The Showcase programs which have been cleared for ancillary markets, digitally mastered and upgraded, and released on video, either on the Mr. FAT-W Video label, or through joint ventures with Video Artists International, are:
AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS (The Alcoa Hour, December 25, 1955) -- Reportedly the most-performed opera in the world, it was originally commissioned from Giancarlo Menotti by NBC, and was "presented" live on the NBC Opera Theater/Hallmark Hall of Fame in 1951 - 1954. In 1955, it was "presented" live and in color on The Alcoa Hour. It ran for 60 mins., and was broadcast on 12/25/55. The NBC Orchesta is conducted by Thomas Schippers; the television director is Kirk Browning; the Cast is Bill McIvor, Rosemary Kuhlmann, Andrew McKinley, David Aiken, Leon Lishner, and Francis Monachino. Cheorography is by John Butler; the cancing shepherds are John Butler, Glen Tetley, Carmine Guiterrez. The synopsis, from the UCLA Hallmark tribute book: “As the three Magi travel to Bethlehem in search of the Christ child, a small crippled boy, Amahl, generously offers them shelter in the humble hut he shares with his widowed mother – warmly welcoming them with food, dance, and song. When the Magi depart to deliver their gifts to the Holy Infant, young Amahl is inspired to leave his mother and follow them. Awed by the Magi’s offerings of gold and gems, Amahl wonders how he can possibly match their precious gifts. Upon presenting his most important possession, his crutch, to the Magi as a gift for the Christ child, Amahl’s selflessness is rewarded, and he is miraculously cured." Available from Amazon.com.
THE AMERICAN (NBC Sunday Showcase, March 27, 1961). Produced and directed by John Frankenheimer; music composed and conducted by David Amram; Executive Producer Robert Alan Arthur; Story of Ira Hayes, the American Pima Indian who as a Marine helped raise the second flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, and who was immortalized by Joe Rosenthal’s famous photograph. Stars Lee Marvin as Hayes; cast includes Thomas A. Carlin, Frank Corsaro, Steven Hill, Frank Overton. Available from Amazon.com and numerous online resellers.
BLOOMER GIRL (5/28/56) - television version of 1944 hit Broadway musical comedy, based on book by Sig Herzig and Fred Saidy, music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg; produced and directed by Alex Segal; choreographed by Agnes de Mille, with spectacular Civil War Ballet; story is set shortly before Civil War and centers around Evalina, sixth daughter of a hoop skirt manufacturer who sides with her Aunt Dolly Bloomer, an avid suffragette, and falls in love with a handsome slave owner, Jefferson Calhoun. Stars Barbara Cook (Evalina) and Keith Andes (Calhoun), repeating their Broadway roles, and Carmen Matthews, Paul Ford, Paul McGrath, Heywood Hale Broun, with large cast of dancers and singers. Available from Amazon.com.
CINDERELLA (4/29/57) - Sol Hurok presentation of Sadler's Wells Ballet Company (n/k/a The Royal Ballet) of ballet set to music by Sergei Prokofiev; directed by Clark Jones; choreographed and adapted for television by Frederick Ashton; featuring Margot Fonteyn, Michael Somes, Frederick Ashton, Kenneth MacMillan, Svetlana Beriosova, Philip Chatfield, and the entire corps de ballet. Available from Amazon.com.
FESTIVAL OF MUSIC I (Producers' Showcase, January 30, 1956) - produced by Sol Hurok, hosted by Charles Laughton, directed by Kirk Browning, musical director George Bassman, orchestra conducted by Max Rudolph of the Metropolitan Opera; stage concert with 13 of world's top opera singers and musicians, each performing a single number; the performers included baritone Leonard Warren ("Prologue" from Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci"), tenor Jan Peerce ("Vesti La Giubba" from Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci"), violinist Isaac Stern (lst movement of Mendelssohn's "Violin Concerto in E Minor"), soprano Zhinka Milanov ("Vissi d'Arte" from Puccini's "Tosca"), coloratura soprano Roberta Peters ("The Doll Song" from Offenbach's "Tales of Hoffman"), cellist Gregor Piatigorsky ("Adagio and Rondo for Cello and Orchestra" by Carl Maria Von Weber), contralto Marian Anderson ("Beautiful City," "Poor Me," "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands"), mezzo-sopranos Blanche Thebom and Mildred Miller ("Barcarolle" duet from Offenbach's "Tales of Hoffman"), mezzo-soprano Rise Stevens ("Card Song" from Bizet's "Carmen"), tenor Jussi Bjoerling ("Che Gelida Manina" from Puccini's "La Boheme"), soprano Renata Tebaldi ("Mi Chiamano Mimi," from Puccini's "La Boheme"), duet by Bjoerling and Tebaldi ("O Soave Fanciulla" from Puccini's "La Boheme"), pianist Artur Rubenstein (Chopin's "Polonaise in C# Minor"); large supporting cast of singers, dancers. Available from Amazon.com.
