Professional Television Appearances (1952 - 1959)

"The Revlon Mirror Theater" (1953)  |  "General Electric Theater": 1954 Appearance | 1958 Appearance | 1959 Appearance
"Caesar's Hour" (1957)  |  "The Bob Hope Show" (1958)  |  "Zane Grey Theater" (1959)

"The Revlon Mirror Theater" (1953)
Character: Margaret Hughes
Episode: "Because I Love Him"
Premiered: September 19th, 1953 (CBS)

Episode synopsis:
Margaret Hughes (Joan Crawford) visits her family doctor, Alan Gordon (James Seay), following her and her husband's health checkups. Dr. Gordon tells Margaret her husband, David (William Ching) of ten years, is dying of a blood disorder, giving a prognosis of one year. Dr. Gordon suggests she not tell her husband as to make his last year happy and not worrisome. Margaret follows their doctor's suggestion and attempts to make life for David as enjoyable as possible.
During this time, David attempts to adopt a child via an adoption agency worker (Ellen Corby), however, Margaret prevents the adoption due to David's prognosis. Later, Margaret discovers David is having an affair with family friend Ann (Virginia Grey), and he soon decides to leave Margaret.
Margaret goes to Dr. Gordon to report the news, who informs her that it's she who is dying of the blood disorder, and not her husband. Margaret thanks Dr. Gordon for his way telling her about her condition, and he confesses to having loved her for some time.

Cast & Crew:
Director: Rod Amateau
Written By: Les Crutchfield (Story), Jay Dratler (Teleplay)
Producer: Revue Productions

Joan Crawford - "Margaret Hughes"
William Ching - "David Hughes"
James Seay - "Alan Gordon"
Virginia Grey - "Ann"
Ellen Corby - "Mrs. Logan"

Joan's gowns were designed by wardrobe designer Sheila O'Brien.
This was Joan's debut on television. CBS reran the episode in November 1953 due to viewer requests.
This was Joan's third collaboration with Ellen Corby ("Harriett Craig", 1950 and "Goodbye My Fancy, 1951) and second with Virginia Grey
("The Women", 1939).
While working on her next film "Johnny Guitar" for Republic Pictures, Joan commented the following about this appearance, and why she waited to appear on television for so long. "It can harm a player if things aren't exactly right. They must have the proper story, facilities and material. I believe in film for television, because I think a player, especially an actress, should look the way she looks on the screen - her best at all times."

Following this first television appearance, Joan stated she had retained writer Andrew "Buddy" Solt (who adapted the screenplay of Joan's 1942 film "They All Kissed The Bride") to script 26 episodes of a television series Joan was to star in, portraying a newspaper columnist, with the series having an expected debut in early 1955. This series never materialized, however, it is the opinion of this Webmaster that Joan filmed the pilot for this series and it was later sold to CBS as the "General Electric Theater" episode "The Road To Edinburgh," which aired on October 31, 1954.

"General Electric Theater" (1954)
Character: Mary Andrews
Episode: "The Road To Edinburgh" (aka "The World and I" - The pilot episode of "The Joan Crawford Show")
Premiered: October 31st, 1954 (CBS)

Episode synopsis:
Widowed American newspaper columnist Mary Andrews (Joan Crawford) is driving from London, England to Edinburgh, Scotland to cover a news story. Along the way, she experiences a flat tire, and while attempting to change it she is helped by a stranger named Tom Wickers (John Sutton). For his help, Mary offers him a ride. During their road trip, Tom reveals that he has just been released from prison for murder. This distresses Mary, who then hears a radio announcement about an escaped prisoner in the area. Tom tells Mary she can let him out of the car if she's uncomfortable, but she insists she's not afraid.
Later, due to her suspicions, Mary attempts to leave Tom at a gas station, however, Tom gets back into the car before she can flee. Soon after, she sees a police car on the road and speeds to catch up to it. The police officer cites Mary for speeding and gives her a ticket. All the while, Mary is insisting she was speeding in an attempt to warn them about the man traveling with her, who she is convinced is the escaped inmate. The police inform Mary that the inmate has already been apprehended, and still gives her the speeding ticket. Tom overhears the accusation by Mary, and excuses himself from riding with her further. Tom gives Mary the money for the cost of the ticket, leaving Mary feeling ashamed.

