American Playhouse (1980–1994)

TVSeries


American Playhouse (TV Series 1980–1994)

Anthology series which ran on PBS throughout the 1980s.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
USA
IMDb   7.7 /10
Creators
Creator Kirk Browning
Creator Peter H. Hunt
Creator Warren Adler
Creator Robert Anderson
Information
Release Date1982-01-11
Runtime
GenreComedy, Drama, Romance
Content Rating
AwardsWon 6 Primetime Emmys14 wins & 30 nominations total
Company
CountryUSA
LanguageEnglish
Aunt Josephineas Aunt Josephine…
Alger Hissas Alger Hiss…
Emily Dickensonas Emily Dickenson…
Fanny Churchas Fanny Church…
Brently Mallardas Brently Mallard…
Huckas Huck
Whittaker Chambersas Whittaker Chambers
Priscilla Hissas Priscilla Hiss…
Richard M. Nixonas Richard M. Nixon
The Dukeas The Duke
Billyas Billy
Sheila Bennett Hatchas Sheila Bennett Hatch
Carl Hatchas Carl Hatch
Amy-Joyas Amy-Joy…
Aunt Middyas Aunt Middy…
Mrs. Hatchas Mrs. Hatch
Louisaas Louisa…

American Playhouse

American Playhouse is an anthology television series periodically broadcast by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the United States.


Overview

It premiered on January 12, 1982, with The Shady Hill Kidnapping, written and narrated by John Cheever and directed by Paul Bogart. Its final broadcast, In the Wings: Angels in America on Broadway, a rerun of a behind-the-scenes look at Tony Kushner's award-winning play in two parts, aired on January 1, 1994.

The series proved to be the springboard for the careers of numerous performers, including David Marshall Grant, Laura Linney, A Martinez, Conchata Ferrell, Eric Roberts, Lynne Thigpen, John Malkovich, Peter Riegert, Lupe Ontiveros, Ben Stiller, and Megan Mullally.

As part of WGBH's development of the Descriptive Video Service (DVS), American Playhouse was one of the first U.S. television programs to air with audio description for the visually impaired on the Secondary audio program (SAP). After trialing the system during previous seasons, the 1990 season was the first to offer it as part of their wider rollout of DVS, initially through 32 member stations.


Notable productions

  • The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, 1982
  • For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, 1982
  • Working, 1982
  • Who Am I This Time? 1982
  • The Skin of Our Teeth, 1983
  • Miss Lonelyhearts, 1983
  • City News, 1984
  • The Gin Game, 1984
  • The Killing Floor, 1984
  • Nothing But a Man, 1984 (1964 film broadcast on television)
  • True West, 1984
  • El Norte, 1985 (1983 film broadcast on television)
  • Overdrawn at the Memory Bank, 1985 (1983 TV movie famous as an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000)
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1985
  • Breakfast with Les and Bess, 1985
  • Displaced Person, 1985
  • The Europeans, 1985 (1979 film broadcast on television)
  • Rocket to the Moon, 1986
  • Sunday in the Park with George, 1986
  • All My Sons, 1987
  • The House of Blue Leaves, 1987
  • Waiting for the Moon, 1987
  • Pigeon Feathers, 1988
  • Smooth Talk, 1987 (1985 Sundance-winning film broadcast on television)
  • Strange Interlude, 1988
  • The Trial of Bernard Goetz, 1988
  • Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss, 1988 (produced in partnership with The Disney Channel)
  • A Raisin in the Sun, 1989
  • Stand and Deliver, 1989 (1988 Oscar-nominated film broadcast on television)
  • The Meeting, 1989
  • The Thin Blue Line, 1989 (1988 acclaimed Errol Morris documentary film broadcast on television)
  • Imagining America, 1989
  • The Land of Little Rain, 1989
  • Bloodhounds of Broadway, 1990
  • Andre's Mother, 1990
  • Into the Woods, 1991
  • Tru, 1992
  • Porgy and Bess, 1993 (produced in partnership with Great Performances)
  • Shimmer, 1993
  • Tales of the City, 1993
  • Brother's Keeper, 1994 (1992 acclaimed documentary film broadcast on television)
  • Passion, 1994

