Ford Star Jubilee: Season 1, Episode 7

High Tor (10 Mar. 1956)

TV Episode  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Music
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 13 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

A musical version of Maxwell Anderson's never-filmed fantasy play.

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Title: High Tor (10 Mar 1956)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
Van Van Dorn
...
Judith
...
DeWitt
...
Biggs
Lloyd Corrigan ...
Skimmerhorn
Dan Barton ...
Buddy
Robert Foulk ...
Elkus
James Gavin ...
Patsy
Kay E. Kuter ...
Dope
Charles Meredith ...
Bigs Sr
George N. Neise ...
Budge
John Pickard ...
Captain
Micheal Miller ...
Pieter
Jack Pepper ...
1st Sailor
Dick Keene ...
2nd Sailor
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Storyline

A musical version of Maxwell Anderson's never-filmed fantasy play.

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Music

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10 March 1956 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

"High Tor" is a 1936 play by Maxwell Anderson (b.1888-1959, 70). Twenty years after the original Broadway production, Maxwell Anderson adapted the stage play into a television musical play with stage and film composer Arthur Schwartz (b.1900-1984, 83), providing the score. Presented on CBS's "The Ford Star Jubilee" in a 90 minute "color film" television special, transmitted electronically as a broadcast presentation starring Bing Crosby. This "35mm-camera color Hollywood filmed production" was the only television special NOT performed as a normally scheduled "90 minute-live-color electronic-broadcast-transmission in front of a live studio audience in a CBS video studio facility". The play "High Tor" is named for a summit overlooking the Tappan Zee portion of New York's Hudson River, near where Anderson lived in Rockland County. The story was inspired by the real life controversy over quarrying the palisades along the lower Hudson. The play also shares the plot element of a ghostly crew of Dutch sailors on the Hudson with Washington Irving's short story Rip Van Winkle. Anderson (at age 58) began writing the play in May 1936. The play "High Tor" was first presented on stage in Cleveland, Ohio, in December 1936. Maxwell Anderson's neighbor in Rockland County, actor Burgess Meredith and Peggy Ashcroft appeared in the stage play's lead roles. The Cleveland production moved to Broadway ten days later on January 9, performed through June, 1937, where it played 171 performances at the Martin Beck Theatre. Anderson won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for the best American play of the 1936-1937 season. The award included this citation: 'In its decision the circle celebrates the advent of the first distinguished fantasy by an American in many years. Imaginative and as comic as it is poetic in both spirit and expression, High Tor is a singular accomplishment, giving rare grace to this theatrical season in New York'. In 1942, Anderson helped organize and served as the chairman of the Rockland County Committee To Save High Tor, which helped raise money to purchase the property in 1943 for the creation of a public park. See more »

Soundtracks

A Little Love, a Little While
Music by Arthur Schwartz
Lyrics by Maxwell Anderson
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User Reviews

 
Selling the Mountain and Expelling the Spirits
2 July 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

High Tor is a musical adaption by Maxwell Anderson of his own drama of the same name. The play High Tor had a run of 171 performances in 1937 and had Burgess Meredith and Peggy Ashcroft starring in the roles that Bing Crosby and Julie Andrews took in this version. Additionally Anderson wrote the lyrics that Bing and Julie and the rest of the cast sang to Arthur Schwartz's music.

High Tor was an episode done for Ford Star Jubilee and it was a live broadcast of an original musical done for television. In watching a tape of the production, you would have to remember that this was still early television and in that the values were pretty shoddy, not at all what we are used to now. It's an outdoor story, the whole plot takes place on a mountain owned by Bing Crosby on the west bank of the Hudson River. It would better have been done on film with some nice location shots. It couldn't be done on the Hudson now though, what was feared at the time, commercial development, has come to pass.

Bing owns a mountain called High Tor and a couple of sharpies played by Hans Conreid and Lloyd Corrigan are trying to get it from him. Bing's fiancé played by Nancy Olson wants him to sell so they can start afresh somewhere else.

There's another group interested in the mountain. A group of marooned sailors who were left there by Henry Hudson who never came back for them are there, or at least their spirits are. Two of them are Everett Sloane and his daughter Julie Andrews. Henry Hudson on a later voyage was marooned on the bay that is named after him in Canada. I guess what goes around, truly does come around.

On a magical autumn night Crosby, the crooks, Olson, the Dutch sailor spirits, and a trio of bank robbers who robbed the bank in Nanuet all have a date with destiny on High Tor. If you think the play borrows a lot from A Midsummer Night's Dream, you'd be right.

Another reason that this is not better remembered is that no hit songs came from the score. That is a pity because it has some lovely tunes. Bing gets one of his philosophical numbers, Living One Day at a Time, a genre that was almost his alone. A favorite of mine is a ballad sung at one time by all the cast members, When You're In Love and there's a comic ode to a different kind of spirit, John Barleycorn.

Bing's rival Frank Sinatra had early done a live original musical adaption of Our Town in which his classic Love and Marriage came from. If Bing had a song that got that kind of acclaim from this score, High Tor would be a classic itself.

Since the story did involve ghosts some special effects that wouldn't have been available in a live TV broadcast also would have added to the production values.

Still if you can get the tape of the kinescope it would be a real viewing treat.


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