FESTIVAL OF MUSIC II (Producers' Showcase, December 10, 1956) - produced by Sol Hurok, hosted by Jose Ferrer, directed by Kirk Browning, stage concert starring Victoria De Los Angeles, Barry Morrell, Elizabeth Doubleday, Virginio Assandri, Arthur Newman (in opening scene of Verdi's "La Traviata"), Marian Anderson ("Heav'n, Heav'n," "My Lord, What a Mornin'," "Roll, Jord'n Roll"), pianist Artur Rubenstein (Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsodie on a Theme by Paganini,") Alfred Wallenstein conducting the Symphony of the Air Orchestra, guitarist Andres Segovia (Gavotte by J.S. Bach, Allegretto by M. Torroba), Boris Christoff, Nicola Moscona, Michael Pollock, Kirk Jordan (Last Act Death Scene from Mussorgsky's "Boris Gudonov"); large supporting cast. Available from Amazon.com.
MAYERLING (Producers' Showcase, February 4, 1957) - television version of classic movie, in turn based on novel "Idyl's End" by Jean Scholpfer, writing under pseudonym Claude Anet, adapted by Irmgard von Cube and Andrew McCullough, produced, directed and staged by Anatole Litvak in his television debut, directed for television by Kirk Browning, based on the true story set in the Austro-Hungarian capital in which married Crown Prince Rudolph of Habsburg meets and falls in love with the beautiful Countess Maria Vetsera, only to join her in a murder/suicide pact after his father Emperor Franz Josef ordered him to break off the romance; starring Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer (in their television debuts, shortly after their marriage), supported by Lorne Greene, Raymond Massey, Basil Sydney, Diana Wynyard, Nehemiah Persoff, David Opatoshu, Nancy Marchand, Michael Evans, Pippa Scott, Monique van Vooren, Barry Kroeger; large supporting cast includes Charles Mendick, John Irving, Peter Donat, Suzy Parker, Lilia Skala. Available on Amazon.com in both NTSC and PAL versions, and from numerous online resellers.
A MAN IS TEN FEET TALL (Philco Television Playhouse, October 2, 1955) -- written by Robert Alan Arthur, Directed by Robert Mulligan; Cast: Sidney Poitier, Don Murray, Martin Balsam, Michael Strong, Hilda Simms, Kathleen Murray; Others: Don Gordon, Joe Commadore, Johanna Douglas, Meg Wylie, Florence Anglin, Ed Walsh, Sid Raymond, Lou Frizzell; Extras: Ed Crame, Reamo Pisano, Tony Del Gatto, Abe Simon, James Jannett, Clint Young, Carmen Costi, Al Monaco, Art Koulias, Bill Branch. NBC Program Card: "This is the first instance wherein a Negro is unqualifiedly integrated into a teleplay." A drama of the waterfront wherein a beaten, down and out man regains his faith and courage from the friendship of a buoyant, philosophical young Negro longshoreman. Alex is a fearful man when he is hired as a helper to Charley, a sadistic, waterfront tough. He fears that his past as an Army deserter will be found out, he is afraid to write to his girl back home who loves him, and of course he is afraid of Charley. Tommy believes that a man's choice is up to him, he can either sink into the slime or be a man "ten feet tall". With the help of Tommy's unfailing courage and good humor, Alex feels himself beginning to "grow", too. Then Tommy is killed defending Alex against Charley. Alex struggles to overcome his fear and seeks Charley out. He overpowers him and calls the police. Thought it means he will be found out as a deserter, he now has the courage to face himself and life. Available from Amazon.com and numerous online resellers.
ONE TOUCH OF VENUS (NBC Special, August 27, 1955) Television staging of The Dallas State Fair Musicals production of Kurt Weill and Ogden Nash's 1943 Broadway musical "One Touch of Venus." Directed by George Schaefer; Music by Kurt Weill, Lyrics by Ogden Nash; Book by S.J. Perelman and Ogden Nash , from F. Anstey novel "The Tinted Venus"); Cast: Janet Blair, Russell Nype, George Gaynes, Laurel Shelby, Mort Marshall, Iggie Wolfington. The musical fantasy concerns the humorous complications that ensue when a mild-mannered barber named Rodney Hatch impulsively places his fiance's engagement ring on the finger of a statue of Venus that suddenly comes to life and falls in love with him. Available from Amazon.com.
