Omnibus - Season 1

CBS (ended 1961)




Episode Guide

  • Arms and the Man
    Arms and the Man
    Episode 26
    After the Bulgarian war ends a young woman engaged to Sergius Saranoff whom she idolizes is threaten by a mercenary soldier, Captain Bluntschli who begs her to hide him and protect him. Believing he is a coward, he informs her that he only carries chocolates and no weapons.
  • Tale of Two Cities
    Tale of Two Cities
    Episode 25
    The first segment actor Emlyn Williams presents a reading of Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities". The second segment "Gaie Parisienne" Host Alistair Cooke introduces Jacques Offenbach's work featuring a rich Peruvian tourist in Paris, the lady with whom he falls in love and the Baron whom she adores. Performed by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. The third segment is the story by James Thurber as adapted by Tad Mosel of "Figgerin' of Aunt Wilma" the voice of James Thurber takes us back to Columbus, Ohio in the year 1909 where James' Aunt Wilma engaged in financial combat with her grocer and somehow won. Starring Margaret Hamilton as Aunt Wilma. The fourth segment "Bombardier Training" is a film sponsored by the American Machine and Foundry traces the development of aerial bombing and shows how modern bombardiers are trained with modern electronic equipment which simulates reality. The fifth segment "Modern Art and Sculpture" has host Alistair Cooke comments upon and illustrates significant examples of modern sculptures evolvement with several original works, Rodin's "Three Dancers", Aristide Maillol's "Young Cyclist", a concave surfaced nude by Archipelago, Giacometti's "City Square" representing several detached figures and the contemporary Lassow's "Montisauris".moreless
  • The Abracadabra Kid
    The Abracadabra Kid
    Episode 24
    The first segment is William Saroyan's fantasy story "The Abracadabra Kid". The story of a little boy Andrew, his magic word, and his busy parents' complete lack of understanding of him and themselves. Andrew summons his parents one evening and poses some serious questions. Starring Maria Riva and Walter Matthau. The second segment is "Paul Revere's Ride" a reading of Henry Wadsworth Longfellows famous poem read by Raymond Massey. The third segment is Gilbert & Sullivan's "Trial By Jury" starring Martyn Greene as the personable partial judge in this opera dealing with a breach of promise. Also starring Davis Cunningham and Arlyne Frank. The fourth segment "Images Medievales" is a survey of life in the Middle Ages assembled from postage stamp sized miniatures of illuminted manuscripts discovered in the National Library of Paris is shown. Produced by William Novak and narrated by Alistair Cooke with accompanying music from that period. The fifth segment "The New Bus" is an informational 5 minute film on buses.moreless
  • Toy Symphone with Stokowski
    In the first segment conductor Leopold Stokowski conducts a full symphony orchestra in two numbers, Haydn's "Toy Symphone" and Britten's "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra". The Britten selection will be accompanied by a commentary on the functions of the various musical instruments in a symphony. The second segment "World We Live In" is a visual feature with articles which appeared in LIFE magazine. The unit will concern itself with the "Face of the Land" portion of the articles. The third segment "The Stranger Left No Card" is a psychological suspense story presented on the show in November and is repeated here. The fourth segment "Formation of Mountains" has Host Alistair Cooke explaining how various types of mountains are formed, with the assistance of animated films showing the step-by-step process traced through time.moreless
  • Grandma Moses
    Grandma Moses
    Episode 22
    In the first segment "Grandma Moses", host Alistair Cooke introduces the program with Winston Churchill's comments concerning painting. Archibald McLeish narrates the film which documents the life and work of Grandma Moses, then age 93, the primitive artist who began her career at the age of 78. The second segment "Everyman" is a dramatization of the classic 16th century morality play about a man (Burgess Meredith) who is called by Death (Joseph Schildkraut) and discovers the extent of his Earthbound friendships and values. The third segment "The Drift to One Eye". Robert Benchley's thoughts concerning Man's possible future changes of facial features is read by Alistair Cooke. The fourth segment "Trip to the Moon" an early example of stop motion photography made in 1902 by French magician and film pioneer George Melies will complete the program.moreless
  • Lord Byron's Love Letter
