Originally named "The Barbara Stanwyck Theatre", this anthology series starring the four-time Best Actress Oscar nominee made its debut on September 19, 1960, on the NBC television network. Renamed "The Barbara Stanwyck Show", the series ran for only one season, despite the fact that its host and star received the Emmy Award as Outstanding Actress in a Television Series (Lead). A total of 36 episodes aired, but the show never went into syndication following its initial run; thus, it has been virtually unseen by the general public for almost half a century.
This eagerly anticipated DVD collection includes 15 of the series' first 22 half-hour episodes, plus the never televised pilot episode. Missing are the first four episodes: "The Mink Coat", "Good Citizen", "Discreet Deception", and "The Seventh Miracle"; episode 10, "We Are the Women Who Wait"; episode 12, "No One"; and episode 13, "The Cornerstone".
The search to locate, preserve and restore the long lost gems offered in this collection has taken years of hard work and dedication on the part of the copyright owner and a handful of determined archivists, assisted by loyal fans of the supremely talented Miss Stanwyck. Their efforts are especially appreciated by happy viewers like me, who have waited decades for the chance to see one of their favorite actresses in her first, acclaimed weekly television series.
"The Key to a Killer" (originally aired 10.31.1960). Stella King's (Stanwyck) husband is a sheriff and she's his deputy. So when he falls ill, she's left in full charge of killer Leroy Benson (Vic Morrow).
"House in Order" (11.07.1960). Dr. Steele tells Elizabeth Mowry (Stanwyck) she needs heart surgery immediately. Elizabeth suddenly realizes that she may only have a few hours left to regain the love of her husband (Shepperd Strudwick) and daughter (Yvonne Craig).
"The Miraculous Journey of Tadpole Chan" (11.14.1960). In China, Josephine Little (Stanwyck) is bickering with Mr. Dobson (Ralph Bellamy) of the American consulate about some silk dresses she wants to ship to New York. This was the first of three episodes in which Stanwyck played Josephine Little.
"The Secret of Mrs. Randall" (11.21.1960). Liz Randall (Stanwyck) has been the president of an oil-drilling company since the death of her husband. She arranges for the parole of Roy Turner (Bruce Gordon), who was jailed for stealing the company payroll.
"Ironback's Bride" (11.28.1960). Ella (Stanwyck) doesn't want her son to grow up like his father - shiftless outlaw Charlie Cahill (Gerald Mohr). So she gets a divorce and becomes the mail-order bride of a wealthy man (Charles Bickford).
"Out of the Shadows" (12.19.1960). Mental patient Victor Brackett's (William Stephens) case is coming up for review. But after interviewing Brackett, Dr. Susan Bryce (Stanwyck) decides that he's not ready to be released.
"Night Visitors" (01.09.1961). Estranged from her wealthy husband, Marian Andrews (Stanwyck) plans a trip to Europe. Julie London and Michael Ansara guest star.
"Size Ten" (01.16.1961). Designer Maggie Wenley (Stanwyck), relentlessly dedicated to her business, feels that her staff is completely loyal. It's a shock to find that one of her secret sketches is missing. Robert Paige and Robert Strauss guest star.
"Dear Charlie" (01.23.1961). Tessie and Elvie (Lurene Tuttle and Katherine Squire) are a couple of lonely old maids who decide they need someone around the house to care for. They put an ad in the paper for a male boarder (Milton Berle). Stanwyck hosts this episode, which was an unsold pilot for a proposed new series for Berle.
"Dragon by The Tail" (01.31.1961). Stanwyck returns as Josephine Little, an American importer caught up in intrigue in Hong Kong. Anna May Wong guest stars.
"The Sisters" (02.06.1961). Janet Jones (Stanwyck) indulges in a bit of shoplifting in Julius Ulrich's (Michael Rennie) jewelry store ... but it's all part of a plan. Janet wants to meet Julius, the former husband of her sister Kate (Ellen Drew).
"Big Career" (02.13.1961). Harriet Melvane (Stanwyck) pursues a new career against her husband's wishes. Gene Raymond, Elizabeth Patterson, Frank Overton and Amanda Randolph costar.
"Confession" (02.20.1961). Unhappy in her marriage to Morgan Manning (Kenneth MacKenna), Paula (Stanwyck) seeks legal advice. Jud Hollister (Lee Marvin), her lawyer, believes a divorce may be difficult to obtain, and suggests an alternate plan.
"Along the Barbary Coast" (02.27.1961). Stanwyck stars as Trixie Callahan, a con artist who falls in with bad company. Richard Eastham and Jerome Thor costar.
"Shock" (03.06.1961). Rachel Harrison (Stanwyck) has just made a discovery vital to the national defense. Before she can transmit the information, she gets news of her daughter's death, and enters a state of shock. Eduard Franz, Mike Deene, Ross Elliott, and Donald Buka costar.
DVD BONUS FEATURES:
1. The never aired pilot episode, "Sponsor's Table"
2. Stanwyck's 1961 Emmy Acceptance Speech
3. Booklet including contributions by film historian and TCM host Robert Osborne