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 Diane Cilento The Small Servant Alcoa Hour 1955.jpg
Laurence Harvey and Diane Cilento in "The Small Servant", 1955.
Directed byKirk Browning
Norman Felton
Herbert Hirschman
Sidney Lumet
Robert Mulligan
ComposerGian Carlo Menotti
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes52 (list of episodes)
ProducersHerbert Brodkin
Samuel Chotzinoff
Joel Spector
Running time47–50 minutes
Original networkNBC
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original release16 October 1955 (1955-10-16) –
22 September 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 episodesEdit

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 23 December 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 overviewEdit

Season Episodes Season Premiere Season Finale
1 24 16 October 1955 (1955-10-16) 2 September 1956 (1956-09-02)
2 28 16 September 1956 (1956-09-16) 22 September 1957 (1957-09-22)

Season 1 (1955-56)Edit

No. in
No. in
Title Guest Stars Original air date
11"The Black Wings"Wendell Corey, Robert Flemyng, Ann Todd16 October 1955 (1955-10-16)
22"The Small Servant"Laurence Harvey, Halliwell Hobbes, Diane Cilento30 October 1955 (1955-10-30)
33"A Girl Can Tell"Diana Lynn, Natalie Trundy, Carleton Carpenter,
Jack Whiting
13 November 1955 (1955-11-13)
44"Thunder in Washington"Melvyn Douglas, Ed Begley27 November 1955 (1955-11-27)
55"Undertow"Robert Preston, Teresa Wright, John Kerr, Thomas Mitchell11 December 1955 (1955-12-11)
66"Amahl and the Night Visitors"Rosemary Kuhlman, David Aiken, Leon Lishner, Andrew McKinley25 December 1955 (1955-12-25)
77"Man on a Tiger"Melvyn Douglas, Tony Randall, Keenan Wynn8 January 1956 (1956-01-08)
88"A Patch of Faith"Lee J. Cobb, Theodore Bikel, Lilia Skala22 January 1956 (1956-01-22)
99"Long After Summer"Robert Preston, Susan Kohner5 February 1956 (1956-02-05)
1010"Tragedy in Temporary Town"Ed Binns, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Emhardt19 February 1956 (1956-02-19)
1111"Man on Fire"Tom Ewell, Patricia Barry, Neva Patterson, Ed Begley4 March 1956 (1956-03-04)
1212"Doll Face"Gene Lyons, Nancy Malone, Glenda Farrell18 March 1956 (1956-03-18)
1313"Finkle's Contest"David Opatoshu, Hans Conried, Norman Fell1 April 1956 (1956-04-01)
1414"Even the Weariest River"Lee Grant, Boris Karloff, Christopher Plummer, Jason Robards15 April 1956 (1956-04-15)
1515"Paris and Mrs. Perlman"Gertrude Berg, Claude Dauphin29 April 1956 (1956-04-29)
1616"The President"Claude Rains, Mildred Dunnock, Everett Sloane13 May 1956 (1956-05-13)
1717"The Confidence Man"Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy27 May 1956 (1956-05-27)
1818"The Magic Horn"Ralph Meeker, Sal Mineo10 June 1956 (1956-06-10)
1919"The Archangel Harrigan"Darren McGavin, Frank Aletter, Pat Hingle, Janice Rule24 June 1956 (1956-06-24)
2020"The Piper of St. James"Brenda Forbes, Barry Jones, Patrick O'Neal8 July 1956 (1956-07-08)
2121"Sister"Gladys Cooper, Cathleen Nesbitt, Vincent Price22 July 1956 (1956-07-22)
2222"Kiss and Tell"Robin Morgan, Warren Berlinger5 August 1956 (1956-08-05)
2323"The Big Vote"Ed Begley, Walter Matthau19 August 1956 (1956-08-19)
2424"The Girl in Chapter One"James Daly, Joanne Woodward2 September 1956 (1956-09-02)

Season 2 (1956-57)Edit

No. in
No. in
Title Guest Stars Original air date
251"Flight into Danger"Patricia Barry, Macdonald Carey16 September 1956 (1956-09-16)
262"The Big Wave"Hume Cronyn, Carol Lynley, Rip Torn30 September 1956 (1956-09-30)
273"Key Largo"Anne Bancroft, Lorne Greene, Victor Jory14 October 1956 (1956-10-14)
284"Morning's at Seven"Dorothy Gish, Lillian Gish, David Wayne4 November 1956 (1956-11-04)
295"Merry Christmas, Mr. Baxter"Margaret Hamilton, Dennis King, John McGiver2 December 1956 (1956-12-02)
306"Adventure in Diamonds"Gary Merrill, Viveca Lindfors9 December 1956 (1956-12-09)
317"The Stingiest Man in Town"Basil Rathbone, Vic Damone23 December 1956 (1956-12-23)
328"A Double Life"Shelley Winters, Nina Foch, Eric Portman6 January 1957 (1957-01-06)
339"Ride the Wild Mare"Lloyd Bridges, Betty Field, Edward Andrews20 January 1957 (1957-01-20)
3410"No License to Kill (I)"Hume Cronyn, Eileen Heckart, Carl Betz, Jack Klugman3 February 1957 (1957-02-03)
3511"The Animal Kingdom"Robert Preston, Joanne Linville17 February 1957 (1957-02-17)
3612"The Last Train to Pusan"Gary Merrill, Virginia Kaye, Philip Ahn3 March 1957 (1957-03-03)
3713"The Original Miss Chase"Nanette Fabray, Darren McGavin17 March 1957 (1957-03-17)
3814"The Big Build-Up"E.G. Marshall, George Peppard, Jason Robards31 March 1957 (1957-03-31)
3915"Nothing to Lose"Ralph Bellamy, James Whitmore14 April 1957 (1957-04-14)
4016"Mechanical Manhunt"Sallie Brophy, Richard Kiley28 April 1957 (1957-04-28)
4117"Protege"Skip Homeier, Betsy Palmer, Ed Wynn19 May 1957 (1957-05-19)
4218*TBATBA2 June 1957 (1957-06-02)
4319"Mrs. Gilling and the Skyscraper"Helen Hayes, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Jack Klugman9 June 1957 (1957-06-09)
4420"Awake With Fear"Eddie Bracken, Henry Jones23 June 1957 (1957-06-23)
4521"Hostages to Fortune"Anne Bancroft, Rip Torn7 July 1957 (1957-07-07)
4622"He's For Me"Roddy McDowall, Larry Blyden, Elaine Stritch21 July 1957 (1957-07-21)
4723"Weekend in Vermont"Patricia Barry, Tony Randall4 August 1957 (1957-08-04)
4824"The Trouble With Women"Audrey Christie, Walter Matthau11 August 1956 (1956-08-11)
4925"The Littlest Little Leaguer"Jacob Kalich, Peter Lazer, Nehemiah Persoff25 August 1957 (1957-08-25)
5026"No License to Kill (II)"Eddie Albert, Maureen Stapleton1 September 1957 (1957-09-01)
5127"14 October 1864"Alan Nixon, James Pritchett, Clu Gulager15 September 1957 (1957-09-15)
5228"Night"E.G. Marshall, Jason Robards, Franchot Tone22 September 1957 (1957-09-22)

*No information found for this episode.

See alsoEdit


  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. ^ a b "Profanity Ad-libbed by Emotional Actor". The Leader-Post. Associated Press. 20 February 1956. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
  4. ^ a b 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.

External linksEdit