Paddy Chayefsky Jerome Ross - Essay

Jerome Ross

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Mr. Chayefsky is the first television dramatist whose work has been given the permanence of the printed book, and deservedly so…. [The six plays collected in "Television Plays"] indicate TV's coming of age and the development of a new literary form especially designed to meet its needs. These plays are hardly more than character vignettes, but drawn with such perception and honesty that, even in printed form, they are enormously effective and as readable as short stories. Mr. Chayefsky has a keen ear for realistic speech and a compassion for his people.

In one of his series of explanatory notes the author describes his deliberate attempt to deal "with the world of the mundane, the ordinary and the untheatrical. The main characters are typical, rather than exceptional; the situations are easily identifiable by the audience…. Mr. Chayefsky certainly lives up to his intent in such portrayals as that of Joe Manx in "The Big Deal," a has-been who still dreams of recouping his lost fortune, or the old lady in "The Mother," who cannot bear to live in idleness off her children, or Marty, the butcher who feels himself too ugly to find a girl. It is largely through their direct, unadorned dialogue that their little stories carry tremendous impact.

Jerome Ross, "A New Drama Created for Television," in New York Herald Tribune Book Review (© I.H.T. Corporation; reprinted by permission), June 19, 1955, p. 4.