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Betty White Tribute: U.S. Steel Hour: “Scene of the Crime”

Betty White pointing to a camera labeled KNBH NBC.
May 22, 2022 - 7:45 pm
intro by Millicent Martin, actor and friend of Betty White.

Newly preserved from original 2 in. videotape!

Betty White Tribute

U.S. Steel Hour: “Scene of the Crime”

U.S., 6/27/1962

Throughout an unparalleled, seven-decades-plus career, beloved actor, broadcaster and comedian Betty White (1922-2021) accomplished just about all that was possible in the world of television, representing the very best of the medium itself. A pioneer in the truest sense of the word, White appeared as a child on an experimental television broadcast in Los Angeles before World War II and, over half a century later, delivered an Emmy Award-winning turn guest-hosting Saturday Night Live (2010). In the years in between, White was one of the first women producers in television, had an eponymous daytime show and a sitcom, emceed televised parades for NBC, was a frequent guest on game shows (where she met her soulmate Allen Luden) and, most memorably, co-starred in several iconic programs that rank among the most acclaimed and popular television series of all time (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls).

While forever known as a peerless comedic performer with impeccable timing, a deep dive into White's exhaustive film and television credits reveals the icon also took on occasional dramatic roles, including appearing as a senator in Otto Preminger's political potboiler Advise and Consent (1962) and co-starring in a United States Steel Hour episode "Scene of the Crime" (1962). A forgotten footnote in the Television Academy Hall of Fame inductee's career, the live television production of “Scene" represents a unique showcase for White's mostly untapped range as an actor outside of comedy. In the grim and claustrophobic crime drama with a noir twist, White brings her trademark intelligence and charisma to the role of a kindly school teacher at the center of a horrific decades-old murder mystery. The Archive is honored to present this rare television production in tribute to the irreplaceable and unforgettable first lady of television, Betty White.

—Mark Quigley

DCP, b&w, 60 min. CBS. Production: A Theatre Guild Production. Executive Producer: George Kondolf. Director: Tom Donovan. Writer: Sidney Carroll. From the British television play by Brian Clemens. With: Betty White, Harry Townes, Patricia Collinge, Lester Rawlins.

Preservation funding provided by the John H. Mitchell Television Preservation Endowment. Preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive from an original 2 in. videotape. Video transfer at DC Video. Engineering services by David Crosthwait.