Although Tad Mosel is best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning stage play All the Way Home, much of his best work was written for the hour-long or ninety-minute drama venues in early television. Between 1953 and 1962, more than twenty original Mosel scripts appeared on television. By the mid-1960’s, virtually all television drama was in series with recurring characters, though Mosel had one last teleplay broadcast in 1968, and a television version of his stage hit All the Way Home in 1971. For the American Bicentennial in 1976, he wrote two episodes of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) series The Adams Chronicles. He also wrote two screenplays, Dear Heart (1964, a revision of his 1956 teleplay The Out-of-Towners) and Up the Down Staircase (1967). His books include an anthology of his teleplays, Other People’s Houses: Six Television Plays (1956), and a biography of actress Katherine Cornell (1978).
There is no doubt that Mosel’s greatest accolades came from his 1961 Broadway hit All the Way Home, which ran for 333 performances, was nominated for a Tony Award, and won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. But even before that success, he had established himself as one of the top names in television drama in the 1950’s. In 1967 his screenplay for Up the Down Staircase was nominated for a Writer’s Guild of America award. For decades a member of the editorial board of TV Quarterly, the journal of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Mosel was also an influential member of the Writer’s Guild of America and was a delegate to the meetings that created the International Writer’s Guild. Mosel received honorary doctorates from two Ohio colleges: the College of Wooster in 1963 and his hometown college, the College of Steubenville, in 1969.
Burack, A. S. Television Plays for Writers. Boston: The Writer, 1957. This anthology of teleplays from the golden age of live television in the 1950’s opens with a helpful introduction addressed to would-be writers and includes an afterword by each writer. Mosel’s comments describe how the supposed limits of the medium of television are not as confining as they seem and actually lead to a creative discipline.
Mosel, Tad. Other People’s Houses: Six Television Plays. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956. Mosel’s generous introductions to each of the six plays in this anthology give us the most complete picture available of his ideas on the craft of drama.
Tessier, Brian. “There Was Gold Dust in the Air.” http://emmys.com/foundation/archive/vault/fal 1998/page3.html. Text of Mosel’s comments used as fillers for the 1998 Emmy Awards Show, available on the Emmy website. Presents Mosel’s recollections of the early days of television.