19 November 2008 | jbonfant
GE True a wonderful dramatic anthology series... one of TVs finest
This was was almost without doubt the finest fact-based half hour dramatic anthology series in the history of television broadcasting. It ranks among the very best of half hour dramatic TV series but it remains as one of TV's best kept secrets in part because of its name (title, spelling and confusion with "GE Theatre"), the fact it only ran one season, the scarcity of 16mm prints made for the re-run market, the great rarity today of still extant filmed episodes that have been transfered to tape (then to DVD). Truly a "True" tragedy. Jack Webb produced and hosted the 33 episodes during his stint as head of the TV division of Warner Brothers. "GE True" ran from September 30, 1962 until September, 1963. "True" occupied the same time slot as "General Electric Theatre" had held on CBS Sunday evenings (9:00 PM EST) from 1953 until September, 1962, thus adding to the diminished identity of "True" (including some poorly researched web "facts"). "GE Theatre" had many fine moments but also more than a few maudlin, soapy or melodramatic episodes... True was crisp, clean startling and nearly always fascinating.
Several "GE True" programs were directed by the multi-talented William Conrad. There are a number of episodes available from private DVD vendors you might wish to check ioffer.com, isell.com, or occasionally Ebay. The DVD quality may be grainy but the episodes are profoundly entertaining and even a bit educational. Each episode of the show had an exciting opening... a huge "TRUE" sign darkened and in deep shadows is seen... Jack Webb steps forward and announces: "This is TRUE" as symphonic-like powerful music is heard .... timpani rhythms followed by the majestic opening theme. The"TRUE" sign is now lit a bright white as Jack Webb walks back along the sign in an off stage direction... the sign apparently over 5 stories tall, dwarfing the figure of a mere human being. Next, an on the screen quotation is flashed a wonderful appropriate and literate statement from the likes of Daniel Webster etc. Wow.... then you even get to watch a program after the first commercial !!! Unique and memorable many of episodes will stay with you your entire life.