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Reginald Rose Likes To Stir Fans

The Velvet Alley DVD includes commercials and an end bit promoting viewership of next week’s episode of Playhouse 90,  A Quiet Game of Cards.   In this trailer, the contemplative faces of William Bendix, E.G. Marshall, Gary Merrill, Barry Sullivan and Franchot Tone are seen filling the screen, one-by-one, individually as no one speaks, but each man’s thoughts are spoken as they sit quietly around the card table, utterly immersed in thought.  Untalking heads?  Visual media isn’t supposed to be any damned good at that, I was, nonetheless, absolutely riveted.  Curious about an engaging show I may never get to see, I found these two unrelated articles in a pdf of a newspaper page this morning:

By Steven H. Scheuer for the Herald Statesman (Yonkers, N.Y.) 12May1959

http://fultonhistory.com/newspaper%2010/Yonkers%20NY%20Herald%20Statesman/Yonkers%20NY%20Herald%20Statesman%201959%20Grayscale/Yonkers%20NY%20Herald%20Statesman%201959%20Grayscale%20-%203340.pdf

While writer Reginald Rose’ A Marriage of Strangers, starring Red Buttons and Diana Lynn on Playhouse 90, Thursday may not stir up fans as much as his previous effort on 90, A Quiet Game of Cards, Rose thinks it will shake them up a bit.  As mentioned before in this column, A Marriage of Strangers is an expanded version of Studio One’s Three Empty Rooms done several years ago.  Rose then wrote a full-length screenplay of it for RKO, only to have the studio go out of business.  So the screenplay, with new acts, becomes TV fare again.  A Marriage of Strangers concerns two lonely people in New York who meet through a friendship club and marry, and together try to overcome their loneliness.  In the original Three Empty Rooms, the story took place as the couple, just married move into an empty apartment.  In this script the couple meet, get to know a little about each other, marry, and then face the problems in joint housekeeping.  Actors Enthusiastic  Actors in Rose plays are enthusiastic over their parts – they have meat to work with for a change – and Red Buttons is following the pattern.  “Red and I flew out together,” said Reginald, speaking softly in a dark, dark Hollywood restaurant which had a fake gas log flickering away in the fireplace.  “I showed him the cuts and revisions on the script and, by the time we landed, Red said he had the first act in hand.  He’s quite enthusiastic about the part.”

Same holds true for Barry Sullivan and Franchot Tone, who are still talking about their roles in A Quiet Game of Cards two months ago.  “Sullivan even wants to do it on Broadway,” added Rose.  Rose received bundles of mail on A quiet Game of Cards, a tale of a group of successful businessmen who decide to murder for the thrill and benefit of the community, and pick out a good man as their target. “We got a reaction all right,” said Rose.  “Some people thought it was one of the best TV plays they’d seen, others vehemently complained that it was immoral.”  Rose plays like Thunder at Sycamore Corner and 12 Angry Men bring fans out of their lethargy and to their writing desks.  “I think fans like to be aroused,” said Rose mildly.  He likes to jab at them, but writes to please  himself first of all.

He then told about a controversial series he and writer Rod Serling, together with producer Worthington Miner, participated in.  “We came out to the Bel Air Hotel and sat in our rooms for four days  dreaming up outlines for the proposed series.  We ended up with 39 subjects and many script outlines where we presented two sides of an issue.  We had one on loyalty oaths in which a school bus driver refused to sign, figuring that if he were honest, he should be proved dishonest.  He is fired, and then the kids strike on his side.

“We had one on divorce and another on free speech.  I’d come across a fact about Benjamin Franklin, of all people, banning the press while representatives of the 13 colonies in 1789 were drafing the Constitution, thus avoiding the power and forces of each colony’s special interest.”  Needless to say the series never saw the light again. Brave sponsors are not to be found.  Meanwhile Rose spends six mornings a week at his desk writing.  His 12 Angry Men will appear on Broadway in  the fall and he also has another play in the works.

Hoover Asks Publicity About Young Hoodlums

WASHINGTON D.C. — FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover says it’s time to start getting tougher with young hoodlums.  “We can no longer afford to let ‘tender age’ make, plunder into a trifling prank, reduce mayhem to a mischievous
act and pass off murder as a boyish misdemeanor.”  Hoover told Congress.  Hoover, who was named chief of the G-men just 35 years ago Sunday, recently gave his views on juvenile delinquency and other matters to the House Appropriations Committee. The testimony was made public Sunday.

In other subjects, Hoover said:  1. There have been 108 bombings or attempted bombings having a racial or religious aspect since the start of 1957. Twelve have involved schools, 16 had churches as targets and the other 80 involved private homes, amusement places, business establishments and other places.  2. The railroad industry in recent months has been singled out as one of the primary targets for Communist penetration. Other recent Communist party activities, he added, include efforts to infiltrate Negro and labor groups to create agitation, and confusion.  In his testimony on juveniles,  Hoover said figures for 1957 show that only 3.3 per cent of youths under eighteen were arrested.  This indicates, he said, “that about 97 per cent are growing up to be decent Americans and who resent, I think, very strongly, the unfavorable publicity that comes to them as juveniles due to the conduct of a small segment of their age group.”  Hoover told the House group “in recent years, reports on youth crimes have, indicated a mounting savagery,’ a senseless brutality which leaves little doubt that in the interest of self- preservation, now time for sterner measures to be taken by the congress and the courts.  “I see no reason for secrecy. I feel when a felony is committed in a community, there Is no reason for withholding the name of the youthful offender and he ought to be treated in the same manner of an adult.”

“Youth should not be treated cruelly, but when they do not measure up to their responsibility of obeying the law, they must be made to accept the responsibility for their acts.”  He recommended more publicity for the many youth organizations which are doing a valuable job for the nation’s young people.

Kindly restore your flying car back-rests to their fully-upright position as you return with us now to Officer Krupke’s utopian future to enjoy this newfound and interesting Serling reference:  http://www.rodserling.com/Commentary1957Patterns.htm

06 Jun 11 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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