» » Studio One The Defender: Part 1 (1948–1958)

Studio One The Defender: Part 1 (1948–1958) HD online

Studio One The Defender: Part 1 (1948–1958) HD online
Language: English
Category: TV Episode / Drama
Original Title: The Defender: Part 1
Director: Robert Mulligan
Writers: Reginald Rose,Reginald Rose
Released: 1948–1958
Duration: 1h
Video type: TV Episode
A young criminal attorney and his firm-owning father defend a 19 year-old on trial for a murder that he swears he did not commit. Personal conflicts arise with the attorney and his father while the prosecution puts on a dramatic and convincing argument of guilt.
Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ralph Bellamy Ralph Bellamy - Walter Preston
Martin Balsam Martin Balsam - Francis Toohey
Steve McQueen Steve McQueen - Joseph Gordon (as Steven McQueen)
William Shatner William Shatner - Kenneth Preston
Ian Wolfe Ian Wolfe - Judge Marsala
Vivian Nathan Vivian Nathan - Mrs. Anna Gordon
David J. Stewart David J. Stewart - Dr. Victor Wallach
Russell Hardie Russell Hardie - 1st Guard
Iggie Wolfington Iggie Wolfington - Court Clerk
Arthur Storch Arthur Storch - Seymour Miller
Frank Marth Frank Marth - First Reporter
Eileen Ryan Eileen Ryan - Betsy Fuller
Milton Selzer Milton Selzer - 2nd Guard
John McGovern John McGovern - Dr. Horace Bell
Michael Higgins Michael Higgins - Sergeant James Sheeley

Snippets of this 50 year old television drama were used in the 2007 television program "Boston Legal" (episode: Son of the Defender) where the now older Shatner recalled back to instances where he and his father (played by Ralph Bellamy) were in discussion of a man's innocence, played by the then unknown Steve McQueen. It melded well into the Boston Legal episode.

Edward Asner's acting debut in TV or film.

This episode would evolve into the series Preston & Preston (1961) which starred Robert Reed and E.G. Marshall in the roles played by William Shatner and Ralph Bellamy.

Reviews: [15]

  • avatar


    Excerpts from this show were featured in the April 3, 2007 episode of "Boston Legal" on ABC. In the Boston Legal episode Denny Crane (Shatner) was portrayed as his Kenneth Preston character 50 years later, when the son of the murdered woman sought revenge on the man that Crane/Preston had successfully defended fifty years earlier.

    The son (who blamed Crane for his father's subsequent breakdown) takes Crane, the original defendant, and several of the Boston Legal regulars hostage, using bombs and a "dead man" switch, and then stages a retrial of the original trial, based on the original transcript (presumably taken from the "Studio One" dialog).
  • avatar


    Several scenes from this drama are used as flashback sequences in the April 3, 2007, episode of Boston Legal, titled "Son of the Defender". In this episode, William Shatner's character, lawyer Denny Crane, is held hostage by a man whose mother was the murder victim. Crane and his father had defended the accused murderer, so the facts fit closely with this Studio One drama, except for the name of Shatner's character, of course. The victim's son is convinced that justice had been perverted, so he stages a re-trial of sorts. David E. Kelley deserves credit for his ingenious revisiting of this story half a century later. Fans of the original should check out this follow-up.
  • avatar


    I found a VHS of this in the local library, and apparently the films were salvaged from a condemned Westinghouse warehouse.The resulting video quality was fairly good and the overall effect was similar to a 1950's capsule.

    McQueen is commanding in this early appearance. His scenes with Bellamy and Shatner are very forceful. Writing and casting were excellent, especially given the primitive state of the TV industry at the time. Ralph Bellamy provided his usual solid performance.

    For fans of Bill Shatner and Steve McQueen , this is a rare and fascinating gem. Both young actors display the charisma that led them to stardom in the next decade. Well worth watching......
  • avatar


    I have a friend who works in the television field, and over the years he has had access to tapes and now DVD's of many older, classic programs. Some of these can be found on bottom shelves somewhere, and apparently this program and its series have some available. However, I've seen some of my friend's which I've felt my be just one of a few which could be found anywhere.

