The Alcoa Hour

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The Alcoa Hour
Laurence Harvey Diane Cilento The Small Servant Alcoa Hour 1955.jpg
Laurence Harvey and Diane Cilento in "The Small Servant", 1955.
Genre Anthology
Directed by Kirk Browning
Norman Felton
Herbert Hirschman
Sidney Lumet
Robert Mulligan
Composer(s) Gian Carlo Menotti
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 52 (list of episodes)
Producer(s) Herbert Brodkin
Samuel Chotzinoff
Joel Spector
Running time 47–50 minutes
Original channel NBC
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original release October 16, 1955 (1955-10-16) – September 22, 1957 (1957-09-22)
Related shows Alcoa Theatre

The Alcoa Hour is an American anthology television series that was aired live on NBC from 1955 to 1957. The series was sponsored by Alcoa.


Like the Philco Television Playhouse and Goodyear Television Playhouse that had preceded it, The Alcoa Hour was a one-hour live dramatic anthology series presenting both original stories and adaptations of popular works. The three series were essentially the same, with the only real difference being the name of the sponsor.

The series alternated weeks in the same time slot with the Goodyear Television Playhouse until both series ended in 1957.

Notable episodes[edit]

One of the series' memorable episodes was the December 23, 1956, telecast of The Stingiest Man in Town, a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, starring Basil Rathbone as Scrooge and Martyn Green as Bob Cratchit. It was the only Alcoa Hour production to be granted an original cast album recording. The Stingiest Man in Town was remade in 1978 as a Rankin-Bass animated cartoon, featuring the voice of Walter Matthau as Scrooge.

The series' premiere episode, The Black Wings, marked the American TV debut of Ann Todd.[1]

The show garnered press in February 1956 for actor Lloyd Bridges' emotional performance in an episode titled "Tragedy in a Temporary Town", directed by Sidney Lumet.[2] During the performance, Bridges inadvertently slipped some profanity in while ad-libbing.[3] Although the slip of the lip generated hundreds of complaints, the episode won a Robert E. Sherwood Television Award, with Bridges' slip being defended even by some members of the clergy.[3][4][5] The episode, during which an innocent Puerto Rican man is targeted by a mob for a sexual crime, was cited by the Anti-Defamation League as "the best dramatic program of the year dealing with interethnic group relations."[4]


Series Overview[edit]

Season Episodes Season Premiere Season Finale
1 24 October 16, 1955 (1955-10-16) September 2, 1956 (1956-09-02)
2 28 September 16, 1956 (1956-09-16) September 22, 1957 (1957-09-22)

Season 1 (1955-56)[edit]

Season 2 (1956-57)[edit]

Notable Actors[edit]

Actors appearing in the series included: