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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Life of Mickey Mantle (3 Oct. 1956)

"Kraft Television Theatre" Season 10, Episode 3

Filming Locations: New York City, New York, USA
Production Co: J. Walter Thompson Agency
National Broadcasting Company (NBC)

Technical Specs
Runtime: 60 min
Sound Mix: Mono
Color: Color
Film negative format (mm/video inches) Live
Aspect ratio: 1.33 : 1

OVGuide: "Plot: The story of the life of the baseball player Mickey Mantle up to age 24."

The first link at the Internet Movie DataBase (imdb.com) shows actor James Dean for some reason.  Dean did not portray Mickey Mantle in this TV play.  Actor James Olson played Mantle.  Olson's later photos and screen credits are familiar but in 1956 he was making the first performance listed for him in imdb.com.  Olson was born one year before Mantle.

I vaguely recall watching this when I was eight.  I seem to recall a scene with Mickey in a hospital bed and his father in another bed, sick with cancer.  After the play was over I think the real Mickey walked out on stage.  I'm not sure about any of these recollections.

The Tech Specs indicate that this play was done live.

1. Is there a recording?
2. Does anyone remember watching it, either in 1956 or a recording?
3. Who wrote it?
4. Was it well received?

If the date is accurate, then it was the night of the first World Series game that year: Wednesday, October 3, 1956 at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn: Dodgers won 6-3.  Mantle homered in that game but there was no game the next afternoon.  There was no reason for an off day, so I'm guessing that game two was rained out and that it had nothing to do with the possible TV appearance Wednesday night by Mantle.

Note: Don Larsen pitched his perfect game Monday, October 8, 1956 at Yankee Stadium in game five.  If the teams had played every day I wonder if Larsen would have started that Monday after pitching poorly in game two on Friday, October 5, instead of Thursday when the game should have been played.

1956–57 United States network television schedule

Wednesday 9:00PM-10:00PM:
NBC Kraft Television Theatre (Color)

Kraft Television Theatre is an American drama/anthology television series that began May 7, 1947 on NBC, airing at 7:30pm on Wednesday evenings until December of that year. In January 1948, it moved to 9pm on Wednesdays, continuing in that timeslot until 1958. Initially produced by the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, the live hour-long series offered television plays with new stories and new characters each week,[1] in addition to adaptations of such classics as A Christmas Carol and Alice in Wonderland...

Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 45–48 minutes

(Rod) Serling won an Emmy for scripting Patterns (January 12, 1955), the best remembered episode of the series. The drama had such an impact that it made television history by staging a second live encore performance three weeks later and was developed as a feature film, also titled Patterns.

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