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The Backbone of America is a 1953 American TV movie written by Robert E. Sherwood and directed by Marc Daniels.

The Backbone of America
Thomas Mitchell 1953.JPG
Thomas Mitchell as Fred Tupple
Written byRobert E. Sherwood
Directed byMarc Daniels
StarringThomas Mitchell
Wendell Corey
Yvonne de Carlo
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Running time60 minutes
Original networkNBC
Original release
  • 29 December 1953 (1953-12-29)


An account executive tries to find the perfect American family to use in a forthcoming advertising campaign.



It was the first play Sherwood wrote for television. He did it under a contract with NBC to write nine original plays over three years.[1][2]

The production was recorded in Hollywood. The cast had two weeks of rehearsals.[3] De Carlo said she was "panicked" to do the show but it ended up well. Alec Guinness had a contract with Alex Korda to make one film a year and he agreed to star.[4]


The New York Times said the play was "completely disappointing".[5]


  1. ^ Lohman, Sidney (March 29, 1953). "News of TV and Radio – An Original TV Drama — Other Studio Items". New York Times. p. X11. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  2. ^ "Comedy and Drama Will Share TV Spot – N.B.C. Lists Berle and Hope Shows, Plays by Sherwood for Tuesdays at 8 in Autumn". New York Times. April 6, 1953. p. 28. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  3. ^ Lohman, Sidney (November 15, 1953). "News and Notes Gathered from the Studios". New York Times. p. X11. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  4. ^ De Carlo, Yvonne; Warren, Doug (1987). Yvonne: an autobiography. St Martins Press. p. 179.
  5. ^ Gould, Jack (December 30, 1953). "Television Review: Sherwood – 'Backbone of America' is Disappointing Start in Playwright's Series – 'Average' U. S. Family Becomes Embroiled in High-Pressure Stunt". New York Times. p. 21. Retrieved September 1, 2019.

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