Episodes

Season 1 (1982)

  • The Shady Hill Kidnapping (January 12, 1982)
  • King of America (January 19, 1982)
  • Seguin (January 26, 1982)
  • Who Am I This Time? (February 2, 1982)
  • Any Friend of Nicholas Nickleby Is a Friend of Mine (February 9, 1982)
  • Come Along with Me (February 16, 1982)
  • For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf (February 23, 1982)
  • Carl Sandburg: Echoes and Silences (March 2, 1982)
  • Fifth of July (March 9, 1982)
  • The Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters (March 16, 1982)
  • Pilgrim, Farewell (March 23, 1982)
  • Northern Lights (March 30, 1982)
  • Medal of Honor Rag (April 6, 1982)
  • Working (April 13, 1982)
  • Weekend (April 20, 1982)
  • Private Contentment (April 27, 1982)
  • My Palikari (May 4, 1982)
  • Oppenheimer (1) (May 11, 1982)
  • Oppenheimer (2) (May 18, 1982)
  • Oppenheimer (3) (May 25, 1982)
  • Oppenheimer (4) (June 1, 1982)
  • Oppenheimer (5) (June 8, 1982)
  • Oppenheimer (6) (June 15, 1982)
  • Oppenheimer (7) (June 22, 1982)
  • The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (June 29, 1982)

Season 2 (1983)

  • The Skin of Our Teeth (January 18, 1983)
  • Miss Lonelyhearts (January 25, 1983)
  • Family Business (February 1, 1983)
  • Keeping On (February 8, 1983)
  • The File on Jill Hatch (1) (February 15, 1983)
  • The File on Jill Hatch (2) (February 22, 1983)
  • The File on Jill Hatch (3) (March 1, 1983)
  • For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story (March 22, 1983)
  • Verse Person Singular (March 29, 1983)
  • Until She Talks (April 5, 1983)
  • Wings (April 26, 1983)
  • The Rothko Conspiracy (May 3, 1983)

Season 3 (1984)

  • The Ghost Writer (January 17, 1984)
  • Pudd'nhead Wilson (January 24, 1984)
  • True West (January 31, 1984)
  • Nothing But a Man (February 7, 1984)
  • Popular Neurotics (February 14, 1984)
  • The Cafeteria (February 21, 1984)
  • Refuge (February 28, 1984)
  • The Gin Game (March 6, 1984)
  • Haunted (March 20, 1984)
  • The Killing Floor (April 10, 1984)
  • Heartland (April 17, 1984)
  • City News (April 24, 1984)
  • Hughie (May 1, 1984)
  • Concealed Enemies (1) (May 7, 1984)
  • Concealed Enemies (2) (May 7, 1984)
  • Concealed Enemies (3) (May 8, 1984)
  • Concealed Enemies (4) (May 9, 1984)

Season 4 (1984–1985)

  • Testament (November 26, 1984)
  • A Matter of Principle (December 3, 1984)
  • Solomon Northup's Odyssey (December 10, 1984)
  • Tomorrow (December 17, 1984)
  • Go Tell It on the Mountain (January 14, 1985)
  • Noon Wine (January 21, 1985)
  • The Joy That Kills (January 28, 1985)
  • Overdrawn at the Memory Bank (February 4, 1985)
  • The Star-Crossed Romance of Josephine Cosnowski (February 11, 1985)
  • Some Men Need Help (February 18, 1985)
  • Charlotte Forten's Mission: Experiment in Freedom (February 25, 1985)
  • Breakfast with Les and Bess (March 11, 1985)
  • Nightsongs (April 15, 1985)
  • Under the Biltmore Clock (April 22, 1985)
  • Displaced Person (May 6, 1985)
  • The Europeans (May 13, 1985)
  • El Norte (May 20, 1985)
  • Three Sovereigns for Sarah (1) (May 27, 1985)
  • Three Sovereigns for Sarah (2) (June 3, 1985)
  • Three Sovereigns for Sarah (3) (June 10, 1985)
  • Paper Angels (June 17, 1985)
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (June 24, 1985)

