Even quiet bigotry requires shattering, and few do so better than this remarkable, literate series, which does so tonight quietly but firmly and without lapsing into preachiness.
Ivy student Leslie Hoff (James Edwards) has won a prize for a very unique portrait he painted of a fellow soldier he knew for only one night in a World War II foxhole, because the soldier died in action saving Hoff’s life. The prize causes a harrowing dilemna for the Halls (Ronald and Benita Colman), however, because the soldier’s mother (Lois Corbett) now wants to make a half-million dollar endowment to Ivy—with a very racially-charged string attached: she doesn’t want it going to “certain races or creeds” . . . unaware that Hoff is of one of those races.
For James Edwards, playing Hoff in this episode was a natural: he earned great acclaim for his role in Home of the Brave (1949), playing a war veteran whose paralysis helps him defeat his guilt over the death of his white best friend in combat and to firm up against any kind of prejudice.
Wellman: Herb Butterfield. Announcer: Ken Carpenter. Music: Henry Russell. Director: Nat Wolff. Writers: Don Quinn, Carmen Blake.
FURTHER CHANNEL SURFING . . .
The Great Gildersleeve: Gildy the Pianist (NBC, 1950)—Marjorie (Marylee Robb) and Bronco (Richard Crenna) suggest Gildersleeve (Willard Waterman) act more like a partner with Leroy (Walter Tetley), whose piano lessons have him frustrated (“the more I practise, the worse I get”), an idea Leroy jumps on while it may make Gildersleeve want to jump. Early evidence as to why the casting change produces a good, not a great Gildersleeve. Birdie: Lillian Randolph. Peavey: Richard LeGrand. Hooker: Earle Ross. Katie: Cathy Lewis. Announcer: John Hiestand. Music: Robert Armbruster. Writers: Paul West, John Elliott, Nancy White.
The Jack Benny Program: Polly Goes to a Psychiatrist (CBS, 1953)—As the company drops in for lunch at their favourite drug store on a busy rehearsal day, their usual waitress is obnoxious, Jack (Benny) tries to wheedle his way into a guest shot on Bob’s (Crosby) own television show, everyone but you-know-who argues about who should pay the lunch check, and Jack’s parrot’s been acting moody. Just a typical day in the life, and who typifies it better? Announcer: Don Wilson. Music: Mahlon Merrick Orchestra, the Sport’s Men. Director: Hilliard Marks. Writers: George Balzar, Milt Josefsberg, Sam Perrin, John Tackaberry, Al Gordon, Hal Goldman.
World War II
Special Report: “A Hope to Avoid War” (NBC, 1938)—NBC News correspondent Fred Bates in London: a sense of extremely guarded optimism among the British about Prime Minister Chamberlain’s call upon Hitler to abandon threats of force in Czechoslovakia in exchange for British help in getting der Fuehrer concessions he’s sought publicly—two days before Chamberlain, getting what he wants, departs for his third and final trip to Germany as prime minister, where he’ll receive a signed agreement Hitler has no intention of obeying . . .