The Wednesday Play: Playhouse 90 – The Comedian (1957)

One US anthology series that really did think it was doing a form of theatre was, as its name suggested, was Playhouse 90. Running from 1956 to 1960, these 133 90-minute productions featured some of the best actors of the day in stories of various genres adapted and written by the likes of F Scott Fitzgerald, Rod Serling, Aaron Spelling, Tad Mosel and Frank Gilroy. It was also the source of numerous movies, including Requiem for a Heavyweight, The St Valentine Day’s Massacre, Days of Wine and Roses and Judgement At Nuremberg, which saw Maximilian Schell originating the role he would play in the movie.

One of the show’s most prolific directors was John Frankenheimer, who was responsible for one of the show’s most famous plays: The Comedians. Written by Rod Serling from a novella by Ernest Lehman, the live production starred Mickey Rooney as an egomaniacal television comedian venting his hysterical wrath on his brother (Mel Tormé), with Edmond O’Brien as a writer driven to the brink of insanity by the mayhem. Kim Hunter played Rooney’s wife. And it’s this week’s play – enjoy!



  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.