Season 5 (1986)

  • The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket (January 20, 1986)
  • The Roommate (January 27, 1986)
  • Valentine's Revenge (February 3, 1986)
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1) (February 10, 1986)
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (2) (February 17, 1986)
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (3) (February 24, 1986)
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (4) (March 3, 1986)
  • Tell Me a Riddle (March 17, 1986)
  • The Little Sister (April 7, 1986)
  • The House of Ramon Iglesia (April 14, 1986)
  • A Flash of Green (April 21, 1986)
  • Damien (April 28, 1986)
  • Rocket to the Moon (May 5, 1986)
  • A Case of Libel (May 12, 1986)
  • Painting Churches (May 19, 1986)
  • Roanoak (1) (May 26, 1986)
  • Roanoak (2) (June 2, 1986)
  • Roanoak (3) (June 9, 1986)
  • Sunday in the Park with George (June 16, 1986)

Season 6 (1987)

  • All My Sons (January 19, 1987)
  • The Prodigious Hickey (January 26, 1987)
  • The Wide Net (February 2, 1987)
  • Smooth Talk (February 9, 1987)
  • A Mistaken Charity (February 16, 1987)
  • Eleanor: In Her Own Words (March 9, 1987)
  • The Innocents Abroad (March 23, 1987)
  • Story of a Marriage (1) (April 6, 1987)
  • Story of a Marriage (2) (April 13, 1987)
  • Story of a Marriage (3) (April 13, 1987)
  • A Case of Libel (May 4, 1987)
  • Charley's Aunt (May 11, 1987)
  • Gal Young 'Un (May 18, 1987)
  • The House of Blue Leaves (May 25, 1987)
  • Blue Window (June 1, 1987)
  • Dottie (June 8, 1987)
  • Waiting for the Moon (June 15, 1987)

Season 7 (1988)

  • Strange Interlude (1) (January 18, 1988)
  • Strange Interlude (2) (January 19, 1988)
  • Strange Interlude (3) (January 20, 1988)
  • The Return of Hickey (February 3, 1988)
  • Lemon Sky (February 10, 1988)
  • The Revolt of Mother (February 17, 1988)
  • Pigeon Feathers (February 17, 1988)
  • Billy Galvin (February 24, 1988)
  • A Flash of Green (March 23, 1988)
  • Journey Into Genius (April 6, 1988)
  • Suspicion (April 20, 1988)
  • The Trial of Bernard Goetz (May 11, 1988)
  • The Land of Little Rain (June 1, 1988)
  • I Never Sang for My Father (June 15, 1988)
  • Native Son (June 29, 1988)
  • The Big Knife (July 27, 1988)

Season 8 (1989)

  • A Raisin in the Sun (February 1, 1989)
  • Ask Me Again (February 8, 1989)
  • Stacking (February 15, 1989)
  • My American Cousin (February 22, 1989)
  • Love and Other Sorrows (March 1, 1989)
  • Stand and Deliver (March 15, 1989)
  • The Silence at Bethany (March 22, 1989)
  • Life Under Water (April 12, 1989)
  • The Diaries of Adam and Eve (April 26, 1989)
  • The Meeting (May 3, 1989)
  • A Walk in the Woods (May 10, 1989)
  • Big Time (May 17, 1989)
  • The Thin Blue Line (May 24, 1989)
  • Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss (May 31, 1989)
  • Imagining America (June 7, 1989)

Season 9 (1990)

