CTVA US Legal Drama - "The Witness" (Talent Associates/CBS) (1960-61)

CTVA
The Classic TV Archive - US Legal Drama Series

The Witness (1960-61)
Episode Guide compiled by The Classic TV Archive
with contributions by: Rina Fox
references:
TV Guide / Library of Congress (telnet://locis.loc.gov)
Internet Movie Database (http://us.imdb.com)
UCLA Film and Television Archive

------------
THE WITNESS
------------
Talent Associates production
for
CBS (Thursdays 8:30PM ET)(29Sep60-Dec60)
CBS (Thursdays 9:00PM ET)(Jan61-26Jan61)
Created by Irve Tunick
Executive producer David Susskind
Produced by Murray Susskind and Nick Mayo

US Legal Drama series 1960-61    16 episodes x 60 min
(29Sep60-26Jan61)
Starring:
Paul McGrath as Committee Chairman
Frank Milan as Committee Member
William Smithers as Committee Member
Charles Haydon as Committee Member
William Griffis as Court Clerk
Verne Collett as Court Reporter / Stenographer
 
 Premise:
This show is "not a trial, not a court of law, not a legislative inquiry, but a simulated hearing before a simulated
committee representing the morality and the conscience of today, with the power to call before it the famous, the
infamous, the evil and controversial figures of yesterday.

"The Witness" was Canceled mid-season and replaced by the Western series "Gunslinger" starring Tony Young, Preston Foster

TIME magazine: The Witness (CBS) is one of the more exciting shows to appear on TV in a long time.
Packaged by David Susskind, it effectively utilizes a formula first laid out by more modest shows like
"Day in Court" and "The Verdict Is Yours": the simulated hearing or trial.
The first episode grilled a fictional "Lucky" Luciano. While the case did not unfold too coherently, and the
crowd noises in the simulated hearing room were badly overdone, the program spectacularly captured the disorderly
drama of committee hearings, with all their rambling language and flashing anger. Telly Savalas, a comparatively unknown
actor, was superb as Luciano—full of gutter cynicism, arrogance, brutality, and yet at moments pathetic. The show's
spontaneity derived partly from the fact that the lawyers involved were real, some of the best courtroom performers
in New York (Richard Steel William Geoghan Jr., Charles Haydon,' Benedict Ginsberg), who ad-libbed much of their argument.
On the griddle this week: Huey Long.
Later: Arnold Rhstein, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, and former New York Mayor James J. Walker
. [RF]

################# The Witness ################
################ Unaired Pilot ###############
##############################################

[--] The Witness: ARNOLD ROTHSTEIN (1959) (Unaired Pilot) [UCLA]
Recording date: 02-Sept-1959
Talent Associates production;
Created by Irve Tunick
Produced by Alfred Levy
Directed by William A. Graham.
Announcer Paul Tremaine
Committee members: Frank A. Milan, William W. Smithers, Charles Haydon, Paul McGrath
Cast:
Telly Savalas,
Charles Haydon,
Fred Scollay,
Roxanne Arlen,
Don Fellows,
William Post Jr.,
Crahan Denton,
John McGovern,
Benedict Ginsberg,
William F.X. Geoghan, Jr.
Announcer: Paul Tremaine.
with
William Griffis ... Court Clerk
Verne Collett ..... Court Reporter
Synopsis 1:
"A simulated hearing before a simulated committee representing the morality and the conscience of today" [UCLA/RF]
Synopsis 2:
The Witness places notorious criminal figures from history into a mock hearing with a committee made up of the typical
morality and conscience of the day. [RF]
Note:
The Pilot was never broadcast, however, series did go on to broadcast on CBS in the 1960-1961 season.

################# The Witness ################
############### season 1960-61 ###############
##############################################
CBS Thursdays 8:30PM ET (29Sep60-Dec60)

[01] The Witness: LUCKY LUCIANO
Prod. no. 1
29Sep60 CBS Thurs
Producer Murray Susskind
Written by Irve Tunick
Directed by William A. Graham
Narrator Verne Collett
Guest cast:
Telly Savalas ...... Charles 'Lucky' Luciano
Anita Dangler ...... Witness
Richard Steel is the presiding member of the committee with
William F.X. Geoghan Jr. his counsel
and Benedict Ginsberg the other committeeman.
Synopsis:
A congressional-type hearing with the first subject "Lucky Luciano", the gang kingpin who was deported to Italy in 1946. [RF]
Review:
The 1960 television anthology "Witness," though not a ratings success, brought the novice actor (Telly Savalas)
a great deal of acclaim for his portrayal of racketeer Lucky Luciano, gaining attention from audiences, producers,
and even a few of Luciano's old associates (who liked the show).[New York Times]


