Alcoa Premiere

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Alcoa Premiere
Also known asPremiere, Presented by Fred Astaire
Directed byJohn Brahm
Robert Florey
John Ford
Robert Ellis Miller
George Schaefer
Alex Segal
Presented byFred Astaire
Theme music composerJohn Williams
ComposerJohn Williams
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes57
Executive producerAlfred Hitchcock (episode "The Jail")
ProducersFrank Baur (1961-62)
Everett Freeman (1962)
Eric Ambler (1962)
John C. Champion (1962)
Joan Harrison (episode "The Jail")(1962)
George Schaefer (1962)
Richard Berg (1963)
Collier Young (1963)
EditorsRichard Belding (1961-62)
Tony Martinelli (1962)
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time60 mins.
Production companyAvasta Productions Revue Studios/MCA-TV
Original release
ReleaseOctober 10, 1961 (1961-10-10) –
July 21, 1963 (1963-07-21)
The Alcoa Hour
Alcoa Theatre

Alcoa Premiere (also known as Premiere, Presented by Fred Astaire[citation needed] ) is an American anthology drama series that aired from October 10, 1961, to September 12, 1963, on ABC. The series was hosted by Fred Astaire, who also starred in several of the episodes.[1]


Each episode presented a new story, with no overriding theme to the series as a whole. While some episodes were light entertainment, and at least one variety show was aired, the dramatic episodes often offered powerful stories on painful or controversial subjects as opposed to classic drama. The series showcased writers such as Ray Bradbury, Howard Rodman, Ernest Kinoy, Donald S. Sanford, Alfred Bester, and Gene L. Coon, amongst others. The program also featured actors such as James Stewart, John Wayne, Charlton Heston, James Whitmore, Maureen O'Sullivan, Arthur Kennedy and Ray Milland. Both Stewart and Wayne appeared in an episode directed by John Ford.[citation needed]

The premiere telecast, "People Need People" starred Lee Marvin and Arthur Kennedy. Alex Segal was its director.[1]

Several Alcoa Premiere episodes were actually pilots for TV shows, often produced by other hands and picked up as anthology episodes by Alcoa. Most of these pilots went no further than their appearance on Alcoa Premiere, but two series (Channing[citation needed] and McHale's Navy[2]) were developed from the pilot films shown on this anthology series.[citation needed]

One first-season episode ("The Jail") had been produced with the intention of airing as an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, but was shown on Alcoa Premiere instead. The episode was written by Ray Bradbury and produced by the AHP crew, with Hitchcock credited as executive producer of the aired episode.[citation needed]

Broadcast history[edit]

During its first season, the show was broadcast on Tuesday evenings at 10:00 pm. The show moved to Thursday evenings at the same time for its second season.[1]


The anthology was nominated for 14 Emmy Awards during its two-year run.[3]

Episode Award Season Nomination
"People Need People" 1961-1962 Outstanding Drama Program
"People Need People" 1961-1962 Lee Marvin, Outstanding Single Performance by a Lead Actor
"People Need People" 1961-1962 Alex Segal, Outstanding Directing in Drama
"People Need People" 1961-1962 Henry F. Greenberg, Outstanding Writing in Drama
Alcoa Premiere 1961-1962 John Williams, Outstanding Music
"The Voice of Charlie Pont" 1962-1963 Program of the Year
Alcoa Premiere 1962-1963 Outstanding Drama Program
"The Voice of Charlie Pont" 1962-1963 Bradford Dillman, Outstanding Single Performance by a Leading Actor
"The Voice of Charlie Pont" 1962-1963 Diana Hyland, Outstanding Single Performance by a Leading Actress
"The Voice of Charlie Pont" 1962-1963 Robert Redford, Outstanding Supporting Actor
"The Voice of Charlie Pont" 1962-1963 Robert Ellis Miller, Outstanding Directing in Drama
"The Voice of Charlie Pont" 1962-1963 Halsted Welles, Outstanding Writing in Drama
Alcoa Premiere 1962-1963 John Williams, Outstanding Music
"Flashing Spikes" 1962-1963 Richard Belding, Howard Epstein & Tony Martinelli, Outstanding Film Editing


Season 1 (1961–62)[edit]