Cast & Crew:
Director: Rod Amateau
Written By: Andrew Solt
Producer: Revue Productions

Joan Crawford - "Mary Andrews"
John Sutton - "John Wickers"
Chuck Conners - "Hitchhiking Soldier"

Webmaster's note: Via my own research I discovered this episode was most likely the pilot episode of Joan's own television show, originally titled "The World and I," that she filmed in late January 1954. Both productions were produced by Revue Productions. In September 1953, following her television debut in "Revlon Mirror Theater," episode Because I Love Him," Joan stated she had hired Andrew "Buddy" Solt to script 26 episodes for a new series starring her as a newspaper columnist (which is the same profession as her character in "The Road To Edinburgh"). In January 1954, Joan filmed the pilot for that series. The pilot was directed by Rod Amateau, who also directed "The Road To Edinburgh." By June 1954, after failing to sell the series to a network, it appears Joan forfeited the pilot of her series to CBS to use as an episode of "General Electric Theater." It is also possible that in August 1954, Revue Productions decided to use the pilot as an episode on "General Electric Theater" against Joan's choice, being that the project was owned by Revue Productions, who also produced "General Electric Theater." For these reasons, I believe "The Road To Edinburgh" to be the pilot of Joan Crawford's 1954 television series.

"Caesar's Hour" (1957)
Premiered: March 2nd, 1957
Duration: 60 minutes (Joan's appearance on the program is approximately 2 minutes)

Episode Synopsis: This television show was hosted by Sid Caesar. Joan makes a guest appearance on the show, along with actress Ingrid Bergman and Rock Hudson. Both Bergman and Hudson receive a "Look" magazine award.

"General Electric Theater" (1958)
Character: Ruth Marshall
Episode: "Strange Witness"
Premiered: March 23rd, 1958

Episode synopsis:
Ruth Marshall (Joan Crawford) is having an affair with family friend David (Tom Tryon), who begins to pressure Ruth to ask her wealthy husband, John (John McIntire) for a divorce, however, Ruth says she isn't ready for a divorce, yet.
Later in the day, Ruth's husband comes home unexpectedly and notices lipstick on David's face. John asks David how long his wife and he has been seeing each other behind his back, to which Ruth says two months. John begins to tell David there were a string of other lovers before him, and that Ruth doesn't love anyone. This angers David, who shoots John after another insult from him. Ruth tells David he made a mistake to have killed John so impulsively.
A short time later, John's old friend Chris (Sidney Blackmer) stops by to visit. Ruth tells David that Chris is blind and that she'll ask him to leave before he suspects anything is amiss. During his visit, Chris asks Ruth where John is, and she says he had to see a client out of town. Ruth gives Chris a drink while David stands on the other side of the room gesturing to Ruth to make Chris leave. After a near-miss of Chris stepping on John's body, which is still laying on the floor where he fell, Ruth is able to convince Chris to leave.
After Chris' departure, David begins to coach Ruth on how to lie to the police about John's appearance when the telephone rings. Ruth answers it, and Chris is on the other line (from a police station) informing her that John had lent him money for an eye operation and that it was successful and he can now see.

Cast & Crew:
Director: Herschel Daugherty
Written By: John Whiting (Story), Gavin Lambert (Teleplay)
Producer: Revue Productions

Joan Crawford - "Ruth Marshall"
Tom Tryon - "David"
John McIntire - "John Marshall"
Sidney Blackmer - "Chris"

Production: The episode was originally titled "Eyewitness." Filming took place in late February/early March 1958.

"The Bob Hope Show" (1958)
Duration: 60 minutes

Premiered: October 15th, 1958
Episode synopsis: Joan guest stars on the show in a comedic skit which involves her character testing her husband (Bob Hope) to see if he is still loves her after she presents him with a fake letter indicating their marriage is not legal. Also appearing in the skit is Robert Strauss. Other guests appearing on this episode are: Danny Thomas, the Bernard Brothers, Marion Ryan and band leader Les Brown.

