Academy Theatre

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Academy Theatre
Genre Drama
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Curtis Canfield
Original release July 25 – September 12, 1949

Academy Theatre is a drama anthology series that aired on NBC in 1949. It ran for eight weeks as the summer replacement for Chevrolet on Broadway.[1]


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.

Selected episodes[edit]

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.[2]

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.[3]

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.[4]


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Shakespeare at Amherst Retrieved 2011-05-03.
  3. ^ Canfield papers Retrieved 2011-05-03.
  4. ^ Noble experiment. (September 4, 1950). Time Magazine. Retrieved 2011-05-03.

External links[edit]