Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Irregularly scheduled on NBC from 1954 through 1957, Producers' Showcase was a series of lavish, full-color 90 minute specials, bringing the best of Broadway to the 21 inch screen. On November 14, 1955, the series digressed from its usual format to present Dateline 2, the second annual variety show produced by NBC in cooperation with the Overseas Press Club. The theme of the program is "Freedom of the Press", and the subject matter ranges from the front page to the editorial column to the comics section. Highlights include a new Irving Berlin song composed for the occasion, "Free"; Robert Frost, poetically discussing "The Right to Know"; John Steinbeck's eulogy of legendary combat photographer Robert Capa, who had been killed on the job the previous year; and a one-act play, based on the Korean War experiences of correspondent Marguerite Higgins. On a lighter note, Janet Blair sings a paean to the funny pages, backed by a "Li'l Abner" ballet choreographed by Tony Charmoli (the Broadway musical version of Al Capp's hillbilly comic strip was still one year in the future). William Holden serves as master of ceremonies, with John Wayne delivering the opening remarks. Originally telecast live, Dateline 2 reportedly still exists in kinescope form, though prints are hard to come by for general audiences.