Tuesday, June 7, 2005


While doing my research into the life of Eddie Albert after learning of his passing, I came across mention of a series pilot he might have made back in 1958. So I went to the authority - "Unsold Television Pilots" by Lee Goldberg.

Under the listings for Four Star Productions in 1958, Mr. Goldberg writes:

"The Eddie Albert Show. A fantasy adventure series featuring Eddie Albert as a newspaper reporter who travels the nation, time and space in search of interesting human stories."

It was still a bit sketchy in details, so I contacted Mr. Goldberg to ask him for any more info.....

"I was just wondering if a pilot was produced and whether or not I should try tracking it down at the MT&R for starters?"

It was nice of him to get back with a quick reply:

"I have no idea if a pilot was produced...but my guess is that it wasn't or I probably would have had more information on it."

I did find this on the IMDb.com, which first started me on the quest for the information:

"In 1958, he made the pilot for a adventure/fantasy series called 'The Eddie Albert Show' where he played a reporter searching for amazing stories through out this world, as well as other times and solar systems. The series wasn't picked up."

But the IMDb is notorious for errors supplied by reader/contributors. (Just look at the recent debunking of its rumors that Samuel L. Jackson and Tina Wesson were joining the cast of 'Lost'.) So I'm leaning towards the position taken by Mr. Goldberg.

(I went downtown to the Museum of Television & Radio but didn't find it listed in their library, but that also might not mean anything. I'm still hoping one day to find that they have the final episode of 'James Garner As Nichols' available for viewing!)

The concept for 'The Eddie Albert Show' certainly sounded cool - Albert as a newspaper journalist who traveled through Time and Space for a good story. It might have even worked - or at least it might have been put on the air - if it had been proposed at least ten years later during the age of the sixties' gimmick shows. The early 70s might have been a good time for the show as well, although it might have invoked comparisons with 'Kolchak'.

And of course, it could have served as an American counterpoint to the long-running British show 'Doctor Who' back at the height of its popularity.

But even if it had waited just a year or two, it might have cashed in on the popularity of 'The Twilight Zone' by riding Rod Serling's coat-tails. Whether the pilot was ever produced or not, it definitely was never broadcast or Mr. Goldberg would have found that info. (You should check out that book - it's incredibly rich in detail!) Thus 'The Eddie Albert Show' fails one of the main tenets for Toobworld - to be part of the TV Universe, it should have been broadcast.

But I still find myself speculating about the show's character and the premise. Would there have been any kind of splainin as to why Albert's journalist was able to travel through Time and Space in search of a good story? Would it have had the kind of eerie twists and overall sense of paranoia found in episodes of 'The Twilight Zone'?

And I think we're free to devise a back-story for the guy; heh heh heh......

Even if some of the pilots mentioned in the Goldberg book weren't produced, a lot of them have enough information about what would have been included in the show - including the names of the characters. And yet for 'The Eddie Albert Show', he's just referred to as being a reporter.

Maybe he wouldn't have been referred to by name in the episodes. Perhaps he would be just addressed as "The Reporter" or "The Journalist". Yeah... that sounds familiar. A character known only by his occupation who travels through Time and Space.......

Maybe Eddie Albert would have been playing the first Gallifreyan Time Lord seen on Television, about five years before William Hartnell's incarnation as the Doctor first arrived on-screen to pick up his grand-daughter Susan from school.

(He wouldn't have been the last Time Lord seen in Toobworld outside of the established 'Doctor Who' canon, either. It's been my contention for years that Ricardo Montalban's Mr. Roarke, who lived on 'Fantasy Island', was also from Gallifrey. It would have splained the change in appearance, clothing, and personality, as well as the spatial anomalies of an old shed, as seen in the series remake starring Malcolm McDowall.)

Well, like I said, we'll never know. And since it wasn't broadcast, it doesn't even matter. But it makes for a nice daydream on a hot and lazy afternoon......



WordsSayNothing said...

Fantasy Island was a TARDIS? I'd buy that for a dollar.

Toby said...

Nothing so grand, at least not on the scale of my belief that Seinfeld's building was a TARDIS.

But that shed had to be Roarke's TARDIS. So he couldn't have been too pleased that his two flunkies used it to fill up with garbage!