Monday, September 29, 2008

Paul Newman's Early TV Appearances



Over the weekend we lost a giant in the entertainment industry: Paul Newman.



Long before he became a household name and a big ticket movie star, Newman made the rounds in early television doing bit parts.   



According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) his first TV appearance was in Tales of Tomorrow which aired on August 8th, 1952.   




(Click to view/download video)



Admittedly, Tales of Tomorrow was a low budget show, and Newman barely rated a mention in the cast.  It was, however, a speaking role.


As time passed, Newman would find himself cast in better productions.


But everyone has to start somewhere.



It would be the following year, 1953, when Newman would get his big break and get the part of the understudy of the lead role in Broadway play Picnic, and not until 1954 that his big film break would come in The Silver Chalice.



Newman considered his performance in The Silver Chalice to be so bad that he took out a full-page ad in a trade paper to apologize.   He redeemed himself in his next movie, Somebody Up There Likes Me.







(Click to view/download video)



Before he played the role of Rocky Graziano, in November of 1954, Newman played the part of Jimmy Polo in The Contender  on the long running anthology series  Armstrong Circle Theatre.   His co-star is an impossibly young Inger Stevens in one of her earliest TV roles. 


Also watch for the venerable Frank McHugh playing the part of Polo's manager.


Literally thousands of dramatic shows were produced during the golden age of television on dozens of anthology series.   Most are lost today.  Either never committed to kinescope recording, or lost over time.


Thankfully, a few survive, like the ones above.

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