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Zane Grey Theatre

"Picture of Sal"
Episode 4.17 (Jan. 28, 1960)

Rod Taylor played Jed Harper in this episode of  "Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre," an anthology series set in the Old West.

The series' 30-minute episodes aired on CBS in 1956-61. The episodes originally were based on the short stories and novels of Western author Zane Grey, but as the series continued, new material was included. Dick Powell was often the star as well as the host. Like many anthology programs of the day, the roster of guest stars is packed with past and future screen stars.

As "Picture of Sal" opens, we see Jed in a Virginia City, Nevada, casino that is run by a woman named Sal (played by Carolyn Jones, who later starred as Morticia Addams in "The Addams Family").

Jed is an artist and he is sketching a picture of Sal. When Sal comes to his table, she is not happy to see him, and she tears up the picture. The two obviously have a history together, which is revealed as the drama unfolds.

As a young bride in New Orleans, Sal was left waiting at the steps of the church, when her groom -- Jed -- never arrived. What she didn't know is that Jed had been imprisoned as a spy during the Civil War. By the time he escaped six months later, Sal had married another man for his wealth.

Jed pleads his case with Sal, now a widow. She is reluctant to believe his story of capture, and he is angry at her failure to wait for him. She wavers throughout the episode, and appears ready to frame Jed for the murder of a gambler. Fortunately, love prevails, with an assist by the good sense of a friendly police inspector.

The role of Sal originally was written for Barbara Stanwyck, who had appeared in four previous Zane Grey episodes. However, she had to withdraw because of a commitment to a new series.

That new series was "The Barbara Stanwyck Show," also a half-hour anthology series. It ran one season, 1960-61, and Stanwyck played a different character each week. The show was not a ratings success, but it earned her an Emmy Award.

 

 

LINKS

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