“Marty” live telecast on May 24, 1953 starring Rod Steiger (1967 Oscar® winner, In the Heat of the Night) in the title role and 25-year-old Nancy Marchand (four-time Emmy® winner, Lou Grant; The Sopranos) in her television debut, playing opposite Steiger as Clara.
It was a night of reliving the past with the classic “Marty” that was originally telecast live on 24 May 1953 on the Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse and starred Rod Steiger and Nancy Marchand (in her television debut).
The evening started with a recap of interviews with some of the team involved in the original telecast and shared some insight into the creative process of Paddy Chayefsky back in the day and how he used what he had inside to breathe life into his cast of characters in this touching story.
“Marty” tells the story of a 36-year-old, lonely, hard-working butcher from the Bronx who just wants to find a woman and a date for New Years. He is a kind and very caring man, but not the best looking and has almost given up on finding true love.
This live telecast was the first of its kind to push the boundaries of what the television watching population expected – they did it live and for 90 minutes.
This teleplay was later adapted into a full-length feature film in 1955 starring Oscar®-winning actor Ernest Borgnine with Delbert Mann directing and Paddy Chayefsky as the writer. It’s not surprising to know that the film won four Academy Awards including Best Picture.
Last night the cast for the live reading (unrehearsed) was a who’s who of television with Television Academy Honors winner Ray Romano reading the title role of “Marty,” Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad), Dermot Mulroney (New Girl), Joel McHale (Community), Brenda Vaccaro (You Don’t Know Jack), Loretta Devine (Grey’s Anatomy / The Client List), Pauley Perrette (NCIS), Raymond Cruz (The Closer / Major Crimes), Cleo King (Mike & Molly), Max Adler (Glee) and Patricia Bethune (True Blood / Mad Men).
It was a lot of fun to be in the audience for this reading as a member of ATAS. Usually we’re on the red carpet covering as media but for this event, we were all about enjoying this stage reading. And yes, we enjoyed it. There were a few lines that stuck out. One of the funniest lines from the night and one that we (RCRTV team) personally shared was between Angie and Marty which Dermott Mulroney shared on this video clip.
Brenda Vaccaro and Loretta Devine stole the show in laughs, they brought the personality as did Cleo King. Some of us laughed a little to loudly when the mom’s were referred to being “old” at 53 and the only hobbies they had were cooking and cleaning.
All-in-all it was a lovely evening where you were transported back to a place where television was truly ground-breaking to be brought back to reality and to see how it is still changing in this digital world we live in.
Thanks to The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for presenting this Live Stage Reading of “Marty,” from the 1953 “Golden Age” teleplay by Paddy Chayefsky and produced by Patricia Bethune (True Blood / Mad Men).
More about “Marty”
It was first telecast live May 24, 1953 on The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse and starred a young Rod Steiger (1967 Oscar® winner, In the Heat of the Night) in the title role and 25-year-old Nancy Marchand (four-time Emmy® winner, Lou Grant; The Sopranos) in her television debut, playing opposite Steiger as Clara. The teleplay told the story of a lonely, hard-working butcher from the Bronx who longed for the company of a woman in his life, but despaired of ever finding true love. The teleplay was adapted into a full-length feature film in 1955 starring Oscar®-winning actor Ernest Borgnine. Directed by Delbert Mann and written by Chayefsky, the film won four Academy Awards including Best Picture.
Enjoy these two other quick clips from the Red Carpet and share this with a friend and put “Marty” on your Netflix playlist to watch. Click here to go and reserve or watch it today.
Special Thanks to Christina Canseco at PMK•BNC and the Academy for helping out with media for this post.