Status of CBS Playhouse

What’s the status of CBS Playhouse, the dramatic anthology series CBS aired irregularly between 1967 and 1970? All 12 episodes are held by various television archives, although no single archive has every episode. Both the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Peabody Awards Collection have ten of the 12 episodes in their collections. The Paley Center for Media has seven episodes, most of which are in two or three parts. The Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research (WCFTR) has three episodes.

The Peabody Awards Collection has the only copy of “Secrets” and UCLA the only copies of “My Father and Mother” and “The Day Before Sunday.” For some of the other episodes, copies exist at all three institutions. I could find no record of the Museum of Broadcast Communications or the Library of Congress having any of the episodes.

Several of the episodes held at UCLA’s Film & Television Archive are in bad shape. “Appalachian Autumn” has “tracking problems,” for example, while “Sadbird” has a “very poor recorded image” and “Shadow Game” has “totally faded color” plus a “thick black scratch down left side of frame from 22-48 minutes into film.” It should be noted that for many of the episodes UCLA has multiple copies and some may be in better shape than others. There are seven different copies of “My Father and My Mother,” at least one of which is in black and white. Both the Paley Center for Media and the Peabody Collection also have copies of “Shadow Game” and hopefully theirs are in better shape.

The Library of Congress does have four books relating to CBS Playhouse but I’m not sure what they are. Two are for “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,” one of which is said to be 103 pages with illustrations. There is another book for “The Final War of Olly Winter” said to be 93 pages, plus sheet music for Aaron Copland’s theme or “signature” for the program.

You can find my Spotlight examining CBS Playhouse here.

# Episode Title Airdate Status
1966-1967 Season
1 “The Final War of Olly Winter” 01/29/1967 UCLA/Peabody/Paley/WCFTR
1967-1968 Season
2. “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” 10/17/1967 UCLA/Peabody/Paley/WCFTR
3. “Dear Friends” 12/06/1967 UCLA/Peabody/Paley
4. “My Father and Mother” 02/13/1968 UCLA
5. “Secrets” 05/15/1968 Peabody
1968-1969 Season
6. “The People Next Door” 10/15/1968 Peabody/Paley
7. “Saturday Adoption” 12/04/1968 UCLA/Peabody/Paley
8. “The Experiment” 02/25/1969 UCLA/Peabody/Paley
9. “Shadow Game” 05/07/1969 UCLA/Peabody/Paley/WCFTR
1969-1970 Season
10. “Appalachian Autumn” 10/07/1969 UCLA/Peabody
11. “Sadbird” 12/01/1969 UCLA/Peabody
12. “The Day Before Sunday” 02/10/1970 UCLA

Revised June 2nd, 2016

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13 Replies to “Status of CBS Playhouse”

  1. I am certainly pleased to hear these dramas DO exist, either on the original videotape or “color kinnies”. I also hope the GTE commercials were preserved on some of them as well…

  2. This would be a perfect show for The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation and E1 Entertainment to release on DVD through The Archive of American Television Presents series, although who knows how expensive it would be to gather all the episodes, not to mention any restoration work. Although, there could be a “pristine” set of prints somewhere that could be tapped for a DVD release.

  3. I’ve seen about 8 of these–an excellent series and well worth viewing in the archives if you have the chance. Too bad the idea to do “PLAYHOUSE 90” in color did not go beyond the 12 productions.

    Note that as the show was produced on videotape, any 16mm holdings won’t look great. The video look of the programs is somewhat key to their enjoyment, so a lot is lost when you watch a copy from a faded print.

    The books are nicely bound scripts that CBS used to promote the show. The also produced a printed “theatre bill” to promote the series call CURTAIN TIME. There are some of these on ebay at times.

    CBS also ran full page vanity ads in the NYT for
    many of the airings–rightfully touting their originality.

    Thanks for mentioning one of my favorite anthologies!

  4. While old shows may exist in archives, unless they are easily available to the general public, they do no good and mean nothing. These shows should be viewable online at the very least.

  5. That’s what makes the Museum of Broadcast Communications so wonderful, KRD. They’ve digitized some 8,500 hours of television and radio and made them available online. But that’s only a portion of the 100,000 hours they have in their collection. I’m sure they’d love to digitize everything but the cost must be exorbitant.

    It would be wonderful of the Paley Center for Media and UCLA’s Film & Television Archive digitized all or part their collections. At least with the Paley Center you can view programs at their New York City and Los Angeles locations.

  6. Was very interested to find your research and resources for CBS Playhouse. There are at least two other productions which were broadcast under the CBS Playhouse banner in the mid-sixties. The first is “Death of A Salesman”, with Lee J. Cobb, color videotape available on Broadway Archives DVD is actually the CBS production. And Shirley Booth in “The Glass Menagerie”, I recently found audio (only) from the program online, easily downloaded.

  7. I watched Shadow Game at the Paley Center for Media last week. The tape is in very good shape, no glitches, little or no fading, and has all the GTE/Sylvania commercials before and after the play.

    1. I saw a broadcast of SHADOW GAME on AFN (the Armed Forces Network) in Germany circa 1980. Only had a B&W TV, didn’t know it was in color. Shatner delivers a powerful performance as a Loki-esque character who takes advantage of the blackout. Been looking for a copy ever since.

  8. I could have sworn there was a CBS PLAYHOUSE that had an attractive actress play a kind of witch woman in an exotic costume speaking seductively. I also remember a TV supplement piece about the actress and the role, titled “A Chance to be Flamboyant”. Do you have a clue on that?

  9. I am a little confused, was this the continuation of the original Playhouse 90 presented on CBS? I believe it ran from 1956-1960 with more than a 100 episodes. I would love to see all of these.

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