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FOUR STAR Playhouse like screen directors Playhouse


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I saw that TCM was playing the Screen Directors Playhouse, but I wanted to talk about FOUR STAR Playhouse, which was a 50's TV show just like screen directors playhouse but was headed mostly by Dick Powell, David Niven, Charles Boyer and alternated between Joan Fontaine and Ida Lupino are the FOUR stars that bring u this edition of playhouse. In my opinion it is just as good as Screen Directors Playhouse. These Four Stars are big time Hollywood heavyweights and every episode contains other stars and a story that keeps your attention.


Four Star Playhouse is also in very good shape as far as prints go for old TV shows. pretty much pristine shape. Also many of the episodes were about important subject matter that movies would or could not tackle. One episode to me that stands out is one with Joan Fontaine about Rent Control and the crooked politicians of the day that wipe away rent control for a town. This is a subject that many of us might not be familiar with but back in the 50's and 60's it was a hot topic.


As usual for me and TCM I was thinking a few months ago how TCM should play these types of classic TV shows that TV Land does not play and that classic film aficionados would really enjoy and without me mentioning it they did it on their own. This happens to me a lot, all I have to do is to think about something I want shown on TCM and they play it.


Unlike Screen Directors Playhouse, Four star Playhouse is available on DVD in a 10 episode set released by Timeless Media Group, a company that releases many rare and hard to find old tv shows and classic documentaries.


Some of the episodes were written by Ida Lupino and directed by her too.











There are more sets available, many with only a few more left for sale. These are the ones that I have (or have since ordered). The first one listed is the Timeless Media release. The episodes are in the public domain and maybe available to watch on archive.org.


I Highly recommend picking these up and maybe hopefully having tcm play all of the episodes someday. There were 129 of them in all and I am just hoping that someday a company will release them all in a box set, because this is one of the most enjoyable classic tv shows of all time.


four star playhouse at IMDB.com



Edited by: kimpunkrock on Feb 3, 2011 7:50 PM


Edited by: kimpunkrock on Feb 3, 2011 7:52 PM

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I have been curious to see episodes of this series. I am wary of poor quality prints on those Alpha Video DVDs...or from similar companies.


Personally, I did not think Screen Directors Playhouse belonged on TCM. They need to create a separate channel for that, since TVLand obviously does not believe in digging into the old-time vaults.


Why not a Turner Classic Television station?

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There were quite a few of those series. Bob Hope had one sponsored by Chrysler. Loretta Young had an anthology series. So did Lucy and Desi in the late 50s. There was the U.S. Steel Hour, too. Countless others. From an historical perspective, it's interesting to see film stars of the 30s and 40s segue into the golden age of television, as well as watch new performers from the stage, like James Dean and Grace Kelly, begin their climb up the Hollywood ladder.

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The prints on the DVDs I mentioned are very good if not perfect. the first one I listed from Timeless Media is almost perfect, that company always has the best prints possible of their titles.


One TV show that is in big dis-repair is the Burns and Allen TV show episodes. I love that show and Burns and Allen but the quality on what is available to watch is just horrible.


The GE Theater is pretty good, I own one DVD of 4 episodes, I believe Ronald Regan hosted that show for awhile.


I would love to see the Bob Hope show like this.


In my Opinion Four Star Playhouse is the best out of these types of TV shows and most of them were produced by David Niven, Dick Powell and Charles Boyer.


One of my favorite episodes that I own is called The Wild Bunch with Charles Boyer and Natalie Wood. It is about a man that marries a woman without knowing she had 3 teenage children, but when the father is left alone with the children for weeks as soon as they return from their honeymoon, miracles happen. It is a very touching story and after watching it everyone will want Charles Boyer for their father! He also produced this episode.

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I've seen some of these and love them...I enjoy these programs of that era so much because you can see the care and quality of writing and original ( ! ) story ideas. One other series that is supposed to be excellent is "Robert Montgomery Presents", but I have never been able to find a single episode.


I'd LOVE it if TCM showed any of these series, especially since so many big screen names were behind their creation.

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Kim, if you like detective shows, both seasons of Checkmate are available in one DVD box. Almost every episode starred a major Hollywood star like Peter Lorre, Joan Fontaine, Anne Baxter, or Joseph Cotten. Most of the prints are of fairly good quality. Some of the guest stars have juicy roles, like Barbara Rush playing a woman with a split personality. The show was scored by John Williams, then a jazz musician known as Johnny Williams.

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Yes I too really want to see Robert Montgomery Presents. He is one of my favorite actors of all time.


I own season 1 of checkmate, its ok not one of my favorites but entertaining. I still have yet to get through the box set. I will probably end up loving it as time goes by.



One show that is really freaking good and was the first NYPD TV show that was any good is called *Brenner*. This show is amazing and also available on DVD from Timeless Media. I own it and I must say it is really one of the greatest cop shows of all time. I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend it. I am not playing around on this one!






Burkes Law I havent seen yet but I want too.


*The Lawless Years* is also a great cop show based on true stories of crime during the roaring 20's. It was filmed in Sephia tone which makes it stand out besides its amazing true story. Timeless Media also put that one out. You really cant go wrong with timeless media. I own season 1. This show like check mate has guest stars and up and coming stars. One of the first ever episode stars Vic Morrow.


The Lawless years



Edited by: kimpunkrock on Feb 4, 2011 10:58 AM

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also ........I highly recommend using amazon and its used sellers. I never, almost never buy from amazon itself. In this way we are supporting each other. I have never ever had any problem with any of the multitude of products I buy there used and sometimes new from people like u and me. One time the dvd didnt work and they refunded my money right away without me even having to send the other one back!


Plus you save a lot of money!


so buy from the used sellers on amazon! Support and invest in each other!

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This is a fascinating era in TV history. I'm just old enough to have co-existed with it. But it was outside of my youthful perception. I was still watching CAPTAIN KANGAROO! I have enjoyed some PBS broadcasts in recent years. PLAYHOUSE 90 and so forth. REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT. MARTY. Paul Newman in BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY. The shows have more in common with theatre than movies. Wonderful stuff!

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Barbara Stanwycks show was highly enjoyable. I think TCM should play that one and others that stars hosted or had their namesake in the title. TV Land wont play these.


One show I recently go into was Sgt. Bilko. Hahahaha lots of laughs there and *the dean martin Variety show* is one of my favorites. I own 6 of the hard to find and ludicrously expensive DVDS.


TCM should play the Dean Martin Show, lots of interest to classic film fans there.

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I think that's a great idea to show episodes from The Barbara Stanwyck Show. As I recall, there were some really great stories on the show. And she did win an Emmy for the show, as she did for The Big Valley. We all know that Robert Osborne is a great Stanwyck fan, so perhaps he can use his influence in getting this on TCM. We can only dream!



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Anyone remember "The Richard Boone Show". It was an anthology series that ran from 1963 to 1964. Boone was host and starred in about half of the shows. Among the other stars were Beth Leslie, Harry Morgan, Guy Stockwell and Robert Blake. A different show each week. I t was good TV that didn't catch an audience. There was also "Alcoa Presents- One Step Beyond". A series olong the lines of "The Twilight Zone", but which were suppose to be based on facts. John Newland hosted and starred in some of the stories. Sadly it fell into PD and don't know the condition of the prints....Also the great"Death Valley Days" hosted by the "Old Ranger" and later by Ronnie Reagan....

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