Well done--and an unfortunately forgotten episode in our history.
"Studio One" was an amazing show. Each episode was a live teleplay--like a mini-movie performed in one take on national television. Many of the shows were wonderful plays that later went on to become movie classics (such as "12 Angry Men")--and of the several dozen episodes I have seen (many are not now available), they have been uniformly excellent.
While "The Trial of John Peter Zenger" is not one of the more famous episodes in this series, it's among the best. It's about a real episode of American history--one that laid the foundations for our First Amendment and its guarantee of freedom of the press. In the mid-1700s in Colonial America, it seems that a publisher, Zenger, printed a newspaper critical of the Royal Governor of New York. While the articles were essentially true, Zenger was jailed for eight months without a trial. When he finally was tried, he was accused of libel--though his lawyer was able to establish the concept that libel can only apply when the written words are untrue--and the case was dismissed. In this teleplay, Eddie Albert played Zenger but the real standout was the man who played his lawyer, Mr. Hamilton (John W. Austin). Austin's performance was magnetic--and when he got wound up, you really are mesmerized by his eloquence. Well worth seeing--and very well made.
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