PETER PAN (Producers' Showcase, initial broadcast March 7, 1955, second broadcast January 9, 1956) - first television version of stage play by James M. Barrie, as presented on Broadway, adapted, staged, and choreographed by Jerome Robbins as a musical, directed by Clark Jones, produced by Fred Coe, Associate Director Dominick Dunne, edited for TV by Sumner Locke Elliott, music supervision by Harry Sosnik, with lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, music by Mark Charlap, additional music by Jule Styne, incidental music by Trude Rittman and Elmer Bernstein, additional lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, featuring Mary Martin as Peter Pan, Cyril Ritchard as Mr. Darling and Capt. Hook, Kathy Nolan as Wendy (as a child) and Jane, Margalo Gillmore as Mrs. Darling, Sondra Lee as Tiger Lily, and (Mary Martin daughter) Heller Halliday as Liza. Available from Amazon.com.
SLEEPING BEAUTY (11/14/55) - directed by Clark Jones, score by Tchaikovsky, choreography after Petipa, art direction by Richard Day, music adaptation by Robert Irving, special introduction written by John Van Druten, acted by David Wayne, by Sadler's Wells Ballet, costumes by Oliver Messel, with Margot Fonteyn, Michael Soames, Frederick Ashton, Beryl Grey, Pauline Clayden, Rosemary Lindsay, Rowena Jackson, Philip Chatfield, Brian Shaw. Available from Amazon.com.
THE STINGIEST MAN IN TOWN (The Alcoa Hour, December 23, 1956) Budgeted at a mind-boggling $1MM, this is the first musical adaptation of Dickins' A Christmas Carol. The spectacular cast included Vic Damone, Johnny Desmond, Basil Rathbone, Patrice Munsel, The Four Lads, Bernie, Metropolitan Opera star Robert Weede, Martyn Green, Betty Madigan, John McGiver, Robert Wright, Alice Frost, and as the winner of a nationwide contest for actors to play the part of tiny Tim, Dennis Kohler. Directed by Daniel Petrie, Produced by Joel Specto, Book and Lyrics by Janice Torrre, Music composed by Fred Spielman; Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Camarata; Scenely by Kim Swados; choreographed by John Heawood; costumes by Motley. Available from Amazon.com.
MR. FAT-W VIDEO "GOLDEN AGE OF TELEVISION" DVDs.
Films Around the World has a sub-subsidiary called "Showcase Productions, Inc." It was founded by the legendary entertainment attorneys Saul and Henry Jaffe. They had unparalleled personal relationships to the pioneers of television during the "Golden Age." When FATW acquired the company which owned Showcase, then named "Hartwest, Inc.," it was largely defunct, consisting of a room filled with storage boxes and filing cabinets in Rhode Island. Hartwest had previously completed a limited public offering, premised largely on its proposed exploitation of the Producers' Showcase 1950s television series which Showcase had "packaged" for NBC. The items in storage were moved to New York, and over the next decade, thousands of historical documents were cataloged. It turned out that Showcase had been one of the most prolific "packgers" of what is technically called "live prime time broadcast dramatic anthology television programming, broadcast in compatible color, preserved on kinescope for achival purposes." Since these early broadcasts were live, they were thought to have little or no future value -- this was before home video, cable, satellite, and the multitude of media now available. The early programs had no copyright notices on the kinescopes, and in any event, were not registered for copyright; further, the "rights" obtained from the talent, was generally limited to the single live broadcast. For years, the entire body of television programming prior to 1957, was in limbo. Over time, many of the obstacles to their exhibition have been overcome.
The term "packager" is obsolete today; during the early years of network television, the term was a combination of roles that today would be filled by a "developer" and an "executive producer." In general terms, little or no thought was given to ownership of early live television programs after the initial broadcast. FATW's research into the thousands of Showcase documents, indicated that Saul Jaffe was one of the very few packagers at his level, that insisted on ownership or co-ownership of the Showcase programs. Even though tens of millions of dollars flowed from sponsors to the networks to Showcase, it was remarkably informal, with very few documents available to spell out who owned what. A typical program packaged by Showcase might have talent agreements with NBC, and underlying rights agreements with Showcase. Showcase negotiated for years with NBC, trying to ascertain who owned what; this led to litigation, and eventually, to a settlement in which NBC confirmed Showcase's outright ownership of the 160 most important programs, and co-ownership with NBC of the remaining 650 programs covered by the settlement agreement. In addition to the 810 programs, Showcase ultimately found documentation indicating that it had packaged and owned approximately 450 other programs not covered by the settlement agreement.
