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Sunday, July 24, 2011
Fredric Brown on TV Part Nine - Episode Guide
by Jack Seabrook
Fredric Brown’s professional interest in television began in 1949, when he plotted his novel, Here Comes a Candle, during bus rides between his home in Taos, New Mexico, and Denver, Colorado. He visited the Denver library to research how TV scripts were written, and bought a TV technique book in Denver, according to his wife’s book.
An experimental novel, Here Comes a Candle (1950) contains a section that represents Brown’s first attempt to write in the format of a teleplay.
According to Beth Brown, her husband was approached in the early 1950s to write a weekly, half-hour detective show featuring a young, male-female detective team. Brown wrote the pilot for the series, a story called “The Traveling Room,” but the series deal fell through and Brown sold the plot to television a couple of years later.
Brown’s stories began to sell to TV early in the 1950s. He and his wife lived in Taos, New Mexico, where there was no TV reception, so they could not watch the shows when they were broadcast. The anthology shows that were so popular in TV’s early days were the perfect showcase for short stories, and most of the adaptations of Fredric Brown’s work for TV came in the 1950s.
While Brown lived in Southern California from 1952 to 1954, was said to have commuted to Los Angeles in 1960 to write scripts for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and lived in Hollywood from 1961 to 1963, there is little evidence that he did much writing for television. If he did, very little of what he wrote was produced.
What follows is an episode guide to Fredric Brown’s TV work. It is as complete as I can make it, but I welcome additions or new information.
Episode title-“The Last Man on Earth”
Series-Tales of Tomorrow
Broadcast date-31 August 1951
Teleplay by-Reginald Lawrence
First print appearance-Thrilling Wonder Stories December 1948
Episode title-“Age of Peril”
Series-Tales of Tomorrow
Broadcast date-15 February 1952
Teleplay by-A.J. Russell
Based on-“Crisis, 1999”
First print appearance-Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine August 1949
Brown, Elizabeth. Oh, for the Life of an Author's Wife. Print. Unpublished typescript.
Galactic Central. Web. 24 July 2011. <http://philsp.com/>. Seabrook, Jack. Martians and Misplaced Clues: the Life and Work of Fredric Brown. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling GreenStateUniversity Popular, 1993. Print.