Tuesday, June 3, 2008


"I've debated Daniel Webster,
And you, sir, are no Daniel Webster
The Devil

The Devil may be a liar, but I'd like to think that he was speaking the truth when he told Sam this. And since "The Devil And Daniel Webster", a short story by Stephen Vincent Benét, was adapted for Television back in 1959, then 'Reaper' can be considered linked to 'Sunday Showcase' in the TV Universe.

Here's how TV.com describes the tale:

In the story, set in 1841, an unlucky New Hampshire farmer named Jabez Stone sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for seven years of good luck. When the Devil comes to collect, Stone is able to convince lawyer and politician Daniel Webster to argue his case.
The story was adapted twice for the movies, but only the first version, with Walter Huston as Old Scratch and Edward Arnold as Mr. Webster, hewed close to the original source material and Webster's historical timeline. (The other movie, starring and directed by Alec Baldwin, was set in contemporary times with Anthony Hopkins as Webster and Jennifer Love Hewitt as the Devil!)

Edward G. Robinson played Webster in the TV adaptation of the story, with David Wayne as the Devil and Tim O'Connor as Jabez Stone. (Edward G. Robinson is seen here in "Barbary Coast" because the clothing suggested Daniel Webster's time. And that picture of David Wayne is actually from 'Batman', in which he played the Mad Hatter, but I couldn't resist. He looks rather devilish!)

Daniel Webster was also seen in Toobworld in other productions that were more like showcases for his personal history. We've yet to see Webster show up in TV series where he could have interacted with fictional characters, as could have happened in shows like 'Voyagers!', 'The Time Tunnel', or more recently, 'New Amsterdam'.

Here's a rundown of the actors who played Daniel Webster on Television:

Ray Collins (I) (Daniel Webster) . . . "Cavalcade of America" (1952)
{The Last Will of Daniel Webster (#2.8)} TV Series

Charles Dingle (Daniel Webster) . . . "See It Now" (1951)
{The Vice Presidency: The Great American Lottery (#5.1)} TV Series

Martin Gabel (Daniel Webster) . . . "Profiles in Courage" (1964)
{Daniel Webster (#1.13)} TV Series

Walter Hampden (Daniel Webster) . . . "Schlitz Playhouse of Stars" (1951)
{Decision and Daniel Webster (#1.6)} TV Series

François Klanfer (Daniel Webster) . . . Enslavement: The True Story of Fanny Kemble (2000) (TV)

Edward G. Robinson (Daniel Webster) . . . "Sunday Showcase" (1959)
{The Devil and Daniel Webster (#1.22)} TV Series

William Roerick (Daniel Webster) . . . "Freedom to Speak" (1982) TV Series

William Windom (Daniel Webster) . . . Bridger (1976) (TV)

(The quote by the Devil in 'Reaper' also echoes Senator Lloyd Bentsen's comparison of Senator Dan Quayle to President Jack Kennedy during their Vice Presidential debate back in 1988.)

Toby OB

1 comment:

Mercurie said...

Reaper can also be linked to an old Fox show called Brimstone, which has a similar premise!