Producers' Showcase: Season 1, Episode 9

The Petrified Forest (30 May 1955)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | Musical | Comedy
8.0
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Gabrielle Maple works in a dusty desert gas station-café, but yearns for the life of an artist in France, knowing there must be something finer than the provincial dead-end she is trapped ... See full summary »

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(adaptation), (play)
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Title: The Petrified Forest (30 May 1955)

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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Paul Hartman ...
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Ruby
Joseph Sweeney ...
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Richard Gaines ...
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Jackie
Dick Elliott ...
The commander
Steven Ritch ...
The workman (as Steve Ritch)
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Pyles
Julia Montoya ...
Paula
Frank London ...
Radio announcer (voice)
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Storyline

Gabrielle Maple works in a dusty desert gas station-café, but yearns for the life of an artist in France, knowing there must be something finer than the provincial dead-end she is trapped in. A hitch-hiking writer, the disillusioned Alan Squier, appears and revitalizes her dreams of a better place, and finds his own sense of worth refreshed by this vital young girl. When Duke Mantee and his gang, wanted killers, show up and take hostages, Gabrielle falls in love with the poetic Alan, and Squier begins to see a way to give Gabby the life she deserves. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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30 May 1955 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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One of the very first television programs to use helicopter shots. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent, though I still prefer the movie.
29 September 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

In the 1930s, "The Petrified Forest" was a smashing success on Broadway--so much so that Warner Brothers bought the rights to this play and made a movie out of it starring Leslie Howard. Unfortunately, Howard was killed during WWII, so he could not reprise his leading role. However, the villain in the play and film, Humphrey Bogart, was available and reprises his role of Duke Mantee--the leader of a murderous gang of bank robbers. And so, on May 30, 1955, this play was recreated live on American television for "Producer's Showcase".

The setting is a combination filling station and restaurant in the desert near the Petrified Forest in the American Southwest. For the first half of the film, characters are introduced, you learn their back stories and an important relationship begins between a lonely waitress, Gabrielle (Lauren Bacall) and a drifter (Henry Fonda). The pair are on odd match--she is a woman aching to leave her humdrum life and travel to France and he is a world-weary man who has very little left to show for himself after he traveled to France and became a writer. Then, about midway through the production, Mantee and his compatriots arrive--looking to meet up with the rest of the gang as well as to hide out during a huge police dragnet. Soon they take over the joint and begin barking out orders. What's next? I won't spoil it--see the film.

Had I not already seen and enjoyed the Warner Brothers movie, I would have been much more impressed by this TV teleplay. Now this is NOT to say it's bad--in most ways it is excellent and very compelling (aside from the cheap sound effects for gunfire). But, it's not original--and that I always hold against remakes. However, it IS good enough to see and recommend. And, if you do see it, also look for some interesting appearances by Jack Warden, Natalie Schaffer as well as small parts by Jack Klugman and Richard Jaeckel and Mantee's sidekicks.


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