Studio One Anthology
DVD | Box Set
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"A pinnacle of the Golden Age of Television, "Studio One" presented a wide range of memorable dramas and received 18-Emmy nominations and five wins during its prestigious nine-year-run on CBS. Showcasing some of the greatest talents of the era, this groundbreaking series created an enormous impact and still remains a treasured part of America's broadcasting history.
Embracing the work of some of television's most iconic writers, directors, actors and technical artists, the Studio One Anthology features the complete 1954 original television production of "Twelve Angry Men" and is highlighted by early performances by Charlton Heston, Art Carney, Jack Lemmon and Leslie Nielsen as well as teleplays written by Rod Serling and Gore Vidal. Also included as part of this 6-DVD release are all the original Westinghouse commercials as well as extensive archival interviews and other rare bonus materials.
INCLUDES 17 RESTORED ""STUDIO ONE"" DRAMAS:
"1984" (original broadcast: September 21, 1953)
"An Almanac of Liberty" (original broadcast: November 8, 1954)
"The Arena" (original broadcast: April 8, 1956)
"Confessions of a Nervous Man" (original broadcast: November 30, 1953)
"Dark Possession" (original broadcast: February 15, 1954)
"The Death and Life of Larry Benson" (original broadcast: May 31, 1954)
"Dino" (original broadcast: January 2, 1956)
"Julius Caesar" (original broadcast: August 1, 1955)
"June Moon" (original broadcast: June 22, 1949)
"The Medium" (original broadcast: December 12, 1948)
"Pontius Pilate" (original broadcast: April 7, 1952)
"The Remarkable Incident at Carson Corners" (original broadcast: January 11, 1954)
"The Storm" (original broadcast: October 17, 1949)
"The Strike" (original broadcast: June 7, 1954)
"Summer Pavilion" (original broadcast: May 2, 1955)
"Twelve Angry Men" (original broadcast: September 26, 1954)
"Wuthering Heights" (original broadcast: October 30, 1950)
Featuring Rare Performances From:
Eddie Albert, Art Carney, Robert Cummings, Norman Fell, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Lorne Greene, Charlton Heston, Marsha Hunt, Jack Lemmon, Sal Mineo, Elizabeth Montgomery, Leslie Nielsen, Barbara O'Neil, Lee Remick, Eva Marie Saint
EXCLUSIVE BONUS FEATURES:
-The Paley Center for Media's "Studio One Seminar"
-Excerpted interview with director Paul Nickell from The Paley Center for Media's "Studio One Video History"
-Voices from the Archive: Studio One-related footage from the Archive of America Television
-Studio One historical overview and rediscovery featurette
ALSO INCLUDES: 52-page book featuring written contributions by Gore Vidal, the Archive of American Television and Larry James Gianakos (author of Television Drama Series Programming: A Comprehensive Chronicle)"
The programs represented in this essential collection are more than 50 years old. These rare kinescopes may look primitive, but they put much of what is offered today in prime time to shame. Studio One premiered in 1948, and for a decade it was the benchmark of live drama in television's vaunted Golden Age. Not all the productions were great, but as Jack Klugman, who got his start on Studio One, observes in a bonus series retrospective, the series was a training and proving ground for writers, directors and actors. The now recognized talent that went into these productions is dazzling. Many established actors considered television beneath them, opening the door for a new and hungry generation who got their big breaks and honed their skills under the fire of live performance while millions watched at home. The charming "June Moon," adapted from Ring Lardner, Jr. and George S. Kaufman's Broadway play, features Jack Lemmon (in what is thought to be his television debut), and Eva Marie Saint. Charlton Heston portrays Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights," Eddie Albert is the disillusioned Winston in "1984," and Theodore Bikel is "Julius Caesar." Studio One also premiered original works, none more exemplary than Reginald Rose's Emmy-winning Twelve Angry Men, the long-lost treasure of this set, with Robert Cummings as Juror #8, the lone holdout in a murder case. Other notable original works include The Seven Year Itch playwright George Axelrod's "Confessions of a Nervous Man," a will-success-spoil-George Axelrod "comedy documentary" starring Art Carney as Axelrod, Gore Vidal's "Summer Pavillion," featuring Elizabeth Montgomery, and Rod Serling's all-too-timely political drama, "The Arena." This set is packaged with a 52-page "Reference Guide" that offers a history and appreciation of Studio One and production information about each play. DVD extras include a 1987 Studio One seminar featuring series veterans, as well as lively interview excerpts with actors and crew members that etch a thrilling portrait of this now bygone era. From the innovative direction in a day of unwieldy equipment to the literate writing and superb performances, Studio One's legacy of artistic ambition is undimmed, and is a must for anyone interested in television history, theatre, and acting. One can only hope there is an encore set with more unearthed broadcasts. --Donald LiebensonSee all Editorial Reviews
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2008 brought my wish with this fabulously six-disc set produced by Koch Vision in partnership with the Archive of American Television (a program of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences). There are 17 dramas (well 16 plus the TV opera "The Medium") here and each runs about an hour. Most of them have the original Westinghouse Commercials (with Betty Furness) included - and thankfully they are indexed so you can skip them on repeat viewings. Some shows are missing the commercials - as they were probably from versions made for the Armed Forces broadcasts - and "Twelve Angry Men" (TAM) is one of them. This is such a riveting drama that you don't want to see a refrigerator or washing machine being sold in the middle of this jury room drama by Reginald Rose. Another Rose drama - which most won't remember is "An Almanac of Liberty", which was based on a book (published the day the play was originally aired) by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Douglas. Like TAM, and 1984 (an adaptation of Orwell's novel starring Eddie Albert) there is a message about prejudice. Rose was a master at writing these. Though TAM was later made into a movie, it was somewhat padded. Here, in 50 minutes, the story has even more impact.
