Drama Queen, er, Dame

Welcome to a new Wildcard Wednesday… on a Tuesday! (I’ve switched them this week because it works better with my schedule.) This is our (semi) annual celebration of Dame Angela Lansbury, who turned 96 years young this past weekend. In honor of this dynamic star of stage and screen — both the big and the small — I thought it would be fun to share something from the figurative shadows of her career: a sample from one of this dame’s many forgotten forays into the world of televised anthology dramas during the 1950s…

It’s Lansbury’s 1956 appearance on an episode of the short-lived TV iteration of Screen Directors Playhouse called “Claire,” a mild but watchable Rebecca-like one act about a woman ridden with guilt over her involvement in the death of her husband’s first wife and tormented by the presence of a cat who reminds her of her sins. The entry was written by Philip MacDonald and George Sinclair from a story by Ruth Capps. It features direction by Frank Tuttle, and boasts a cast that also includes George Montgomery, Jean Willes, Amanda Randolph, and Bill Erwin. The first broadcast was by NBC on April 25, 1956, but it’s more recently been shown on the great TCM. I’m sharing it here with subscribers who comment below to alert me of their educational, non-commercial interest in this piece of TV history (an excerpt of which you can find below) — all in honor of the iconic Dame Angela Lansbury!



Come back next week for a new Wildcard! And stay tuned Tuesday for more Laverne & Shirley!