    The first segment is a Tennessee Williams' play, "Lord Byron's Love Letter," starring Ethel Barrymore about a tragic woman who recalls with undue concern an alleged letter by the famed poet. The second segment "135th Street," based on George Gershwin's musical "Blue Monday" with an all-Negro cast. The third segment "Photomicrography" examples of motion picture film use in industrial processes are shown, such as micro, time lapse and high speed photography. The fourth segment "Lincoln-Rutledge Debate" with Lincoln author James Agee and Allan Nevins, a distinguished historian who discuss the authenticity of the presumed love affair between Lincoln and Ann Rutledge. The fifth segment "Response to the Lincoln Series" Host Alistair Cooke reads a negative letter concerning James Agee's Lincoln films, and presents the moving portion from the first film depicting the movement of the funeral train.moreless
  • Three Maidens and the Devil
    The first segment "Three Maidens and the Devil" is a ballet performance choreographed and starring Agnes DeMille. The ballet tells of three maidens who encounter the devil on their way to Church. The second segment "Happy Birthday, Aunt Sarah" June Havoc stars in a musical parody by Kay Swift. Aunt Sarah celebrates her 80th birthday by recounting one of her earlier experiences. The third segment "Audubon's Birds of America" John J. Audubon's illustrations are shown and commented upon by Alistair Cooke and novelist Glenway Westcott as he recounts highlights of the life of the world's finest painter and ornithologist of wild birds. The fourth segment "Do it Yourself" is an insight on hobbies and the do-it-yourself craze. The fifth segment "Fisherman's Holiday" an Italian film photography closes out the program.moreless
  • The Last Night of Don Juan
    The first segment is a dramatization "The Last Night of Don Juan" story by Edmond Rostand starring Fredric March and Joseph Schildkraut. The scene is Venice where the ghosts of his past conquests return to mock him in his last hour. The second segment is "Animated Genesis". Host Alistair Cooke comments upon non-objective, abstract art and introduces an animated English made abstract film dealing with cell division and genetics. The third segment "Country Editor" The Downingtown, Pa. Archive has a weekly circulation of 5,000 and it is edited, printed and distributed by a hard-working husband and wife. A close look at a small town newspaper. The fourth segment "Highway Construction" provides a general overview of the necessary steps in planning and constructing a highway.moreless
  • A Lodging for the Night
    The first segment is a dramatization "A Lodging for the Night" from Robert Louis Stevenson's story about the life of the French rogue Francois Villon during a cold winter night in 1453 is the scene. Starring Yul Brynner. The second segment "Pimpinella" a German puppet film tells the story of a little doll in a toy shop who had the wrong legs. She discovers a solution to her problem and in the process finds a prince. The third segment "Olga Coelho", has the Brazilian soprano, who has been called the world's most famed singing guitarist performing her own interpretations of native folk music of Brazil. The fourth segment is "An Early Science Fiction Film". Scenes from an amazing English film made in 1909 predict a war of the future. Original title was "Love Affair of an Inventor of an Aerial Torpedo". This melodramatic pre-vision of airships used as instruments of destruction was one of the first such films made. The fifth segment "Reforestation" a progess report on reforestation in the United States and changes in methods. The sixth segment "Traffic Engineering" OMNIBUS visits the School of Traffic Engineering at Yale University. A number of case traffic studies are covered and examples of findings are illustrated.moreless
  • The Happy Journey
    The Happy Journey
    Episode 17
    The first segment is "The Happy Journey" based on the play by Thornton Wilder it is the story of a family of four who journeys by car to Camden, New Jersey to visit a member of the family. Starring Helen Hayes and Russell Collins. The second segment is "The Blind Man". A documentary record of a blind man's typical day from the ringing of his alarm clock to his activities in the office. The third segment is "The Coronation Ceremony". Leo Genn narrates an official British film which traces the story of the 900-year-old coronation ceremony and outlines the ceremony to be performed on June 2, 1953 with Queen Elizabeth. The fourth segment is "The Five Gifts of Life". The New York City Ballet Company performance based on Mark Twain's story of a young man who seeks all five gifts of life: fame, riches, pleasures, love and death and because of his greed must accept old age. The fifth segment "The Income Tax" has Alistair Cooke who briefly covers the history of the income tax and traces the sophisticated methods employed in obtaining data, notwithstanding some wry comments.moreless
  • La Boheme
    La Boheme
    Episode 16
    Puccini's opera "La Boheme" featured a chorus of 18 and the Metropolitan Orchestra of 53 musicians. This English production of "La Boheme" is the story of the lives and loves of four 19th century Paris Bohemians. Mimi, a seamstress who falls in love with the poet Rodolfo.
