Posts Tagged ‘“Untouchables”’

“The Untouchables” Aired a Potent Series Episode Fifty Years Ago Today

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

As so aptly noted by The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows: “With the chatter of machine-gun fire and the squeal of tires on Chicago streets, The Untouchables brought furious controversy— and big ratings— to ABC in the early 1960s.” This was no more evident than in the March 10, 1960 episode “The White Slavers.” Although one wouldn’t think an episode about the abduction of young Mexican women for the purposes of prostitution to be a subject for 1960 prime time television, it was par for the course on The Untouchables. The show’s Dragnet-esque good guys versus bad guys approach and “based on fact” defense (which was debatable, to the point that the show was even sued at one point by the estate of Al Capone) kept the series on the air from 1959-63.

“The White Slavers” is cited by Larry James Gianakos in Television Drama Series Programming: A Comprehensive Chronicle 1959-75 as the series “finest episode,” furthering: “Betty Field was extraordinary as a former procuress for the mob…. [years later] the denouement [with a mafioso trapped in a cellar] still disturbs.” The authoritative The Untouchables by Tise Vahimagi calls “The White Slavers” “chilling” and “perhaps, the first season’s most uncomfortable and ugliest episode” and notes that “it also marked a peak in terms of the body-count.”

Featuring future Bewitched co-star Dick York, others in the cast include: Betty Field, Mike Kellin, Theona Bryant, Mona Knox, and Jim Anderson; the episode was written by Leonard Kantor and directed by Walter Grauman.

Director Walter Grauman talks about one of the most brutally memorable scenes in “The White Slavers” in his Archive of American Television interview featured on the Archive’s page for The Untouchables: “The White Slavers.”

"Twilight Zone" and "Playhouse 90" Story Editor Del Reisman’s Archive Interview is now online

Friday, August 4th, 2006


This video is Part 8 of Del Reisman’s 12-part interview. In this segment, he talks about Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone. Click here to access the interview.

“I always knew when [Rod] came to the Twilight Zone offices because I’d hear the Coca-Cola machine going… he had a coke in one hand and a cigarette in the other. He needed neither of them. I mean, he was tremendously energetic on his own.”

Del Reisman’s six-hour Archive of American Television Interview is now available for viewing on EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG

Interview Description:

Reisman begins by looking back on his early years growing up as a “studio brat” observing his mother at work as a secretary at Universal Studios in the 1930s. He describes his entry in television as a reader on the anthology series Four Star Playhouse. He details his most prolific period in television as an associate producer/ story editor on such television series as: the “live,” daily color anthology Matinee Theater, the prestigious ninety-minute anthology Playhouse 90, the classic filmed anthology The Twilight Zone, the popular crime series The Untouchables, the western series Rawhide, and the drama The Man and the City. He discusses his work as story consultant on the nighttime soap opera Peyton Place, for which he wrote the cliffhanging final episode (the series was canceled without a finale). He also talks about his later work as a freelance writer of such 1970s series as The Streets of San Francisco and Little House on the Prairie. Finally, Reisman describes his long service to the Writers Guild of America, west for which he ultimately served as President from 1991-93. Other subjects discussed include the Hollywood blacklist and the McCarthy era, as well as Reisman’s work (at the WGA) to restore the credits of blacklisted writers of feature films made in the 1950s-60s. The interview was conducted by Gary Rutkowski on October 28, 2003.