American Playhouse

American Playhouse is an American anthology television series periodically broadcast by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).[1][2][3]

American Playhouse
American Playhouse (1986).jpg
GenreAnthology
Directed byPerry Miller Adato
Robert Allan Ackerman
Paul Bogart
Kirk Browning
Jonathan Demme
Bill Duke
Peter H. Hunt
David Hugh Jones
Barbara Kopple
Jack O'Brien (director)
Philip Leacock
Marshall W. Mason
Vivian Matalon
Sharron Miller
Joanne Woodward
ComposerDavid Amram
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons13
Production
Production companiesKCET, South Carolina Educational Television, WGBH, WNET
Release
Original networkPBS
Original releaseJanuary 12, 1982 (1982-01-12) –
December 22, 1993 (1993-12-22)

OverviewEdit

It premiered on January 12, 1982, with The Shady Hill Kidnapping, written and narrated by John Cheever and directed by Paul Bogart. Its final broadcast, In the Wings: Angels in America on Broadway, a rerun of a behind-the-scenes look at Tony Kushner's award-winning play in two parts, aired on January 1, 1994.

The series proved to be the springboard for the careers of numerous performers, including David Marshall Grant, Laura Linney, A Martinez, Conchata Ferrell, Eric Roberts, Lynne Thigpen, John Malkovich, Peter Riegert, Lupe Ontiveros, Ben Stiller, and Megan Mullally.

As part of WGBH's development of the Descriptive Video Service (DVS), American Playhouse was one of the first U.S. television programs to air with audio description for the visually impaired on the Secondary audio program (SAP). After trialing the system during previous seasons, the 1990 season was the first to offer it as part of their wider rollout of DVS, initially through 32 member stations.[4][5][6]

EpisodesEdit

Season 1 (1982)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"The Shady Hill Kidnapping"TBATBAJanuary 12, 1982 (1982-01-12)
22"King of America"TBATBAJanuary 19, 1982 (1982-01-19)
33"Seguin"TBATBAJanuary 26, 1982 (1982-01-26)
44"Who Am I This Time?"TBATBAFebruary 2, 1982 (1982-02-02)
55"Any Friend of Nicholas Nickleby Is a Friend of Mine"TBATBAFebruary 9, 1982 (1982-02-09)
66"Come Along with Me"TBATBAFebruary 16, 1982 (1982-02-16)
77"For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf"TBATBAFebruary 23, 1982 (1982-02-23)
88"Carl Sandburg: Echoes and Silences"TBATBAMarch 2, 1982 (1982-03-02)
99"Fifth of July"TBATBAMarch 9, 1982 (1982-03-09)
1010"The Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters"TBATBAMarch 16, 1982 (1982-03-16)
1111"Pilgrim, Farewell"TBATBAMarch 23, 1982 (1982-03-23)
1212"Northern Lights[7]"TBATBAMarch 30, 1982 (1982-03-30)
1313"Medal of Honor Rag"TBATBAApril 6, 1982 (1982-04-06)
1414"Working"TBATBAApril 13, 1982 (1982-04-13)
1515"Weekend"TBATBAApril 20, 1982 (1982-04-20)
1616"Private Contentment"TBATBAApril 27, 1982 (1982-04-27)
1717"My Palikari"TBATBAMay 4, 1982 (1982-05-04)
1818"Oppenheimer (1)"TBATBAMay 11, 1982 (1982-05-11)
1919"Oppenheimer (2)"TBATBAMay 18, 1982 (1982-05-18)
2020"Oppenheimer (3)"TBATBAMay 25, 1982 (1982-05-25)
2121"Oppenheimer (4)"TBATBAJune 1, 1982 (1982-06-01)
2222"Oppenheimer (5)"TBATBAJune 8, 1982 (1982-06-08)
2323"Oppenheimer (6)"TBATBAJune 15, 1982 (1982-06-15)
2424"Oppenheimer (7)"TBATBAJune 22, 1982 (1982-06-22)
2525"The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez"TBATBAJune 29, 1982 (1982-06-29)