Conceived by RCA for its NBC subsidiary to stimulate interest in RCA's new television system and sets incorporating it, the enormous budgets -- more than ten times as much as that for a comparable B&W production -- enabled Showcase to attract major writers, directors, stars, and other talent. As just one illustration, the 37 Producers' Showcase "spectaculars" talent participants included
George Abbott * Philip Abbott * Brian Aherne * Judith Anderson * Marian Anderson * Keith Andes * Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong * Frederick Ashton * Mary Astor * Lauren Bacall * Milton Berle * Irving Berlin * Theodore Bikel * Jussi Bjoerling * Janet Blair * Claire Bloom * Humphrey Bogart * Teresa Brewer * Heywood Hale Broun * Sid Caesar * Milton Caniff * Richard Cardini * Cantinflas * Ray Charles Singers * Ilka Chase * Boris Christoff * Milbourne Christopher * Dane Clark * Lee J. Cobb * Imogene Coca * Nancy Coleman * Perry Como * Bob Considine * Barbara Cook * Jackie Cooper * Katharine Cornell * Joseph Cotten * Hume Cronyn * Henry Daniell * Lili Darvis * Gloria DeHaven * Victoria De Los Angeles * Peter Donat * President Dwight Eisenhower * Michael Evans * Jose Ferrer * Mel Ferrer * Betty Field * Eddie Fisher * Geraldine Fitzgerald * Nina Foch * Henry Fonda * Lynn Fontanne * Margot Fonteyn * Henry Ford, II * Paul Ford * Eddie Foy, Jr. * Robert Frost * Dave Garroway * Greer Garson * Billy Gilbert * Paulette Goddard * Thomas Gomez * Tom Gorman * Farley Granger * Ben Grauer * Martyn Green * Lorne Greene * Joel Grey * Tyrone Guthrie * Bobby Hackett * Heller Halliday * Sir Cedric Hardwicke * Paul Hartman * June Havoc * Jack Hawkins * Helen Hayes * Dick Haymes * Audrey Hepburn * Woody Herman * William Holden * Celeste Holm * Oscar Homolka * Bob Hope * Trevor Howard * Ruth Hussey * John Irving * Richard Jaeckel * H.V. Kaltenborn * Buster Keaton * Peggy King * Jack Klugman * Ernie Kovacs
* Peter Lawford * Charles Laughton * Peggy Lee * Peter Lorre * Tina Louise * Alfred Lunt * Paul Lynde * Patrick MacNee * Elsa Maxwell * Darren McGavin * Siobahn McKena * Dermot McNamara * Frederic March * Enid Markey * E.G. Marshall * Nancy Marchand * Mary Martin * Raymond Massey * Velma Middleton * Zhinka Milanov * John Mills * Carlos Montalban * Garry Moore * Nicola Moscona * Don Murray * Barry Nelson * Cathleen Nesbitt * John Neville * Paul Newman * Vice President Richard M. Nixon * Simon Oakland * Dennis O'Keefe * Nancy Olson * David Opatoshu * Suzy Parker * Gregor Piatigorsky * Jan Peerce * Nehemiah Persoff * Roberta Peters * Christopher Plummer * Jane Powell * Anthony Quayle * John Raitt * Mikhail Rasumny * Martha Raye * William Redfield * Michael Redgrave * Florence Reed * Carl Reiner * Michael Rennie * Cyril Ritchard * Jason Robards * Richard Rodgers * Ginger Rogers * Paul Rogers * Ruth Roman * Mickey Rooney * Artur Rubenstein * Eva Marie Saint * Gene Saks * Carl Sandburg * Natalie Schafer * Pippa Scott * Andres Segovia * Roberta Sherwood * Henry Silva * Frank Sinatra * Michael Somes * Lawrence Spivak * Raymond St. Jacques * Robert Stack * Arnold Stang * Kay Starr * Rod Steiger * Isaac Stern * Rise Stevens * Margaret Sullavan * John Cameron Swayze * Basil Sydney * Akim Tamiroff * Jessica Tandy * Renata Tebaldi * Blanche Thebom * Regis Toomey * Claire Trevor * Monique van Vooren * Gloria Vanderbilt * George Voskovec * Ray Walston * Jack Warden * Leonard Warren * David Wayne * John Wayne * Shelley Winters * Estelle Winwood * Joseph Wiseman * Anna May Wong * Keenan Wynn * Diana Wynyard * Gig Young
Over time, FATW has developed expertise in clearing rights for what are now called "ancillary markets" such as video and cable, digitally mastering and upgrading to acceptable modern broadcast and video standards, and clarification of copyright issues. A small number of the Showcase television library has been cleared, mastered, and released on home video through joint ventures with Video Artists International, and for release on FATW's "Mr. FAT-W Video" premium-priced silver/black label. All of these DVDs can be purchased from Amazon.com and many other online web sites; these are the links to our listings on Amazon, and to our eBay store, which will eventually offer all Mr. FAT-W Video and Mr. FAT-W Audio products; you should also check the listings for Video Artists International on Amazon.