Your Show Time: The Potential of Television

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Your Show Time was an anthology drama series that was unfortunately quite short-lived. It didn’t even run for a whole year, beginning in January 1949 and only lasting until July. The show was aired on NBC and had 30-minute episodes, all of which were dramatized stories based on the works of known authors like Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Guy de Maupassant. Arthur Shields was both the presenter and narrator of this series. 

The producer of Your Show Time was Marshall Grant, and there were 26 episodes in total. While the series may not have lasted very long, it certainly made an impression on both viewers and the industry in general. It’s touted as being the first-ever series to win an Emmy award. This award was given to the nominated episode ‘The Necklace’, which dramatized a well-known short story by Guy de Maupassant. The producer for this episode was Stanley Rubin, and the Emmy Award it won was for Outstanding Made For Television Movie in 1949. Interestingly, this win was also during the first-ever Emmy award ceremony. ‘Your Show Time’ premiered on January 21st, 1949, while the Emmy ceremony was held just four days after that. The win was possible because the nominated segment aired in LA before the national airing on NBC.

In the second Primetime Emmy Awards in 1950, the show received an Emmy nomination. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t find Rubin listed among the Emmy winners in their official database. This is because executive producers and show providers weren’t listed as the recipients until 1965. 

This series is also known for being sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes. This might not go down well with audiences today, with many people being aware of the dangers of smoking. In fact, many smokers are now trying to quit and probably won’t appreciate seeing a cigarette company as the sponsor of the show they’re watching. 

A pack of cigarettes

Later on, Your Show Time got syndication under the name of Film Drama in the year 1955. In the following year, it was syndicated as Story Theater. 

Yet another first for this early television series is that it was the first-ever dramatic series in America to be shot using film. This might explain why there are still a few episodes of the show available to watch on YouTube as of now. Shooting a series on film was a very new concept at that time. Instead, most television content was either aired live or in the form of a Kinescope film. 

Technically, Public Prosecutor was the first series to be produced on film (1947 to 1948), but it wasn’t aired until 1951. 

Moving on to the episodes in this show, some of them were based on short stories, while others were adapted from some chapters from novels. One interesting fact here is that the show had appearances by actors that are quite well-known now. These include Eva Gabor, Julie Adams, Alan Napier, Eve Miller, Melville Cooper, and many more. While not all the episodes have survived the passage of time, the UCLA Film and Television Archive have preserved at least nine of them. 

There aren’t many reviews to be found about this anthology online, but there are a few that might guide us. The feedback seems to be mostly positive, with some commenting that it’s an excellent series and worth watching. It was also noted that one of the top-rated episodes on the show was ‘The Speckled Band’, a dramatization of a Sherlock Holmes story. While this was meant to kick start a whole series of Holmes-themed episodes, this particular play remained the only one from that category. 

Alan Napier played Sherlock Holmes in this brilliant episode. He then went on to pass several relatively unnoticed decades in the television industry. Eventually, he played ‘Alfred the Butler’ in Batman from 1966 to 1968. He became a cult figure as well as a known actor. 

Other reviewers have claimed that Your Show Time is the kind of TV that was meant to be. Some may like the fact that the introduction was by a man in a bookshop. They’ve also praised the prediction, acting and storytelling on the show, but it’s highly doubtful that Your Show Time will become popular today. 

Yet another interesting tidbit about this show is that Marilyn Monroe was almost a part of it. She was recommended by Dann Cohen for a role, who was a film editor she was dating at the time. Stanley Rubin, the producer, saw her audition but turned her away due to lack of experience. 

Conclusion

If you’re a lover of classic shows, you might really enjoy the Your Show Time episodes. They’re not ridden with special effects or gimmicks, but rather rely on solid acting and vivid storytelling. The awards it has won and the reviews make it seem like a worthwhile watch. Why not watch one episode today and make the decision for yourself? 

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