Season 2 (1983)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
TBA1"The Skin of Our Teeth"TBATBAJanuary 18, 1983 (1983-01-18)
TBA2"Miss Lonelyhearts"TBATBAJanuary 25, 1983 (1983-01-25)
TBA3"Family Business"TBATBAFebruary 1, 1983 (1983-02-01)
TBA4"Keeping On"TBATBAFebruary 8, 1983 (1983-02-08)
TBA5"The File on Jill Hatch (1)"TBATBAFebruary 15, 1983 (1983-02-15)
TBA6"The File on Jill Hatch (2)"TBATBAFebruary 22, 1983 (1983-02-22)
TBA7"The File on Jill Hatch (3)"TBATBAMarch 1, 1983 (1983-03-01)
TBA8"For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story"TBATBAMarch 22, 1983 (1983-03-22)
TBA9"Verse Person Singular"TBATBAMarch 29, 1983 (1983-03-29)
TBA10"Until She Talks"TBATBAApril 5, 1983 (1983-04-05)
TBA11"Wings"TBATBAApril 26, 1983 (1983-04-26)
TBA12"The Rothko Conspiracy"TBATBAMay 3, 1983 (1983-05-03)

Season 3 (1984)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
TBA1"The Ghost Writer"TBATBAJanuary 17, 1984 (1984-01-17)
TBA2"Pudd'nhead Wilson"TBATBAJanuary 24, 1984 (1984-01-24)
TBA3"True West"TBATBAJanuary 31, 1984 (1984-01-31)
TBA4"Nothing But a Man"TBATBAFebruary 7, 1984 (1984-02-07)
TBA5"Popular Neurotics"TBATBAFebruary 14, 1984 (1984-02-14)
TBA6"The Cafeteria"TBATBAFebruary 21, 1984 (1984-02-21)
TBA7"Refuge"TBATBAFebruary 28, 1984 (1984-02-28)
TBA8"The Gin Game"TBATBAMarch 6, 1984 (1984-03-06)
TBA9"Haunted"TBATBAMarch 20, 1984 (1984-03-20)
TBA10"The Killing Floor"TBATBAApril 10, 1984 (1984-04-10)
TBA11"Heartland[8]"TBATBAApril 17, 1984 (1984-04-17)
TBA12"City News"TBATBAApril 24, 1984 (1984-04-24)
TBA13"Hughie"TBATBAMay 1, 1984 (1984-05-01)
TBA14"Concealed Enemies (1)"TBATBAMay 7, 1984 (1984-05-07)
TBA15"Concealed Enemies (2)"TBATBAMay 7, 1984 (1984-05-07)
TBA16"Concealed Enemies (3)"TBATBAMay 8, 1984 (1984-05-08)
TBA17"Concealed Enemies (4)"TBATBAMay 9, 1984 (1984-05-09)

Season 4 (1984–1985)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
TBA1"Testament"TBATBANovember 26, 1984 (1984-11-26)
TBA2"A Matter of Principle"TBATBADecember 3, 1984 (1984-12-03)
TBA3"Solomon Northup's Odyssey"TBATBADecember 10, 1984 (1984-12-10)
TBA4"Tomorrow"TBATBADecember 17, 1984 (1984-12-17)
TBA5"Go Tell It on the Mountain"TBATBAJanuary 14, 1985 (1985-01-14)
TBA6"Noon Wine"TBATBAJanuary 21, 1985 (1985-01-21)
TBA7"The Joy That Kills"TBATBAJanuary 28, 1985 (1985-01-28)
TBA8"Overdrawn at the Memory Bank"TBATBAFebruary 4, 1985 (1985-02-04)
TBA9"The Star-Crossed Romance of Josephine Cosnowski"TBATBAFebruary 11, 1985 (1985-02-11)
TBA10"Some Men Need Help"TBATBAFebruary 18, 1985 (1985-02-18)
TBA11"Charlotte Forten's Mission: Experiment in Freedom"TBATBAFebruary 25, 1985 (1985-02-25)
TBA12"Breakfast with Les and Bess"TBATBAMarch 11, 1985 (1985-03-11)
TBA13"Nightsongs"TBATBAApril 15, 1985 (1985-04-15)
TBA14"Under the Biltmore Clock"TBATBAApril 22, 1985 (1985-04-22)
TBA15"Displaced Person"TBATBAMay 6, 1985 (1985-05-06)
TBA16"The Europeans"TBATBAMay 13, 1985 (1985-05-13)
TBA17"El Norte"TBATBAMay 20, 1985 (1985-05-20)
TBA18"Three Sovereigns for Sarah (1)"TBATBAMay 27, 1985 (1985-05-27)
TBA19"Three Sovereigns for Sarah (2)"TBATBAJune 3, 1985 (1985-06-03)
TBA20"Three Sovereigns for Sarah (3)"TBATBAJune 10, 1985 (1985-06-10)
TBA21"Paper Angels"TBATBAJune 17, 1985 (1985-06-17)
TBA22"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"TBATBAJune 24, 1985 (1985-06-24)

