I regret that I never did see any episodes of ROBERTY MONTGOMERY PRESENTS. It was on the air from 1950 to 1960 and I was born in 1954, so it was not going to be the sort of television program that I would have watched normally. I don't recall if my parents saw it either. But the show was very well liked, and proved that Robert Montgomery made a very wise choice in 1949 when he decided to stop making movies.
Montgomery was determined to give first rate productions of good dramatic fare to the television audiences. The series started with THE LETTER and included KITTY FOYLE and other well known film titles, but also THE LAST TYCOON and A DIAMOND AS BIG AS THE RITZ showed a refreshing liking for good literature (here F. Scott Fitzgerald). The present title really intrigues me a little - especially as the star of it (presumably playing Cashel Byron) was future Oscar winner Charleton Heston.
Few people realize it today, because he is associated with drama so thoroughly, but George Bernard Shaw wrote a total of five novels in the late 1880s, of which two AN UNSOCIAL SOCIALIST and CASHEL BYRON'S PROFESSION are still read. The former was about a rather crusty musical genius who happened to be a socialist (the character was based on Ludwig Von Beethoven - Shaw was a very acute and clever student of music, and wrote a still highly regarded monograph about Richard Wagner). But CASHEL BYRON'S PROFESSION is usually considered his best novel, dealing with a segment of his native Ireland's population. It is about the world of 19th Century boxing, and was apparently pretty good at setting up the scene of the pugilists of the day. Shaw was proud of the story. He would subsequently turn it into one of his earliest comedies, THE ADMIRABLE BASHFUL. It was also well regarded by fighters. One of the fans of the novel and later the play (who appeared in it) was the heavyweight champion James J. Corbett. In his later years Corbett became a respectable performer, and played Byron on the stage. In fact, if you see the Errol Flynn film GENTLEMAN JIM Flynn starts talking about Shaw's play and begins to perform a scene. I would love to see what Montgomery's production was like.
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