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"General Electric Theater" The Clown (1955)

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Great Example of What Was Not All "Vast Waste Land."

Author: John T. Ryan ( from United States
24 September 2006

This is an episode of weekly television which probably was among the greatest productions on the small screen. We hear so much about PLAYHOUSE 90,WESTINGHOUSE STUDIO ONE,et al,and rightfully so.But we forget the weeklies that had to put a story into the format of a half hour production. These were more truly representative of the medium.

This GE Theatre episode, THE CLOWN, is biographical. The great Henry Fonda portrays World Famous Circus Clown, Emmett Kelly. Now, in a half hour, the whole story could not be dramatized. The telling of life stories in narration form would be left to THIS IS YOUR LIFE and to today's A&E Network. Doing what was just a brief snippet of a life, yet portraying the very tone of years, was truly a sort of art in itself.

In this episode, THE CLOWN, we meet up with Mr.Kelly already a successful Circus Clown, not a newcomer. We see the serious business of being funny and the personal price paid for success. The strains of the life under the Big Top take their toll on one and this includes one's own family.

The writers and director take 30 minutes of Henry Fonda's characterization and leave us with feelings of a lifetime.

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