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General Electric Theater

Rod Taylor appeared in two installments of this top-rated CBS dramatic anthology series.

"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."




IMDb - Young Years



Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

From 1954-62, all "General Electric Theater" installments were introduced by then-actor Ronald Reagan, a spokesman and goodwill ambassador for GE.

In March 2010, the AP reported that many episodes hosted by Reagan were presented to 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 shows 46 titles available that have been transferred to DVD from 16mm motion picture film. The list does not include the episodes in which Rod starred, but the "Young Years" episode is in the larger collection.



"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.

It 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.







IMDb - Early to Die