|Country of origin||United States|
|Original release||July 25, 1949 – September 12, 1949|
The series utilized a different cast each week who appeared in short works by established playwrights. The plays were broadcast live in 30-minute segments on Monday nights.
|Play Title||Playwright||Original airdate||Cast|
|The Stolen Prince||Dan Totheroh||August 1, 1949||Shirley Dale, Ian MacDonald|
|Drums of Oude||Austin Strong||August 8, 1949||Richard Newton|
|In the Shadow of the Glen||J.M. Synge||August 15, 1949||Anne Jackson|
|Summer Comes to the Diamond O||Robert Finch||August 29, 1949||Jack Davis|
|Aria da Capo||Edna St. Vincent Millay||September 5, 1949||Michael Higgins|
In April 1949, Charles R. Denny, NBC Executive Vice-President and a graduate of Amherst College, arranged for a production of Julius Caesar to be broadcast to 14 cities nationwide. The play was performed by the Amherst College Masquers and directed by F. Curtis Canfield, a professor at Amherst and Director of Amherst's Kirby Theatre. The broadcast marked the first time that an entire play by Shakespeare aired on television.
During the following summer, Canfield (who would later become the first Dean of the Yale School of Drama), again collaborated with NBC to bring a series of one-act plays to the network. Academy Theatre was the result.
During a sabbatical as an NBC producer, Canfield convinced the network to create Masterpiece Playhouse, one-hour productions of seven classic plays including Hedda Gabler, Uncle Vanya, and Othello. Broadcast in 1950, each play was produced for the "heavy-budget" sum of $10,000.
- Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (9th ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
- Shakespeare at Amherst Retrieved 2011-05-03.
- Canfield papers Retrieved 2011-05-03.
- Noble experiment. (September 4, 1950). Time Magazine. Retrieved 2011-05-03.
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