No. in
No. in
TitleWriter(s)Guest StarsOriginal air date
11"People Need People"Henry F. GreenbergLee Marvin, James Gregory, Arthur KennedyOctober 10, 1961 (1961-10-10)
Dr. Harry Wilmer has just 10 days to prove his radical method of treating violent war veterans will work.
22"The Fugitive Eye"Charlotte Jay (story)
John Marcus (teleplay)
Charlton Heston, Leo G. CarrollOctober 17, 1961 (1961-10-17)
Paul Malone wakes up in a forest to find an empty limousine, a dead chauffeur and three unsavory characters staring at him.
33"The Fortress"Wallace L. Brown (story)
John Kneubuhl (teleplay)
Lloyd Bridges, Philip Ahn, James ShigetaOctober 24, 1961 (1961-10-24)
Shot down during the Korean War, Lt. Brown is held captive in a basement where the light is never turned off. They won't treat his mangled leg unless he gives his captors a confession.
44"Moment of Decision"Stanley Ellin (story)
Larry Marcus, Porter Putnam, K.H. Lindsay (teleplay)
Fred Astaire, Maureen O'SullivanNovember 7, 1961 (1961-11-07)
Hugh Lozier asks for help from a mysterious man to deal with his obnoxious neighbors.
55"Family Outing"Howard RodmanLin McCarthy, Nancy Olson, Michael BurnsNovember 14, 1961 (1961-11-14)
Six astronauts have been trained for the first one-man space flight and the day of the final choice has arrived.
66"The Witch Next Door"Ernest KinoySusan Gordon, James WhitmoreNovember 28, 1961 (1961-11-28)
The Collins family has a mysterious next-door neighbor and she seems to have cast a spell on young Julie Collins.
77"The Breaking Point"Bob BarbashBrian Keith, Brad Dexter, Mary MurphyDecember 5, 1961 (1961-12-05)
An ex-convict seems to be guilty of murder until the cop realizes that only the victim's wife profits from his death.
88"Delbert, Texas"Peter Tewksbury, James LeightonDavid Wayne, Florence MacMichaelDecember 12, 1961 (1961-12-12)
Frank and Ruth Willoughby are determined to find out why their son's college grades have suddenly dropped.
99"End of a World"David KarpRobert Loggia, Andrew Prine, Russell JohnsonDecember 19, 1961 (1961-12-19)
The events leading up to the Sarajevo Assassination in 1914 of Archduke Ferdinand which triggered World War I are seen through the eyes of three men.
1010"The Cake Baker"Peggy Shaw, Lou ShawShelley Winters, Ed NelsonDecember 26, 1961 (1961-12-26)
A housewife is always daydreaming even on the night her young daughter runs away from home.
1111"Pattern of Guilt"Helen NielsenRay Milland, Joanna MooreJanuary 9, 1962 (1962-01-09)
A reporter covers a series of murders all perpetrated against spinsters.
1212"The Hour of the Bath"Donald S. SanfordRobert Fuller, Barbara LunaJanuary 16, 1962 (1962-01-16)
American agricultural expert Henry Detweiler is a prisoner of Vietnam under sentence of death.
1313"The Jail"Ray BradburyJohn Gavin, Bettye Ackerman, Barry MorseFebruary 6, 1962 (1962-02-06)
In this future time a young man is charged with an offense against the state and marshaled into a huge building crammed with banks and banks of computers. These computers absorb and assess the evidence, circumstances and facts in his case -- and all of them are operated by one master button-pusher. Originally intended as an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and shot, directed and produced by the AHP crew. Hitchcock is credited as executive producer of this episode.
1414"Mr. Easy"Matt Taylor (story)
James Brewer, Claude Binyon (teleplay)
Fred Astaire, Joanna BarnesFebruary 13, 1962 (1962-02-13)