    Whichever, this particular program is one which I saw several years ago, both episodes on one tape. At the time, I enjoyed it completely, for several reasons: the middle-age Bellamy, excellent as usual, with young Shatner and McQueen, both also excellent, with this one of the precursors of their long careers to follow; the outstanding programs presented during the earlier years of TV history, with fewer effects and gimmicks, more like filmed plays, but with drama as good as (often better than) the fare today; and the added nostalgia always enjoyed when viewing a film or show many years, or decades, after its original production.

    I hadn't expected to be able to catch "Boston Legal" on April 3rd, but returned earlier than expected, just in time to see it. I'm among an apparently very large contingent who thoroughly enjoy this program (place it along with "Larry Sanders," and "Columbo") - especially Spader and Shatner, but the remaining cast as well.

    The way this vintage "Studio One" program was woven, in flashback form, into the primary story of this episode, was faultless. So often this technique - integrating portions of a past film of a character into a current presentation - is hokey, forced, and falls short of enhancing current presentation.

    However, in this instance, the complete opposite was the case, and it looked as though, despite the nearly 50 years since the original, it had been written with the future program in mind. Certainly the competent writers of "Boston Legal" tailored this show to integrate well with the "Studio One" show - but the way it resulted was superior to what might be expected.

    Looking forward to seeing it whenever rerun.
  • avatar


    Son of the Defender was shown on Australian television in Sydney on July 2nd, 2007. I found it to be one of the most stunning pieces of television drama in over 50 years of watching television. It was more than a television episode, it was a visual experience that came to life and actually transcended the television screen. In watching this program, the lines between fiction and reality suddenly became blurred, just as the life of the 70 year old Shatner became blurred, as it flashed between the drama at hand and his own early life experiences of 50 years ago. I could not help but be carried away and think of my own life of 50 years ago, and the beauty of the journey in the intervening time period. It was as if going back in time, and looking into a mirror, of 50 years ago. As an older person, I could empathize and relate so closely to William Shatner, it was as if I were he. I consider this episode to be a more than a television piece, but rather, a masterpiece. Congratulations to all who helped create this work of art
  • avatar


    Apparently, this two-part episode of "Studio One" was meant as a pilot for a potential new series. Oddly, it was picked up--but only several years later and with an entirely new cast. This show gives us a sneak peek at might have been.

    This show is about two attorneys--a father and son in the same law firm. The father (Ralph Bellamy) is a rather conservative defense attorney--and one who has a hard time defending anyone who he thinks is guilty (though don't you assume this is something he SHOULD have worked out considering how long he was in practice?!). His client is a rather impulsive and annoyingly written young Steve McQueen--who seems to spend most of his time either sulking or exploding! The other attorney (William Shatner) is less conventional than his father and aches to be given the proper respect he deserves--but his father often treats him more like his son than a colleague. There is MUCH more to the plot, but I won't get into that--it's something you can see for yourself.

    Here's what I liked about it in a nutshell. The father and son were both well-written and acted. Shatner is more subtle than usual and Bellamy is ALWAYS wonderful. I also liked the ambiguity about the show--you never really know if the defendant is guilty or not. This vagueness will no doubt annoy some, but I loved that the show did not seek to provide answers--just stir up great questions. On the negative side, I already mentioned McQueen. His character was rather one-dimensional and it's hard to tell if the actor didn't yet know how to act or if his part was just written badly. But apart from this, it's very good--and well worth seeing. Plus, it gives you a chance to see Martin Balsam with hair as well as a tiny glimpse at Ed Asner (also with hair) as one of the jurors--but you have to look closely to see him.
  • avatar


