Action in the Afternoon
|Action in the Afternoon|
|Created by||Charles Vanda|
|Written by||Leslie Urbach|
William R. Cox
|Directed by||Bill Bode|
Mary Elaine Watts
|Narrated by||Blake Ritter|
|Opening theme||Aaron Copland, Billy the Kid (Ballet Suite)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|Executive producer(s)||Hubbell Robinson|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|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.
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. 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.
John Zacherle, who appeared on the show, described it in an interview: "It was a half-hour every afternoon, five days a week. It was really very exciting. The show was set in, I seem to recall, Hubberly [sic], Montana, in the 1880s. They built a lot of outdoor scenery, just false-front buildings, so you could ride in on a horse, and it looked like a town. They'd ride horses outside the studio, and then if there was a shootout, they'd scramble to get inside the studio. There was a barroom, a doctor's office. They had a horseshoe man, a newspaper man, a lady who ran the bar. They were the regulars. But every week, some stranger would come to town -- mostly nasty people who were trying to steal something. By Friday, the stranger would either end up in jail or chased out of town... or married. Ha ha! Then on Monday, another stranger would come into town, and they'd start all over again."
- "Action in the Afternoon". Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. 2005. Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-10.
- "The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia". Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-10.
- Vogel, Mark (2016). Monster Mash: The Creepy, Kooky Monster Craze in America 1957-1972. Raleigh, NC: TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 17–18. ISBN 1-60549-064-4.
- "The New Shows". Time. 1953-02-23. Retrieved 2008-08-10.
- 1953: Action In the Afternoon - Video Vault News Story - WCAU - Philadelphia - Includes a streaming episode of Action in the Afternoon.
- Action in the Afternoon on IMDb