Season 5 (1986)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
TBA1"The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket"TBATBAJanuary 20, 1986 (1986-01-20)
TBA2"The Roommate"TBATBAJanuary 27, 1986 (1986-01-27)
TBA3"Valentine's Revenge"TBATBAFebruary 3, 1986 (1986-02-03)
TBA4"Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1)"TBATBAFebruary 10, 1986 (1986-02-10)
TBA5"Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (2)"TBATBAFebruary 17, 1986 (1986-02-17)
TBA6"Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (3)"TBATBAFebruary 24, 1986 (1986-02-24)
TBA7"Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (4)"TBATBAMarch 3, 1986 (1986-03-03)
TBA8"Tell Me a Riddle"TBATBAMarch 17, 1986 (1986-03-17)
TBA9"The Little Sister"TBATBAApril 7, 1986 (1986-04-07)
TBA10"The House of Ramon Iglesia"TBATBAApril 14, 1986 (1986-04-14)
TBA11"A Flash of Green"TBATBAApril 21, 1986 (1986-04-21)
TBA12"Damien"TBATBAApril 28, 1986 (1986-04-28)
TBA13"Rocket to the Moon"TBATBAMay 5, 1986 (1986-05-05)
TBA14"A Case of Libel"TBATBAMay 12, 1986 (1986-05-12)
TBA15"Painting Churches"TBATBAMay 19, 1986 (1986-05-19)
TBA16"Roanoak (1)"TBATBAMay 26, 1986 (1986-05-26)
TBA17"Roanoak (2)"TBATBAJune 2, 1986 (1986-06-02)
TBA18"Roanoak (3)"TBATBAJune 9, 1986 (1986-06-09)
TBA19"Sunday in the Park with George"TBATBAJune 16, 1986 (1986-06-16)

Season 6 (1987)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
TBA1"All My Sons"TBATBAJanuary 19, 1987 (1987-01-19)
TBA2"The Prodigious Hickey"TBATBAJanuary 26, 1987 (1987-01-26)
TBA3"The Wide Net"TBATBAFebruary 2, 1987 (1987-02-02)
TBA4"Smooth Talk"TBATBAFebruary 9, 1987 (1987-02-09)
TBA5"A Mistaken Charity"TBATBAFebruary 16, 1987 (1987-02-16)
TBA6"Eleanor: In Her Own Words"TBATBAMarch 9, 1987 (1987-03-09)
TBA7"The Innocents Abroad"TBATBAMarch 23, 1987 (1987-03-23)
TBA8"Story of a Marriage (1)"TBATBAApril 6, 1987 (1987-04-06)
TBA9"Story of a Marriage (2)"TBATBAApril 13, 1987 (1987-04-13)
TBA10"Story of a Marriage (3)"TBATBAApril 13, 1987 (1987-04-13)
TBA11"A Case of Libel"TBATBAMay 4, 1987 (1987-05-04)
TBA12"Charley's Aunt"TBATBAMay 11, 1987 (1987-05-11)
TBA13"Gal Young 'Un"TBATBAMay 18, 1987 (1987-05-18)
TBA14"The House of Blue Leaves"TBATBAMay 25, 1987 (1987-05-25)
TBA15"Blue Window"TBATBAJune 1, 1987 (1987-06-01)
TBA16"Dottie"TBATBAJune 8, 1987 (1987-06-08)
TBA17"Waiting for the Moon"TBATBAJune 15, 1987 (1987-06-15)