[02] The Witness: JIMMY WALKER
6Oct60 CBS Thurs
Guest Cast
Murray Hamilton ..... Mayor James J. Walker
Elizabeth Allen ..... Betty Compton
Alan Bunce .......... Al Smith
George Jessel ....... Character witness/ himself
Synopsis:
Mayor Walker must answer questions concerning his administration and his personal conduct in office. [RF]
Synopsis:
Jimmy Walker, popular New York Mayor, is questioned about his time in office - primarily his numerous vacations
in the company of Betty Compton, while corruption struck the city. George Jessel appears as himself - he knew
Walker when he was a songwriter. [RF]

[--] HUEY P. LONG was replaced by James J. Walker episode.
Synopsis:
Simulated trial-by-history of Louisiana's Kingfish, Huey P. Long. [RF]

[--] 13Oct60 CBS Thurs - pre-empted by a Richard Nixon/John F. Kennedy debate

[03] The Witness: CHARLES BECKER
20Oct60 CBS Thurs
Committee members: Frank A. Milan, William W. Smithers, Charles Haydon, Paul McGrath.
starring
Nehemiah Persoff .... Charles Becker
with
William Griffis ... Court Clerk
Verne Collett ..... Court Reporter
Synopsis:
Re-enactment of the case of Charles Becker, the New York City police lieutenant electrocuted in 1915 for the murder
of Gambler Herman Rosenthal. Becker will be put on the griddle by real lawyers in a simulated investigation. [RF]

[04] The Witness: BUGSY SIEGEL
27Oct60
Chairman Paul McGrath
Committee members: Frank A. Milan, William Smithers, Charles Haydon
starring
Larry Blyden ........ Bugsy Siegel
witnesses
Herbie Faye
Danny Dayton (Dagmar's husband)
Synopsis:
The story of dapper, arrogant Benjamin 'Bugsy' Siegel whose career was terminated by an unknown assailant in 1947. [RF]

[05] The Witness: ROGER 'THE TERRIBLE' TOUHY
Prod. no. 5
03Nov60 CBS Thur
Producer Nick Mayo
Directed by Alex March
Written by Irve Tunick
Committee members: Frank A. Milan, William W. Smithers, Charles Haydon, Paul McGrath.
Guest cast:
Myron McCormick ..... Roger Touhy
Telly Savalas
Joseph Leon
Pat Malone
Lawrence Fletcher
with
William Griffis ... Court Clerk
Verne Collett ..... Court Reporter
Synopsis:
Investigation of Chicago gangster Roger Touhy. [RF]

[06] The Witness: POLICE LT. CHARLES BECKER
Prod. no. 6
10Nov60 CBS Thur
a Talent Associates production; created by Irve Tunick;
executive producer, David Susskind; producer, Nick Mayo;
directed by Alex March; written by Will Lorin.
Producer Nick Mayo
Directed by Alex March
Written by Will Lorin
Story editor, Robert Rafelson; production supervisor, Renee Valente.
Committee members: Frank A. Milan, William W. Smithers, Charles Haydon, Paul McGrath.
starring
Nehemiah Persoff
Henderson Forsythe
Peggy Feury
Edith Atwater
Gerald O’Loughlin
Dan Morgan
Charles Haydon
William F.X. Georghan Jr.
Benedict Ginsberg
Thomas P. Cullen
Synopsis:
The case of NYPD lieutenant Charles Becker, accused of killing a notorious gambler. [RF]

[07] The Witness: LOUIS 'LEPKE' BUCHALTER
17Nov60
Committee members: Frank A. Milan, William W. Smithers, Charles Haydon, Paul McGrath.
starring
Sam Levene ...... Louis 'Lepke' Buchalter
Synopsis:
Investigation of Louis 'Lepke' Buchalter, reputed to have been behind "Murder, Inc". [RF]

[08] The Witness: AL CAPONE
24Nov60 CBS Thur
Committee members: Frank A. Milan, William W. Smithers, Charles Haydon, Paul McGrath.
starring
Telly Savalas ...... Al Capone
Synopsis:
Probe into the Brooklyn hoodlum who migrated to Chicago to become King of the Underwold. [RF]

[--] The Witness:
01Dec60 CBS Thur
pre-empted by Family Classics "The Three Musketeers: Part 2" with Maximillian Schell.


[09] The Witness: ARNOLD ROTHSTEIN
08Dec60 CBS Thur
Committee members: Frank A. Milan, William W. Smithers, Charles Haydon, Paul McGrath.
starring
David J. Stewart .. Arnold Rothstein
Fred J. Scollay
Synopsis:
Investigation of the notorious 1920's gambler Arnold Rothstein. [RF]
*Note: Pilot episode is aired.

