Last month, the UCLA Film & Television Archive uploaded eight episodes of The United States Steel Hour (aka U.S. Steele Hour) to YouTube. The long-running dramatic anthology series debuted on ABC in 1953. It moved to CBS in 1956. The show went off the air in 1963 after 10 seasons. U.S. Steele Hour aired live from New York City during its entire run, alternating weekly with other dramas. Like most dramatic anthologies from the “golden age of television,” it has slipped into relative obscurity.
The UCLA Film & Television Archive has more than 80 episodes of U.S. Steele Hour in its collection. Most on are 2-inch videotape while others are 16mm kinescopes. See this blog post for more information.
The eight episodes available on YouTube include the October 1953 series premiere, an episode written by Rod Serling, and an episode featuring a rare dramatic acting role from Johnny Carson. Others featured in the episodes are Phyllis Kirk, Gertrude Berg, James Dean, Keenan Wynn, Martin Sheen, Anne Francis, Cliff Robertson, and Tommy Sands.
Here’s a list of the episodes, with links to the UCLA Film & Television Archive where you can both watch the episodes and read more about them:
- “P.O.W.” (10/27/1953)
- “The Thief” (1/4/1955)
- “Six O’Clock Call” (2/1/1955)
- “The Rack” (4/12/1955)
- “Queen of the Orange Bowl” (1/13/1960)
- “The Two Worlds of Charlie Gordon” (2/22/1961)
- “Man on a Mountaintop” (4/15/1961)
- The Inner Panic (9/12/1962)
PBS rebroadcast three episodes of U.S. Steel Hour (“No Time for Sergeants,” 1955; “A Wind from the South,” 1955; and “Bang the Drum Slowly,” 1956) in 1981 as part of a retrospective series called The Golden Age of Television. These same episodes were released on DVD in 2009 by The Criterion Collection. Otherwise, the show has remained all but unseen since it went off the air in 1963. Now, thanks to the UCLA Film & Television Archive, eight more episodes are accessible to the general public. Plus, they include their original opening and closing credits as well as U.S. Steel commercial.
The UCLA Film & Television Archive should be applauded for putting these episodes online. Hopefully, this is only the start of an attempt to make its collection available online.