John's, Wayne and Ford do TV
19 January 2011 | by Clay Loomis (Arroyo Grande, California)
I was excited when I saw this was going to be shown on TCM yesterday. I'm a huge John Wayne fan, and this was one of the very few things Wayne had done that I hadn't seen. It hadn't been seen on TV in over 50 years, and I was ready to be blown away. A 30 minute teleplay directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne, Ward Bond, and Vera Miles.
I guess I over-anticipated. With so much talent crammed into 30 minutes on the small screen, I think it just overwhelmed and smoked the script. Don't get me wrong, it was a decent watch, but Ford and Wayne avoided TV for good reason- they were just too big for the average 12 to 15 inch B&W screens of 1955 (anyone remember horizontal hold?).
The story was an overly sentimental tale of baseball, betrayal, and redemption. It also had a couple of rather cornball gimmicks thrown in, one of which was obviously placed there to make sure you stayed tuned in through the commercials.
A must see for fans of the John's, those who aren't fans won't need to keep an eye out for this episode of Screen Directors Playhouse next time it appears on TCM (and it WILL show up again). This was definitely not the best work of any of those involved.