“THIRTEEN CLOCKS.” An presentation of The Motorola Television Hour, ABC-TV, 29 December 1953 (Season 1, Episode 5). John Raitt, Roberta Peters, Basil Rathbone, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Alice Pearce. Based on a story by James Thurber. Director: Don Richardson. Shown at Cinefest 18, Liverpool NY, March 1998.

   Somebody attempted to make a case this year for including early TV shows on the program, but the case was not made for me by this offering. According to the notes, this adaptation of James Thurber’s children’s book was the “first full-length play with music ever done for live television.”

   The music was undistinguished and although I have a great deal of tolerance for whimsy, it was sorely tried by this musical. Rathbone looked old and tired, and Hardwicke’s character frequently dozed off. I’m not sure he was always dozing off in character.