The Americans (1961 TV series)

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The Americans
GenreDrama
StarringDarryl Hickman
Richard Davalos
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes17
Production
Executive producer(s)Frank Telford
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time44 mins.
Broadcast
Original channelNBC
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original runJanuary 23, 1961 (1961-01-23) – May 15, 1961 (1961-05-15)
 
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The Americans
GenreDrama
StarringDarryl Hickman
Richard Davalos
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes17
Production
Executive producer(s)Frank Telford
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time44 mins.
Broadcast
Original channelNBC
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original runJanuary 23, 1961 (1961-01-23) – May 15, 1961 (1961-05-15)

The Americans is a 17-episode American drama television series that aired on NBC from January to May 1961. Set during the American Civil War, the series focuses on two brothers fighting on opposite sides of the conflict.

Background[edit]

The series was inspired by James Warner Bellah's 1953 novel The Valiant Virginians which was serialized in the Saturday Evening Post as Tales of the Valorous Virginians from May 9, 1953 through June 10, 1954.[1] The novel is an arc of separate stories on the impact of the war on the young men fighting it. The series characters are Ben (Union Army) and Jeff Canfield (Confederacy).

Production[edit]

The series was part of the United States' commemoration of the centennial of the beginning of the Civil War. It aired as a mid-season replacement[2] for the canceled western series, Riverboat, starring Darren McGavin, broadcast in the 7:30–8:30 p.m. timeslot on Monday evenings.

Ben Canfield was played by Darryl Hickman, older brother of actor Dwayne Hickman; Richard Davalos played Jeff Canfield. Hickman and Davalos were the only actors who appeared in every episode of the series. Most of the supporting cast appear in only a single episode though several actors played the same role in more than one episode:

Among the more well-known actors to appear in this series were the following:

Jack Lord, Michael Rennie, Nina Foch, Lee Marvin, Dan O'Herlihy, Robert Culp, James Franciscus, Jack Elam, Susan Oliver, Brian Keith, Ray Walston, Lloyd Bochner, Dick York, Jackie Coogan, L.Q. Jones, Carroll O'Connor, and Robert Redford.

Seventeen one-hour episodes were broadcast, although either twenty-one or twenty-six episodes were filmed.[2] Episodes were written by, among others, John Gay (screenwriter for the film Run Silent Run Deep and of many television adaptions of literary classics), William D. Gordon (who also acted in at least one episode), Andy Lewis (writer of the movie Klute), Carey Wilber (writer of the Star Trek episode Space Seed), and Pat Falken Smith (head writer in the 1970s and 1980s for the soap operas Days of Our Lives and General Hospital). Music for the series was created by composers Bernard Herrmann and Hugo Friedhofer. Henry Steele Commager was the historical consultant.

A tie-in novel called The Americans, written by Donald Honig, was released in paperback by Popular Library publishers in 1961.[3][4]

Episodes/cast[edit]

First-run episodes of the series aired January 23, 1961 through May 15, 1961; repeats aired from May 22 through September 11, 1961.

References[edit]

  1. ^ York, Neil Longely (2001) "Fiction As Fact: The Horse Soldiers and Popular Memory" Kent State University Press ISBN 0-87338-688-4, page 157 (Footnote 27)
  2. ^ a b The Americans webpage of the Classic Television Archive website
  3. ^ Honig, Donald (1961) "The Americans" Popular Library ASIN B000MH5BVE
  4. ^ The Americans, by Donald Honig webpage in the Amazon book section

External links[edit]