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Made possible by the John H. Mitchell Television Programming Endowment

Brought to You in Living Color: The Chevy Mystery Show

The Chevy Mystery Show
February 25, 2022 - 7:30 pm
Intro by video engineer David Crosthwait, DC Video.

Recently preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive from original 2 in. videotape masters!

A summer-replacement series designed to provide entertainer Dinah Shore with a hiatus from her eponymous variety show, The Chevy Mystery Show is an early example of a recurring television series produced on color videotape. While the series was not broadcast live, it was recorded live to tape, with occasional actor line flubs and visible boom mic shadows included and aired. However, such minor imperfections were rendered immaterial by the show’s eye-popping sets and wardrobe intended to take full advantage of NBC’s beautiful “living color." While only half a million color television sets were in U.S. homes in 1960, The Chevy Mystery Show and other programs broadcast in color by NBC during this period helped build demand for color sets manufactured by the network’s parent company, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). In addition, sponsors such as the Chevrolet Division of General Motors Company were eager to share the new TV technology with consumers via color commercials to showcase their automobiles in all available shades.

Debuting on NBC soon after CBS' highly-acclaimed Playhouse 90 aired its last original broadcast, fellow anthology series The Chevy Mystery Show proved decidedly more pulp than prestige, with the studio-bound teleplays employing noirish stock twists and accompanying gunplay. However, whatever the series may lack in stature, it makes up for with charm, as esteemed actors such as Agnes Moorehead (The Magnificent Ambersons and Bewitched), Everett Sloane (Citizen Kane), and beloved horror icon Vincent Price bring vitality and star wattage to these entertaining time capsules. Presented with original commercials.

Program introduced by video engineer David Crosthwait of DC Video.

Mark Quigley, John H. Mitchell Television Curator

The Chevy Mystery Show: “Trial by Fury”

U.S., 8/7/1960

A determined matriarch (Agnes Moorehead) vows to avenge the brutal murder of her husband by holding his polished law firm partner (Warren Stevens) accountable, despite evidence of his innocence.

A Sewanee Production. Executive Producer: Henry Jaffe. Producer: Hiram Brown. Director: Marc Daniels. Screenwriter: Stephen Kandel. Host: Walter Slezak. With: Agnes Moorehead, Warren Stevens, Laurie Carroll.

The Chevy Mystery Show: “Run Around”

U.S., 8/14/1960

A down-on-his-luck actor (Everett Sloane) desperately tries to reach his cruel and callous Hollywood agent (Vincent Price) in order to thwart a shadowy murder plot with a twist.

DCP, b&w and color, 120 min. A Sewanee Production. Executive Producer: Henry Jaffe. Producer: Hiram Brown. Director: Paul Nickell. Screenwriter: Mort R. Lewis. Host: Walter Slezak. With: Vincent Price, Everett Sloane, Carole Kent.

Preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive from original 2 in. videotapes. Video transfers at DC Video. Engineering services by David Crosthwait. Use courtesy of Sewanee Productions. Special thanks to Retro Video, Inc.