The Long, Hot Summer (TV series)

The Long Hot Summer is an American drama series from 20th Century Fox Television that was broadcast on ABC-TV for one season from 1965–1966. It was aired in the UK on ITV.

The Long Hot Summer
Created byDean Riesner
Written byWilliam Bast
Alfred Brenner
Oliver Crawford
William Faulkner
James Gunn
Anthony Lawrence
Dean Riesner
Mark Rodgers
Jerome Ross
Donald S. Sanford
Robert J. Shaw
Jack Turley
Directed byMarc Daniels
Robert Gist
Alex March
Don Richardson
Mark Rydell
Vincent Sherman
StarringEdmond O'Brien (1965 – January 1966)
Dan O'Herlihy (January 1966-1966)
Roy Thinnes
Nancy Malone
Paul Geary
Ruth Roman
Lana Wood
Theme music composerSammy Cahn
Alex North
Opening theme"The Long Hot Summer" performed by Jimmie Rodgers
Composer(s)Leith Stevens
Country of originUSA
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes26
Producer(s)Frank Glicksman
Running time45 mins. (approx)
Production company(s)20th Century Fox Television
Original networkABC
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 16, 1965 
April 13, 1966


The series was set in the Deep South community of Frenchman's Bend, Mississippi. The community was dominated and owned by the town's wealthy, powerful (and deceitful) bank owner "Boss" Will Varner (Edmond O'Brien). A widower with two grown children who also owned other businesses besides the town's bank, the unscrupulous Varner ran the town and its citizens with an iron fist and nobody dared to question him. He and his family lived in the largest mansion in Frenchman's Bend.

However, problems arose in Varner's orderly world when Ben Quick (Roy Thinnes), a young man whose father Varner destroyed some years prior, returns to town after thirteen years away to reclaim his family's farm and to challenge Varner's absolute authority over the town and its people. Ben's aim was to settle the score against the wicked Varner in the fight his father ran from.

Supporting characters include Clara and Jody Varner; Jody was Will's weak-willed and immature, but more honest son and Clara was Will's sensitive and sensible but deeply troubled older daughter who was considered to be the lady of the house (in lieu of her late mother). To her father's dismay, she liked Ben; Minnie Littlejohn, the town's hotel owner who is a good friend to many in town and was also the mistress of Will Varner; and Eula Johnson, a 17-year-old girl who becomes a central point in wealthy Jody Varner's life after he picks her up during a rain storm and defends her from her brother and fiance. (In the movie, Eula was married to Jody Varner; but in the TV series, she was merely a friend of Jody's.)

Also seen occasionally was Andrew, the Varner family's butler/chauffeur; Sheriff Harve Anders, the local sheriff for the county in which Frenchman's Bend is located; Judge Armistid, the community's judge; and Dr. Aaron Clark, the Varner family's physician.



Guest cast



Created by Dean Riesner, The Long Hot Summer was based on the novel The Hamlet by William Faulkner, the short story "Barn Burning", and the 1958 film of the same name. The show retained the movie's theme song, "The Long, Hot Summer," written by Sammy Cahn and Alex North, and Jimmie Rodgers sang it for the series just as he did for the film.


The Long Hot Summer was scheduled on Thursdays at 10 p.m. EST opposite CBS' Thursday Night Movie and NBC's long-running variety series The Dean Martin Show.[1] The series was canceled after twenty-six episodes with the last original episode airing on April 13, 1966.


In January 1966, series star Edmond O'Brien left the series after a disagreement with the producers (the disagreement was about making Ben Quick the main focus of the show instead of the Varners) and was replaced by Dan O'Herlihy. O'Herlihy played the role of Will Varner for the rest of the series' run.


No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1"The Homecoming"Ralph SenenskyDean RiesnerSeptember 16, 1965 (1965-09-16)
2"A Time for Living"Robert GistTeleplay by: Donald S. Sanford & Dean Reisner
Story by: Donald S. Sanford
September 23, 1965 (1965-09-23)
3"A Stranger to the House"Vincent ShermanTeleplay by: Alfred Brenner & Dean Reisner
Story by: Alfred Brenner
September 30, 1965 (1965-09-30)
4"The Twisted Image: Part 1"Robert GistAnthony LawrenceOctober 7, 1965 (1965-10-07)
5"The Twisted Image: Part 2"Mark RydellAnthony LawrenceOctober 14, 1965 (1965-10-14)
6"Home is a Nameless Place"Richard SarafianWilliam BastOctober 21, 1965 (1965-10-21)
7"No Hiding Place"Vincent ShermanTeleplay by: John Bloch
Story by: Jerome Ross
October 28, 1965 (1965-10-28)
8"Run, Hero, Run"James B. ClarkMark RodgersNovember 4, 1965 (1965-11-04)
9"The Desperate Innocent"Alex MarchOliver CrawfordNovember 11, 1965 (1965-11-11)
10"Bitter Harvest"Vincent ShermanAl C. WardNovember 18, 1965 (1965-11-18)
11"Hunter to the Wind"TBATBADecember 2, 1965 (1965-12-02)
12"Nor Hell a Fury"TBATBADecember 9, 1965 (1965-12-09)
13"The Return of the Quicks"TBATBADecember 16, 1965 (1965-12-16)
14"Track the Man Down"Vincent ShermanOliver CrawfordDecember 30, 1965 (1965-12-30)
15"Face of Fear"TBATBAJanuary 6, 1966 (1966-01-06)
16"Evil Angel"TBATBAJanuary 13, 1966 (1966-01-13)
17"Day of Thunder"TBATBAJanuary 19, 1966 (1966-01-19)
18"The Warning"TBATBAJanuary 26, 1966 (1966-01-26)
19"The Intruders"TBATBAFebruary 2, 1966 (1966-02-02)
20"From This Day Forward"TBATBAFebruary 9, 1966 (1966-02-09)
21"A Time to Die"Alex MarchMichael ZagorFebruary 16, 1966 (1966-02-16)
22"Reunion—Italian Style"Marc DanielsTeleplay by: Robert J. Shaw
Story by: Mark Rodgers & Robert J. Shaw
February 23, 1966 (1966-02-23)
23"Blaze of Glory"Vincent ShermanTeleplay by: Robert J. Shaw
Story by: William Bast & Robert J. Shaw
March 2, 1966 (1966-03-02)
24"Crisis"Mark RydellAnthony LawrenceMarch 9, 1966 (1966-03-09)
25"Carlotta, Come Home"Mark RydellRobert J. ShawMarch 30, 1966 (1966-03-30)
26"Man with Two Faces"Alex MarchJack TurleyApril 13, 1966 (1966-04-13)


  1. Hyatt, Wesley (2003). Short-Lived Television Series, 1948–1978: Thirty Years of Bore Than 1,000 Flops. McFarland & Co. p. 155. ISBN 0-7864-1420-0.
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