Gilding the lily

George Varjas

The weekly task of dreaming up exciting settings to illustrate and enhance the contents of Armchair Theatre plays is one of the most stimulating creative challenges to ABC’s lively young designers, whose work under the direction of Timothy O’Brien above, right has been widely acclaimed for its high standards and imaginative vigour. For Light from a Star, O’Brien built most of the superstructure of a luxury yacht in one of ABC’s studios and filled a 20-foot swimming pool with six thousand gallons of water. Philip Saville above, left one of Britain’s most exciting and lyrical TV directors, pushed his cameras through portholes and swooped them around the decks like wheeling gulls

Fighting men

George Varjas
Aubrey Dewar

An American view of soldiers in action was shown in Rod Serling’s Korean War play Come In Razor Red, directed by Alvin Rakoff with designs by Timothy O’Brien.

The Commander, US Navel Forces Europe lent fifteen nco’s and men of his Headquarters Marine Guard to guide the British extras in the trench warfare scenes; they were later ‘decorated’ by ABC for their ‘gallantry’ in applying themselves to the cause of theatrical duty

American visitors

Warwick Bedford

Among the US stars who came to Britain for Armchair Theatre in 1960 were John Ireland and Ed Degley.

Ireland is seen above with Peter Dyneley and Constance Cummings in The Last Tycoon, a play from the Scott Fitzgerald story directed by William Kotcheff with designs by Timothy O’Brien; Ed Begley was directed in A Phone Call for Matthew Quade by David Greene, an Englishman who has become one of Hollywood’s top TV directors

John Timbers
1960 // TRANSDIFFUSION BROADCASTING SYSTEM