TV Fact #253 – July 4th, 2015:

The show “Mama” (1949-1957), based on the memoir “Mama’s Bank Account” by author Kathryn Forbes that was also adapted for the John Van Druten-written play in 1944 and the subsequent 1948 film “I Remember Mama”, was originally broadcast live from a television studio located above the waiting room in Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal. The irony was, even though the show was one of the best-loved early TV comedies, it was broadcast live and the vast majority of the episodes were never recorded. In fact, not enough episodes were recorded for the show to rerun in syndication and a majority of the episodes were lost to posterity.

It was only with the success of “I Love Lucy” (1951-1957) that the bean counters at CBS saw how huge a financial mistake it was not to record it. It was only then that CBS, and sponsor Maxwell House Coffee, finally relented to the added cost and the series was committed to film at the very end of production. Alas, the show is not recorded in it’s entirety for future generations. But, I suppose, not all things are meant to exist forever. Dead again…film’s subjective nature proves otherwise and some episodes do exist, recorded for good. So the show will always be remembered. And memory is eternal. It doesn’t need film tape to survive.

Published in: on July 4, 2015 at 11:29 PM  Leave a Comment  

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