New Television Workshop Collection

New Television Workshop Collection Program MaterialsVisions

Phantom of the Open Hearth

Copyright Date:

Materials Date:

Shepherd, Jean

1 reel of 1 : sd., col. ; 16 mm.
2 videocassettes of 2 (60 min.) : sd., col. ; 3/4 in.
2 videocassettes of 2 (60 min.) : sd., col. ; 3/4 in.
2 videocassettes of 2 (60 min.) : sd., col. ; 3/4 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (Betacam SP) (60 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (D3) (60 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.
1 reel of 1 : sd., col. ; 35 mm.
1 folder

"Phantom of the Open Hearth," was created in the 1980's for KCET's "Visions" series and was a coproduction of The Television Laboratory at WNET and the New Television Workshop.

Includes several 3/4" screening copies (in two reels) and Betacam SP and D3 preservation masters. The original color negative exists on 16 mm. film. Mix elements exist on 35 mm. One folder contains newspaper articles. Black-and-white 8 X10 promotional photographic prints exist.

This comedy/drama was written by Jean Shepherd, who appears at the beginning and the end and narrates it through voiceover. It tells the story of several events as they occur through the eyes of Ralph, a high-school-aged boy. Ralph is anticipating the upcoming prom and is working up the courage to invite Daphne Bigelow, a beautiful and popular student who does not seem aware of his existence. Meanwhile, Ralph's father, referred to throughout as the Old Man, has just been informed that he has won a prize from a Nehi soft drink sponsored contest, which he awaits eagerly. When the prize arrives it is a tasteless lamp, which causes friction between Ralph's mother and father. Ralph's mother is seen going to recurring "Dish Nights" at the local movie theater. Those who attend receive free dishes, but week after week mistaken shipments result in multiple gravy boats, angering the patrons. Finally, Ralph invites not Daphne Bigelow, but his geekish neighbor Wanda Hickey to the prom. He and his friends go out afterwards with their dates and drink heavily. The evening culminates with them vomiting in the stalls of the men's bathroom. "Phantom of the Open Hearth" appears to take place in the 1950's or early 1960's and has a bittersweet feel to it. The anecdotal remembrances of Ralph are both humorous and nostalgic, revealing touching qualities, especially in his father.

Barzyk, Fred
Loxton, David
Hoving, Peter (Director of Photography)
Bartlett, Dick (Associate Director)
Stevens, John Wright (Art Director)

Barzyk, Fred
Loxton, David
Tappan, Olivia (Associate Producer)

Television Laboratory, WNET

Bartlett, Dick

Corporation for Public Broadcasting
National Endowment for the Arts
Ford Foundation

Shepherd, Jean (Ralph as a man)
Elliott, David (Ralph as a boy)
Broderick, James (Father)
Bolton, Barbara (Mother)
Goodman, Adam (Randy)
Utman, Bryan (Schwartz)
Lampley, William (Flick)
Power, Carlton (John)
Nuding, Steven (Halfback)
Pilavin, Tobi (Daphne Bigelow)
Wallach, Roberta (Wanda)
Huberman, Ed (Uncle Carl)
Pokat, David (Sherby)
Clark, Chris (Gertz)
Mayo, Joe (Awkie)
Howard, David (Zudock)
Bonnell, James (Delivery Man)
Dolan, Frank (Mr. Doppler)
Faye, Joey (Al)
Peters, John (Morty)
McCullough, Andrea (Clara Mae)
Graham, Peter (Budge)
Schwade, Sol (Waiter)
Brown, Leigh (Lovely Arlita)

High schools


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