Season 7 (1988)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
TBA1"Strange Interlude (1)"TBATBAJanuary 18, 1988 (1988-01-18)
TBA2"Strange Interlude (2)"TBATBAJanuary 19, 1988 (1988-01-19)
TBA3"Strange Interlude (3)"TBATBAJanuary 20, 1988 (1988-01-20)
TBA4"The Return of Hickey"TBATBAFebruary 3, 1988 (1988-02-03)
TBA5"Lemon Sky"TBATBAFebruary 10, 1988 (1988-02-10)
TBA6"The Revolt of Mother"TBATBAFebruary 17, 1988 (1988-02-17)
TBA7"Pigeon Feathers"TBATBAFebruary 17, 1988 (1988-02-17)
TBA8"Billy Galvin"TBATBAFebruary 24, 1988 (1988-02-24)
TBA9"A Flash of Green"TBATBAMarch 23, 1988 (1988-03-23)
TBA10"Journey Into Genius"TBATBAApril 6, 1988 (1988-04-06)
TBA11"Suspicion"TBATBAApril 20, 1988 (1988-04-20)
TBA12"The Trial of Bernard Goetz"TBATBAMay 11, 1988 (1988-05-11)
TBA13"The Land of Little Rain"TBATBAJune 1, 1988 (1988-06-01)
TBA14"I Never Sang for My Father"TBATBAJune 15, 1988 (1988-06-15)
TBA15"Native Son"TBATBAJune 29, 1988 (1988-06-29)
TBA16"The Big Knife"TBATBAJuly 27, 1988 (1988-07-27)

Season 8 (1989)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
TBA1"A Raisin in the Sun"TBATBAFebruary 1, 1989 (1989-02-01)
TBA2"Ask Me Again"TBATBAFebruary 8, 1989 (1989-02-08)
TBA3"Stacking"TBATBAFebruary 15, 1989 (1989-02-15)
TBA4"My American Cousin"TBATBAFebruary 22, 1989 (1989-02-22)
TBA5"Love and Other Sorrows"TBATBAMarch 1, 1989 (1989-03-01)
TBA6"Stand and Deliver"TBATBAMarch 15, 1989 (1989-03-15)
TBA7"The Silence at Bethany"TBATBAMarch 22, 1989 (1989-03-22)
TBA8"Life Under Water"TBATBAApril 12, 1989 (1989-04-12)
TBA9"The Diaries of Adam and Eve"TBATBAApril 26, 1989 (1989-04-26)
TBA10"The Meeting"TBATBAMay 3, 1989 (1989-05-03)
TBA11"A Walk in the Woods"TBATBAMay 10, 1989 (1989-05-10)
TBA12"Big Time"TBATBAMay 17, 1989 (1989-05-17)
TBA13"The Thin Blue Line"TBATBAMay 24, 1989 (1989-05-24)
TBA14"Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss"TBATBAMay 31, 1989 (1989-05-31)
TBA15"Imagining America"TBATBAJune 7, 1989 (1989-06-07)

Season 9 (1990)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
TBA1"Sensibility and Sense"TBATBAJanuary 24, 1990 (1990-01-24)
TBA2"Women & Wallace"TBATBAJanuary 31, 1990 (1990-01-31)
TBA3"Zora Is My Name!"TBATBAFebruary 14, 1990 (1990-02-14)
TBA4"Andre's Mother"TBATBAMarch 7, 1990 (1990-03-07)
TBA5"Bloodhounds of Broadway"TBATBAMay 23, 1990 (1990-05-23)
TBA6"Hyde in Hollywood"TBATBAJuly 6, 1990 (1990-07-06)

Season 10 (1991)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
TBA1"Into the Woods"TBATBAMarch 15, 1991 (1991-03-15)
TBA2"The Grapes of Wrath"TBATBAMarch 22, 1991 (1991-03-22)
TBA3"Three Hotels"TBATBAMarch 29, 1991 (1991-03-29)
TBA4"The Sunset Gang"TBATBAApril 5, 1991 (1991-04-05)
TBA5"Hot Summer Winds"TBATBAMay 22, 1991 (1991-05-22)
TBA6"The Hollow Boy"TBATBAJune 12, 1991 (1991-06-12)

Season 11 (1992–1993)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
TBA1"Fool's Fire"TBATBAMarch 25, 1992 (1992-03-25)
TBA2"Tales from Hollywood"TBATBAOctober 19, 1992 (1992-10-19)
TBA3"Tru"TBATBANovember 23, 1992 (1992-11-23)
TBA4"Andre's Mother"TBATBAJanuary 17, 1993 (1993-01-17)
TBA5"Fires in the Mirror"TBATBAApril 28, 1993 (1993-04-28)
TBA6"In the Wings: Angels in America on Broadway"TBATBAJune 11, 1993 (1993-06-11)
TBA7"La Carpa"TBATBAJune 16, 1993 (1993-06-16)
TBA8"Porgy and Bess"TBATBAOctober 6, 1993 (1993-10-06)
TBA9"Tales of the City"TBATBANovember 15, 1993 (1993-11-15)
TBA10"Hallelujah"TBATBADecember 22, 1993 (1993-12-22)

