Late last year a large collection of original network 16mm prints fell into my hands. I was contacted by a TV station manager that I worked with who had been given 250 prints from the series. I offered to give him free transfers of each episode in exchange for the right to sell them elsewhere. In due course all 250 prints were shipped off via FedEx to Derek Myers, who received quite a shipment as you can see in all the boxes surrounding him.
How many episodes of THE O. HENRY PLAYHOUSE were made remains a mystery. The IMDB says 39 and we have 39. 39 is also a common number for a TV season in the 1950s, as in 39 episodes of "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" and "Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans."
Veteran character actor Thomas Mitchell stars in each episode as writer O. Henry himself. In stories that are period pieces like westerns, he discusses with his publisher where he got the idea for the story. But in stories of old New York, Mitchell/O. Henry interacts with the story and meets his characters as he supposedly discovers first hand the story he will later write.
The film clip below is from "Two Renegades." First O. Henry visits Civil War vet and doctor John Carradine who is about to be executed 40 years after the end of the war. He then visits his publisher when soldier of fortune and yankee Charles Bronson shows up to say hello. O. Henry continues telling how Carradine saved Bronson's life when he had jungle fever in latin america. They become unlikely friends. When Bronson is arrested as an insurgent, Carradine bribes his captors with confederate money to get him released, but fails to leave the country before the deception is discovered, and hence is sentenced to death.
The 39 episodes of THE O. HENRY PLAYHOUSE are not yet for sale. I am hoping to sell the entire collection to a DVD company that will promote them the way they deserve, and make many sales to the education market as well as to fans of vintage television.