  • The Oyster and the Pearl
    The first segment is a William Saroyan play about a barbershop in the town of Ok-by-the-Sea, California which is run by a philosophical barber named Harry. Harry's customers come to see him for more than just a haircut, advice and his ideas on life make him the man to see for a young boy who is convinced that the oyster he found has a pearl in it. The second segment is a Time relapse film of the growth of a wheat germ. The third segment "Rospigliosi Cup" is an exhibition of the famed Cellini Cup made entirely out of gold from the Metropolitan Museum of Art where it is displayed and explained. The fourth segment "La Boheme Preview" has host Alistair Cooke interviewing members of the Metropolitan Opera cast during rehearsal of Puccini's opera scheduled for broadcast.moreless
  • Lincoln Part V: Ann Rutledge
    The first segment "Lincoln Part V: Ann Rutledge" is the final chapter deals with Lincoln's early political ventures, the death of Ann Rutledge, his extreme depression, recovery and return to the Illinois State Legislature and the beginning of his significant political career. The second segment "Napoleon's Love Letters" is about Napoleon and Josephine's tremendous love affair filled with passion and heartache. Starring James Mason and Pamela Mason as the ill-fated lovers. The third segment "The Pelican" is a wildlife feature with Richard Borden, designer of a new camera gun for photographing swiftly moving animals. The fourth segment "Under the Bridges of Paris" is the final presentation of the Paris Ballets. Produced and directed by Jean Benoit-Levy it is the story of two lovers who secretly meet under the bridges of Paris.moreless
  • Die Fledermaus
    Die Fledermaus
    Episode 13
    The Metropolitan Opera presents an English translation of Johann Strauss' Operetta with Eugene Ormandy conducting. The operetta is shown in three parts. The story of Gabriel Eisenstein who is sentenced to prison for insulting an official. When the head of the prison arrives to take him to prison he finds Alfred, the lover of Eisenstein's wife Rosalinde whom he is having an affair with does not want to compromise their relationship so he pretends to be Eisenstein. Act I The Eisenstein's living room. Act II Prince Orlofsky's ball. Act III The local jail.moreless
  • While The Tide Was Rising
    The first segment "While the Tide Was Rising" is the 1914 film classic produced by the Thomas A. Edison company, written, directed and starring Ben F. Wilson about a daring young aviator who is rescued from his wrecked airplane and after his recuperation the aviator falls in love with the doctor's daughter. A chase ensues with the girl being rescued from a rising tide. The second segment are the Jazz stylings of Benny Goodman on clarinet, Gene Krupa on drums and Teddy Wilson at the piano. Selections included are "Nice Work If You Can Get It", "Memories of You" and "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise". The third segment is an early movie made in 1915, a melodrama called "McQuade of the Traffic Squad" made by the Thomas A. Edison Co. The life of the police force in New York City is told with motorcycle chases, burglars and romance. The fourth segment is a visit with artist Thomas Hart Benton, his 13-year-old daughter Jessie and a family friend Claude Rains at his home in Kansas City Missouri. Each reads a portion of his favorite literature and discusses an aspect of his life. Benton displays several paintings. The fifth segment is an episode of the latest film by Roberto Rosselini, the film is a series of 10 unconnected episodes starring Franciscan monks in all roles but one.moreless
  • Vive
    Episode 11
    The first segment is a story written by William Saroyan called "Vive" about two old men engaged in painting a wall in Paris, who apply their amateur philosophies to the passing scene. Starring Bert Lahr and Bobby Clark. Later each of the vaudeville stars will present their classic stage bits. The second segment The Paris Ballet presents "The Servant With Two Masters" a play written by Carlo Goldini. The play begins as a woman travels to Venice disguised as her dead brother in search of the man who killed him, her lover Florindo. Florindo was forbidden to marry her by her brother who knew he was only after her dowry. The third segment "Barn Dance" is done through time-lapse motion picture photography and ingenious editing of picture and sound, Canadian cinematographer Ernest Reid portrays special kinds of barns (and animals) that "dance" to some good old fashioned country music. The fourth segment "The Haircut" has the camera examines the battle between the barber and a number of small children during a Saturday afternoon session. Various gymnastic tactics are shown while the barber deals with these setbacks with good humor.moreless
  • Lincoln Part IV: New Salem
