The Alcoa Hour

The Alcoa Hour is an American anthology television series that was aired live on NBC from 1955 to 1957. The series was sponsored by Alcoa.

The Alcoa Hour
Laurence Harvey and Diane Cilento in "The Small Servant", 1955.
Directed byKirk Browning
Norman Felton
Herbert Hirschman
Sidney Lumet
Robert Mulligan
Composer(s)Gian Carlo Menotti
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes52 (list of episodes)
Producer(s)Herbert Brodkin
Samuel Chotzinoff
Joel Spector
Running time4750 minutes
Original networkNBC
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseOctober 16, 1955 (1955-10-16) 
September 22, 1957 (1957-09-22)
Related showsAlcoa Theatre


Like the Philco Television Playhouse and Goodyear Television Playhouse that had preceded it, The Alcoa Hour was a one-hour live dramatic anthology series presenting both original stories and adaptations of popular works. The three series were essentially the same, with the only real difference being the name of the sponsor.

The series alternated weeks in the same time slot with the Goodyear Television Playhouse until both series ended in 1957.

Notable episodes

The series' premiere episode, The Black Wings, marked the American TV debut of Ann Todd.[1]

The show garnered press in February 1956 for actor Lloyd Bridges' emotional performance in an episode titled "Tragedy in a Temporary Town", directed by Sidney Lumet.[2] During the performance, Bridges inadvertently slipped some profanity in while ad-libbing.[3] Although the slip of the lip generated hundreds of complaints, the episode won a Robert E. Sherwood Television Award, with Bridges' slip being defended even by some members of the clergy.[3][4][5] The episode, during which an innocent Puerto Rican man is targeted by a mob for a sexual crime, was cited by the Anti-Defamation League as "the best dramatic program of the year dealing with interethnic group relations."[4]

During the second season, one memorable episode was the December 23, 1956, telecast of The Stingiest Man in Town, a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, starring Basil Rathbone as Scrooge and Martyn Green as Bob Cratchit. It was the only Alcoa Hour production to be granted an original cast album recording. The Stingiest Man in Town was remade in 1978 as a Rankin-Bass animated cartoon, featuring the voice of Walter Matthau as Scrooge.


Series overview

SeasonEpisodesSeason PremiereSeason Finale
1 24 October 16, 1955 (1955-10-16) September 2, 1956 (1956-09-02)
2 28 September 16, 1956 (1956-09-16) September 22, 1957 (1957-09-22)

Season 1 (1955-56)

No. in
No. in
Title Guest Stars Original air date
11"The Black Wings"Wendell Corey, Robert Flemyng, Ann ToddOctober 16, 1955 (1955-10-16)
22"The Small Servant"Laurence Harvey, Halliwell Hobbes, Diane CilentoOctober 30, 1955 (1955-10-30)
33"A Girl Can Tell"Diana Lynn, Natalie Trundy, Carleton CarpenterNovember 13, 1955 (1955-11-13)
44"Thunder in Washington"Melvyn Douglas, Ed BegleyNovember 27, 1955 (1955-11-27)
55"Undertow"Robert Preston, Teresa Wright, John Kerr, Thomas MitchellDecember 11, 1955 (1955-12-11)
66"Amahl and the Night Visitors"Rosemary Kuhlman, David Aiken, Leon Lishner, Andrew McKinleyDecember 25, 1955 (1955-12-25)
77"Man on a Tiger"Melvyn Douglas, Tony Randall, Keenan WynnJanuary 8, 1956 (1956-01-08)
88"A Patch of Faith"Lee J. Cobb, Theodore Bikel, Lilia SkalaJanuary 22, 1956 (1956-01-22)
99"Long After Summer"Robert Preston, Susan KohnerFebruary 5, 1956 (1956-02-05)
1010"Tragedy in Temporary Town"Ed Binns, Lloyd Bridges, Robert EmhardtFebruary 19, 1956 (1956-02-19)
1111"Man on Fire"Tom Ewell, Patricia Barry, Neva Patterson, Ed BegleyMarch 4, 1956 (1956-03-04)
1212"Doll Face"Gene Lyons, Nancy Malone, Glenda FarrellMarch 18, 1956 (1956-03-18)
1313"Finkle's Contest"David Opatoshu, Hans Conried, Norman FellApril 1, 1956 (1956-04-01)
1414"Even the Weariest River"Lee Grant, Boris Karloff, Christopher Plummer, Jason RobardsApril 15, 1956 (1956-04-15)
1515"Paris and Mrs. Perlman"Gertrude Berg, Claude DauphinApril 29, 1956 (1956-04-29)
1616"The President"Claude Rains, Mildred Dunnock, Everett SloaneMay 13, 1956 (1956-05-13)
1717"The Confidence Man"Hume Cronyn, Jessica TandyMay 27, 1956 (1956-05-27)
1818"The Magic Horn"Ralph Meeker, Sal MineoJune 10, 1956 (1956-06-10)
1919"The Archangel Harrigan"Darren McGavin, Frank Aletter, Pat Hingle, Janice RuleJune 24, 1956 (1956-06-24)
2020"The Piper of St. James"Brenda Forbes, Barry Jones, Patrick O'NealJuly 8, 1956 (1956-07-08)
2121"Sister"Gladys Cooper, Cathleen Nesbitt, Vincent PriceJuly 22, 1956 (1956-07-22)
2222"Kiss and Tell"Robin Morgan, Warren BerlingerAugust 5, 1956 (1956-08-05)
2323"The Big Vote"Ed Begley, Walter MatthauAugust 19, 1956 (1956-08-19)
2424"The Girl in Chapter One"James Daly, Joanne WoodwardSeptember 2, 1956 (1956-09-02)

