HOLLYWOOD TELEVISION THEATRE: FOR THE USE OF THE HALL (TV)

Summary

One in this dramatic anthology series, originating from KCET in Los Angeles. This edition presents Oliver Hailey's comic play about the successes and failures of six individuals on Long Island. The play begins with the "older than she looks" Bess discussing her life as it currently stands, and her "perfectly normal" desire to outlive her children. She recalls the winter of 1975 when a sick Allen destroyed his ersatz "Rembrandt" oil painting to light a fire in a drafty house on Long Island. Returning to the nearly freezing living room from outside, Charlotte talks about their financial struggles, and why she just stole a can of beans from a neighbor. Charlotte then tells Allen that she has invited her ex-lover Martin over that night. Though angered, Allen regrets never having worked a conventional job to provide for Charlotte. Charlotte feels "nothing" when Allen hugs her, and has a terrible feeling that "nothing" is ever going to happen for them. Allen wonders if he can sell his phony paintings in order to raise enough money for them to go to Europe. When a taxi pulls up outside, Allen and Charlotte -- who aren't supposed to be living in the house -- fear discovery. Back in the present, Bess explains that Allen and Charlotte aren't her children, but the person about to come through the door is her child. That person isn't Bess's playwright son Martin, but her daughter Terry. Coming out of their hiding spots, Allen and Charlotte are excited to see Terry, a nun. Terry explains that her order has drastically changed its rules and she has been sharing an apartment in East Harlem. Allen and Terry explain that their house in Nyack was foreclosed on, causing them to live secretly in Bess's Long Island home. After drinking some wine, Terry discusses her insecurity since she has started wearing "civilian" clothes. Then, Allen and Charlotte discuss why they don't have the gas turned on and how they can't afford food. Terry is "appalled" by the couple's poverty-stricken status. Soon, Allen wonders if Terry has secretly left the church. Meanwhile, Charlotte thinks they should throw themselves on Martin's mercy. Next, Allen ventures out to steal more food. Then, the scene flashes forward to a Manhattan hospital, where Bess sees Charlotte for the last time. There, Charlotte gives Bess some papers containing "hate sonnets." Afterward, Bess talks about not liking the sonnets, though she did bind them to give as gifts. Back in the winter of 1975, Terry discusses her bad evening, which led to her running off to the Long Island house. Terry reveals having gone to the opening of Martin's new play, where the audience "talked back." Terry assumed Martin would hide out at the house after the disastrous reception. Then, a woman who introduces herself as Alice shows up, dragging Martin into the house after having a car accident up the road. Charlotte questions Alice, a children's book author, on how she met Martin. When Martin awakes from his stupor, he's shocked to see his sister. Even more shocking, he then pulls Alice's opening night gift -- a pistol -- from his briefcase. Then, Charlotte demands that Martin explain who Alice is. Alice reveals that Martin now lives with her, causing Charlotte to think that her life "is over." Then, Martin points the gun at Charlotte when she turns on the TV to see Martin's play reviewed. Martin shoots out the TV tube before the review can be heard. Next, Bess explains how the country was having a "breakdown" around 1975. The next morning, Charlotte wakes up Martin with kisses. Charlotte tries to get Martin to make love to her, but he refuses, running away. Then, Martin searches for Alice, just as Allen returns home from a walk. Allen wonders what happened the previous night before discussing a terrible dream. Then, a chilled Alice comes into the living room, finally revealing that she is married to Martin. The shocked Charlotte talks to Alice about how she never married Allen due to her past with Martin. Charlotte also reveals that Allen and Martin have been her only two lovers, something that Alice finds sad. Soon, Terry comes into the living room, upset at being thirty-five and not having accomplished more. Then, Bess talks about "poor Charlotte," and how some people consider religion a form of madness. She also notes that Terry died of malaria in Ceylon, serving the church, at the age of fifty-seven. Next, Alice and Terry discuss the importance of men to their lives. Alice talks about her three husbands and five lovers. Allen arrives back home with a stock of stolen food, along with some accidentally swiped Alpo. Meanwhile, Martin has escaped from the house, sending the women out searching for him. Bess talks about how, since Charlotte's death, she sees Allen quite often. Then, Allen -- in the present -- gives Bess some money, now that he is finally a financial success. He talks about coping in life without Charlotte. Back in 1975, Allen tells Martin that everyone has been upset by his appearance at the house. As Martin appears on the verge of passing out again, Allen heats up some food for him, not mentioning that it's Alpo. After Martin admits to loving Charlotte rather than Alice, Allen hits up Martin for some money to take Charlotte to Europe. But, Martin is too distressed by the failure of his play. Returning home, Alice helps the passed-out Martin before she learns about Allen's life "speculating" on other's paintings. Then, Allen shows Alice some of his sketches. Alice is impressed, thinking they would be perfect to illustrate her new children's book. Later, Martin reveals that he got a fairly respectable review from The Times, offering more of a career retrospective. However, Alice shocks Martin by revealing that he actually dreamed that review. Next, Bess talks about a memorable visit with Martin, taking place on the day a famous author committed suicide. Martin told her about wishing he could have loved Charlotte more and how his life would have been better if he'd chosen a different vocation. Bess reveals that Martin died a couple years ago in a car accident in which Alice was driving. Back in 1975, the three women in Martin's life take care of him. Alice reveals that she's three months pregnant with Martin's child. Then, Alice talks to Charlotte about "accepting" one's limitations and a "nice, little life." Charlotte asks Alice if everyone could move into Alice's apartment to help take care of the baby and live their lives together. Alice is unsure, thinking it sounds a bit "immoral." Next, Bess talks about how Charlotte's poetry wasn't even considered "second rate." She also talks about how Allen and Martin both did better work once Charlotte died. Back in 1975, Charlotte reveals that she isn't moving in with Alice, but, rather, going to Europe with Allen. Charlotte notes that they will fund the trip by selling her fur coat. Finally, Bess notes what became of the five characters and how she plans on dying around the year 2000.

(This is a digitally remastered version of the original created by the Broadway Theatre Archive, an organization which collects and makes available Broadway plays adapted for television.)

Details

  • NETWORK: PBS
  • DATE: January 4, 1975 Saturday 11:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:30:00
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:87240
  • GENRE: Comedy
  • SUBJECT HEADING: She Made It Collection (Lee Grant)
  • SERIES RUN: PBS - TV series, 1970-1978
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Norman Lloyd … Executive Producer
    • George Turpin … Producer
    • Lee Grant … Director
    • Rick Bennewitz … Director
    • Oliver Hailey … Writer
    • Robert Prince … Music by
    • Bill Dyer … Music by
    • John Williams … Theme Music by
    • Susan Anspach … Cast, Terry
    • Barbara Barrie … Cast, Charlotte
    • George Furth … Cast, Martin
    • David Hedison … Cast, Allen
    • Aline MacMahon … Cast, Bess
    • Van Patten, Joyce … Cast, Alice
    • John Barbour … Cast, Entertainment Editor
    • Rembrandt van Rijn