Original air date: May 2, 1955
#303 in the "Westinghouse Presents Studio One" series
Written especially for "Studio One" by Gore Vidal- Directed for "Studio One" by Paul Nickell Produced by Felix Jackson - Associate Producer William M. Altman - Story Editor Florence Britton - Settings by Kim E. Swados - Musical Director Alfredo Antonini - Technical Director Ted Miller - Title Drawings by Vah Kirishjian - Set Decorator Ken Krausgill- Lighting Director Bob Barry - Costumes by Leslie Renfield - Miss Hopkins' wardrobe by Jenkins Gowns
Miriam Hopkins as Theresa Durand - Charles Drake as Ned Welch - Elizabeth Montgomery as Helen Durand - Ruth White as Belle (Travis) - Joseph Sweeney as Father Durand Wyatt Cooper as Winter Duval- Carol Veazie as Mrs. Duval- William A. Forester as the Waiter Dario Barri as the Assistant
Gore Vidal's teleplay is based in New Orleans, and features a superbly cast Miriam Hopkins as the widowed Theresa Durand, representative of the "old aristocracy," whose impoverished family must now sell furniture and other objects of art from their stately home to keep financially afloat. Theresa's father-in-law (Joseph Sweeney) remains hopelessly lost in his reading; her sister-in-law Belle Travis (Ruth White) had defied the family tradition by marrying outside their circle and region (Belle's husband had taken her to Chicago); and Theresa's daughter Helen (Elizabeth Montgomery), whose honorarium "barely supports her," is disillusioned by her own fiancÚ Winter Duval (Wyatt Cooper).
Theresa remains the guardian of the old tradition, so that when the construction engineer Ned Welch (Charles Drake), arriving out of Chicago to assess the house and grounds, is attracted to Helen and asks her out to dine - an offer which the frustrated Helen quietly consents to -their budding romance threatens Theresa's sense of what ought to be. Theresa cautions her daughter that she is already engaged, but the vibrant Welch seems a far better prospect to Helen than does her fiancÚ. When her daughter breaks her engagement and defiantly announces her future marriage to Welch, and their eventual departure for residence in Chicago, Theresa feels as if her world has become undone. However, knowing that her daughter's marriage to the engineer also affords the family new income, and that Welch can also devote some time to restoring the family's historic gazebo - the "summer pavilion" of the title - Theresa realizes the positive aspects in having such a son-in-law.
She then appropriates him into her own social view, and gives a formal house party for Helen and Ned on their wedding day. When Ned reveals that Theresa prefers that the couple remain in New Orleans, Helen, following the advice from her Aunt Belle, realizes that she must take a drastic step to break free of her mother's possessive web. Still in her wedding gown, she goes out to set fire to her mother's beloved gazebo, announcing that she and Ned will indeed be residing in Chicago. As a distressed Theresa witnesses helplessly, the gazebo is consumed in flames. The wedding guests take this to be a display of "fireworks on the lawn." But Theresa can bear witness to this no longer, and she recoils in horror and departs to live in her memories of better days.
If you are interested in owning the unedited version of this show, email me for details. Studio One is available on DVD! VictorMas@aol.com
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