occurred between 1952 and 1966. Her early roles were in dramatic anthologies, including Hallmark Hall of Fame, the Philco Television Playhouse, and Kraft Television Theatre. In 1960-1961, as she joined Four Star's The Law and Mr. Jones cast, she also appeared in episodes of two Warner Brothers series, Will Hutchins' western Sugarfoot and Efrem Zimbalist Jr.'s detective series, 77 Sunset Strip, both on ABC.In 1964, she appeared as a flight attendant in the episode "Second Chance" of the ABC science fiction series The Outer Limits. In 1965, she appeared on Chuck Connors' short-lived NBC western Branded.
In 1966, her last year of television credits, De Gore appeared on The Farmer's Daughter (ABC) with Inger Stevens, Perry Mason (CBS) with Raymond Burr, and NBC's powerhouse western Bonanza, which had destroyed The McCoys in the 1962-1963 ratings. Her Bonanza role on the episode entitled "Tommy" was that of Allie Miller.Kim Stanley
Kim Stanley (born Patricia Reid, February 11, 1925 – August 20, 2001) was an American actress, primarily in television and theatre, but with occasional film performances.
She began her acting career in theatre, and subsequently attended the Actors Studio in New York City, New York. She received the 1952 Theatre World Award for her role in The Chase (1952), and starred in the Broadway productions of Picnic (1953) and Bus Stop (1955). Stanley was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her roles in A Touch of the Poet (1959) and A Far Country (1962).
In the 1950s, Stanley was a prolific performer in television, and later progressed to film, with a well-received performance in The Goddess (1959). She was the narrator of To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), and starred in Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964), for which she won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. She was less active during the remainder of her career; two of her later film successes were as the mother of Frances Farmer in Frances (1982), for which she received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and as Pancho Barnes in The Right Stuff (1983). She received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie for her performance as Big Mama in a television adaptation of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1985. That same year, Kim Stanley was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.Leora Dana
Leora Dana (April 1, 1923 – December 13, 1983) was an American film, stage and television actress.Lily Cahill
Lily Cahill (July 17, 1888, Lockhart, Texas – July 20, 1955, San Antonio) was an American actress of the stage and screen. The granddaughter of Confederate Army Colonel John Jacob Myers, she began her career in 1910 at the age of 15 playing supporting roles in several silent films directed by D.W. Griffith. In 1911 she was given leading parts in A Victim of Circumstances and The Failure.In 1912 Cahill abandoned her movie career for the stage, making her Broadway debut in the short-lived play The Road to Arcady by Edith Sessions Tupper. She remained highly active in the New York theatre scene up through 1941. Some of her notable appearances are:
Roi Cooper Megrue's Under Cover (1914)
Brandon Tynan's The Melody of Youth (1916)
Henri Lavedan's The Marquis de Priola (1919)
Matheson Lang's The Purple Mask (1920)
Owen Davis's Opportunity (1920)
Arthur Goodrich's So This Is London (1922)
Jesse Lynch Williams's Lovely Lady (1925)
Sil-Vara's Caprice (1928)
Rachel Crothers's As Husbands Go (1931)
Sidney Howard's Alien Corn (1933)
S. N. Behrman's Rain From Heaven (1934)
George S. Kaufman's First Lady (1935)
Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse's Life With Father (1941)
She also made appearances on the London stage and was active in regional theatre both in the Northeast United States and in her native Texas.
Cahill returned periodically to films during her career, appearing in Colonel Carter of Cartersville (1915), My Sin (1931), and So This Is London (1939). She also appeared in one episode of the television series The Philco Television Playhouse in 1953. She was briefly married to Irish-born American actor Brandon Tynan.Marty (teleplay)
"Marty" is a 1953 television play by Paddy Chayefsky. It was telecast live May 24, 1953, on The Philco Television Playhouse with Rod Steiger in the title role and Nancy Marchand, in her television debut, playing opposite him as Clara. Chayefsky's story of a decent, hard-working Bronx butcher, pining for the company of a woman in his life but despairing of ever finding true love in a relationship, was produced by Fred Coe with associate producer Gordon Duff.The teleplay was adapted into the feature film Marty starring Ernest Borgnine in 1955. It was directed by Delbert Mann and written by Chayefsky. The film won both the Academy Award for Best Picture and the Palme d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival and Borgnine won the Academy Award for Best Actor.Nancy Marchand
Nancy Marchand (June 19, 1928 – June 18, 2000) was an American actress. She began her career in theatre in 1951. She was perhaps most famous for her television portrayals of Margaret Pynchon on Lou Grant and Livia Soprano on The Sopranos.Printer's Measure
"Printer's Measure" is an episode of the TV anthology series The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse written by Paddy Chayefsky.
It was a reworking of a story Chayefsky had written in college.The play was highly acclaimed and ended up being published in a volume of Chayefsky's work.Roger O. Hirson
Roger O. Hirson (born 5 May 1926) is an American dramatist and screenwriter best known for his books of the Broadway musicals, Pippin, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award, and Walking Happy. He has contributed extensively for original television anthology series episodes since the 1950s.The Bachelor Party
The Bachelor Party is a 1953 television play by Paddy Chayefsky which was adapted by Chayefsky for a 1957 film. The play premiered to critical acclaim.The Martha Wright Show
The Martha Wright Show is a 15-minute musical variety program starring singer and actress Martha Wright which aired at 9:15 pm EST on ABC television from April 18 to December 5, 1954. The program was also known as The Packard Showroom for its sponsor, Packard automobiles.Joining Wright, a native of Seattle, Washington State, in her short-lived program were pianists Norman Paris, who wrote the theme song for the CBS game show I've Got a Secret, and trumpet player Bobby Hackett and his band. The Martha Wright Show replaced The Jane Pickens Show, which returned in July 1954, as Wright resumed her program in that time slot in September for a final three-month run. Jane Pickens Langley, a native of Macon, Georgia, was another vocalist of that era.Wright's series followed The Walter Winchell Show and aired opposite Ronald W. Reagan's General Electric Theater on CBS and the pair of NBC's alternating anthology series, Goodyear Television Playhouse and The Philco Television Playhouse.The Mother (TV play)
"The Mother" is an episode of the TV anthology series The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse.
The episode was highly acclaimed critically.The Sixth Year
"The Sixth Year" is an episode of the TV anthology series The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse. It was written by Paddy Chayefsky, directed by Arthur Penn and stars Kim Stanley.