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Once in a Lifetime (1988)

A play by Moss Hart & George S Kaufman, adapted for television, and first broadcast on 25 December 1988, 8.30pm.


Once in a Lifetime image #1

With thanks to Nadine for the photo, which shows George Lewis (played by Niall Buggy) and May Daniels (Zoe Wanamaker).


The introduction of films with sound in the late 1920s encourages three enterprising vaudeville performers, May Daniels, Jerry Hyland, and George Lewis, to leave New York and head for Hollywood in Once in a Lifetime

Rather than wanting to perform in the new 'talkies', sparky May and her friends seek their fortunes on the other side of the camera, by establishing an elocution school for silent film stars.  (It was no longer sufficient to look the part on screen, you had to sound right too!) 

A chance meeting during their journey leads to the trio being hired by the Herman Glogauer Studio, where May's lack of experience as voice coach quickly becomes apparent.  Meanwhile, the rather dim George unexpectedly finds himself the toast of Hollywood with his unorthodox approach to filmmaking.

Cast includes:
May Daniels ... Zoe Wanamaker
George Lewis ... Niall Buggy
Jerry Hyland ... Kristoffer Tabori
Helen Hobart ... Lynda Marchal
Herman Glogauer ... David Suchet
Miss Leighton ... Sheila Gish
Lawrence Vail ... Edward Petherbridge
Miss Chasen ... Lorelei King
Susan Walker ... Catherine Roman
Mrs Walker, Susan's mother ... Rosemary Leach
Rudolph Kammerling ... Brian Blessed


Director: Robin Midgley
Producer: Shaun Sutton


Having starred in the Royal Shakespeare Company's tremendously successful stage production of Once in a Lifetime (1979), Zo reprised her role as May Daniels for this television adaptation of the play. 

David Suchet (who played Herman Glogauer) is the only other cast member to have appeared in both the stage and TV versions.

Related links

Once in a Lifetime production information - InBaseline

Once in a Lifetime production information - TCM

Once in a Lifetime production information - Yahoo! TV

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