Requiem for a Heavyweight

CBS Playhouse 90 live telecast from October 11, 1956

Rod Serling’s teleplay received a Peabody Award, the first ever awarded to a TV script.

On October 11, 1956, CBS’s Playhouse 90 presented Rod Serling’s “Requiem for a Heavyweight” in a live telecast. Loosely based on the career of Primo Carnera and directed by Ralph Nelson (who also directed the more heralded, but not necessarily better movie version six years later), “Requiem” stars Jack Palance as Harlan “Mountain” McClintock, a punch drunk former heavyweight contender at the end of the line. Keenan Wynn portrays Mountain’s manager Maish Rennick, a man as conflicted as he is in debt; Ed Wynn, Keenan’s father, portrays Army, the battered boxer’s cutman; Kim Hunter stars as Grace Carney, a young woman who does her damnedest to help the proud but damaged fighter reclaim his self-respect; and appearances by former world-class pros like Max Baer and Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom add authenticity to the proceedings. Serling’s teleplay received a Peabody Award, the first ever awarded to a TV script, and both the director and author won Emmy Awards for their watershed work.