"General Electric Theater" (1954)Character: Mary AndrewsEpisode: "The Road To Edinburgh"Premiered: October 31st, 1954 (CBS)
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) who happens upon her. 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 now 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 then excuses himself from proceeding 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 research, I believe this was the pilot episode, which was produced by Revue Productions, that Joan filmed in late January 1954 for her own television series.
In September 1953, following her television debut in "Because I Love Him" for "Revlon Mirror Theater," 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 this project), and in
January 1954, Joan filmed the pilot for that series. The pilot was directed by Rod Amateau, which is who also directed "The Road To Edinburgh."
By June 1954, after attempting to sell the series to a network failed, it appears Joan forfeited the pilot of her series to CBS for use as an episode of their "General Electric Theater" program. However, it is 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.