Andrew Whitbeck is bored with his successful business and decides to chuck it all and "enjoy himself" by becoming a cartoonist -- which is more demanding than he realizes.
1515"The Man With A Shine On His Shoes"Prentiss CombsHenry Hull, Peter HelmFebruary 20, 1962 (1962-02-20)
An elderly drifter decides to get work on the town newspaper because he believes he is the greatest typesetter in the world.
1616"The Doctor"Robert Yale LibottRichard Kiley, Cloris LeachmanFebruary 27, 1962 (1962-02-27)
A doctor stops to give aid to an injured man, and is shortly thereafter hit with a $100,000 malpractice suit.
1717"Of This Time, Of This Place"Lionel Trilling (story)
Larry Marcus (teleplay)
Henry Jones, Jason EversMarch 6, 1962 (1962-03-06)
A college teacher's new job is made difficult by a brilliant, but uncompromising, student. This is the pilot for the eventual 1963/64 series Channing, which starred both Jones and Evers.
1818"Second Chances"Harold SwantonCliff Robertson, Earl Holliman, Andrew PrineMarch 13, 1962 (1962-03-13)
Hoby Dunlap was acquitted of treason during the Korean War, but Hoby's efforts to enter a rodeo contest are blocked by officials who fear audiences won't come see a "traitor".
1919"The Tiger"John Durham, Harold SwantonGary Merrill, Keir DulleaMarch 20, 1962 (1962-03-20)
Someone is trying to kill Jim Hunter -- quite possibly, one of his daughter's boy friends.
2020"Seven Against the Sea"Albert AleyErnest Borgnine, Gary VinsonApril 3, 1962 (1962-04-03)
During WWII, a stranded group of American PT boat crewmen hide out on a remote South Pacific island controlled by the Japanese Navy. This drama served as a pilot for the eventual 1962-66 comedy series McHale's Navy, which starred Borgnine.
2121"A Very Custom Special"Phillip ShukenJ. Pat O'Malley, True EllisonApril 10, 1962 (1962-04-10)
On the night of his daughter's debutante party, a man is wiped out by the 1929 stock-market crash.
2222"All My Clients Are Innocent"Jameson Brewer, Jack FinneyBarry Morse, Vic Morrow, Joan StaleyApril 17, 1962 (1962-04-17)
Convinced that a wife can ruin a career, San Francisco criminal lawyer Max McIntire tries to stop his partner's marriage. Pilot for an unsold series, produced by Ralph Edwards.
2323"Rules of the Game"Alvin BoretzHugh O'Brien, Bethel LeslieMay 1, 1962 (1962-05-01)
A newspaper editor discovers a man he helped to send to the electric chair was innocent.
2424"Cry Out in Silence"Fred Remington (story)
Alvin Boretz (teleplay)
Celeste Holm, David McLeanMay 15, 1962 (1962-05-15)
After having her larynx removed due to cancer, a woman struggles to learn to speak again.
2525"A Place to Hide"John Hawkins, Ward HawkinsJoan Hackett, Dean StockwellMay 22, 1962 (1962-05-22)
The nervous nature of a new housekeeper arouses the suspicions of her employers.
2626"The Boy Who Wasn't Wanted"John Hawkins, Ward HawkinsDana Andrews, Billy MumyJune 5, 1962 (1962-06-05)
After arresting a burglar, a police detective feels responsible for the welfare of the robber's young son.
2727"It Takes a Thief"Arthur Miller (story)
Oscar Millard (teleplay)
Edward Andrews, Constance FordJune 19, 1962 (1962-06-19)
A robbery victim worries that he'll be in serious trouble if the police find out about one particular item stolen from his safe.
2828"The Time of the Tonsils"Bob Corcoran, Jerry LaytonEddie Albert, Butch PatrickJune 26, 1962 (1962-06-26)
An orphanage director takes two children to have their tonsils out, and discovers that his must go too.

