Claim: An actor whose character had been killed during a live television production suddenly got up and walked off-stage.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2005]
The film was originally performed live on television. Rumor has it that after his death scene, Peter Lorre (as the villain
Origins: On-stage performers in theatrical shows and other live events have always had to deal with the possibility of something going wrong in the midst of a performance — anything from missed cues, forgotten lines, and
The advent of television changed that dynamic, however. Many programs aired in the early days of commercial broadcast TV were staged live, and flawed performances were viewed by audiences numbering in the millions rather than the hundreds. Also, such performances were sometimes preserved on film (usually through the kinescope process), enabling repeat viewings of embarrassing flubs. Moreover, the
One of the more popular legends based on this sort of "live TV goof" is the tale of the actor whose character is killed off in the course of a production, and who then (either in the middle of a scene or during a transition between scenes/acts) walks or crawls
This particular version of the legend appears to be apocryphal, as none of the commercially available tapes or DVDs of the
A production of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale, starring Barry Nelson and Peter Lorre, aired on
Corpse Walks Away During Drama on TV
And the dead man got up and slowly walked
No doubt about it. Thousands of televiewers were talking about it yesterday.
It seems that on the new high-budgeted CBS dramatic series, Climax, which had its debut on
Powell and the other actors went right on talking as if nothing had happened. And the show went on and the private eye finally solved the murder, leaving televiewers a little perplexed.
CBS blushingly explained yesterday that Coffin thought the scene was over and that he was
CLIMAX! On its premier from Hollywood last night the new Climax series reached a totally unexpected climax. For its opener, the series presented a tight taut Raymond Chandler murder thriller titled, "The Long Goodby," starring Dick Powell as a private eye.
The action had moved to its moment of greatest impact. An alcoholic author had just been mysteriously shot. A blanket was drawn over the body and while viewers sought to figure out who killed the victim, the body got up and crawled off stage on all fours, dragging the blanket atop him.
We haven't seen a camera booboo so ludicrous since the early days of TV when WBKB put on "Arsenic and [Old] Lace," and the corpse in the window seat suddenly came to life.
Despite this bobble, this was a great show with Powell turning in a top grade performance as a casual, cool detective, who unraveled a complicated case, but I'll bet he will always insist on a filmed show in the future to avoid such boners, even tho he had no part in causing this one.
Last updated: 13 April 2014
Gould, Jack.   "Television in Review: 'Climax'." The New York Times. 8 October 1954 (p. 34). Chicago Daily Tribune.   "Where to Dial Today — Slain Guy Crawls Off Video Set." 8 October 1954 (p. 18). Los Angeles Times.   "Corpse Walks Away During Drama on TV." 9 October 1954 (p. A8).