Forbidden Area

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
First edition
(publ. J. B. Lippincott Company)
Cover art by Ed Valigursky

Forbidden Area is a 1956 Cold War thriller novel by Pat Frank. Its plot involves Soviet sleeper agents intended to sabotage the U.S. war effort, who have been trained by classical conditioning to have an American "cover identity" that they can remember as well as their own.[1]

Frank was asked to write a book about a Russian invasion. He said he was inspired by German troops landing in Florida in World War Two.[2]

It was published in a magazine in serialized form as Seven Days to Never.

The New York Times said it "isn't exciting at all".[3]

TV rights were bought by Martin Manulis.[4]

1956 TV Adaptation[edit]

"Forbidden Area"
Playhouse 90 episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 1
Directed byJohn Frankenheimer
Teleplay byRod Serling
Narrated byJack Palance
Produced byMartin Manulis
Original air date1956
Running time90 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
Next →
"Requiem for a Heavyweight"

Rod Serling adapted it for the debut episode of the American television anthology series Playhouse 90, directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Charlton Heston, Diana Lynn, Vincent Price, Victor Jory and Charles Bickford.[5]

Rehearsals began in September 1956. Manulis says he attracted top line talent by giving them an opportunity to play different kinds of roles, like Tab Hunter, who was cast as the villain.[6]

"My acting ability has yet to be proven," said Hunter. "I've played the naive GI so many times that the army should be ready to retire me. Not that I'm ungrateful... I'm grateful to the people who've helped me so far. I'd like to justify their faith in me."[7]

The adaptation was written by Rod Serling who later did Requiem for a Heavyweight for Playhouse 90.[8]


The Washington Post called it a "superb production... brilliantly produced" in which Hunter was "splendid."[9]

Hunter said "I got good notices for my performance but critics were lukewarm overall. It was the following week's instalment... Requiem for a Heavyweight that scored the knockout."[10]

Other Proposed Versions[edit]

CBS had an option to purchase the film rights.[11]

In 1963, it was announced Irving Asher and Ely Landau would turn the novel into a film.[12] The film version was not produced.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Seed, David (2004). Brainwashing: A Study in Cold War Demonology. Kent State University Press. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-87338-813-9.
  2. ^ PAT FRANK, ALERT, FULL OF TIMELY THEMES Hansen, Harry. Chicago Daily Tribune 15 Apr 1956: g12.
  3. ^ Books of The Times: Global Nightmare for a Subject Theory of Life and Courage By ORVILLE PRESCOTT. New York Times 28 Mar 1956: 29.
  4. ^ PAT FRANK NOVEL BOUGHT FOR VIDEO: 'Forbidden Area' Acquired by Manulis for 'Playhouse 90' --'Web' Producer Named New York Times 10 May 1956: 63.
  5. ^ STUDIO CITES RISE IN TV SCRIPT COST: Hal Roach Concern Paying 25% More for Stories Than It Did Last Year New York Times 29 Aug 1956: 42.
  6. ^ Producer Set to-Lift Curtain on Hour-and-Half TV Dramas: Hour-and-a-Half TV Dramas to Bow Smith, Cecil. Los Angeles Times 16 Sep 1956: D1.
  7. ^ WHERE TO DIAL TODAY: Hunter Set to Become TV Villain Fink, John. Chicago Daily Tribune 25 Sep 1956: a10.
  8. ^ Rod Serling's Scripts Hit Like Heavyweight: Rod Serling Puts Punch in Scripts Smith, Cecil. Los Angeles Times 14 Oct 1956: E5.
  9. ^ Playhouse 90 Sprints Ahead of New Season By Lawrence Laurent. The Washington Post and Times Herald 6 Oct 1956: 29.
  10. ^ Hunter, Tab (2006). Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star. Algonquin Books. p. 147.
  11. ^ NEW DISNEY MOVIE TO GO TO THEATRES By THOMAS M. PRYOR The New York Times 22 Oct 1956: 25.
  12. ^ Shooting at 20th Starts on Schedule: 'Take Her, She's Mine' Rolls; Axelrod to Walk 'Starpath' Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 24 Apr 1963:

External links[edit]