A magazine writer is sent to Los Angeles to do a feature story on a comedian who is an overnight sensation. He soon discovers that the man who provides such happiness to his viewers is really a braggart, a louse and a heel.

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
... Jerry Giles
... Bill Berkson
Rita Morley ... Peggy Trent
... Belle Giles
Sally Gracie ... Flo Stevens
Carl Frank ... Tom Warner
Marie Stacy ... Hatcheck Girl
Justice Watson ... Headwaiter (as Rudulph Watson)
Victor Rendina ... Harry Gold
Joseph Roman ... Floor Manager
Bill Clifton ... Montgomery - the Piano Player
Charles Reynolds ... Director
Jerry Hackady ... Electrician
Robert Claborne ... Writer
Tom Gorman ... 1st Man
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A magazine writer is sent to Los Angeles to do a feature story on a comedian who is an overnight sensation. He soon discovers that the man who provides such happiness to his viewers is really a braggart, a louse and a heel.

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Drama

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18 May 1953 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

This episode was produced in Anaglyphic (red & blue) 3D. See more »

Connections

Featured in Studio One Documentary (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
warts and all - tense, tough-minded
14 February 2009 | by See all my reviews

This is both a fascinating and disturbing character sketch of a night-club comic attempting to break into television. The story is tense and tough-minded, including an early episode where the comic seduces a woman away from her fiancé. He is frequently manipulative and there is a barely suppressed violence under the surface, as well as deep insecurity about his professional ability to make people laugh, but also about how people off-stage think of him personally. Enter a journalist writing an article on the comic - who turns out to have employed the journalist's ex-girlfriend....

The performances are exceptional. It is well to remember that this was recorded live, which explains some of the minor gaffes here - fortunately, there aren't many. the direction moves the play along well, and we don't feel that we're getting less than we deserve here.

There's also a rather unsettling back-story to all this. I don't think Gleason actually commissioned this script, although he may well have. But even just agreeing to do it involved considerable risk. Because the comedian involved - 'Jerry Giles' - happens to have both a background and a working personality similar to that of - Jackie Gleason. Which makes Gleason's performance essentially autobiographical. And yet he presents himself 'warts and all.' It's hard to say whether this is courage or simply enlargement of ego.

Well, personal issues like that aside, it has to be said that his dramatic performance here is really quite remarkable. And Art Carney plays the antagonistic journalist with a quiet realism. The rest of the cast does pretty good, with Marian Seldes especially strong as Giles' sister.

One last after-thought: Wherever author A.J. Russell got the idea for this, it is interesting that he went on to work several years writing - the Jaackie Gleason Show.


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