While he was hosting CBS’ The Twilight Zone from 1959 to 1964, Rod Serling won three Emmy Awards for writing – but the third was for an episode of an entirely different TV anthology: NBC’s Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre.
You’ll have a rare opportunity to view that episode – a 1963 adaptation of a John O’ Hara short story, “It’s Mental Work” – when the UCLA Film and Television Archive streams it for free next Thursday, June 3, at 7 pm ET. You can register in advance for the screening at Eventbrite.
Lee J. Cobb stars as the weary owner of a shabby corner bar raging against mortality and betrayal. Gena Rowlands co-stars as a sensitive, hard-luck hat check girl, and the cast also includes Harry Guardino and former boxing champion Archie Moore. Alas, while the episode originally aired in color, all that now exists – thanks to the Archive – is a black-and-white copy.
UCLA’s 90-minute presentation will lead off with a three-minute 1966 TV editorial by Serling on behalf of a re-election bid by California’s Lieutenant Governor, followed by Serling’s two-minute acceptance of his Emmy for “It’s Mental Work.” Then, after the 50-minute episode, Anne Serling author of As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling, will join UCLA Archivist Mark Quigley for a discussion.
More Serling Emmy Wins
Before The Twilight Zone, Serling had already won three other writing Emmys for contributions to anthology series. You can stream all three on YouTube or below:
“Patterns” (Kraft Television Theatre, NBC, 1955). This indictment of the competitive world of big business also resulted in Emmy nominations for stars Everett Sloane and Ed Begley. It was remade as a 1956 theatrical film, also with Sloane and Begley.
“Requiem for a Heavyweight” (Playhouse 90, CBS, 1956). This story of a washed-up boxer also won an Emmy as Best Single Program of the Year, with Jack Palance taking home Best Actor honor for playing the boxer and Ralph Nelson for Best Director. It was remade as a 1962 theatrical film starring Anthony Quinn.
“The Comedian” (Playhouse 90, CBS, 1957). Directed by John Frankenheimer, this drama about a ruthless TV comedian (Mickey Rooney) also won an Emmy as Best Single Program of the Year.
(Top photo source: UCLA Film & Television Archive / Eventbrite)
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