Studio One in Hollywood: Season 6, Episode 11

Confessions of a Nervous Man (30 Nov. 1953)
"Studio One" Confessions of a Nervous Man (original title)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 17 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 1 critic

On opening night, a playwright sits in a bar interacting with well-wishers and remembering the problems of getting a play ready for Broadway while anxiously awaiting the verdicts of the eight newspaper reviewers.

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Confessions of a Nervous Man (30 Nov 1953) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
George Axelrod ...
Himself - Host
...
The Author
Jerome Kilty ...
The Bartender
...
First Pretty Girl
Bramwell Fletcher ...
The Producer
Fredd Wayne ...
The Agent
Jacqueline Susann ...
The Interviewer
Addison Richards ...
The Lawyer
Anne Francine ...
The Actress
Pat Finch ...
Third Pretty Girl
Robert Middleton ...
The Manager
Carol McCrory ...
Fourth Pretty Girl
...
The Hill Billy Comedian
June Dayton ...
The Author's Wife
Walt Witcover ...
Mr. Atkinson
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On opening night, a playwright sits in a bar interacting with well-wishers and remembering the problems of getting a play ready for Broadway while anxiously awaiting the verdicts of the eight newspaper reviewers.

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Drama

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30 November 1953 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Soundtracks

Introduction from "Le Coq d' Or"
Music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
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User Reviews

 
humorous essay on the art of theater
14 February 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Anther moment when the low rating at IMDb doesn't make much sense.

This is a 1950s television comedy by George Axelrod, as a comment on his experience as a young playwright ("The 7 Year Itch," which was filmed a year after this show and immediately made Marilyn Monroe an iconic figure by having her skirt blown upward by a wind from a subway vent). That in itself makes it historically important. It is also well to remember that this was recorded live - there were no covering takes, what you see is what they did as they did it, which required considerable staging acumen. of course it also involved a number of flaws. While the cast had to be well rehearsed, if they weren't "on" that night, they would fizzle.

But fortunately the cast - made up of recognizable character actors from the New York theater of the time - happens to be very much "on" - especially star Art Carney, who reminds us here why he achieved respect as an actor, his work with Jackie Gleason aside.

Finally the dialog. It is 'sophisticated' in a very 1950s sense, so I suppose that's easily missed now. It is well to remember that "The 7 Year Itch" was a sex farce, and that the original play involved an actual extra-marital affair and not just an infatuation. The audience this is written for would have known that; consequently the implications of the fantasy sequences (where the Author imagines how "Itch" would play in other countries) would have played like the racier cartoons in Esquire.

The writing is clearly something of a 'throwaway' for Axelrod - not intended as "deathless prose," but something along the lines of a humorous essay, like that Thurber was well-known for. But of course, most people have forgotten Thurber, or what "humor" once meant in literary and dramatic terms, so perhaps the low rating here is understandable - it reflects a culture that has forgotten how to laugh and which has developed such bad taste that 'sophistication' is a pointless exercise.

Ah, me... well, I had fun watching this, and if you can put aside current biases, you might too.


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