The play, "King Richard II" had limited popularity in the twentieth century, but John Gielgud exploded onto the world theatrical consciousness through his performance as Richard at the Old Vic Theatre in 1929, returning to the character in 1937 and 1953 in what ultimately was considered as the definitive performance of the role.
Richard II: (Act 3, Scene 2) Not all the water in the rough rude sea
Can wash the balm from an anointed king;
The breath of worldly men cannot depose
The deputy elected by the Lord.
Original music by Herbert Menges
Music directed by Jules Seidman
Music conducted by William Brooks
Settings designed by Richard Sylbert
Production designed by Noel Taylor
Makeup Nina Blanchard
Hair Design Ernest Adler
Lighting by O'Meara
Audio engineer David Gould
Technical director Robert Long
Associate director Livia Granito
Associate producers Emmett Rogers & Mildred Freed Alberg
Production assistants Paul Davis & Ruth Girard Wear.
A much larger cast of 33, extra rehearsal time (three weeks in all) and the elaborate scenery all added to the expense.
In the settings spread all over the studio there, were sailing ships of the 14th century, a 40-foot castle with a 14-foot parapet for part of the action, medieval interiors with all of their splendor and even a dungeon. There, was a 60-foot screen upon which backgrounds were, thrown by rear projection. It took around 3,300 man-hours to set up the job.
Microphones ware scattered everywhere, even in lances. From the animal world came two Russian wolf hounds (Borzoi's named Lisa and Nicholas), a bird and a single horse (named Souther Comfort), used several times by different riders.
Maurice Evans, the cast, chorus and stagehands granted clearance for this program to be distrituted to schools and colleges free during the next school year. Hallmark, through the Institute of Visual Training in New York, is making 50 sets of kinescope prints available, the first time this has been done for by a TV show for educational institutions.
The program "King Richard II" cost $75,000 to produce. The sponsor Hallmark usually pays around $25,000 to produce an hour's worth of drama. The actual timing the telecast took an hour, 45 minutes.