1 9 5 0 – 1 9 5 7 (USA)
Normal, everyday people who found themselves in situations beyond their control populated the dramas telecast in this live CBS anthology series.
The plays were all adaptations of stories written by members of the Mystery Writers of America. Walter C. Brown and Hugh Pentecost were frequent contributors and even an occasional Charlotte Armstrong story, like ‘All the Way Home’ turned up on The Web.
Most of the actors and actresses appearing on the show were performers based in New York, where the show was produced. Included were Richard Kiley, James Daly, Eli Wallach, James Gregory, Patricia Wheel, Mary Sinclair, John Newland, and Phyllis Kirk.
Some future stars who were seen on The Web early in their careers were Grace Kelly in ‘Mirror of Delusion’ in 1950, Jack Palance and Eva Marie Saint in ‘Last Chance’ in 1953, and Paul Newman twice that summer, the second time in ‘One for the Road’ on 20 September, at the same time he was appearing on Broadway in the play Picnic.
Newman’s future wife, Joanne Woodward (they would marry in 1958), starred in ‘Welcome Home’, the final telecast of CBS’ version of The Web, on 26 September 1954.
Hollywood veterans taking lead roles in episodes of The Web on CBS included John Carradine, Mildred Dunnock, Sidney Blackmer, Mildred Natwick, Henry Hull, and Chester Morris. On occasion, the leads went to performers not noted for their dramatic acting ability, such as singer Jane Morgan in ‘Rehearsal for Death’ and musical-comedy star John Raitt in ‘The Dark Shore’.
The real stars on The Web were the stories, however, not the performers. The overall quality of the productions was attested to when The Web became the first television series to win the Edgar Allan Poe Award for excellence in the presentation of suspense stories during the 1951-1952 season.
In the summer of 1957, NBC revived the title The Web for a series of filmed dramas with essentially the same format as the live CBS series of the early 1950s. Again, the emphasis was on the story rather than a star, with Alexander Scourby, Beverly Garland, James Darren, and Rex Reason the most familiar performers appearing.
The NBC edition was the summer replacement for The Loretta Young Show.