Four Star Playhouse

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Four Star Playhouse
Title card
Genre Anthology
Created by Four Star International
Country of originUSA
No. of episodes129
Running time25 minutes
Production company Four Star International
Original network CBS
Original releaseSeptember 25, 1952 (1952-09-25) 
July 26, 1956 (1956-07-26)
L-R: Adam Williams & David Niven in episode Night Ride (1953) Four Star Playhouse (Night Ride) 1.jpg
L-R: Adam Williams & David Niven in episode Night Ride (1953)
L-R: Charles Boyer and Dorothy Hart in episode "Second Dawn" (1954) Charles Boyer-Dorothy Hart in Four Star Playhouse (Second Dawn).jpg
L-R: Charles Boyer and Dorothy Hart in episode "Second Dawn" (1954)

Four Star Playhouse is an American television anthology series that ran from 1952 to 1956. Four Star Playhouse was owned by Four Star International. Its episodes ranged anywhere from surreal mysteries, such as "The Man on the Train", to light comedies, such as "The Lost Silk Hat". The original premise was that Charles Boyer, Ida Lupino, David Niven, and Dick Powell would take turns starring in episodes. However, several other performers took the lead from time to time, including Ronald Colman and Joan Fontaine.


The show was sponsored in its first bi-weekly season by The Singer Company. Bristol-Myers became an alternate sponsor when it became a weekly series in the fall of 1953 (both sponsors' names alternated as part of the show's title in its initial broadcasts).

While it never made the Nielsen Top 30, the ratings were sufficient to keep it on the air for four seasons. In 1954, Billboard voted it the second best filmed network television drama series. [1]


While Charles Boyer, Ida Lupino, David Niven, and Dick Powell are the four main stars of the series, many other actors have appeared in different roles in more than one episode, including: [2]


Blake Edwards was among the writers and directors who contributed to the series, making his debut as a director on the program in 1952. [3] Edwards created the recurring character (eight episodes) of illegal gambling house operator Willie Dante for Dick Powell to play on this series. The character was later revamped and spun off in his own series starring Howard Duff, then-husband of Lupino.

The pilot for Meet McGraw , starring Frank Lovejoy, aired here (under that title, February 25, 1954), as did another episode in which Lovejoy recreated his role of Chicago newspaper reporter Randy Stone, from the radio drama Nightbeat (titled "Search in the Night", November 5, 1953).


Directors who worked on the show include: [2]


Writers who worked on the show include: [2]

  • Gwen Bagni in 15 episodes (1952–1954)
  • John Bagni in 13 episodes (1952–1954)
  • Richard Carr in 13 episodes (1954–1956)
  • Frederick Brady in 9 episodes (1954–1956)
  • Blake Edwards in 7 episodes (1952–1954)
  • Seeleg Lester in 5 episodes (1953–1954)
  • Merwin Gerard in 4 episodes (1953)
  • Frederick J. Lipp in 4 episodes (1954–1955)
  • Larry Marcus in 3 episodes (1952–1954)
  • Milton Merlin in 3 episodes (1952–1953)
  • Marc Brandell in 3 episodes (1954–1956)
  • László Görög in 3 episodes (1955–1956)
  • James Bloodworth in 3 episodes (1956)
  • Amory Hare in 2 episodes (1953)
  • Octavus Roy Cohen in 2 episodes (1954–1955)
  • Milton Geiger in 2 episodes (1954–1955)
  • Thelma Robinson in 2 episodes (1954)
  • Oscar Millard in 2 episodes (1955–1956)
  • Willard Wiener in 2 episodes (1955)
  • Robert Eggenweiler in 2 episodes (1956)
  • Ida Lupino in 2 episodes (1956)
  • Roland Winters in 2 episodes (1956)

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  1. The Billboard: Four Star Playhouse. Posted on 31 Jul 1954.
  2. 1 2 3 "Four Star Playhouse - Full Cast & Crew" . Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  3. Feiwell, Jill (December 12, 2003). "Life Oscar to Edwards". Daily Variety. Archived from the original on March 29, 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2015 via HighBeam Research.