Saturday, February 2, 2019

Tribute to Carl Jaffé - Part 5: USA-TV

Welcome to our second Saturday Night Special Tribute to Carl Jaffé. We have so far,
explored the genres of Sci-Fi, Spies, Brit-Cops and last week World-War 2.

Now we’re going to have a look at a medium that – broadly speaking - didn’t exist until the
early 1950s; Television. In the early days, TV companies broadcast shows live; recording
technology almost happened by accident and didn’t evolve to a usable industry standard
until the mid ‘50s – although the USA (as with so many technologies of the 20th century) was
way ahead of the UK in this.

British TV companies co-operated with US distributor and broadcast networks because they
recognized the huge earnings potential that awaited any successful program that could be
syndicated. Ironically, many ‘made-for export’ productions found their way back to the UK as a US import!
All this was only possible due to rapid recording technology advances. That a fair quantity of
material has survived is quite remarkable, matched only by the sad fact that a major volume
of programs are lost forever as a result of UK TV companies’ VT re-cycling/archive wiping
policies of the late 1960s through early 1980s’ thankfully reversed due to the emergence of
the then revolutionary home-video market.

TV allowed different treatments to be experimented with and therefore allowed Carl to
expand his repertoire beyond those areas we have already explored; although familiar
themes were still seen. We hope you enjoy the selection Grandson Michael Jaffé has sent
over from his London archives for which images are currently available.

So we are proud to present just a few surviving examples of Carl’s TV appearances, from
the ’50s thru ‘70s. He worked with some well-known and famous actors of the era; and at
least one of Hollywood’s greatest; Buster Keaton.

1953-54 – Douglas Fairbanks Presents

 After a glittering Hollywood film career; Fairbanks entered the exciting new TV world,
fronting this popular ‘Rheingold Theatre’ series dealing with subjects designed to appeal to
the more ‘serious’ viewer.

First aired on NBC, Jaffé appeared in 4 episodes.
The highlight was sharing star-billing with one of Hollywood’s all-time greats – Buster Keaton; making his TV debut and (rarely for Keaton) a speaking role.

 1955 – The Vise
A popular series of B-thriller programs produced in the UK by the then renowned ‘Danzigers’
as a special series for ABC and not aired in the UK until 1960.
Incredibly, of the 40 episodes produced, very few remain, and even more incredible, one of them is the one episode that Carl Jaffé starred in. We hope to bring you more images when they become available from London.

1957 – Wire Service
Crime and maverick detective themes exploded onto screens with advent of TV as it equally
suited a tight short-story self-contained program, or a longer tale split into weekly episodes;
a format that remains the backbone of series programming today.

  Carl starred in one show
alongside established names including Anton Diffring.

1957 – The New Adventures of Charlie Chan

 The inscrutable detective in probably his best incarnation as delivered by the inimitable Carrol Naish....

 ....and ably assisted by the world’s greatest ‘No.1 son’James Wong; still performing today!

1959 – The Third Man

 Michael Rennie was the lead in TV’s adaptation of the iconic character, with Carl Jaffé playing a stereotypical mystery Eastern European.
The series also starred Jonathan Harris, who would later find fame as the eccentric Dr. Smith in Irwin Allen's seminal 'Lost In Space'

The UK’s BBC (PBS – Public Broadcasting Service equivalent) collaborated with NTA (National Television Associates) and first aired in the US in October 1959.

1960 – Danger Man
6 years before Patrick McGoohan embarked on his most famous (and for many perplexing to this day) TV show: the iconic and beguiling ‘The Prisoner’ it was preceded by the stylish ‘Danger Man’ capturing the new mood of a brave new decade. 

 Jaffé starred in a single episode in one of his
shortest roles being assassinated within 90-seconds of the opening credits; although his character is pivotal to the whole premise of the story. Here are more photos!

1961 – One Step Beyond
An early example of the clutch of paranormal mystery themed programs to emerge in the 1960’s; the most famous being The Twilight Zone. 
Carl Jaffé wears the Nazi uniform once more in a tale about
revenge and retribution.

The Anglo-US collaboration era of these seminal shows only lasted a few years as their commercial performance didn’t yield the level of success that either the US or UK operators aspired to. 

Competition resulted in a proliferation of TV productions from both sides of the Atlantic and, coupled with further technology advances a new golden TV age emerged which set the new high standards and formats still used as basis reference even in the digital age.


Secret Squirrel said...

Thanks guys, I've really enjoyed these tributes to Carl Jaffé... I know they are a little "off base" compared to your usual fare.

It's somewhat ironic that Carl was one of many Jewish actors who fled Nazi Germany only to wind up playing a Nazi in British or American films/TV. At least the actors in Hogan's Heroes got to play incompetent Nazi's.

cheers from Oz!


EEGAH!! said...

Thanks Paul! And thanks to Michael Jaffé! None of this would have been possible without him!

KD said...

Very cool stuff!!! Many thanks for this treasure trove of info, which I will peruse in detail once my film is "in the can" after March, and I can breath again! (from your kinda-sorta "Danziger of the Desert") ;)

The Professor - London Correspondent said...

Hello and just to say much appreciate the worldwide viewer comments re the tributes to Carl Jaffé he would indeed have been amused by all this attention. Please feel free to ask any questions or request further info as the archive case files (and photos) are open for scrutiny
with best wishes to Eeagh! and Tabonga who have donated generous time and webspace to some of the Jaffé story...

EEGAH!! said...

Thanks Mike, we obviously couldn't have done it without you!

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