Ford Star Jubilee: Season 1, Episode 7

High Tor (10 Mar. 1956)

TV Episode  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Music
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 12 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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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

Playwright Maxwell Anderson first considered a musical adaptation of "High Tor" for television in 1949. In mid-1954 CBS Chairman William Paley approached Anderson about producing the play for his newly planned live-action, 90-minute anthology series, Ford Star Jubilee (1955). Anderson and writer John Monks Jr. decided to adapt the play as a musical fantasy, with music composed by Arthur Schwartz and lyrics by Anderson, and starring Bing Crosby. Crosby was not comfortable with doing live television--especially 90 minutes of it nonstop--and insisted that the production be filmed. His production office was on the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood, and he did not want to use the CBS studio in Hollywood nor the New York studio for the shooting. Desilu Studios--formerly the RKO Pictures lot--was across the street from the Paramount lot, and an agreement was reached to shoot the production there. CBS wanted to shoot it on videotape, as it normally did with live shows, but Crosby didn't want that. He reached a deal with CBS that would result in his covering the additional expense of shooting the production on film, and any associated costs. In the end the show's budget reached $450,000, making it the most expensive TV production up to that time (Crosby himself was reported to have been paid $375,000). Shot in November of 1955 by cinematographer Lester Shorr and directors James Neilson and Franklin J. Schaffner--all of whom had previously worked on both live and filmed shows--it was broadcast on March 10, 1956, to lukewarm reviews. The show's score was released that year on Decca Records. See more »

Soundtracks

Sad Is the Life of the Sailor's Wife
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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