Balladeer’s Blog’s look at this example of Forgotten Television continues with N.E.T. Playhouse‘s episodes from 1967. For the opening look at the 1966 episodes click HERE.
THE AMOROUS FLEA (January 6th) – Majestic Productions put together this operatic comedy adaptation of Moliere’s play School for Wives. A young woman raised in virtual isolation is competed over by her much older patron and the son of that patron’s best friend. Lew Parker starred in this 90-minute presentation, repeating his stage role as the older suitor Arnolphe.
COMEDY OF ERRORS (January 13th) – This was first aired on British television’s show Festival in 1964. It’s a production of Shakespeare’s comedy, which was itself based on Plautus’ play Menaechmi. Diana Rigg, Donald Sinden, Ian Richardson and others starred. Though many reference sites claim this ran just an hour the actual U.K. site says it’s 90 minutes, having first aired from 9:25PM to 10:55PM.
LAMAMA PLAYWRIGHTS aka THREE FROM LAMAMMA (January 20th) – In this 1 hour & 45 minute episode, New York’s experimental LaMama Theater Club presented three short plays: Pavane by Jean-Claude van Italie, in which social customs are lampooned … Sam Shepard’s Fourteen Hundred Thousand about generation gaps and incompatible visions of “community” … and The Recluse by Paul Foster, about two older women who live together in mutual hostility. The 1st section was performed in a studio, the latter 2 were shot at New York City locations. James Coco and others starred.
THE WORLD OF CARL SANDBURG (January 27th) – An hour-long program which featured Fritz Weaver, Uta Hagen, The Tarriers and Carolyn Hester acting out and singing selections from Carl Sandburg’s poetry and prose. Directed by Kirk Browning.
KNIFE IN THE WATER (February 3rd) – N.E.T. Playhouse aired the 1962 Polish movie Knife in the Water, directed and co-written by Roman Polanski. Leon Niemczyk, Jolanta Umecka and Zygmunt Malanowicz starred in this 94-minute film in which a husband and wife pick up a young male hitchhiker and take him with them on their boating trip. Tension develops as the wife and the hitchhiker develop undeniable sexual chemistry.
UNCLE VANYA (February 10th) – A 1963 theatrically released film version of Anton Chekhov’s classic play. The cast included Laurence Olivier, Rosemary Harris, Michael Redgrave, Fay Compton, Sybil Thorndyke and Robert Lang. This was a 90 minute presentation.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (February 17th) – Often hailed as an example of being unfailingly faithful to the source material, this was a 90-minute performance of the Oscar Wilde play about multiple men hiding behind the name Ernest as their alias in 1890s London. The production starred John Gielgud, Patrick Macnee, Susannah York, Pamela Brown and others.
THE WORLD OF KURT WEILL (February 24th) – An hour-long tribute from Lotte Lenya to her late husband, composer Kurt Weill. George Voskovec joins her as they recount Kurt’s life story through some of his songs, like Mac the Knife, Alabama Song, Foolish Heart and others. Features plenty of songs from The Three-Penny Opera and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahoggany.
THE MASTER OF SANTIAGO (March 3rd) – Adaptation of French playwright Henri de Montherlant’s work. Set in Spain during the 1500s, the story deals with Don Alvaro’s sacrifice of his daughter’s happiness and his own humanity in service to his religious ideals. This 65-minute production featured Lloyd Bochner and others.
THE BATTLE OF CULLODEN (March 10th) – This was a documentary which, with the participation of battle reenactment enthusiasts, recreated the Battle of Culloden from April 16th, 1746. It ran for 75 minutes and examined the final battle in the Scottish Jacobite uprising.
USTINOV AD LIB (March 17th) – Peter Ustinov displayed his distinctive ad-libbing talents alongside Dudley Moore and Anthony Hopkins in this one-hour stage production. Ustinov and Moore’s segment deals with a mock attempt to mount an opera version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Other segments dealt with parodies of famous composers. Ustinov Ad Lib originally aired on the U.K. series Sunday Night in April of 1966.
THE OLD GLORY: BENITO CERENO (March 24th) – A two-hour adaptation of Robert Lowell’s play, which was itself based on Herman Melville’s novel Benito Cereno. The story deals with a New England whaler encountering a Spanish slave ship on which an uprising takes place. The cast included Roscoe Lee Browne, Frank Langella and others.
PAST INTRUDING (March 31st) – A Japanese film produced during the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. Directed by Tsutomu Konno, it dealt with a psychiatrist dredging up memories of a horrible World War Two experience. 55 minutes.
MISALLIANCE (April 7th) – Adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s satire about British “mating” attitudes among other topics. Richard Dysart starred in this 2 hour long production.
SPONONO (April 14th) – Taped stage play performed at the Cort Theater by the original South African cast during its American tour. The play was adapted by South African writer Alan Paton and Krishna Shah from three of Paton’s short stories in Tales from a Troubled Land. The story was set in a boys’ reformatory in Johannesburg. 2 hours.
