1 9 8 2 – 1 9 9 4 (USA)
164 x 60 minute episodes
This occasional dramatic anthology series from the American Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) premiered on 12 January 1982.
The debut broadcast was The Shady Hill Kidnapping, written and narrated by John Cheever and directed by Paul Bogart.
Notable presentations included the seven-part series Oppenheimer (1982) starring Sam Waterston as controversial physicist J Robert Oppenheimer (ironically, the series was produced in England by the BBC); Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth, with Blair Brown, Sada Thompson, Harold Gould, and Rue McClanahan, which was broadcast live from San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre on18 January 1983; the three-part miniseries Three Sovereigns for Sarah (1985), relating the story of the Salem witch hunts in the 19th century and starring Vanessa Redgéave, Kim Hunter, Phyllis Thaxter, and Patrick McGoohan; Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1986), with Patrick Day and Samm-Art Williams; Story of a Marriage (1987) with Hallie Foote, William Converse-Roberts, and Matthew Broderick; The Trial of Bernhard Goetz (1988) with Peter Crombie, Richard Libertini, Andrew Robinson, and Dann Florek using excerpts from the trial transcripts); A Raisin in the Sun (1989) with Danny Glover and Esther Rolle; and Zora Is My Name (1990) with Ruby Dee.
In January 1990, American Playhouse became the first US series to use Descriptive Video Service (DVS), in which an audio channel is used to supply additional information about the telecast for the benefit of the visually impaired.