Season 2 (1956-57)

No. in
No. in
Title Guest Stars Original air date
251"Flight Into Danger"Patricia Barry, Macdonald CareySeptember 16, 1956 (1956-09-16)
262"The Big Wave"Hume Cronyn, Carol Lynley, Rip TornSeptember 30, 1956 (1956-09-30)
273"Key Largo"Anne Bancroft, Lorne Greene, Victor JoryOctober 14, 1956 (1956-10-14)
284"Morning's At Seven"Dorothy Gish, Lillian Gish, David WayneNovember 4, 1956 (1956-11-04)
295"Merry Christmas, Mr. Baxter"Margaret Hamilton, Dennis King, John McGiverDecember 2, 1956 (1956-12-02)
306"Adventure in Diamonds"Gary Merrill, Viveca LindforsDecember 9, 1956 (1956-12-09)
317"The Stingiest Man in Town"Basil Rathbone, Vic DamoneDecember 23, 1956 (1956-12-23)
328"A Double Life"Shelley Winters, Nina Foch, Eric PortmanJanuary 6, 1957 (1957-01-06)
339"Ride the Wild Mare"Lloyd Bridges, Betty Field, Edward AndrewsJanuary 20, 1957 (1957-01-20)
3410"No License to Kill (I)"Hume Cronyn, Eileen Heckart, Carl Betz, Jack KlugmanFebruary 3, 1957 (1957-02-03)
3511"The Animal Kingdom"Robert Preston, Joanne LinvilleFebruary 17, 1957 (1957-02-17)
3612"The Last Train to Pusan"Gary Merrill, Virginia Kaye, Philip AhnMarch 3, 1957 (1957-03-03)
3713"The Original Miss Chase"Nanette Fabray, Darren McGavinMarch 17, 1957 (1957-03-17)
3814"The Big Build-Up"E.G. Marshall, George Peppard, Jason RobardsMarch 31, 1957 (1957-03-31)
3915"Nothing to Lose"Ralph Bellamy, James WhitmoreApril 14, 1957 (1957-04-14)
4016"Mechanical Manhunt"Sallie Brophy, Richard KileyApril 28, 1957 (1957-04-28)
4117"Protege"Skip Homeier, Betsy Palmer, Ed WynnMay 19, 1957 (1957-05-19)
4218*TBATBAJune 2, 1957 (1957-06-02)
4319"Mrs. Gilling and the Skyscraper"Helen Hayes, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Jack KlugmanJune 9, 1957 (1957-06-09)
4420"Awake With Fear"Eddie Bracken, Henry JonesJune 23, 1957 (1957-06-23)
4521"Hostages to Fortune"Anne Bancroft, Rip TornJuly 7, 1957 (1957-07-07)
4622"He's For Me"Roddy McDowall, Larry Blyden, Elaine StritchJuly 21, 1957 (1957-07-21)
4723"Weekend in Vermont"Patricia Barry, Tony RandallAugust 4, 1957 (1957-08-04)
4824"The Trouble With Women"Audrey Christie, Walter MatthauAugust 11, 1956 (1956-08-11)
4925"The Littlest Little Leaguer"Jacob Kalich, Peter Lazer, Nehemiah PersoffAugust 25, 1957 (1957-08-25)
5026"No License to Kill (II)"Eddie Albert, Maureen StapletonSeptember 1, 1957 (1957-09-01)
5127"14 October 1864"Alan Nixon, James Pritchett, Clu GulagerSeptember 15, 1957 (1957-09-15)
5228"Night"E.G. Marshall, Jason Robards, Franchot ToneSeptember 22, 1957 (1957-09-22)

*No information found for this episode.

See also


  1. The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present. Ballantine Books. 2003. p. 27. ISBN 0-345-45542-8.
  2. "Actor's Slip Of Tongue Keeps TV Viewers Arguing". The Hartford Courant. 9 March 1956. p. 9. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
  3. "Profanity Ad-libbed by Emotional Actor". The Leader-Post. Associated Press. 20 February 1956. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
  4. Newcomb, Horace (2004). Encyclopedia of Television. CRC Press. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-57958-411-5.
  5. Hyatt, Wesley (10 March 2004). A Critical History of Television's The Red Skelton Show, 1951-1971. McFarland. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-7864-1732-2.

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