Thursday, February 14, 2013

"The Comedian" with Mel Torme and Mickey Rooney (1957)

Playhouse 90 was one of the greatest shows ever on television. With a weekly format of 90 minutes, this show offered first rate entertainment from some of the leading; and also upcoming; writers of the era. This classic episode was written by Rod Serling and Ernest Lehman; and directed by John Frankenheimer; and aired on February 14, 1957; fifty-six years ago today. If you have never seen it, you should. You can watch it here, or on You Tube. Naturally, I would prefer you watch it here.

In it, Mickey Rooney plays TV Comedian Sammy Hogarth, who may be a top notch entertainer, but is a lousy human being. Mel Torme plays his brother-in-law, and assistant, which only places him in Sammy’s crosshairs at all times. He is meek, and condescending, bowing to the financial reward of working for Sammy. But with that position comes a price, which is something he must learn the hard way.

Edmond O'Brien, one of the most underrated actors ever, plays Al Patterson, Sammy’s lead writer who is almost driven to the brink of suicide by the utter insanity and impossible demands of his browbeating and sadistic boss.

Richard Joy and Kim Hunter, along with a whole cast of talented and capable thespians; that’s right, true thespians; round out the cast, and make this a must see for any serious student of drama. This is television the way it was meant to be; with the performance captured live,and uncut. The clear kinescope in which it was shot, and preserved, also make it a joy to watch.

Happy Birthday, Sarah...

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