Home Television Drama Alcoa Hour, The

Alcoa Hour, The

1 9 5 5 – 1 9 5 7 (USA)

One of the finest dramatic shows on US television at the time, this hour-long series was telecast live on the NBC network from New York every second Sunday between 1955 and 1957 and alternated with The Goodyear TV Playhouse. Both were produced by Herbert Brodkin.

The premier on 16 October 1955 presented Ann Todd in her American TV debut in The Black Wings, co-starring Wendell Corey. Among the others who performed on Alcoa during its two-year run were Laurence Harvey (in his US TV debut), Martin Balsam, Walter Matthau, Joanne Woodward, Sal Mineo, Helen Hayes, Eddie Albert and Maureen Stapleton.

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One episode, No License To Kill, received such a tremendous audience response when it first aired on 3 February 1957 that it was repeated live over the Labor Day weekend that year to serve as a grim warning to motorists travelling over the three-day holiday.

The show told of two different groups of people riding in two different cars to a grim rendezvous with death and destiny on a sunny morning during the Labor Day weekend on the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut.

The episode was narrated by Abraham A Ribicoff, Governor of the State of Connecticut.

Although the majority of plays presented on Alcoa Hour were dramas, there were some musicals as well. These included Amahl and the Night Visitors; an adaptation of Dickens’ Christmas Carol entitled The Stingiest Man in Town; and an original TV musical entitled He’s For Me, with Roddy McDowall, Jane Kean and Larry Blyden.

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On 7 October 1957, the program became a half-hour filmed series aired on alternate weeks and the name changed to The Alcoa Theatre.