Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Before his first (and highly successful) efforts on Broadway with Same Time, Next Year, Bernard Slade spent seventeen years as a writer for television, first as a playwright and later as a series creator and writer. Slade’s work in television drama goes back to the days of live broadcasts in the 1950’s and 1960’s, including a number of hourlong plays first produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation between 1957 and 1963. Several of these plays were also produced on American television for the U.S. Steel Hour series. Between 1964 and 1974, Slade wrote a number of pilot films for American television that eventually became successful television series. His major achievements in this genre include Love on a Rooftop, The Flying Nun, The Partridge Family, Bridget Loves Bernie, The Girl with Something Extra, The Bobby Sherman Show, and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, all comedies. Slade’s television credits also include authorship of approximately one hundred episodes for these and other series, including Bewitched and My Living Doll. Slade has said of his experiences as a writer for television that “the controls built into network television, which is basically an advertising medium, don’t exactly encourage creativity. Still, TV was my choice. It gave me the financial freedom to sit down and write a play.” In 1974, Slade left television to devote full time to writing plays for the theater.

The successful Broadway run of Same Time, Next Year made possible Slade’s continued work in still another entertainment medium: major motion pictures. Slade has written screenplays for Stand Up and Be Counted (1971), Same Time, Next Year (1978), Tribute (1980), and Romantic Comedy (1983). The film versions of Slade’s plays will no doubt continue to entertain audiences for years to come.

Bernard Slade Achievements

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Throughout Bernard Slade’s career, his major works have attracted the prompt and generally enthusiastic attention of the major New York newspapers, including The New York Times, the New York Post, and the New York Daily News. Magazines such as Time and Newsweek have also carried half-page articles on Slade’s works, and scenes from his plays have appeared alongside reviews of all three major television networks. In 1975, Same Time, Next Year, long on the list of the top ten longest-running shows, received nominations from all the major awards institutions. The stage version received a Tony nomination, the American Academy of Humor Award, and the prestigious Drama Desk Award, and the screen version received the Academy Award and Writers Guild nominations for Best Screenplay.

Slade’s works have also resulted in awards and nominations for actress Ellen Burstyn and actor Jack Lemmon. Burstyn received the Tony Award for Best Actress in 1975 for her portrayal of Doris in Same Time, Next Year, and Lemmon earned Tony and Academy Award nominations for his stage and film work as Scottie Templeton in Tribute.

Slade is recognized as a major talent both on Broadway and in Hollywood, and his international following continues to increase with each new production. All his major plays have done well in foreign countries, especially England and France, and Same Time, Next Year has been produced in some thirty-five countries around the world. Foreign productions of Slade’s plays have traditionally retained the plays’ American settings. Slade himself was the first to break with tradition when he Anglicized Special Occasions for his directorial debut in London in 1983.

Bernard Slade Bibliography

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Beaufort, John. “A Twenty-four-Year Love Story.” Review of Same Time, Next Year, by Bernard Slade. The Christian Science Monitor, March 21, 1975. Takes a mildly remonstrative tone, with such phrases as “non-married couple” involved in “illicit, once-a-year trysts” representing “changing mores.” Good description of voice-over and set transitions, which “give the new comedy an underlying tone of reminiscent recognition.” The play is “slight and facile” but is “graced with humanity.”

Breslauer, Jan. “Same Writer, Same Characters, but Next Up, New Adventures.” Los Angeles Times, January 11, 1996, p. 1. In an interview, Slade discusses what motivated him to write the sequel to Same Time, Next Year and what message he hoped to convey.

Kerr, Walter. “Stage: Slade’s Romantic Comedy.” Review of Romantic Comedy, by Bernard Slade. The New Times, November 9, 1979, p. 63. Anthony Perkins and Mia Farrow star in this Broadway hit, which Kerr faults for some of the comic business and improbable laughs. He cites Perkins for his “smartness, high style, the lofty and chilly bon mot” and finds Farrow’s character, “eternally childlike, eternally composed,” to be well acted.

Watt, Douglas. “Even in Skilled Hands, Being Glib Isn’t Easy.” Review of Romantic Comedy, by Bernard Slade. New York Daily News, November 9, 1979. This review is slightly different in viewpoint and tone from those in other New York newspapers. Watt credits Slade’s artistry, mentions the earlier success with Same Time, Next Year, and cites Anthony Perkins’s and Mia Farrow’s personalities, which bring the characters to light in a way that the genre needs.

Wilson, Edwin. “Laughter on Broadway.” The Wall Street Journal, November 9, 1979. Wilson examines Slade’s handling of the writing craft and discusses how the play intentionally works against the form: “Mr. Slade . . . capitulates” to the form in the end, in a noble effort, but “has not solved his [dramatic] problem” entirely.

Winer, Laurie. “Same Jokes, Another Play: It’s Deja Vu in Pasadena.” Review of Same Time, Another Year, by Bernard Slade. Los Angeles Times, January 16, 1996, p. 1. In this review of Same Time, Another Year, after the opening of its world premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse, Winer criticizes the sequel for lacking the interaction between the two characters that enlivened the initial play and for containing too many old-age jokes.