Studio 57

TV classics: Studio 57

USA 1954-56, 4 seasons,Ā  124 episodes, approximately 25 minutes each, DuMont (then syndication), black & white. Produced by: Revue Studios, Sponsored by: Heinz 57. Cast selection: Lex Barker, Jean Byron, Barbara Hale, William Hopper, Brian Keith, DeForest Kelley, Angela Lansbury, Peter Lawford, Peter Lorre, James Nolan, Hugh o’Brian, Aaron Spelling, Rod Taylor, Bill Williams, Natalie Wood and many others

Plot summary: An anthology TV series, Studio 57 featured different genres, plots, actors and storylines every week.

Review: It is hard to review and sum up a program as diverse as Studio 57. Not uncommon in the 1950s, Studio 57 was one of those anthology series that featured a different storyline and cast of actors every week. Although mostly introducing unfamiliar faces, the show also had its number of rising stars and well-known actors, including Angela Lansbury, Peter Lorre, Barbara Hale, Bill Williams or Brian Keith. With its diversity of genres, Studio 57 met the style of the many other anthology shows. Due its often marginally successful scripts and not always driving force talents and names, the show was rather short-lived.

One of the better known episodes is “Young Couples Only”, starring Barbara Hale, Bill Williams and Peter Lorre. With its science fiction plot, the episode is a good example for the often well cast shows but poor storytelling. Although not extremely suspenseful by today’s standards, the episode is great fun to watch for everyone who enjoys the marvelous talents of the lead actors. The script may not have given them a lot of material to work with, but they do the best with what they have. Peter Lorre is eerily spooky as the apartment building’s janitor, and Barbara Hale and Bill Williams do a beautiful-as-always job to stir up suspense, fear and suspicions with the little meaningful lines they got to convey the plot.

All in all, Studio 57 is a program for everyone who is interested in TV history, in anthology series and rarely shown material with a beloved or sometimes little known cast of actors. Selected episodes are available on DVD and very worth checking out if you want to get a more accentuated impression of the diversity of 1950s programs and a sense of the roots of contemporary TV.

Available online here.

4 thoughts on “Studio 57

  1. How come I’ve never heard about this series although Lex Barker is starring in it? The concept of having different genres, plots and characters combined in one serial surely sounds interesting. I’m not too much into movies and tv and might be wrong, but I believe there’s nothing similar on air these days…?!

    • Well, he only starred in two episodes and the show only ran till 1956, that may be why you’ve been unaware of this show so far, dear. šŸ™‚
      But you’re right, programs like these used to be very common in the 1950s and 60s but are rare and practically nonexistent today. A lost art form, unfortunately so, if you ask me.

  2. This really sounds like an interesting concept. A bit like short stories, a look through a window, a glimpse of a bigger story.

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