Rod Taylor appeared in two installments of this top-rated CBS dramatic
"The Young Years"
Episode 6.12 (Dec. 22, 1957)
Rod played Sam Tipton in "The Young Years," a tender love story that
re-unites him with Margaret O'Brien. Spotters working on GE Theater had seen
rushes of Rod and Margaret in "The
Story of Marjorie Reardon," and signed them to do a half-hour episode.
"The Young Years" was adapted from a
story by Yiddish novelist, dramatist and essayist Sholem Asch. It was shot the
week of Oct. 21, 1957, at Revue Productions.
provides this synopsis:
19-year-old Sarah Trask [Margaret O'Brien] refuses to move into adulthood,
preferring to lose herself in the children's books given to her by the father
who abandoned her. Sam tries to coax her out of her out of her shell, knowing
that she equates love with rejection. The shock of her mother's death finally
awakens her from her dream world.
It was a pivotal time for O'Brien, who had been an
acclaimed child star. She said in an interview in 1957 that TV roles
such as this one had "given me a chance to get out of the awkward
age -- something the movies couldn't do for me. No movie producer
could really afford to take a chance at handing me an adult role."
"Early to Die"
Episode 8.20 (Feb. 7, 1960)
Rod Taylor and Kim Hunter portrayed Fred and Edie Gauman,
parents coping with the knowledge that their of an 8-year-old son is
dying from leukemia.
The drama was based on a
Life magazine story about the
City of Hope
Hospital and tells of the unusual
therapy offered for the children and parents alike.
Newspaper reports leading up to the broadcast indicated that Shelley
Winters was scheduled to have the role of Edie Gauman, the child's
mother. Later, reports noted that Winters withdrew because she found
the story too depressing. Another report said that Winters "was
forced by illness to withdraw from the cast."
Kim Hunter was a
strong replacement. She was an Oscar winner, having received the Academy Award for Best
Supporting Actress for her performance as Stella Kowalski in 1951's
"A Streetcar Named Desire."
Rod played her husband, Fred Gauman. Donald Losby
portrayed their son, Scott Gauman.
In the story, Edie takes a long time to face up to the fact that her
8-year-old son, Scott, is not well. Her husband, Fred, insists that
they take the boy to a doctor. When they find out that Scott may
have leukemia, Edie's resistance to the facts is monumental.
is only after heart-breaking days at the famed City of Hope and the
hospital's unique therapy for parents and children that Edie begins
to accept the treasure of her child's brief life in full measure.
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
From 1954-62, all "General Electric Theater" installments
were introduced by then-actor Ronald Reagan, a spokesman and goodwill ambassador
In March 2010, the AP reported that all 208 episodes hosted by Reagan were
presented to former first lady Nancy Reagan for use in the Ronald Reagan
Presidential Library in Simi Valley. Most of the tapes had been believed to be
damaged or lost, but they were "recently uncovered in the General Electric/NBC
Universal archives," the AP said, and restored to broadcast quality.
The Reagan Library website, however, shows 46 titles available (1954-57) that
were transferred from 16mm motion picture film. The list does not include the
episodes in which Rod starred, but the "Early to Die" episode is in the larger