The Alcoa Hour

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The Alcoa Hour
Laurence Harvey Diane Cilento The Small Servant Alcoa Hour 1955.jpg
Laurence Harvey and Diane Cilento in "The Small Servant", 1955.
Genre Anthology
Directed by Kirk Browning
Norman Felton
Herbert Hirschman
Sidney Lumet
Robert Mulligan
Composer(s) Gian Carlo Menotti
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 52 (list of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) Herbert Brodkin
Samuel Chotzinoff
Joel Spector
Running time 47–50 minutes
Release
Original network NBC
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original release October 16, 1955 (1955-10-16) – September 22, 1957 (1957-09-22)
Chronology
Related shows Alcoa Theatre

The Alcoa Hour is an American anthology television series that was aired live on NBC from 1955 to 1957. The series was sponsored by Alcoa.

Overview[edit]

Like the Philco Television Playhouse and Goodyear Television Playhouse that had preceded it, The Alcoa Hour was a one-hour live dramatic anthology series presenting both original stories and adaptations of popular works. The three series were essentially the same, with the only real difference being the name of the sponsor.

The series alternated weeks in the same time slot with the Goodyear Television Playhouse until both series ended in 1957.

Notable episodes[edit]

One of the series' memorable episodes was the December 23, 1956, telecast of The Stingiest Man in Town, a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, starring Basil Rathbone as Scrooge and Martyn Green as Bob Cratchit. It was the only Alcoa Hour production to be granted an original cast album recording. The Stingiest Man in Town was remade in 1978 as a Rankin-Bass animated cartoon, featuring the voice of Walter Matthau as Scrooge.

The series' premiere episode, The Black Wings, marked the American TV debut of Ann Todd.[1]

The show garnered press in February 1956 for actor Lloyd Bridges' emotional performance in an episode titled "Tragedy in a Temporary Town", directed by Sidney Lumet.[2] During the performance, Bridges inadvertently slipped some profanity in while ad-libbing.[3] Although the slip of the lip generated hundreds of complaints, the episode won a Robert E. Sherwood Television Award, with Bridges' slip being defended even by some members of the clergy.[3][4][5] The episode, during which an innocent Puerto Rican man is targeted by a mob for a sexual crime, was cited by the Anti-Defamation League as "the best dramatic program of the year dealing with interethnic group relations."[4]

Episodes[edit]

Series overview[edit]

Season Episodes Season Premiere Season Finale
1 24 October 16, 1955 (1955-10-16) September 2, 1956 (1956-09-02)
2 28 September 16, 1956 (1956-09-16) September 22, 1957 (1957-09-22)

Season 1 (1955-56)[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Guest Stars Original air date
1 1 "The Black Wings" Wendell Corey, Robert Flemyng, Ann Todd October 16, 1955 (1955-10-16)
2 2 "The Small Servant" Laurence Harvey, Halliwell Hobbes, Diane Cilento October 30, 1955 (1955-10-30)
3 3 "A Girl Can Tell" Diana Lynn, Natalie Trundy, Carleton Carpenter November 13, 1955 (1955-11-13)
4 4 "Thunder in Washington" Melvyn Douglas, Ed Begley November 27, 1955 (1955-11-27)
5 5 "Undertow" Robert Preston, Teresa Wright, John Kerr, Thomas Mitchell December 11, 1955 (1955-12-11)
6 6 "Amahl and the Night Visitors" Rosemary Kuhlman, David Aiken, Leon Lishner, Andrew McKinley December 25, 1955 (1955-12-25)
7 7 "Man on a Tiger" Melvyn Douglas, Tony Randall, Keenan Wynn January 8, 1956 (1956-01-08)
8 8 "A Patch of Faith" Lee J. Cobb, Theodore Bikel, Lilia Skala January 22, 1956 (1956-01-22)
9 9 "Long After Summer" Robert Preston, Susan Kohner February 5, 1956 (1956-02-05)
10 10 "Tragedy in Temporary Town" Ed Binns, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Emhardt February 19, 1956 (1956-02-19)
11 11 "Man on Fire" Tom Ewell, Patricia Barry, Neva Patterson, Ed Begley March 4, 1956 (1956-03-04)
12 12 "Doll Face" Gene Lyons, Nancy Malone, Glenda Farrell March 18, 1956 (1956-03-18)
13 13 "Finkle's Contest" David Opatoshu, Hans Conried, Norman Fell April 1, 1956 (1956-04-01)
14 14 "Even the Weariest River" Lee Grant, Boris Karloff, Christopher Plummer, Jason Robards April 15, 1956 (1956-04-15)
15 15 "Paris and Mrs. Perlman" Gertrude Berg, Claude Dauphin April 29, 1956 (1956-04-29)
16 16 "The President" Claude Rains, Mildred Dunnock, Everett Sloane May 13, 1956 (1956-05-13)
17 17 "The Confidence Man" Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy May 27, 1956 (1956-05-27)
18 18 "The Magic Horn" Ralph Meeker, Sal Mineo June 10, 1956 (1956-06-10)
19 19 "The Archangel Harrigan" Darren McGavin, Frank Aletter, Pat Hingle, Janice Rule June 24, 1956 (1956-06-24)
20 20 "The Piper of St. James" Brenda Forbes, Barry Jones, Patrick O'Neal July 8, 1956 (1956-07-08)
21 21 "Sister" Gladys Cooper, Cathleen Nesbitt, Vincent Price July 22, 1956 (1956-07-22)
22 22 "Kiss and Tell" Robin Morgan, Warren Berlinger August 5, 1956 (1956-08-05)
23 23 "The Big Vote" Ed Begley, Walter Matthau August 19, 1956 (1956-08-19)
24 24 "The Girl in Chapter One" James Daly, Joanne Woodward September 2, 1956 (1956-09-02)