I won't go into each of the plays - it's more fun to discover them for yourself - but I loved "June Moon" a play with music which was the debut of Jack Lennon and a VERY young Eva Marie Saint. Though they are on screen more than all the other actors, they are actually listed at the end of the cast because they were "unknowns" then.
The quality of the prints vary but are more than watchable and many haven't been seen in 60 years. (Note that the TAM has a Copyright 1997 by CBS notice at the end so maybe it was released and I missed it,.).
The extras include an hour-long Seminar held at the Paley Center of the Museum of Television in the 1990s with many of the writers and directors - AND Betty Furness! There's also a short interview with Director Paul Nickell from another period.
The 52-page booklet is also excellent. In addition to full cast and credits, there are essays on each play. (I found it more fun to watch the play before reading, as you will find surprises, just as when the shows were originally aired. (Try to guess which play was directed by actor Yul Brynner!)
Every theater lover must own this set. These shows are classics. Koch has already announced that "What Makes Sammy Run?" based on the book by Budd Schulberg is coming next. (This is the drama; not the Broadway musical with Steve Lawrence.). And, if sales are good, I hope there is more to come. And EVERY College library needs a copy as well.
Along with TAM, the other TV play which is most often mentioned in the "Golden Age" of television drama - "Marty" with Rod Steiger - was not on Studio One. It was on Philco Television Playhouse (May 1953). Maybe Koch can team with the Archive of Television to release these and even Playhouse 90 shows, many of which are in the AAT archives.
The programs in this collection were kinescoped (filmed off a television screen during broadcast) and originally aired on CBS between 1948 and 1956. The fact that we can see them today is remarkable as they were accidentally discovered during the demolition of the Westinghouse factory in Ohio in 1997. Our thanks to that eagle-eyed foreman!
Some of the notable actors presented on these six discs include Franchot Tone, Robert Cummings, Edward Arnold, Jack Lemmon,Eva Marie Saint, Eddie Albert, Wendell Corey, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Art Carney, Ralph Meeker, Marsha Hunt, Charlton Heston, Miriam Hopkins and Elizabeth Montgomery. And that's just the cream off the top!
Sure, they're old and in black and white and suffer a bit from wear and a little limited from early television shortcomings, but the quality of these old shows are still there and deserve our admiration. And who can forget the wonderful Betty Furness who hosts those well done and still very interesting Westinghouse commercials which are tastefully presented at the end of each act in these one-hour "live" productions? An extra bonus is the excellent 52 page booklet which details the history of Studio One and the programs in this collection with an array of archival photos, all put together in a very attractive fold-out box. The important thing about this set is that they are all well worth watching; you won't be disappointed!
There are great titles and a chance to see some popular actors in their early stage.
I only cut through the first DVD:
"The Medium" (original broadcast: December 12, 1948)
"Julius Caesar" (original broadcast: August 1, 1955
I have seen better acting in high school plays. the words were there but no one could stay on their mark. It was almost at the were playing a character of actors in a play. The commercials were pretty good.
The extra is a boring panel parsing themselves over producing Studio One.
I am sure that I will miss something; however, I cannot afford to trudge through all the boring hours to find it.
One redeeming feature is that there is closed caption so you can tell what they are saying when they mumble or sing.