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 ... See full summary »
This live dramatic series featured original stories and adaptations of novels, plays, etc. during its eight year run. During the first year, the show was sponsored by the Actor's Equity ... See full summary »
This live series featured adaptations of other works (novels, plays, etc.) plus original works for the show. It was primarily dramas but a few musicals also were presented. The show is ... See full summary »
Luis Van Rooten,
'Goodyear Television Playhouse' was an anthology series with a low
budget and poor production values; all the episodes were transmitted
live from a small studio, and so the series favoured dramas which took
place entirely indoors on minimal sets. This series aired fortnightly
on NBC, alternating with 'The Philco Television Playhouse': basically
the same series with a different sponsor.
The most notable episode of 'GTP' is 'Visit to a Small Planet' , a
sardonic comedy scripted by Gore Vidal, which aired on 8 May 1955,
starring Cyril Ritchard. This episode was so successful that Vidal
later expanded it into a stage play, in which Ritchard starred on
Broadway. It was also turned into a film, starring Jerry Lewis ... a
casting which Vidal decried. I personally dislike Jerry Lewis, yet
nothing he has ever done was as tasteless as Gore Vidal's screenplay
'Small Planet' stars Ritchard as Kreton, a highly-advanced citizen of
the future who has travelled yesterwards to study the pathetic humans
of the Cold War era, gleefully provoking them to the brink of a nice
little global nuclear holocaust. Kreton's base of operations is the
suburban home of Roger Spelding, a pompous businessman. Spelding is
played by Edward Andrews, a prolific character actor with an extremely
narrow range: he basically gave the same performance throughout his
career, yet Andrews was highly effective in that narrow range.
Dick York is impressive as the young man who hopes to marry Spelding's
daughter. Unfortunately, York's character is named John Randolph: the
same name as a real-life character actor who was an outspoken advocate
of communist activities.
Due to the low budget and technical constraints of this period, most of
the science-fictional events in 'Small Planet' happen offscreen. We see
the Speldings' reactions as Kreton's spaceship lands in their front
garden ... but we don't witness the landing itself, and we never see
the spaceship. At one point, Kreton uses his psychokinetic abilities to
make a rifle leap out of a soldier's hands and levitate past the
Speldings' house. This is an amusing incident, but we can clearly see
the wires enabling the rifle to 'fly'.
There is some clever dialogue when Kreton converses with the Spelding
family's cat, and when he reveals his ability to see other people's
thoughts in the form of colours: a combination of synaesthesia and
telepathy. For all its technical faults, 'Visit to a Small Planet' is
an intelligent and enjoyable comedy, worthy of revival on video. I hope
that one day this story will be filmed as Gore Vidal originally wrote
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