[10] The Witness: JACK 'LEGS' DIAMOND
15Dec60  CBS Thur
Committee members: Frank A. Milan, William W. Smithers, Charles Haydon, Paul McGrath.
starring
Fred J. Scollay ..... Jack 'Legs' Diamond
Synopsis:
Investigation of the notorious bootlegger, hijecker and racketeer John T. Nolan aka Jack 'Legs' Diamond. [RF]

[11] The Witness: KID TWIST
22Dec60 CBS Thur
Chairman: Paul McGrath
Members: Frank Milan, William Smithers, Charles Haydon.
Guest cast:
Peter Falk ......... Abe 'Kid Twist' Reles
Alfred Ryder ....... Pittsburgh Phil
Augusta Merighi .... Midnight Rose
Frank Daly ......... Defense Attorney
Ted Beniades ....... Happy Malone
Jerry Guardino ..... Harry Rudolf
with:
Verne Colette ..... Court Reporter
Synopsis:
Abe 'Kid Twist' Reles, who blew the whistle on Murder, Inc., and died a violent death in Brooklyn, is the figure
cathechized by the committee. (60 min) [RF]

[12] The Witness: DUTCH SCHULTZ
29Dec60 CBS Thur
Committee members: Frank A. Milan, William W. Smithers, Charles Haydon, Paul McGrath
starring
Lonny Chapman ...... Dutch Schultz
Robert Q. Lewis ...... Otto "Abbadabba" Berman
Lillian Roth ............... Molly Darcy
Synopsis:
Probe into the gang leader Dutch Schultz who met sudden death when he defied the authority of the national
crime syndicate. [RF]

----------------------------------------
CBS Thursdays 9:00PM ET (05Jan61-26Jan61)
----------------------------------------


[13] The Witness: JIMMY HINES
05Jan61 CBS Thur
Prod. no. 15
Producer Nick Mayo
Directed by Ralph Nelson
Written by Robert Rafelson & Irve Tunick
Story editor, Robert Rafelson
Production supervisor, Renee Valente
Committee members: Frank A. Milan, William W. Smithers, Charles Haydon, Paul McGrath.
Guest cast:
Albert Dekker ..... James J. Hines
Conrad Nagel
Bert Freed
Olive Deering
Stefan Gierasch
Stuart Germain
with
William Griffis ... Court Clerk
Verne Collett ..... Court Reporter
Synopsis:
James J. Hines [was] an influential political figure in New York City’s Tammany Hall during the 1930’s. Hines
was successfully prosecuted by district attorney Thomas E. Dewey in 1938 for conspiracy to defraud the public". [RF]
Synopsis:
Investigation into the New York political boss Jimmy Hines. [RF]

[14] The Witness: MA BARKER
Prod. no.
12Jan61 CBS Thur
Produced & Directed by Nick Mayo
Written by Max Ehrlich
Story Editor Robert Rafelson
Production manager Renee Valente
Committee members: Frank A. Milan, William W. Smithers, Charles Haydon, Paul McGrath
Guest cast:
Joan Blondell ..... Ma Barker
Howard Freeman
Roy Poole
Sheree North
Dort Clark
Gerald Price
Douglas Herrick
with
William Griffis ... Court Clerk
Verne Collett ..... Court Reporter
Synopsis:
Here, Ma Barker is subject to scrutiny. "Joan Blondell plays Ma Barker, the woman who brought up her children to
become outlaws. Never taken into custody, Ma chose to shoot it out with the FBI. [RF]
Synopsis 2:
This show is "not a trial, not a court of law, not a legislative inquiry, but a simulated hearing before a simulated
committee representing the morality and the conscience of today, with the power to call before it the famous, the
infamous, the evil and controversial figures of yesterday." Here, Ma Barker is subject to scrutiny. "Joan Blondell
plays Ma Barker, the woman who brought up her children to become outlaws. Never taken into custody, Ma chose to shoot
it out with the FBI. [RF]

[15] The Witness: DILLINGER
19Jan61 CBS Thur
Committee members: Frank A. Milan, William W. Smithers, Charles Haydon, Paul McGrath
starring
Warren Stevens .... John Dillinger
Carol Bruce
Synopsis:
John Herbert Dillinger was released on parole from Indiana State Prison in May 1933, after serving eight years for
assault and battery. Fourteen months later he was well-known and dead.
Dillinger a bankrobbing desperado was slain by FBI agents in front of a Chicago Movie Theater in 1934. [RF]

[16] The Witness: SHOELESS JOE [Final Episode]
26Jan61 CBS Thur (9pm EST)
Written by Eliot Asinof
Verne Collett reporter
Guest cast:
Biff McGuire ....... Joe Jackson
Royal Beal ......... Charles Comiskey
Warren Finnerty .... Nate Evans
Frank Sutton ....... Billy Maharq
Bill Zuckert ....... William 'Kid' Gleason
Synopsis:
'Shoeless Joe' Jackson, centerfielder for the 1919 Chicago White Sox baseball team, takes the witness stand. The
panel investigates the possible tie-up between gamblers and the pennant-winning club. [RF]

"The Witness" was Canceled mid-season and replaced by the Western series "Gunslinger" starring Tony Young, Preston Foster

################# The Witness ################
################## the end #################
##############################################

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