In the days before the TV movie, teleplays were usually hour long performances of popular plays. Videotape wasn't in existance so these were done live, once for the east coast, and then again immediately following for the west coast. They were solely sponsored often by cigarettes, gasoline, and electronics companies. This is a partial list of some of the teleplays that Paul appeared in "back in the day".
** A note about titles listed with "MTR" : MTR stands for "The Museum of Television and Radio", located in New York City and Los Angeles and open to the public. If you've ever got an afternoon to kill in one of these cities, I highly recommend visiting and searching their catalogue for some great old programs you can't see anywhere else in the world. A majority of Paul's old teleplays are available (my listings apply to the LA branch specifically, you'd have to search on your own in NYC) and while some are arduous, others are a refreshing treat. Admission is "a suggested donation" but after visiting, you'll feel it's totally worth it.**
Playhouse 90 "The 80 Yard Run" 1/16/58 MTR (T78:0313, T78:0314)
Playhouse 90 "The Last Man" 1/9/58 MTR (T:13418)
Playhouse 90 "The Rag Jungle" 11/20/56 MTR (archives B:32755)
U.S. Steel Hour: "Bang the Drum Slowly" 9/26/56
Starring: PN (PLAYING HENRY WIGGEN), Albert Solmi, George Peppard
Directed By: Dan Petrie MTR
U.S. Steel Hour "Five Fathers of Pepi" 8/29/56
Kaiser Aluminum Hour "The Army Game" 7/3/56 (1st telecast) (PLAYING DANNY) MTR (archives B:10629)
Playwrights '56 "The Battler (Hemingway)" 10/18/55
[order from Facets.com $29.95]
Directed by Arthur Penn (and Assoc. Directed by Dominick Dunne!) PLN is almost unrecognizable as Ad Francis, "The Battler" a down on his luck boxer. Not one of his sexiest roles, but does feature his signature phrase "You betcha!". Screenplay was also adapted by long-time Newman pal A.E. Hotchner & Sidney Carrol.
Producer's Showcase "Our Town" 9/19/55 (Goodyear TV Playhouse/Alcoa??)(PLAYING GEORGE GIBBS) MTR (T79:0196)
In this version of the American classic, our beloved Paul plays 16-26 year-old George Gibbs (when he was 30!), Eva Marie Saint plays Emily Webb, and Frank Sinatra the Stage Manager. This adaptation makes the most of the Sinatra casting by interjecting songs. The first "In Grover's Corners, we're mostly Republicans, with some Democrats, the rest are all sus-pect" seems okay, but the strangely juxtapositioned "Love and Marriage" right before Act 2 is just ... weird. I recommend over looking the fact that Emily and George also have a number "The Impatient Years" (I'm suspicious of PN's actually singing in this, it sounds more like Sinatra). Rating/Newman Factor: Eva and Paul are sweet and cute and on this "one-shot deal" performance, the only one who stumbles their lines is Frank. Rating: 9, PLN:10.
Philco TV Playhouse "Death of Billy the Kid" (written by Gore Vidal)7/24/55 episode #7.23
Appointment With Adventure "5 In Judgment" 4/10/55 (CBS)
Starring: Mack- PN, Salesman- Frank McHugh, Paul-Henry Hull, Roy- James Gregory, Sally- Patricia Breslin MTR (T:15211)
Danger "Knife in the Dark" 12/7/54 MTR
Goodyear Playhouse "Thunder of Silence" 11/21/54 episode #4.4
Goodyear Playhouse: "Guilty is the Stranger" 9/26/54 episode #4.1 MTR (T86:0016)
The Web "Scrap" 11/29/53 MTR (T:07056)
The Mask "The Party Night" 4/11/54
The Web "One For the Road" 9/20/53 MTR (T40796)
You Are There "The Fate of Nathan Hale" 8/30/53 episode #2.1 (PLAYING NATHAN HALE)
The Web "The Bells of Damon" 7/19/53 episode #3.43 MTR: (archives B:40797)
You Are There "Death of Socrates" 5/3/53 MTR (T77:0248)
You Are There "Assasination of Julius Caesar" 3/8/53 episode #1.6 MTR (T80:0792)
Suspense, Season 4, Episode 47"Woman in Love" 8/26/52
(Featured on disk 4 of the DVD of the "Lost Episodes")
This episode of Suspense takes us to Budapest, 1952 where Alexia, a young woman who wants to travel to Sweden to be with her fiance but her mother (?) and some sort of underground leader want her to carry information to the resistance (at least I think that's what's happening here... so very difficult to tell). Alexia is also the only character that speaks with a Hungarian accent (which makes her absolutely ridiculous, because it is, in fact, the worst accent ever.) Alexia is sent to the passport office to get her papers in order, and it is here where we catch our first glimpse of Communist Captain Radefski (PLN). His eyes dart up to Alexia, and maybe it's just me, but you can see the star he is destined to become in that flash. Sadly, as the play progresses and Radefski opens his mouth, we can see that PLN does not quite have the acting chops that won him so many Oscar nominations.
There seems to be no point to this episode, it ends abruptly and provides little satisfaction other than PN's chiseled cheekbones.
Tales of Tomorrow, Vol. 1 "Ice From Space" 8/8/52
Three episodes from one of the first science fiction anthology series on television. Paul Newman stars in Ice From Space (August 8,1952, d: Don Medford), in which the military discovers that a returning rocket is carrying an unusual virus which is freezing the desert surface. The future Mrs. Newman, Joanne Woodward stars in Bitter Storm (December 26, 1952, d: Don Medford), the tale of a bitter scientist who reveals a device that can record any sound made in human history. Finally, in Verdict from Space (August 3, 1951, d: Leonard Valenta), an archaeologist accidentally triggers an alien invasion. These early TV dramas, originally broadcast live, have been remastered from kinescope elements. Each episode is approximately 30 mins. available from facets.org
Ice From Space: A missing rocket returns back to earth and when the scientists open it, it contains a strange box sized block. The box freezes 75 miles of desert land in the middle of summer, killing 12 men. And well, yeah that's about as coherent as it can get folks. PLN plays Sgt Wilson, (I think he's even chewing gum during his lines...on purpose?) Hard to get a feeling for these stories in just a half hour.
OTHER TV APPEARANCES:
Come Along With Me (1981) 60 minutes
Starring: Estelle Parsons, Sylvia Sidney
Directed by: Joanne Woodward
From Shirley Jackson's unfinished novel, this is JW's 2nd (and final) attempt at directing (her first was an episode of the television show "Family"). Overall, the directing was probably the best part about it. Estelle Parsons is Mabel Lederer, a recently widowed woman who takes the death of husband as an opportunity to leave her previous life behind. She hops on a random bus, taking it to the end of the line, and picks a new name out of thin air. She "dabbles in the supernatural" and "tries her hand at shoplifting" then moves into a room at a boarding house. She holds a seance, while the owner of the house tells her: "Anything you raise by way of spirits, you have to put back yourself." At end, the reinvented Mabel, heads off on another bus, ready to go to the end of another line and create another identity for herself.
Newman Factor & Rating: Paul plays the voice of Hughie, Mabel's dead husband. It's a brief cameo appearance, and he is credited as P.L. Neuman. The story is just too unfinished to be turned into a teleplay.