"General Electric Theater" (1959)
Character: Ann Howard
Episode: "And One Was Loyal"
Premiered: January 4th, 1959

Episode synopsis:
Ann Howard (Joan Crawford) happens upon old flame George Manson (Tom Helmore) at her art exhibit in New York. Ann and George had met previously in Singapore, and the episode acts as a large flashback to the time of their original meeting. At that time Ann was a mute, and George met her during his stay at the bed and breakfast Ann and her then-husband own. George complimented Ann's art and encouraged her to pursue her talent.
After a game of cards between Ann, George, and Ann's husband, Roger (Robert Douglas), Ann wins, and documents the winnings in a special notebook she keeps of all her card winnings. Roger becomes angry that Ann won the game, and assaults a nearby porter, who is protected by Ann against her husband's anger. Following the assault, George invites Ann to come live in a house he owns in London while pursuing her art career, and as a refuge from her husband.
Later, Roger is attacked by a snake that has been tied above his bed, and after escaping attempts to charge at Ann, but plummets over a balcony railing and dies from the fall. Afterword, Ann's ability to speak returns, and George learns that Ann became a mute due to shock, after her husband had previously tied her up near a riverbank with the threat of death by a crocodile. After meeting with a police inspector investigating the snake incident, George takes Ann's notebook detailing her card winnings.
Back to present day, George visits Ann after her exhibit, and reveals to her that he had taken her notebook documenting her card winnings as so that the police inspector wouldn't find it and surmise Ann is who paid to have the snake placed in her husband's bedroom. Ann reveals to George that she knew the houseboy Roger assaulted is who attempted to kill her husband with the snake. George and Ann embrace as the episode fades to black.

Cast & Crew:

Director: Herschel Daugherty
Written By: Stanley Abbott (Story), Francis M. Cockrell (Teleplay)
Producer: Revue Productions

Joan Crawford - "Ann Howard"
Tom Helmore - "George Manson"
Robert Douglas - "Roger Howard"

Production: Joan began filming for this episode in November 1958. Peter Sabiston of the Kurt Frings agency negotiated the episode's contractual agreements.

"Zane Grey Theater" (1959)
Character: Stella Faring
Episode: "Rebel Range"
Premiered: December 3rd, 1959

Episode synopsis:
Stella Faring (Joan Crawford) and her son Rob (Don Grady) visit their old family home and ask the new owner, Case Taggart (Scott Forbes), for a look inside, which Case allows. To Case's dismay, once inside the house, Stella and Rob contend it is their home and they will not leave it again. Stella's deceased husband lost the land to public auction when it was abandoned while he was fighting for the Confederacy. Case explains to Stella that he purchased the property legally, however, Stella doesn't care, and remains adamant that she and her son will remain. As a result, Case forcibly removes them from the house and watches as they leave. Later, Case returns home to find that Stella and her son are back in the house, and have brought two men named Fisk and Cressie (John Anderson and Joseph V. Perry) with them to throw Case off the property, which they do.
Later, Fisk (Anderson) gives Rod a gun and says he wants to teach him how to protect the property by letting Rob stand guard over the property.
When Case returns, Rob threatens to shoot Case, however, Case calls his bluff and pulls him to the house, where Fisk is attempting to assault Stella.
Case throws Fisk outside, and follows him, as does Rob with a gun in hand, and he shoots Case in the shoulder. Stella treats Case's injury and cares for him until he's well. Stella tells Case she and Rob are now going to leave to stay with friends she has in town. Case decides that perhaps he and Stella can come to a compromise and she can return back to the house at some point in the future.

Cast & Crew:
Director: Don Medford
Written by: Kathleen Hite & Joseph Chadwick (Teleplay)
Producer: Four Star Productions

Joan Crawford - "Stella Faring"
Scott Forbes - "Case Taggart"
Don Grady - "Rob Faring'
John Anderson - "Fisk"
Joseph V. Perry - "Cressie"

Production: Joan signed on for this appearance in September 1959.