ABC Stage 67

Season 1 Episode 9

Evening Primrose

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Nov 16, 1966 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
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Episode Summary

Evening Primrose
This original musical, with songs by Stephen Sondheim, is a story about a poet, Charles Snell, who decides to drop out of society and live, secretly, in a department store. To his surprise he finds a group of people already doing just that. The catch is that once inside you must stay forever. Errant group members disappear only to reappear later as store mannequins. He meets a young lady, Ella Harkins, and the two fall in love and prepare to leave. The show ends with a shot of a new bride and groom mannequin in a store window. Songs included: (If You Can Find Me) I'm Here - Tony Perkins / I Remember - Charmian Carr / When - Perkins and Carr / Take Me to the World - Carr and Perkins. Music arranged and conducted by Norman Paris, assisted by David Shire.moreless

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  • Sondheim's only musical for television

    I have been fortunate enough to see this program, albeit in the black and white version that seems to be the only one extant. It is the only musical that Stephen Sondheim has ever written specifically for television, and although the ending is a bit abrupt, overall it is a fascinating hour of television. "Evening Primrose" is based on a short story by John Collier, and it's usually described as a horror story, though it's horror in the way many of the episodes of "The Twilight Zone" could be called horror. In other words, there is no blood or violence to speak of, but an overall feeling of menace.

    What the program does have is four wonderful songs by Stephen Sondheim, including two of his most beautiful and haunting, "I Remember" and "Take Me to the World." It also has a terrific leading performance by Anthony Perkins, who never had as many roles of this caliber as his talent warranted. Charmian Carr isn't quite as charasmatic as Perkins, but she sings beautifully and certainly looks like the kind of girl Charles Snell could have fallen in love with.

    It's too bad this program is not commercially available, and not at all available in its original color version, but there are good recordings of the show's songs, particularly on a CD shared with Sondheim's "The Frogs." The songs are all worth hunting down, and the program itself is worth seeing if you ever get the opportunity.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • This was released on DVD by Entertainment One on October 26, 2010, the show is in black & white (the only version known to exist) but it does include test footage that is in color, along with interviews with director Bogart and Charmian Carr.

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (4)

    • This program is one of the most requested for viewing at the Paley Center For Media in New York City.

    • The show was taped on location at Stern Bros. Department Store in Manhattan.

    • This episode only survives in a black and white copy. A soundtrack recording was released in May 2008 on the Kritzerland label in a edition limited to 3,000 copies. A studio cast version was released in 2001 on Nonesuch Records.

    • The story was done on the CBS radio show "Escape" three times: 11/05/47 with Elliot Lewis, 09/12/48 with William Conrad and 08/25/49 with Harry Bartell. Each production used the same script but different casts.


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