I get a lot of e-mails from people asking me about television shows, made-for-TV movies or miniseries they remember from years or decades past. I try to answer each question as best I can. Every now and then I like to dig through my inbox and pull out a few choice e-mails to answer here at Television Obscurities for everyone to read. Keep reading for today’s questions and answers.
I am trying to find the name of a TV show that aired on 11/9/1966. It was about a contest where the prize was an acre of land. I never got to see it because my husband was in the hospital and I went to visit him. I have always wanted to see this show. I don’t even know what kind of story it would be considered. I think it was when environmental issues were just coming into the news. Any help you could give me will be greatly appreciated.
This was an installment of ABC Stage 67, an ambitious anthology series that included dramas, musicals and the occasional documentary. It ran for one season, on ABC, from 1966 to 1967, producing 26 episodes. Earl Hamner, Jr. wrote this particular episode, which was called “The People Trap” and was based on a short story by Robert Sheckley. In my opinion, the plot of the episode was right out of The Twilight Zone (Hamner wrote eight episodes of that series).
In the year 2067, Earth is filled up, populated by 20 billion people and there just is not enough land to go around. Stuart Whitman starred as a history teacher whose wife, played by Vera Miles, was pregnant. The two lacked the proper license to have a child so, in order to keep his wife out of prison and their child from being confiscated, the teacher decides to enter a race for one of the last free acres of land in the United states (located in Yosemite National Park).
Connie Stevens played a fellow competitor in the race who romanced Whitman’s character. Lew Ayres, Estelle Winwood, Lee Grant, Pearl Bailey and Betty Furness and Michael Rennie all had cameo roles in the episode. Much like “Murder and the Android” (an installment of NBC’s Sunday Showcase) which I wrote about June of 2009, this is something I’d love to see. Thankfully, like “Murder and the Android,” the Paley Center for Media has “The People Trap” and all the other episodes of ABC Stage 67 in its collection.