Season 2 (1962–63)[edit]

No. in
No. in
TitleWriter(s)Guest StarsOriginal air date
291"Flashing Spikes"Frank O'Rourke (story)
Jameson Brewer (teleplay)
John Wayne, James Stewart, Jack WardenOctober 4, 1962 (1962-10-04)
302"Guest in the House"Philip MacDonald (story)
James Gunn (teleplay)
Fred Astaire, Susan Gordon, Lloyd BochnerOctober 11, 1962 (1962-10-11)
313"The Long Walk Home"Everett FreemanLin McCarthy, Nancy RennickOctober 18, 1962 (1962-10-18)
324"The Voice of Charlie Pont"Douglas Fairbairn (story)
Halsted Welles (teleplay)
Bradford Dillman, Diana Hyland, Robert RedfordOctober 25, 1962 (1962-10-25)
335"Mr. Lucifer"Alfred BesterFred Astaire, Elizabeth MontgomeryNovember 1, 1962 (1962-11-01)
346"The Masked Marine"Robert Leckie (story)
John Kneubuhl, Joseph Petracca (teleplay)
Harry Guardino, James CaanNovember 8, 1962 (1962-11-08)
357"Ordeal in Darkness"William McGivern, Richard FielderKeir Dullea, Richard ConteNovember 15, 1962 (1962-11-15)
368"Whatever Happened to Miss Illinois?"Alvin BoretzCarol Lynley, Anthony George, Arch JohnsonNovember 22, 1962 (1962-11-22)
379"The Hands of Danofrio"Larry Marcus (story)
James Gunn (teleplay)
Joseph Campanella, Telly SavalasNovember 29, 1962 (1962-11-29)
3810"The Contenders"James LeeSuzanne Pleshette, Signe Hasso, Ed AsnerDecember 6, 1962 (1962-12-06)
3911"The Way From Darkness"Oscar MillardShelley Winters, Joan HackettDecember 13, 1962 (1962-12-13)
4012"The Potentate"William Fennerton (story)
David Karp (teleplay)
Theodore Bikel, Milton SelzerDecember 20, 1962 (1962-12-20)
4113"Blues For a Hanging"John Hawkins, Ward Hawkins (story)
John Hawkins (teleplay)
Fred Astaire, Janis PaigeDecember 27, 1962 (1962-12-27)
4214"Impact of an Execution"Saul Levitt, Mark RodgersRalph Bellamy, Ruby DeeJanuary 3, 1963 (1963-01-03)
4315"Lollipop Louie"Fred F. FinklehoffeAldo Ray, Kurt KasznarJanuary 10, 1963 (1963-01-10)
4416"The Glass Palace"Gilbert RalstonRicardo Montalbán, Anne FrancisJanuary 17, 1963 (1963-01-17)
4517"Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks"John T. KellyMickey Rooney, John ForsytheJanuary 24, 1963 (1963-01-24)
4618"George Gobel Presents"Howard Leeds, Elton PackardGeorge Gobel, Cliff NortonJanuary 31, 1963 (1963-01-31)
4719"The Hat of Sergeant Martin"Gene L. CoonClaude Akins, Roger PerryFebruary 7, 1963 (1963-02-07)
4820"Blow High, Blow Clear"Harold SwantonTommy Sands, Jane Wyatt, Dan DuryeaFebruary 14, 1963 (1963-02-14)
4921"Chain Reaction"Mitchell WilsonRalph Bellamy, Bradford DillmanFebruary 21, 1963 (1963-02-21)
5022"Hornblower"C.S. Forester (story)
Donald Wilson (teleplay)
David Buck, Nigel GreenFebruary 28, 1963 (1963-02-28)
5123"Jeeney Ray"Iris Dornfield (story)
Richard DeRoy, Iris Dornfield (teleplay)
Brenda Scott, Joanna MooreMarch 14, 1963 (1963-03-14)
5224"The Dark Labyrinth"Lawrence Durrell (story)
Mark Rodgers (teleplay)
Carroll O'Connor, Patrick O'NealMarch 21, 1963 (1963-03-21)
5325"Of Struggle and Flight"Alvin BoretzJanice Rule, Jack Kruschen, Dabney ColemanMarch 28, 1963 (1963-03-28)
5426"The Broken Year"Richard P. Brickner (story)
John Furia, Jr. (teleplay)
Keir Dullea, Shirley KnightApril 4, 1963 (1963-04-04)
5527"This Will Kill You"William FayHoward Morris, Ernest BorgnineApril 11, 1963 (1963-04-11)
5628"Million Dollar Hospital"Oscar Millard, Larry MarcusCharles Bickford, William ShatnerApril 18, 1963 (1963-04-18)
5729"The Town That Died"Richard DeRoy, DeWitt CoppDana Andrews, Gene EvansApril 25, 1963 (1963-04-25)


Alcoa Premiere was filmed.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d 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. ^ Irvin, Richard (September 11, 2017). Film Stars' Television Projects: Pilots and Series of 50+ Movie Greats, 1948-1985. McFarland. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-4766-2843-1. Retrieved September 16, 2023.
  3. ^ O'Neil, Thomas (2000). The Emmys (3rd ed.). New York: Berkley Publishing Group. ISBN 0-399-52611-0.

External links[edit]