    The first segment "Lincoln Part IV: New Salem", is the story of Lincoln's arrival in New Salem, Illinois at the age of 22, his meeting with Ann Rutledge, his fight with Jack Armstrong and his first plunge into political life are told. Starring Royal Dano and Joanne Woodward. The second segment "Henry V, Act 5, Scene 2" is the scene of Henry V fresh from a victorious battle with the French, arrives to claim Katherine as his queen in the famous Shakespearean love scene. Starring Brian Aherne and Viveca Lindfors. The third segment "Jose Greco" is about the talented dancer who since 1949 when Jose Greco originated his own company of Spanish dancers, has toured the world. In this presentation his troupe will star in a production of Ravel's "Bolero". The fourth segment offers a sequence of old time aviation which is shown with films made during the early experimental years of the flying machine as well as a segment called "Role of a Rescue Helicopter".moreless
  • The Man In The Cool, Cool Moon
    The first segment is an original TV play by William Saroyan titled "The Man in the Cool, Cool Moon". It is the story about Duggan, a newspaper reporter is sent to cover an atomic bomb test near a town called Practically Heaven, Nevada. During a stop at the local Moon Theater, he encounters a Cool, Cool Cola dispensing machine and a ten-year-old boy caught by more than the machine as the world watches. Starring Brandon De Wilde. The second segment is a farce by Anton Chekov called "The Bear" which takes place in the living room of a country estate, about a widow who has mourned her husband is suddenly beset with feelings for a Captain. Starring June Havoc, Michael Redgrave and Billy L. Greene. In the third segment the Paris Ballet returns to perform a piece called "Dance Congress" directed by Jean Benoit-Levy and composed by Richard Blareau. The scene is about the Delegates arriving at an international dance convention at Orly Field, Paris and because of passport restrictions are required to present a native dance to prove national origin. The fourth segment "Letters to be Answered Part I" host Alistair Cooke replies to letters of comment and inquiry concerning the first nine weeks of Omnibus. He comments on the musical theme, squeaky shoes and presents reruns of the X-ray films, the running jack-rabbit and a model of Da Vinci's speedometer.moreless
  • My Brother Henry
    My Brother Henry
    Episode 8
    The first segment "My Brother Henry" is Sir James M. Barrie's story starring Michael Redgrave. A man makes up a brother and everyone becomes enchanted with this make-believe Henry. The second segment is a preview of Walt Disney's Peter Pan" which is set to premiere February 28, 1953. The third segment is a discussion of Moussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" . The fourth segment symphony conductor Leopold Stokowski will conduct a group singing Christmas Carols with orchestral background. The fifth segment is an interview with Nobel prize winning novelist William Faulkner.moreless
  • Pickwick
    Episode 7
    The first segment is based on the Charles Dickens story "The Trial of Mr. Pickwick" is the tale about Mr. Pickwick and his breach of promise in connection with his landlady Mrs. Bardell. Starring Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Francis L. Sullivan and Mercer McLeod. The second segment is Agnes DeMille's "Rodeo" starring John Kriza, Jenny Workman and Kelly Brown. Music by Aaron Copeland. It is the story about a group of cowboys gathered together one Saturday afternoon in the corral, preparing for the Barn Dance later that evening. The story traces one cowgirl's efforts in roping her cowboy. The third segment is "Palle Alone in the World" A Swedish film about an imaginative little boy who dreams that he awakes one morning to suddenly find himself alone in the world and has a wonderful time driving and demolishing a streetcar, visiting a toy shop, driving a fire truck, flying an airliner to the moon, and going to a candy shop. Directed and edited by Astrid and Bjarne Henning-Jensen.moreless
  • Mr. Lincoln Part 3
    Mr. Lincoln Part 3
    Episode 6
    Lincoln Part III: Growing Up begins in 1825 with a typical day in the local one room school house. Through flashbacks members of his family and friends describe Lincoln during his adolescent years. Lincoln recounts his own experiences some of them quite painful. The family moves to Illinois while Abe age 21, decides to start out on his own. The second segment Helen Hayes makes her third appearance and will read specially adapted Christmas fairy tales from Charles Perrault's "Mother Goose Suite" to the accompaniment of Ravel's music. It is a 300-year-old tale of a princess who is condemned to sleep for 100 years. Her dreams set our imaginations free with the assistance of a supporting cast of actors and puppets. The third segment "Biography of a Fish" is a fish story made entirely under water about the stickleback fish who has three long spines covered with needle-like points. The film shows the male preparing a nest, securing a mate, fertilizing the eggs and protecting his brood. The fourth segment "Children's Books" with two famous authors of children's books, Robert McClusky of "Homer Price" and "Make Way for Ducklings" and Marc Simont of "The Lovely Summer" discuss their backgrounds, problems and satisfactions in writing and illustrating children's books.moreless