    If you've seen the Boston Legal episode with flashbacks to the 1957 Studio One presentation of "The Defender", which became the pilot for the latter classic "The Defenders", well, you've never really seen "The Defender". Instead you've seen a rather tepid attempt of a modern TV show to deal with the issue "The Defender" was all about: Is the justice system about justice or is it about winning? Ralph Bellamy, in the role of Lawrence Preston later played by E.G. Marshall, is defending a client, (Steve McQueen), whom he feels is probably guilty. He's giving him a "competent" defense but really doesn't want him to get away with the crime. But is that a real defense? He parries and thrusts at the prosecution's case, making sure that they have to prove McQueen is guilty before punishing him. Shatner as Kenneth Preston, (not Denny Crane), feels McQueen is innocent but can't really say why. He comes up with a stunt, (briefly described on Boston Legal) that might turn the tide by destroying the prosecution's eye witnesses. Bellamy refuses to use the tactic because he considers it unethical, (besides, it might work). But when the prosecutor, Martin Balsam, gives him a cynical speech about how he doesn't care if the guy is guilty- it's his job to "win" by convicting him, Bellamy angrily decides to use his ace in the hole. He gets his client off, (as everyone who saw Boston legal knows). But did he do the right thing? The audience is left to decide.

    It's the original that matters here. It's hard-hitting and stays to the point. There are no uninteresting sub-plots, no silly comedy relief, no extraneous issues, (such as the gay angle- McQueen is clearly heterosexual as his girlfriend is shown on the stand describing his big plans for them when he gets some money), and no speech at the end telling us what to think. You wind up doing the thinking for yourself, which is what great drama is all about.

    The original is available on video- I got it from Movies Unlimited about a decade ago. I watched it again tonight and it was much more memorable than the modern mish-mosh presented later in the evening.
  • avatar


    I'm looking at an old Kinescope on DVD, of a studio one that was presented as a drama by Westinghouse, complete with Betty Furness doing live commercials, in 1957.

    This may have been, in effect, the pilot for the defenders since the structure is the same as the series. Steve McQueen is charged with murder. Old Hand Ralph Bellamy is the patriarch head of a father-son defense team. The young William Shatner, who was recognized then as the hottest new young actor around, plays the son. In the TV show that became the Defenders series, E G Marshall played the father and Robert Reed, who would later go on to debase himself as the father on the Brady Bunch, before being outed as gay, played the son.

    Shatner is so young and innocent that he looks more like a young Ray Liotta than any version of his present self.

    Martiin Balsam plays the prosecutor. There are all kinds of old favorites from that era in the audience, among the reporters and even on the jury. Ed Asner is sitting on that jury chewing gum and trying like mad to get the audience to notice him. There are guys who worked on soap operas back then. Yul Brynner, Sidney Lumet and Norman Felton worked in production and acted too, in those days. All three worked on this film.

    Its grand to see this stuff. Shatner was getting the young man roles in every movie in those days. He was hotter then than Brad Pitt after Thelma and Louise. One of the sons in the Brothers Karamazov was played by Shatner. Shatner played one of the witnesses in the Outrage an Americanization of Kurosawa's Rashoman.

    Anyway, Bellamy was defending Steve for murder, but actually wanted to see him found guilty. His son Shatner tells him he has to quit the case if he believes that. Father and son struggle over the question of their client McQueen's guilt. In the end, Ralph does the right thing and uses a courtroom stunt to get McQueen off. The son is happy and proud of his father again. As the jury leaves the box, Ed Asner parks his gum under the jury box rail. A bailiff catches him at it and makes him put the stale gum back in his mouth. When the bailiff turns away from him, Ed quickly parks the gum back under the rail.

    Betty Furness does the concluding commercial live and I notice one of the gleeful women in a vacuum cleaner demonstration is the same woman that was on the stand testifying movingly for Steve McQueen just 20 minutes earlier., in the spirit of the live fifties presentation, notes that Betty Furness played HERSELF in the film.
  • avatar


    Great episode of "Boston Legal" -- one of their best. Interesting that Steve McQueen played the original defendant "Joe Gordon." The current one I recall portrayed law student "Bell" on the "Paper Chase" TV series.

    This 2-part episode of "Studio One" also led to the long-running TV series in the early 1960s entitled "The Defenders," with E.G. Marshall and Robert Reed assuming the father-son roles of the Prestons. Shatner even showed up on some episodes as a district attorney.

