Monday, March 19, 2007
Philco Playhouse's Marty, May 24, 1953
Legendary producer Fred Coe helmed NBC's Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse. He incorporated a pool of talented writers and encouraged the development of original television plays, referred to as teleplays. Early in the series run, writer Paddy Chayefsky delivered a script titled Marty, based on Chayefsky's observations of a singles bar located in the same building as Philco Playhouse.
Marty aired May 24, 1953 and was directed by Delbert Mann. Star Rod Steiger delivered an emotional, tour de force performance and the entire production set off a whirlwind of press attention and critical acclaim. New York Times, for the first time, delivered a full page critique on a television production, something previously only done for movies. Marty indicated a turning point for television production. Live teleplays with strong actors and excellent scripts became a benchmark for TV anthology shows, and presented quality entertainment only before seen on Broadway.
A few years later, the same play, also directed by Mann, was made into an Academy Award winning film, another first for television. Television, after Marty, began to create original works considered high caliber enough for film and stage.