Kraft Television Theatre; Long Time Til Dawn, A

2894. KRAFT TELEVISION THEATRE (A Long Time Till Dawn). (November 11, 1953). NBC-TV net. With JAMES DEAN, NAOMI RIORDAN, TED OSBORN. Written by ROD SERLING. Sponsored by Kraft Cheese, ED HERLIHY, announcer. An early starring role for young Mr. Dean, perhaps his very first! This is a strange story with a decidedly unhappy ending. Joe Harris, a young ex-con, out of jail only a few hours, visits kindly Papa Golden’s delicatessen and beats the old man into a coma and eventually; a coffin. His pretty wife has moved to New Jersey and is living with Joe’s father. Angry at first at the direction Joe’s life has been taking, the older Harris warms to the idea of the return of the prodigal son. Describing the youth as a “poet and a gangster,” wife and father provide an untrue alibi for Joe when a world-weary cop with a son of his own comes to make the pinch. The stand-off with the cops is no way as exciting as Cagney in “White Heat,” but it’s hard to get realistically shot by a machine-gun on live TV. Nevertheless, this was a role for Dean to get his teeth into and more fully develop in “Rebel Without A Cause.” The story makes a fascinating comparison. 59 minutes. Live TV Drama