Matinee Theater

Season 3 Episode 144

Angel Street

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Aired Sunday 3:00 PM May 09, 1958 on NBC

Trivia

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  • Trivia

    • Hamilton's play has been dramatized on television many times, all under the title Angel Street.

      The first production was broadcast on January 23, 1946 as part of "NBC's Classic Plays" on Television program. Judith Evelyn recreated her Broadway role for the show, which was produced by Ernest Colling. "Theatre Guild" presented its version, starring Betty Field, Walter Abel and Leo G. Carroll, in his Broadway role, on NBC on January 25, 1948. On October 20, 1950, the CBS network televised another version, directed by Franklin Schaffner and starring Judith Evelyn and Ferdi Hoffman. Station WOR in New York presented two versions; the first, broadcast on May 13, 1952, starred Victor Jory and Lola Montez, the second, broadcast on December 21, 1953, starred Sylvia Sidney. On March 25, 1954, Leueen McGrath and Jerome Kilty starred in a Kraft Theatre version on the ABC network. On May 9, 1958, Vincent Price, Judith Evelyn and Leo G. Carroll recreated their Broadway roles for NBC's program "Matinee Theatre", which was directed by Walter Grauman.

    • On June 11, 1953, comedian Jack Benny shot a parodic version of Gaslight for his CBS television Lucky Strike program, starring himself, Barbara Stanwyck, Bob Crosby, Eddie Anderson and Don Wilson. Before it could be broadcast, however, Loew's Inc. and Patrick Hamilton filed a federal lawsuit against Benny, CBS and sponsor American Tobacco Company, preventing the sketch from being shown.

    • Although Benny had already satirized the picture during a January 30, 1952 broadcast of his comedy show, Loew's Inc. and Hamilton argued that the 1953 production, titled Autolite, constituted "infringement and unfair competition." On September 21, 1954, Judge James C. Carter found in favor of Loew's Inc. and Hamilton, stating that Benny had not only burlesqued the picture, but had also "appropriated a substantial part of [the] film and therefore went beyond the bounds of license to comedians." Arguing that the lower court's ruling would create a "stifling effect on parody and burlesque," Benny's lawyers took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court in April 1957. On March 17, 1958, the Supreme Court upheld the lower court's decision by a split decision. (Justice William O. Douglas did not participate in the vote). Benny finally bought a seven-year license from M-G-M, which allowed the parody to be televised, and CBS aired Autolite on January 13, 1959.

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