Back to Press Releases

The Museum of Television & Radio Announces Rare Television and Radio Discoveries:

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA—The Museum of Television & Radio is pleased to announce the discovery of two important pieces of broadcast history: the only known radio coverage to exist of the 1935 "Trial of the Century"—in which Bruno Hauptmann was accused of the kidnapping and murder of Charles and Anne Lindbergh's infant son—featuring famed New York defense attorney Samuel Leibowitz's daily accounts of the 1935 trial; and the landmark television drama Twelve Angry Men, which aired in 1954 on CBS's Studio One, has not been seen in its entirety since the initial broadcast, and has been among the Museum's most sought after "lost" programs since its opening in 1976. Both recordings, which were in the possession of Leibowitz's children, were brought to the Museum's attention by independent filmmaker Joseph Consentino, who is producing a one-hour documentary about Leibowitz for the television series Mouthpiece: Voice for the Accused, scheduled to air on The History Channel this June. The material was validated by Museum curators and has been remastered for presentation. Leibowitz's children, Robert Leibowitz and Marjorie Leibowitz Finch, donated the original materials to The Museum of Television & Radio. Both recordings will be featured at the Museum's locations in New York and Los Angeles from May 23 to July 6, 2003, and will become part of the Museum's permanent collection. 

"The Museum is very pleased to be the recipient of these donations and to make them available to the general public," stated Robert M. Batscha, president of The Museum of Television & Radio. "The complete broadcast of the original television production of Twelve Angry Men has been among the most important lost programs that the Museum has been searching for since we opened our doors in 1976. The Lindbergh trial coverage offers unique insight into the judicial system in America at that time and will serve as a valuable document for historians and scholars."

Over seven hundred reporters and thousands of spectators descended upon a tiny courtroom in Flemington, New Jersey, for the 1935 trial of Bruno Hauptmann. Radio networks covered the Lindbergh kidnapping trial daily, but none of these broadcasts were known to exist until now. WHN Radio hired famed defense attorney Samuel Leibowitz (known for his defense in the Scottsboro Boys trial) to comment on the trial. During the course of these recordings (approximately five hours), Leibowitz never speculates on Hauptmann's guilt or innocence, but rather speaks about the nature of the evidence and gives insight into various court proceedings, the jury's behavior, and the strategy of the prosecution and defense. His commentary also includes discussions on the use of cameras in the courtroom and women as jurors. 

In 1954, CBS's Studio One aired Twelve Angry Men, starring Edward Arnold, John Beal, Walter Abel, Bart Burns, Robert Cummings, Norman Feld, Paul Hartman, Lee Philips, Joseph Sweeney, Franchot Tone, George Voskovec, and Will West.  One of television's most honored productions, it earned Emmy Awards for Best Written Dramatic Material (Reginald Rose), Best Direction (Franklin Schaffner), and Best Actor in a Single Performance (Cummings). Rose originally wrote his classic drama Twelve Angry Men for television and then adapted it for the motion picture starring Henry Fonda in 1957, which received several Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Direction (Sidney Lumet).  The television production was acclaimed for its realistic intensity, set almost exclusively in a jury room as twelve impassioned jurors deliberate a murder case. Variety noted that "seldom in TV history has a story been able to achieve so many high points with such frequency and maintain the absorbing, tense pace." In 1976 CBS donated the first half of the program to the Museum. This was the only known copy available, which included the full opening with commercials.  Leibowitz's interest in the legal system led him to request a kinescope of the program from CBS, and this newly discovered copy is the complete one-hour drama without commercials. 

Case Closed! The Complete Twelve Angry Men will screen in New York Tuesdays to Sundays at 12:30 p.m., and Thursdays at 7:00 p.m., and in Los Angeles Wednesdays to Sundays at 1:00 p.m. The listening series The Trial of The Century will be available in the Radio Listening Rooms in both New York and Los Angeles during regular Museum hours.  Both programs are included with the Museum's suggested contribution: Members free; $10.00 for adults; $8.00 for senior citizens and students; and $5.00 for children under fourteen. 

The Museum of Television & Radio, with locations in New York and Los Angeles, is a nonprofit organization founded by William S. Paley to collect and preserve television and radio programs and advertisements and to make them available to the public. Since opening in 1976, the Museum has organized exhibitions, screening and listening series, seminars, and education classes to showcase its collection of over 100,000 television and radio programs and advertisements. In 2001 the Museum initiated a process to acquire Internet programming for the collection. Programs in the Museum's permanent collection are selected for their artistic, cultural, and historic significance.  

The Museum of Television & Radio in New York, located at 25 West 52 Street in Manhattan, is open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 6:00 p.m. and until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays. The Museum of Television & Radio in California, located at 465 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, is open Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 5:00 p.m. Both Museums are closed on New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Suggested contribution: Members free; $10.00 for adults; $8.00 for senior citizens and students; and $5.00 for children under fourteen. Admission is free in Los Angeles. The public areas in both Museums are accessible to wheelchairs, and assisted listening devices are available. Programs are subject to change. You may call the Museum in New York at (212) 621-6800, or in Los Angeles at (310) 786-1000. Visit the Museum's website at

Select quotes from Samuel Leibowitz's radio commentary on the Lindbergh kidnapping trial: 

"I'm particularly pleased that there are several women serving on this jury. There is that quality that women possess which we call, for lack of a better word, intuition....I'm placing a lot of confidence and reliance upon these four women to give us a correct estimate as to Hauptmann's guilt or innocence....I've always felt that justice would be more certain if women were given the opportunity to serve upon juries in our own state of New York, and I hail the day when this artificial barrier that's been set up against them will be destroyed."  

"Personally, I would much like to see America follow in the footsteps of the judicial practice that pertains to criminal trials in England.  In none of the English papers will you find this hodgepodge of high-pressure romantic balderdash that screams in the eyes of the citizens as they pass a newsstand....I suppose even the pimple on Hauptmann's toe has been written about.  Now if we are going to permit journalism of that kind, we might just as well have actual moving pictures taken of the conduct and the testimony of every witness that appears on the stand. If we're going to have publicity, then let us be honest about it and go the full route. Certainly the motion picture and the soundbox will at least give us a portrayal of what happens in the courtroom with greater fidelity than the romantic pen of the feature writer."

"What difference does it make whether there was an accomplice, or two accomplices, or a whole army of accomplices, as far as Hauptmann is concerned. If he had a hand in this kidnapping, whether he actually committed the kidnapping or not, he is just as much of a fiend, and is just as guilty as if he actually killed that innocent child....As a matter of fact, while I don't believe in capital punishment, if we're going to have capital punishment at all, let us by all means include the crime of kidnapping. There is no crime more revolting and outrageous than when a creature in human form steals a little, innocent child to get some blood money from his frantic parents."