Season 12 (1994)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
TBA1"Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City"TBATBAJanuary 10, 1994 (1994-01-10)
TBA2"The Sunset Gang"TBATBAMarch 21, 1994 (1994-03-21)
TBA3"Long Shadow"TBATBAAugust 26, 1994 (1994-08-26)
TBA4"Break of Dawn"TBATBASeptember 9, 1994 (1994-09-09)
TBA5"La Carpa"TBATBASeptember 23, 1994 (1994-09-23)

Season 13 (1995–1996)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
TBA1"The Making of Angels and Insects"TBATBAJanuary 2, 1995 (1995-01-02)
TBA2"Fires in the Mirror"TBATBAFebruary 3, 1995 (1995-02-03)
TBA3"Blown Sideways Through Life"TBATBAJuly 19, 1995 (1995-07-19)
TBA4"Drawn from the Memory"TBATBAOctober 30, 1995 (1995-10-30)
TBA5"The Beans of Egypt, Maine"TBATBAAugust 11, 1996 (1996-08-11)
TBA6"Passion"TBATBASeptember 29, 1996 (1996-09-29)

Notable castEdit

AccoladesEdit

Some of the productions won multiple Emmys: one from Robert Morse in Tru,[9] Outstanding Children's Program for Displaced Person[10] and technical achievements for The Meeting alongside many nominations.[11]

Academy Award recognitions included El Norte's nomination for Best Original Screenplay,[12][13] a Best Actress nod for Jane Alexander in Testament[14][15] and a Best Actor nod for Edward James Olmos in Stand and Deliver.[16][17]

Golden Globe recognitions included 3 for Stand and Deliver (two for Olmos ( Leading Actor) and Diamond Phillips (Supporting Actor) and one for Best Motion Picture - Drama).[18]

American Playhouse also won a Peabody Award in 1990.[19]

LegacyEdit

Episodes like Nothing But a Man, The Thin Blue Line, El Norte and Stand and Deliver were each inducted into the National Film Registry.[20]

Overdrawn at the Memory Bank was featured as an episode of the cult science fiction series Mystery Science Theater 3000.[21][22]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ The New York Times
  2. ^ The New York Times
  3. ^ The New York Times
  4. ^ Gibson, Gwen. "Words worth 1,000 pictures". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  5. ^ Molotsky, Irvin (1988-01-13). "New TV System Offers Descriptions for Blind". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  6. ^ Ellis, Katie (2019-02-01). Disability and Digital Television Cultures: Representation, Access, and Reception. Routledge. ISBN 9781317627845.
  7. ^ american playhouse: northern lights (tv) - The Paley Center for Media
  8. ^ american playhouse: heartland (tv) - The Paley Center for Media
  9. ^ Tru (American Playhouse)|Television Academy
  10. ^ Displaced Person American Playhouse|Television Academy
  11. ^ The Meeting American Playhouse|Television Academy
  12. ^ 1985|Oscars.org
  13. ^ Robert Benton and Peter Shaffer winning Writing Oscars®-Oscars on YouTube
  14. ^ 1984|Oscars.org
  15. ^ Shirley MacLaine Wins Best Actress: 1984 Oscars
  16. ^ 1989|Oscars.org
  17. ^ Dustin Hoffman Wins Best Actor: 1989 Oscars
  18. ^ Stand and Deliver|Golden Globes
  19. ^ "American Playhouse". Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  20. ^ Brief Descriptions and Expanded Essays of National Film Registry Titles | Film Registry | National Film Preservation Board
  21. ^ Vorel, Jim (April 13, 2017). "Ranking Every MST3K Episode, From Worst to Best". Paste. p. 6. Archived from the original on June 19, 2018. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  22. ^ Cecchini, Mike (April 15, 2017). "The Top 100 Best MST3K Episodes". Den of Geek. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved April 29, 2019.

External linksEdit