  • The Trial of Ben Jonson
    Maxwell Anderson's story "The Trial of Ben Jonson" tells about Jonson who was accused of writing treasonous material and in the end he scores a moral victory but at the cost of a personal tragedy. Starring Alexander Scourby, June Lockhart and John Williams. In the second segment Jean Sibelius in celebration of his 87th birthday, a short film shows Sibelius at his home near Helsinki to the accompaniment of "Finlandia". In the third segment "The Dagger" is performed. A dance drama about a young girl, a man who thinks she loves him and another who knows she loves him. Members of the Paris Ballet are featured. The fourth segment is a visit with Rowland Emett famed cartoonist of "Punch" displays and describes some of his ingenious inventions, the Emett know, Nellie, his special steam engine, the astro-terra-marry, and a steam-powered television camera. The fifth segment Slow motion and High-Speed Photography are shown.moreless
  • Mr. Lincoln Part 2
    Mr. Lincoln Part 2
    Episode 4
    The first segment is the second of the five-part series called "Mr. Lincoln Part II Early Boyhood", and deals with Lincoln's childhood and the influences he received from his mother. The second segment is a dramatization written and introduced by William Saroyan called "The Christmas Tie". It is the story of a woman who gives a sales clerk a difficult time and a floorwalker who accuses the clerk of being careless. Starring Helen Hayes, Burgess Meredith and Anthony Ross. The third segment is "Tugboat Captain" and is a documentary film about the story of Captain Kenneth Buck, his crew and the tugboat "Grace" during a typical day in New York Harbor. The fourth segment is entitled "The Automobile" talks about how automobiles have changed the lives of people compared to the turn of the century. The fifth segment "Dance Madness" is a French Ballet production about a young ballet dancer, who while practicing in her studio is trapped unexpectedly by a madman who dances with her in various moods determined by phonograph recordings.moreless
  • The Twelve Pound Look
    In the first segment "The Twelve Pound Note" starring Helen Hayes, is the story of a woman who is tired of life and gains new interest in the joy of accomplishment. The second segment is a dramatization called "The Stranger Left No Card" starring Alan Badel. The third segment is world renowned photographer for LIFE magazine Phillipe Halsman working with his two subjects actresses Eva Gabor and Linda Christian. In the fourth and final segment of the 90-minute program creative contemporary artist Julio de Diego shows his artwork.moreless
  • Mr. Lincoln Part 1
    Mr. Lincoln Part 1
    Episode 2

    "Lincoln Part I: The End and the Beginning" is the first of five parts on the life of Abraham Lincoln starts with Lincoln's second Inaugural on March 4, 1865, his assassination and his death. Author James Agee's poetry contributes to the moving portion, "The Journey Home" when the play turns to the beginning in a Kentucky cabin in February 12, 1809. The second segment "The Telephone" is a brief and humorous operatic sketch by Gian Carlo Menotti, about a young woman who preferred to converse with her lover through the telephone rather than face to face. Starring Edith Gordon and Andrew Gainey. The third segment "Leonardo Da Vinci" is a condensation of an Italian feature length film which documents some of his achievements through various paintings, drawings and models. The fourth segment "Lonely Hearts Ballet" number by the Paris Ballet. The gaiety of a lonely hearts club dance is disrupted first by the entry of a handsome young man and later by two police officials who pursue him. The fifth segment is an educational sequence on the Flagg Dog Training School. The sixth segment is an exploration and the invention of plastics began when a substitue for natural ivory was required. A demonstration at the Princeton University Plastics laboratory explains briefly the history, construction and utilization of different types of plastics.

  • The Trial of Anne Boleyn
    Premiere episode of the program OMNIBUS featured several segments dealing in the arts. 1) An adaptation by Maxwell Anderson of "The Trial of Anne Boleyn" starring Rex Harrison and Lilli Palmer. 2) A dramatization of William Saroyan's "The Bad Men" starring Sidney Poitier. 3) A scene from "Mikado" with Martyn Green. 4) The fourth segment is entitled "Witch Doctor" starring Jean Leon Destine, Jeanne Ramon and Alphonse Climber and is about a Haitian Voodoo dance ceremony. 5) "Motion Picture X-Rays" are shown in film footage.moreless