ORPHEUS IN THE UNDERWORLD (April 28th) – This was a 1 hr and 45 min rebroadcast of a 1961 British production by Granada Television. June Bronhill starred as Eurydice with Kevin Miller as Orpheus in this adaptation of Offenbach’s comic opera which depicts the legendary lovers as a couple who have grown bored with each other.
A MOTHER FOR JANEK (May 5th) – An adaptation of Victor Ullman’s play about a refugee from the failed 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The man has come to America, where he tries to find a mother for his 12-year-old nephew named Janek. 1 hour.
ACQUIT OR HANG! (May 12th) – This was a dramatization of the five-and-a-half-day court martial of 10 mutineers from the HMS Bounty. The trial was held on board the HMS Duke in September of 1792. John Hurt, Derek Francis, Michael Beint and others starred in this 90-minute production.
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT (May 19th) – Adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s novel. Directed by Stanley Miller and starring Patrick Wymark, Douglas Wilmer, Julia Foster, Peter Dowles and David Collins. 90 minutes.
BALLET DALA (May 26th) – A 1-hour presentation of some of the world’s greatest ballet dancers of the time performing excerpts from assorted ballets. Featured dancers from the Bolshoi Ballet of Moscow, the Royal Ballet of London, the Royal Danish Ballet, and the Paris Opera Ballet.
DUKE ELLINGTON – A CONCERT ON SACRED MUSIC (June 16th) – A 1-hour selection of videotaped portions from Ellington’s concert at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral. Jon Hendricks and Esther Marrow were also featured performing numbers from Overture to Black, Brown and Beige, and My People.
THE VICTORIANS (June 23rd-August 11th) – For 8 weeks, N.E.T. Playhouse aired 1 of the hour-long episodes of the British television miniseries The Victorians. The episode titles were The Rent Day, London Assurance, Society, The Ticket-of-Leave Man, Two Roses, Still Waters Run Deep, The Silver Ring and Sweet Lavendar. Most of the source material came from plays produced in England from the 1830s to 1880s.
THE TALE OF GENJI (September 8th-October 27th) – Another 8 week run of hour-long episodes, this time of a Japanese television adaptation of Genji Monogatari, written in the 12th Century. The story dealt with the experiences of the handsome and personable Prince Genji, whose romantic pursuits include his father’s young wife. His angry father exiles him from the court and forces him to live as a commoner, so Genji becomes a soldier. Ichizo Itami starred. English subtitles.
AN EVENING’S JOURNEY TO CONWAY, MASSACHUSETTS (November 3rd) – Gary Burghoff, Paul Benedict and John Beal are among the cast members in this 75-minute adaptation of Archibald Macleish’s play. A young man learns to appreciate the small town he wants to leave by way of visions of the place’s past, going back to the Revolutionary War. Sort of a “Small Town Carol” meets an ABC After School Special.
NEXT TIME I’LL SING TO YOU (November 10th) – An adaptation of James Saunders’ play, which was based on Raleigh Trevelyan’s book A Hermit Disclosed. The story involved the diary of a real-life hermit in Great Canfield, Essex, England, who lived in isolation for 36 years from the 1880s onward. Performed by the Theatre Group of Los Angeles with no stage props. 2 hours.
A CHOICE OF KINGS (November 24th) – A 65-minute production of John Mortimer’s play about William, the Duke of Normandy, becoming the King of England during the 11th Century. Among the cast were Julian Glover, Michael Craig, Barbara Ewing and Trevor Martin.
DUBLIN ONE (December 1st) – A co-production of the N.E.T. Playhouse and Ireland’s Telefis Eireann, this presented the Abbey Players performing scenes from some of James Joyce’s short stories in Dubliners. Dublin One lasts 75 minutes and, in order to flesh out the program to 88 minutes, was shown with the short film Rabbits are the Friends of Toads, about a 3-year-old boy encountering a howitzer, a machine gun and a hand grenade in his Northern Ireland place of play.
THE SUCCESSOR (December 8th) – Reinhardt Raffalt and Steven Vas wrote this play dramatizing the closed-door deliberations by the College of Cardinals when it comes to selecting a new Pope. Supposedly based loosely on the deliberations that resulted in the elevation of John XXIII to the papacy. Rupert Davies and Alan Wheatley starred. 90 minutes.
INFANCY AND CHILDHOOD (December 15th) – Adapted from Infancy and Childhood, two Thornton Wilder short plays which dealt with communication problems between children and their parents. Infancy starred Fred Gwynne, Tony Hendra and others. Childhood‘s cast included George Rose and Frances Sternhagen. 90 minutes total.
MID-CHANNEL (December 22nd) – A 75-minute production of Arthur Wing Pinero’s 1909 tragedy about a married couple trying to reconcile themselves to their childless union. Bernard Archard and Pauline Jameson starred.
YES IS FOR A VERY YOUNG MAN (December 29th) – The Theater Company of Boston performed Gertrude Stein’s play about a family in the Savoy region of France and their struggles during the Nazi occupation. This production ran 2 hrs and 10 min, with a cast that included Paul Benedict and Lisa Richards.
SOON I WILL EXAMINE THE 1968 EPISODES OF N.E.T. PLAYHOUSE.
FOR MORE FORGOTTEN TELEVISION CLICK HERE.