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NBC Sunday Showcase was a series of hour-long specials telecast in color on NBC during the 1959-60 season. The flexible anthology format varied weekly from comedies and science fiction to musicals and historical dramas. The recent introduction of videotape made repeats possible, and two 1959 dramas (Murder and the Android and What Makes Sammy Run?) had repeats in 1960.
On the heels of his Broadway hits The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees , Richard Adler composed the opening Sunday Showcase theme music, titled "Sunday Drive" (a.k.a. "Sunday Showcase Theme").
For the September 20, 1959 premiere, John Frankenheimer directed S. Lee Pogostin's People Kill People Sometimes with Zina Bethune, Geraldine Page, Jason Robards and George C. Scott.
During the next two weeks, Larry Blyden had the title role in an adaptation of Budd Schulberg's 1941 novel What Makes Sammy Run? . The two-parter was directed by Delbert Mann with music by Irwin Bazelon.The lost reel of this production was found in 2004:
On October 11, 1959, Joan Crawford, Helen Hayes, Bob Hope, Mary Martin and Eleanor Roosevelt were seen in A Tribute to Eleanor Roosevelt on Her Diamond Jubilee.
For the October 18 telecast of Murder and the Android, Alfred Bester scripted a teleplay adaptation of his cyber-crime story "Fondly Fahrenheit," first published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (August 1954).The science fiction tale of a rampaging robot took place in the year 2359 amid futuristic sets designed by Ted Cooper. Produced by Robert Alan Aurthur with a cast of Kevin McCarthy, Rip Torn, Suzanne Pleshette and Telly Savalas, the drama was reviewed by radio-television critic John Crosby in his syndicated column:
Murder and the Android was nominated for a 1960 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and was given a repeat on September 5, 1960, the Labor Day weekend in which that Hugo Award was presented (to The Twilight Zone ) at the World Science Fiction Convention in Pittsburgh. Bester returned to Sunday Showcase March 5, 1960 with an original teleplay, Turn the Key Deftly. Set in a traveling circus, this mystery starred Julie Harris, Maximilian Schell and Francis Lederer.
On November 29, 1959, Sunday Showcase presented The 2nd Annual Grammy Awards with a stellar line-up of presenters and recipients that included Count Basie, Meredith Willson, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Van Cliburn and Stan Freberg.
In June 1960, Sidney Lumet directed Reginald Rose's two-part The Sacco-Vanzetti Story. nominated for four Emmy Awards.
An episode of Sunday Showcase is available on a DVD from Shokus Video.