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Serialized Drama Scheduled for TV Revival

June 25, 1964 - The serialized drama, once a staple of daytime radio, is scheduled for a revival during the prime evening hours on network television.

The first such serial, “Peyton Place,” has gone into production at 20th Century-Fox and will be shown twice a week on ABC. Paul Monash is the executive producer.

In serials, sponsors and networks see the possibility of forming a “habit audience” that tunes in each week. There are creative considerations as well.

“My interest in serials stems from my growing impatience with the episodic, self-enclosed TV dramas that must rush helter-skelter through a plot to reach a quick and easy climax,” said Mr. Monash.

He views “Peyton Place” as a “TV novel.” Thus far, his “novel” has presented abundant problems — sufficient to close down production all last week after filming the first two segments. Production resumed Monday.

“We anticipated these difficulties,” Mr. Monash said. “After all, this is new territory.”

Some of the “Peyton Place” problems revolve around matters of taste. As in the Grace Metalious novel of the same name, the central character in the serial is Allison McKenzie, who is illegitimate. By the third episode, another character, Betty Anderson, becomes an unwed mother.

This is rather racy fare for the home screen, and there has been considerable behind-the-scenes debate about it. One result has been to completely eliminate the Cross family from the TV series. The Crosses accounted for some of the novel’s most controversial scenes, including a rape.

Mr. Monash said that, on the whole, the series would “not be a cheap show.”

“In fact, I think a great many viewers will be surprised at its intellectual content,” he said. “It is in a sense a study of American small-town morality.”

Mr. Monash, who has published two novels and written award-winning television plays, said he had decided to tone down the cliff-hanger technique in his serial.

“Viewers will tune in again because they have become interested in the characters,” he said, “not because Allison is tied to the railway tracks and about to be run over by a train.”


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