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Studio One: Sentence Of Death (1948)
Starring: Martin Balsam, Orson Bean, Warren Beatty, Ralph Bellamy, Art Carney, James Dean, Vincent Gardenia, Jackie Gleason, Dennis Hopper, Steve McQueen, Edward R. Murrow, Warren Oates, Betsy Palmer
Category: Television, Television
Studio: Goldhil
390 mins



The Crown Gem of television's Golden Age

Studio One spent one year as a radio drama series before its 1948 debut on TV live from New York. The Storm, starring Margaret Sullivan launched an anthology that would fill the tube's Golden Years with arguably the mediums best written and performed live drama. No other show would gather so many of Hollywood's future superstars-including Charlton Heston, Elizabeth Montgomery, Richard Kiley, Natalie Wood, James Dean and Grace Kelly-to work with scripts and direction from Rod Sterling, Gore Vidal, Sidney Lumet, John Frankenheimer and others, themselves bound for big screen glory. Week after week for ten years, Studio One brought live theatre into America's homes along with the one and only Betty Furness, the spokesperson for Westinghouse whose live commercials made her the most recognized and famous commercial spokesperson in television history. Restored from kinescopes rescued from a condemned Westinghouse warehouse, Studio One comes to home video for the first time complete with commercials as testament to a bygone era of live television and a tribute to those who created so much with what was then a primitive technology.

The Defender
In this two-part special, Steve McQueen plays a man on trial for murder defended by Ralph Bellamy and a young William Shatner almost ten years before Star Trek. Also in the cast is Martin Balsam and a slew of familiar TV faces. McQueen plays the part perfectly with a chip on his shoulder as big as a two-by-four. This is gripping, gritty courtroom drama and the production template for shows like Perry Mason.

The Laughmaker
Jackie Gleason and Art Carney from The Honeymooners paired up in 1953 to take a look at the off camera life of a TC funnyman. Gleason plays the sad clown to the hilt with Carney as his nemesis, a journalist looking for the man behind the mask. This installment of Studio One was said to be the first sighting of Gleason's classic characterization of "The Poor Soul".

Sentence Of Death
James Dean shows awesome flashes of brilliance as a young man in the wrong place at the wrong time in a performance that is all snap, crackle and pop. Watch for a surprisingly tawdry Betsy Palmer as the 'party girl'.