The U.S. Steel Hour: Tom Sawyer (1956)

Run Time - 60 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Frank Luther wrote the music, lyrics, and book for this hour-long musical TV version of Mark Twain's immortal The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Divided into three acts, the play manages to incorporate most of the highlights of the original novel: the whitewashed fence; the burgeoning romance between Tom (John Sharpe) and Becky Thatcher (Bennye Gatteys); the "pirate excurison" undertaken by Tom, Huck Finn (played by pop singer Jimmy Boyd), and Joe Harper (Kevin Coughlin); the kids attending their own funeral; the murder in the graveyard; and the chilling climactic encounter with Injun Joe (portrayed by prominent Broadway dancer Matt Mattox) in the cave. The songs include "You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks"," "Why Would You Want to Kiss Me?," "That's the Life Fer Me," "Storm Come a-Risin'," "Lost in the Cave." The most impressive aspect of this U.S. Steel Hour presentation is the fact that the scenic designs and backgrounds were the handiwork of distinguished American artist Thomas Hart Benton.