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E1 Entertainment (formerly Koch Home Video) partnered last year with the Archive of American Television to release some extremely rare television shows from their archives on home video. Nearly all of these shows have not been seen by the public since they were broadcast over 50 years ago! Thanks to both early videotape and Kinescopes (live TV broadcasts preserved on film) we are able to re-live what were originally one-time performances. This DVD is one such event. 1953 was a time when there were fewer distractions and other entertainment options for the American public. So CBS (under William Paley) created a 90-minute "arts magazine" to be broadcast on Sunday afternoons - remember there were no regular sports broadcasts then - hosted by Alistair Cooke. It was called "Omnibus". For its third season they came up with a real gem. Welles would make his American TV debut in a 90-minute production of "King Lear", directed by the then 29 year old British Director Peter Brook. Brook's wife, Natasha Parry, would play Cordelia. The sponsors would become "subscribers" so there would be no commercial breaks. And, the script would be revised - leaving out all the subplots - so the actual production ran only 78 minutes! On October 11, 1953 the show aired. And it has not been since - until this release.

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E1 has gone the extra step in putting together this package. Preceding the October 11th show we are giving the "preview" which aired the week before. To add to the understanding of Shakespeare we are presented with a 10-minute portion of a later Omnibus show where Dr. Frank Baxter (who helped Walt Disney explain science to kids) gives the history of the Globe Theater. Another 2-minute bonus is a live remote from 1954 at the Yale Shakespeare Festival and a 43-minute episode from 1955 with drama critic Walter Kerr discussing the staging of Shakespeare's plays.

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KOC6753 King Lear: Omnibus - The Historic TV Broadcast DVD (1953/Orson Welles) $29.99 $24.99