The Desilu Playhouse

April 20th Celebrates The Desilu Playhouse

Today on Days to remember we celebrate how on April 20th 1959, the Desilu Playhouse on CBS TV presented a two part show titled, “The Untouchables.

If you didn’t figure out yet by the name Desilu, first started out in the early 1958, Desi Arnaz convinced CBS to purchase Desilu Playhouse with the promise that a bi-monthly Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show (later rebroadcast as The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour) would be among the dramas, comedies and musicals planned for the show.

Westinghouse paid a then-record $12 million to sponsor the show, which resulted in the cancellation of the prestigious anthology series Studio One, also sponsored by Westinghouse.

Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse is an American television anthology series produced by Desilu Productions.

Desilu Productions was an American television production company co-owned by husband and wife Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, best known for shows such as I Love Lucy, Star Trek, The Untouchables and the Twilight Zone.

The Desilu Playhouse how ran on CBS television between 1958 and 1960. Two of its 48 episodes served as pilots for the 1950s television series The Twilight Zone and The Untouchables.

Much of Desilu Productions early success can be traced to Arnaz’s unusual business style in his role as producer of I Love Lucy. For example, lacking formal business training, Arnaz knew nothing of amortization, and often included all the costs incurred by the production into the first episode of a season, rather than spreading them across the projected number of episodes in the year.

As a result, by the end of the season, episodes would be nearly entirely paid for, and would come in at preposterously low figures.

Today’s YouTube presentation below gives you an aerial view of Desilu Productions where the Desilu Playhouse originated in Hollywood California, brought to you by user name, William French, an aerial tour of Desilu Studios three lots from 1957.

At that time, most television programs were broadcast live, and as the largest markets were in New York, the rest of the country received only images derived from kinescopes.

Karl Freund, the cameraman on I Love Lucy, and Arnaz himself have been credited with the development of the linked multi-film camera setup using adjacent sets in front of a live audience that became the standard production method for situation comedies.

On April 20th 1959, Desilu Playhouse aired a two-part drama called “The Untouchables”. Paul Monash adapted the 1947 memoirs of treasury agent Eliot Ness, played by Robert Stack.

After CBS passed on the idea to produce a weekly version, The Untouchables became a hit series on ABC and ran for four seasons (1959–1963).
As we celebrate how on April 20th 1959, the Desilu Playhouse on CBS TV presented a two part show titled, “The Untouchables.”

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell
jdmitchelldesigns@gmail.com

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