Action in the Afternoon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Action in the Afternoon
Genre Western, Drama
Created by Charles Vanda
Written by Leslie Urbach
William R. Cox
Dean Owens
John Fleming
Don Prindle
Clair Roskam
Richard Strome
Directed by Bill Bode
John Ullrich
Starring Jack Valentine
Barry Cassell
Jean Corbett
Harriss Forrest
Blake Ritter
Mary Elaine Watts
Sam Kressen
Chris Keegan
Creighton Stewart
Marvin Stephens
Norman Garfield
Walt Barnes
John Zacherle
David Soren
Narrated by Blake Ritter
Opening theme Aaron Copland, Billy the Kid (Ballet Suite)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
Executive producer(s) Hubbell Robinson
Harry Omerle
Producer(s) Don Lenox
Location(s) Philadelphia
Cinematography Dan Falzani
Ed Harper
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 30 minutes
Original network CBS
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original release February 2, 1953 – January 29, 1954

Action in the Afternoon is an American western television series that aired live on CBS from February 2, 1953 to January 29, 1954. The series originated from the studios and back lot of WCAU, Channel 10 in Philadelphia, and was broadcast Monday through Friday regardless of the weather. The half-hour series aired variously at 3:30 pm or 4:00 pm, throughout its run.


While ad-libbing his pitch for the series to the executives at CBS, Charles Vanda set the story in the fictional town of Huberle, Montana, a name derived from CBS executives Hubbell Robinson and Harry Omerle.[1]

Action in the Afternoon is the only live outdoor western ever to appear on network television in the United States. Other live westerns existed, however Action in the Afternoon was the only one that did not include prerecorded film segments in the program.[2] If things moved along too fast, or actors needed time to move between the indoor and outdoor sets, the time would be filled by Jack Valentine singing with The Tommy Ferguson Trio playing along.

Because the program was live and outdoors, music director Richard Lester (later to direct two Beatles movies) made every effort to hide the sounds of the world beyond the back lot. The sounds of airplanes overhead and trucks backfiring as they drove past the studio were covered with appropriate music. However, during one particular broadcast a very loud unscripted sound was heard, and was soon discovered to be a horse biting one of the many microphones hidden around the outdoor set.[1][2]

Only a few video episodes of Action in the Afternoon remain. They can be viewed at The Paley Center for Media in New York City. One episode can be streamed or downloaded at the Internet Archive.


Three weeks into the broadcast, Time wrote that the "dialogue limps even more obviously than the camera" and that the series is "an experiment that needs a lot more work."[3]


  1. ^ a b "Action in the Afternoon". Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. 2005. Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  2. ^ a b "The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia". Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  3. ^ "The New Shows". Time. 1953-02-23. Retrieved 2008-08-10. 

External links[edit]