Playhouse 90

A Town Has Turned to Dust

Season 2, Ep 39, Aired 6/19/58
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  • Episode Description
  • An innocent Mexican boy is sacrificed to a lynching mob by an ineffectual sheriff. The slaughter leads to a brooding darkness involving the remorseful relatives of the Mexican youngster and the sullen townspeople. Almost by a chain reaction there is established a second set of circumstances inviting a lynching of the Mexican's brother. Only this time the sheriff recaptures a shred of human dignity and saves the brother, if not the town.moreless

  • Cast & Crew
  • Rod Serling

  • John Frankenheimer

  • Rod Steiger

    Sheriff

  • Mario Alcalde

    Ramon

  • William Shatner

    Jerry Paul

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  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Notes (2)

    • Two or three years later, Rod Steiger made his British TV acting debut in a BBC production of this play, playing the same part.

    • Mastered live-on-videotape. Excerpts of this play were recently seen on the "CBS 75th" anniversary special.

    Trivia (1)

    • In 1958, Rod ran into a storm of censorship about his play, "A Town Has Turned to Dust," which ran on Playhouse 90. The topic was racial prejudice, and Rod commented in a letter: "Town got wonderful notices in New York and rather mixed around the country, but one thing it did create was talk! It was rough in spots, some of the problems had to be flanked rather than hit at head on, and some of the issues had to be cloaked, but I think it made its point." The censoring led Rod to comment to a newspaper reporter, however, "By the time the censors had gotten to it, my script had turned to dust. We're developing a new citizenry, one that will be very selective about cereals and automobiles, but won't be able to think."

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