  • Sensibility and Sense (January 24, 1990)
  • Women & Wallace (January 31, 1990)
  • Zora Is My Name! (February 14, 1990)
  • Andre's Mother (March 7, 1990)
  • Bloodhounds of Broadway (May 23, 1990)
  • Hyde in Hollywood (July 6, 1990)

Season 10 (1991)

  • Into the Woods (March 15, 1991)
  • The Grapes of Wrath (March 22, 1991)
  • Three Hotels (March 29, 1991)
  • The Sunset Gang (April 5, 1991)
  • Hot Summer Winds (May 22, 1991)
  • The Hollow Boy (June 12, 1991)

Season 11 (1992–1993)

  • Fool's Fire (March 25, 1992)
  • Tru (November 23, 1992)
  • Andre's Mother (January 17, 1993)
  • Fires in the Mirror (April 28, 1993)
  • In the Wings: Angels in America on Broadway (June 11, 1993)
  • La Carpa (June 16, 1993)
  • Porgy and Bess (October 6, 1993)
  • Tales of the City (November 15, 1993)
  • Hallelujah (December 22, 1993)

Season 12 (1994)

  • Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City (January 10, 1994)
  • The Sunset Gang (March 21, 1994)
  • Brother's Keeper (May 2, 1994)
  • Tales from Hollywood (June 10, 1994)
  • Tales from Hollywood (June 17, 1994)
  • Tales from Hollywood (June 24, 1994)
  • Tales from the Crypt "Only Sin Deep" (July 8, 1994)
  • Tales from the Crypt: Part 2 (July 15, 1994)
  • Tales from the Crypt: Part 3 (July 22, 1994)
  • Long Shadow (August 26, 1994)
  • Break of Dawn (September 9, 1994)
  • La Carpa (September 23, 1994)

Season 13 (1995–1996)

  • The Making of Angels and Insects (January 2, 1995)
  • Fires in the Mirror (February 3, 1995)
  • Blown Sideways Through Life (July 19, 1995)
  • Drawn from the Memory (October 30, 1995)
  • The Beans of Egypt, Maine (August 11, 1996)
  • Passion (September 8, 1996)

Notable cast

  • Anne Bancroft
  • Christine Baranski
  • Claire Bloom
  • Jacques Boudet
  • Kenneth Branagh
  • Kate Burton
  • Jeff Daniels
  • Ruby Dee
  • Matt Dillon
  • Olympia Dukakis
  • Megan Follows
  • Lillian Gish
  • Danny Glover
  • Annie Golden
  • Louis Gossett, Jr.
  • Ed Harris
  • Rosemary Harris
  • Edward Herrmann
  • Helen Hunt
  • Glenda Jackson
  • James Earl Jones
  • Raul Julia
  • Swoosie Kurtz
  • Cloris Leachman
  • John Malkovich
  • Butterfly McQueen
  • Rita Moreno
  • Paul Newman
  • Geraldine Page
  • Sarah Jessica Parker
  • Estelle Parsons
  • Mandy Patinkin
  • Bernadette Peters
  • Vanessa Redgrave
  • Keanu Reeves
  • Lee Remick
  • Jason Robards
  • Esther Rolle
  • Liliane Rovère
  • Susan Sarandon
  • Sylvia Sidney
  • Jean Simmons
  • Gary Sinise
  • Anna Deavere Smith
  • Elaine Stritch
  • Richard Thomas
  • Dick Van Dyke
  • Christopher Walken
  • Eli Wallach
  • Lynn Whitfield
  • Paul Winfield
  • Alfre Woodard

Accolades

Some of the productions won multiple Emmys: one from Robert Morse in Tru, Outstanding Children's Program for Displaced Person and technical achievements for The Meeting alongside many nominations.

Academy Award recognitions included El Norte's nomination for Best Original Screenplay and a Best Actor nod for Edward James Olmos in Stand and Deliver.

American Playhouse also won a Peabody Award in 1990.

Episodes like Nothing But a Man, The Thin Blue Line, El Norte and Stand and Deliver were each inducted into the National Film Registry.