I found the novel ‘Alas, Babylon’. I had tried getting it before in a number of bookstores but they didn’t stock it so it was funny to find it in my brother’s store, secondhand. Anyway, I’ve started reading it and am finding it a great old read. I looked the book up and it appears there was an adaptation done of it for television in 1960. Has anyone here seen it?
I haven’t finished reading the novel yet so please box any spoilers but I would be interested to know how it compares to the book and how it would be possible to see the show.
I’ve never seen the TV version — didn’t know there was one — but somehow I think the writer of the first user comment was confusing it with something else. At least, I hope that’s the case. If not, then the teleplay trashes the book’s plot right off the bat (I presume you’ve gotten far enough that this isn’t a spoiler). And Fort Repose wasn’t exactly “thrown immediately back to the stone age.”
As to how it would be possible to see it — that’s an excellent question. I imagine that the best bet (ha!) would be to try to find a bootleg tape.
Considering that a lot of what I see listed for sale on this site has never been legally released, and that a random check of a few that have been legally released show that what they’re selling has none of the special features included with the commercial releases. I strongly suspect that what they’re selling is DVDs of rebroadcasts of the original shows. Which means that they’re probably in violation of copyright and possibly of questionable quality.
I also found this, which would make me leary of ordering from them.
I’m pretty sure I saw it in 1960, my parents always watched Playhouse 90. I vaguely, and I do mean vaguely recall it. My folks didn’t like it because it was “science fiction”. I think. So, other than chiming in, I can’t help you!!
I read the novel, though. Might even have it somewhere and ought to dig it out and give it another go.
I haven’t seen it, and didn’t know about it, but I have a copy of a play version of Alas, Babylon. There aren’t a lot of SF plays out there, and I stumbled across this one at a book sale. It was pretty good and faithful, IIRC, and it might be connected with this teleplay.
Actually, this might be the one I have. The publication date is 1963, though, and the iMDB credits David Shaw with the teleplay:
CBS began videotaping live episodes of Playhouse 90 in the 1957-1958 season for summer reruns. Also, some Playhouse 90 episodes were in fact films to begin with, although they stopped using filmed episodes before the 1958-1959 season. The first pre-recorded episode to be made on tape was shown in October 1958.
From the Washington Post review of the Playhouse 90 adaptation of Alas, Babylon:
Novelist Pat Frank wasn’t any happier. He wrote to the New York Times:
I finished the book last night. That’s the first time I’ve read a novel in two days in years. It was very readable and some parts were excellent. My only criticism would be that it perhaps should have been grimmer if that makes any sense. In some sections it comes across like Frank wanted a war to happen so people could get back to being honest-to-goodness, back-to-nature hardworking people again instead of slobs entertained by electric whirlygigs.
I saw it then, too. But since I was so young, I only remember that it was scary and two details (which may not be accurate): an adult male character saying “Alas, Babylon” when he saw the flash, and a girl being (temporarily?) blinded from the flash with bandages over her eyes.