Season 2 (1956-57)[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Guest Stars Original air date
25 1 "Flight Into Danger" Patricia Barry, Macdonald Carey September 16, 1956 (1956-09-16)
26 2 "The Big Wave" Hume Cronyn, Carol Lynley, Rip Torn September 30, 1956 (1956-09-30)
27 3 "Key Largo" Anne Bancroft, Lorne Greene, Victor Jory October 14, 1956 (1956-10-14)
28 4 "Morning's At Seven" Dorothy Gish, Lillian Gish, David Wayne November 4, 1956 (1956-11-04)
29 5 "Merry Christmas, Mr. Baxter" Margaret Hamilton, Dennis King, John McGiver December 2, 1956 (1956-12-02)
30 6 "Adventure in Diamonds" Gary Merrill, Viveca Lindfors December 9, 1956 (1956-12-09)
31 7 "The Stingiest Man in Town" Basil Rathbone, Vic Damone December 23, 1956 (1956-12-23)
32 8 "A Double Life" Shelley Winters, Nina Foch, Eric Portman January 6, 1957 (1957-01-06)
33 9 "Ride the Wild Mare" Lloyd Bridges, Betty Field, Edward Andrews January 20, 1957 (1957-01-20)
34 10 "No License to Kill (I)" Hume Cronyn, Eileen Heckart, Carl Betz, Jack Klugman February 3, 1957 (1957-02-03)
35 11 "The Animal Kingdom" Robert Preston, Joanne Linville February 17, 1957 (1957-02-17)
36 12 "The Last Train to Pusan" Gary Merrill, Virginia Kaye, Philip Ahn March 3, 1957 (1957-03-03)
37 13 "The Original Miss Chase" Nanette Fabray, Darren McGavin March 17, 1957 (1957-03-17)
38 14 "The Big Build-Up" E.G. Marshall, George Peppard, Jason Robards March 31, 1957 (1957-03-31)
39 15 "Nothing to Lose" Ralph Bellamy, James Whitmore April 14, 1957 (1957-04-14)
40 16 "Mechanical Manhunt" Sallie Brophy, Richard Kiley April 28, 1957 (1957-04-28)
41 17 "Protege" Skip Homeier, Betsy Palmer, Ed Wynn May 19, 1957 (1957-05-19)
42 18* TBA TBA June 2, 1957 (1957-06-02)
43 19 "Mrs. Gilling and the Skyscraper" Helen Hayes, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Jack Klugman June 9, 1957 (1957-06-09)
44 20 "Awake With Fear" Eddie Bracken, Henry Jones June 23, 1957 (1957-06-23)
45 21 "Hostages to Fortune" Anne Bancroft, Rip Torn July 7, 1957 (1957-07-07)
46 22 "He's For Me" Roddy McDowall, Larry Blyden, Elaine Stritch July 21, 1957 (1957-07-21)
47 23 "Weekend in Vermont" Patricia Barry, Tony Randall August 4, 1957 (1957-08-04)
48 24 "The Trouble With Women" Audrey Christie, Walter Matthau August 11, 1956 (1956-08-11)
49 25 "The Littlest Little Leaguer" Jacob Kalich, Peter Lazer, Nehemiah Persoff August 25, 1957 (1957-08-25)
50 26 "No License to Kill (II)" Eddie Albert, Maureen Stapleton September 1, 1957 (1957-09-01)
51 27 "14 October 1864" Alan Nixon, James Pritchett, Clu Gulager September 15, 1957 (1957-09-15)
52 28 "Night" E.G. Marshall, Jason Robards, Franchot Tone September 22, 1957 (1957-09-22)

*No information found for this episode.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present. Ballantine Books. 2003. p. 27. ISBN 0-345-45542-8. 
  2. ^ "Actor's Slip Of Tongue Keeps TV Viewers Arguing". The Hartford Courant. 9 March 1956. p. 9. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Profanity Ad-libbed by Emotional Actor". The Leader-Post. Associated Press. 20 February 1956. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Newcomb, Horace (2004). Encyclopedia of Television. CRC Press. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-57958-411-5. 
  5. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (10 March 2004). A Critical History of Television's The Red Skelton Show, 1951-1971. McFarland. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-7864-1732-2. 

External links[edit]