IMDb > "Campbell Summer Soundstage" Something for an Empty Briefcase (1953)

"Campbell Summer Soundstage" Something for an Empty Briefcase (1953)"Campbell Playhouse" Something for an Empty Briefcase (original title)

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S. Lee Pogostin (television play)
Original Air Date:
17 July 1953 (Season 2, Episode 2)
User Reviews:
God Save James Dean See more (2 total) »


 (Episode Cast) (in credits order)
Susan Douglas Rubes ... Noli (as Susan Douglas)

James Dean ... Joe
Don Hanmer ... Mickey
Robert Middleton ... Sloane
Frank Maxwell ... Lou
Peter Gumeny ... The Policeman (as Pete Gumeny)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Don Medford 
Writing credits
S. Lee Pogostin (television play)

Produced by
Martin Horrell .... producer
Art Department
John Robert Lloyd .... sets
Sound Department
Mahlon Fox .... audio
Camera and Electrical Department
William C. Knight .... lighting (as William Knight)
William Little .... video
Other crew
William Waterbury .... technical director
Series Cast
These people are regular cast members. Were they in this episode?

David Winters ... Herman

Series Crew
These people are regular crew members. Were they in this episode?
Produced by
Don Appell .... producer
Garry Simpson .... producer

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Campbell Playhouse: Something for an Empty Briefcase (#2.2)" - USA (original title)

Did You Know?

Revealing mistakes: After Sloane roughs up Joe and leaves, Joe stumbles against the sink. It almost falls to the floor, revealing that it's only a prop.See more »


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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
God Save James Dean, 27 October 2008
Author: wes-connors from Earth

On a hot summer day in New York, 21-year-old James Dean (as Joe Adams) shoots the breeze with gangster pal Don Hanmer (as Mickey). Mr. Dean, already a thieving ex-con, tells Mr. Hanmer he wants to go straight. After admiring successful businessmen carrying briefcases, Dean vows to get a briefcase of his own. But, before changing his life of crime, Dean decides to pull one more job. In a dark alley, he snatches pretty ballerina Susan Douglas (as Noli)'s purse. A policeman (Pete Gumeny) unexpectedly interrupts the crime, which saves Ms. Douglas, and her rent money, from Dean. Sensing God is at work, Douglas covers for the philistine Dean. Then, succumbing to her Christian spirit, Dean goes to Douglas' apartment; and, the two being dating.

"Buy the book that Joe buys," the teleplay advises, "the book that can change you life." After discovering what can fill his "empty briefcase", Bible-believing Dean is, more than ever, determined to go straight. Unfortunately, mafia-type leader Robert Middleton (as Sloane) needs Dean for his next big heist. And, Mr. Middleton does NOT take "no" for an answer…

This short, flawed drama is interesting to watch. Forgive a personal aside (you won't find many in my little reviews): someone who knew him in the early 1950s once told me I reminded him of James Dean. It was a nice compliment, but not one I could fathom. However, there is something about Dean's appearance, movement, and body type in this TV appearance which (finally, for me) made sense of the comparison.

Dean and the others perform their parts as well as can be expected, in a woefully inferior production. The story is very silly, highlighted by Douglas' inadvisable actions during her abduction. Also, watch out for Dean to collide with a wobbly wall sink.

The influence of Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift shows up in Dean's performance. Look for the Brando influence when Dean acts with "Mickey" Hanmer, who had, by then, married and divorced Brando's sister Jocelyn.

Inconsequential and insightful.

**** Something for an Empty Briefcase (7/17/53) Don Medford ~ James Dean, Susan Douglas, Don Hanmer, Robert Middleton

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Related Links

Main series Episode guide Full cast and crew
IMDb TV section IMDb Drama section

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