UCLA Film & Television Archive Puts U.S. Steel Hour Episodes Online

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:

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.

10 Replies to “UCLA Film & Television Archive Puts U.S. Steel Hour Episodes Online”

  1. “Queen of the Orange Bowl” was one of only 2 times Johnny Carson portrayed someone other than himself. The other was “3 Men on a Horse”, a 1957 installment of “Playhouse 90”.

    1. Forgot to mention that “The Thief” can be found in a DVD collection of James Dean’s television work.

    2. Such was the obscurity of “Queen Of The Orange Bowl” for so long that a Carson biography in the mid-1980s said his co-star was Arlene Francis when it was Anne Francis.

      I was impressed by how in the case of that episode, the videotape master survived.

      1. A correction on Carson: In addition to “Orange Bowl”, he did a second US Steel Hour called “Girl In the Gold Bathtub” several months later. Therefore, he did 3 dramatic appearances.

  2. Thank you for this post. It will take me some time to watch these episodes on my dinky little Kindle Fire, but I will eventually watch all of them via your thoughtful link. You’re my hero!

  3. Also forgot to add that “2 Worlds Of Charlie Gordon” served as the basis of the 1968 movie “Charly”. Cliff Robertson was so impressed by the teleplay that he immediately optioned the movie rights. It took 7 years to get the movie made, but it earned him an Oscar!

    1. Bang the Drum Slowly would later be made into a movie starring a young Robert DeNiro. No Time For Sergents would also be made into a movie.

  4. I’ve watched the first three episodes so far. The audio quality is quite bad, unfortunately. I’ve had to the volume on my TV up to 50 (!) a few times to hear the dialogue. The commercials are fun. I’d forgotten Mary Kay and Johnny Stearns (stars of early sitcom Mary Kay and Johnny) appeared in commercials for U.S. Steel.

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