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Horace Mann's Miracle (1953)

In the 1850's, the small mid western college of Antioch faces going out of business unless it changes school policy and takes on wealthy clientèle to pay their mounting debts. Their ... See full summary »

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Horace Mann
Mona Bruns
Harry Antrim
Brandon Peters
Joseph Leberman
James Zernecke
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In the 1850's, the small mid western college of Antioch faces going out of business unless it changes school policy and takes on wealthy clientèle to pay their mounting debts. Their stalwart dean, Horace Mann, refuses and would rather go down to defeat than betray his principles. At the moment that all seems lost, a benefactor steps in to rescue them. Written by WesternOne

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8 March 1953 (USA)  »

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Hallmark Hall of Fame: Horace Mann's Miracle (#2.28)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Connections

Edited into Hallmark Hall of Fame (1951) See more »

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Early Serling Melodrama
14 October 2014 | by See all my reviews

It is 1859 in rural Yellow Springs, Ohio. Horace Mann and his wife have come west to start a school, Antioch, on the principle of education for all regardless of background or financial means.

They soon confront the mounting problem of insolvency. The college is broke and faces having to close. One of the trustees proposes charging more for tuition from the wealthy who don't like their children mixing with the lower orders. But Horace will not hear of it.

Horace is deeply touched when one of the students shows up and delivers the contribution from his fellows, $8 and some change.

Eventually, Horace gets the news that his banker, Frank Palmer, has turned him down and not a single supporter can be found. The school will finish the term and then be auctioned off. It is the end of an idea, a dream. It is all too much to bear and Horace takes ill.

Horace prepares to give the school's final commencement speech to the class of 1859 when he gets the news that the school has been auctioned for $40,000 to the only bidder, Frank Palmer. Palmer, who earlier denied support, has inexplicably changed his mind and bought Antioch in order to give it back, thereby saving the school.

Horace gives a rousing speech to the graduating class, announcing that "Antioch has been restored to us." He leaves them with his most famous words, "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity." ----------------- An interesting work revealing what television was like in the early 1950s. The budget is shoestring. The writing shows Serling still working on the craft. It is interesting to see Serling write about his alma mater. He had graduated from Antioch only three years before in 1950. He would include these lines in the Twilight Zone episode, "The Changing of the Guard." Serling would later teach at Antioch College in 1962.

The work is a melodrama and lends itself to overwritten, overly dramatic lines. The lead, Frank Thomas, had been in television and movies for forty years. His performance is a bit stilted and some of the acting from the supporting cast is not always good. Actors occasionally seem to forget their lines or foul them up. The most embarrassing is the announcer in closing. But the show was live, like much of TV in the 1950s, and so the flubs can't be fixed.

The show aired March 8. There is a hilarious commercial in the middle suggesting that we send Hallmark St. Patrick's Day cards to your Irish-American friends.


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