    This must have brought back memories for Shatner. One item on "Boston Legal" was not brought to a conclusion, however -- did Brad ever extract himself from the air duct??
  • avatar


    the 3apr07 episode of Boston Legal based a plot line on this show, using clips as flashbacks.

    shatner used a courtroom trick to get the 19-y.o. off in 1957, but 50 yrs later, the son of the woman the defendant was accused of murdering takes shatner, the defendant & others hostage.

    he forces them to restage the trial, to get a guilty verdict, justice...

    shatner flashes back several times during the"trial" with clips from the studio 1 episode, showing the conflict between shatner & bellamy over the courtroom trick.

    rather an inventive recycling, i thought;-)
  • avatar


    The episode of "Boston Legal" that aired in early April 2007 involved a man taking most of the cast hostage to have a re-trial. The original trial involved an early defense by Denny Crane (Shatner), in which he used a "trick" to get an accused murderer acquitted. The victim of the murder was the hostage takers mother. The retrial involved reading the original transcripts, during which flashback scenes (in black & white) were shown, mostly of Shatner's very youthful character talking to his overbearing lawyer father. Cleverly done, and it must have been this episode, although I've never seen the episode other than as part of "Boston Legal".
  • avatar


    A short B&W from this show appeared in a brief flashback in the show "Boston Legal". It was very very clever, since the clip of Shatner with Ralph Bellamy is one where Bellamy admonishes Shatner on the type of lawyer he was becoming. It fit in perfectly with Shatner's "Denny Crane" character. Plus it provided an interesting comparison of the young Shatner with how he looks today. Say what you will about William Shatner, he's a survivor. And he's gone from some very lean days after his stint on Star Trek to being in a number of TV shows and movies. He's made a new career spoofing himself. He could have done a lot lot worse!
  • avatar


    Tonights (April 3, 2007) episode of Boston Legal (entitled: Son of the Defender) contained many long clips of the original 1957 Studio One episode of "The Defender". The clips were excellently woven into the show as flashbacks to Denny Crane's first case, which several times throughout the show was stated to have taken place in 1957 as well! Previous to tonight's episode I was completely unfamiliar with Studio One, and I was floored at seeing this very old footage which clearly was Shattner in his youth. But I knew good old IMDb would be there to help me find where the footage was from, and I hope other fans of Shattner track down this episode of Boston Legal (surely it will re-run this season, otherwise there's always the internet). This is a MUST see for fans of Shattner.
  • avatar


    While the acting is superb, it is inconceivable that anyone other than a first year law student would have the conscience issues of the veteran attorney portrayed by Ralph Bellamy. Making it more absurd is that it takes a didactic oration from the prosecuting attorney (Martin Balsam)to get Bellamy to absorb that the defense attorney's role does not include judging his client. Finally, that the prosecuting attorney does not perceive the courtroom stunt is totally unbelievable.

    What is scary is how old the actors appear. Ian Wolfe, who played the judge, while 65, looked 90. Bellamy looks far older than his 54 years. Vivian Nathan, who played McQueen's mother, was only 36. Even Shatner looks older than 26 and McQueen much older than 19.

    You may purchase this video on DVD from Amazon. It can be played with and without commercials. The Westinghouse commercials are incredibly campy. Does the viewer really care that WH created a breaking system for weaving machines? Apparently, in the 1950s, Madison Avenue thought they did.

    Perhaps time has tarnished the golden age of television.
  • avatar


    Frankly, this Studio One presentation is an insult to the legal profession. The writing is atrocious and the actors chew the scenery relentlessly.

    To begin with, Bellamy's character - a veteran attorney - commits legal malpractice in failing to offer his client an adequate defense. Among other things, he prejudges his client (not his job), he fails to object to the prosecutor introducing a surprise witness (not permitted); he fails to object to the prosecutor badgering a defense witness, and he consents to a ludicrous, outrageous stunt to impeach the principal prosecution witnesses. Frankly, they could have been impeached without the trick.

    While most courtroom dramas stretch credulity, this abysmal effort destroys the willing suspension of disbelief.