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Capital of the World teleplay

 Collection — Box: BW 31, Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 16565

Content Description

Original teleplay script, based on Ernest Hemingway's short story, for the 1953 television episode of Omnibus, a television series from 1952-1961.


  • Creation: 1953

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

The Capital of the World teleplay is from an episode of the television series Omnibus that aired on December 6, 1953. Omnibus was an American, commercially sponsored, educational variety television series. The episode was based on Ernest Hemingway's short story "The Capital of the World" and had four segments: (1) "The Capital of the World" 1 (ballet adaptation of Hemingway's short story), (2) "The Capital of the World" 2 (dramatic interpretation of Hemingway's short story), (3) "Christmas Window at Lord and Taylors" (a look at the Christmas window display of the famous New York department store), and (4) "Laughing Gas" (a slapstick comedy sequence from the Italian film, 'Curiosity').

"The Capital of the World", a short story by Ernest Hemingway takes place in Madrid and follows Paco, a young waiter apprentice, and his desires to become a matador.

The Omnibus series was created by the Ford Foundation, which sought to increase the education level of the American public. The show was conceived by James Webb Young who hired Robert Saudek as producer. Saudek believed that Omnibus could "raise the level of American taste" with educational entertainment.[1][3][4]

The show was broadcast live, primarily on Sunday afternoons at 4:00pm EST, from November 9, 1952, until April 16, 1961. Omnibus originally aired on CBS, and later on Sunday evenings on ABC. The show was never commercially viable on its own, and sources of funding dwindled after the Ford Foundation ended its sponsorship in 1957.[1] That year, the program moved to NBC, where it was irregularly scheduled until 1961. The show's first season had an audience of 4 million, which grew to 5.7 million at its peak in 1957.[1] ABC aired a brief revival of the series in 1981.[citation needed]

The series won more than 65 awards, including eight Emmy Awards (it was nominated for thirteen)[5] and two Peabody Awards.[6] The series is held at the Library of Congress and Global ImageWorks, among other archives. The Bernstein Omnibus programs were released in a 4-DVD set for Region 1[7] and Region 2 in 2010.

Source: Wikepedia: 1 William M. Jones; Andrew Walworth (13 December 1999). "Saudek's Omnibus: ambitious forerunner of public TV". Current. Retrieved 18 February 2019. "During its eight-season run, Omnibus aired on all three commercial networks – four seasons on CBS, one on ABC and the last three on NBC." 2 Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time, Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946 to 2007. Ballantine. p. 1014.[need quotation to verify][ISBN missing] 3 Robert Saudek, "Experiment in Video Programming", The New York Times, 9 November 1952, 13(X). 4 Anna McCarthy, The Citizen Machine: Governing by Television in 1950s America, New York: The New Press, 2010, p. 18. "In statements such as this, Cold War liberals diagnosed the potential contradictions emerging from the postwar economy's emphasis on mass consumption in terms of the inadequate moral education of the populace; the cure was the administration of culture by an elite class immune to the seductions of the mass. Hence television programs such as Omnibus, sponsored by the Ford Foundation." 5 "Omnibus (NBC) – Awards & Nomintions". The Emmys. Retrieved 30 December 2018. 6 "Search results: Omnibus". The Peabody Awards. Retrieved 30 December 2018. 7 Bernstein, Leonard. Omnibus: The Historic TV Broadcasts on 4 DVDs. E1 Entertainment, 2010. ISBN 1-4172-3265-X.


0.03 Cubic Feet (1 folder) : teleplay

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased from Royal Books by the Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia on 8 May 2018.

The Capital of the World teleplay
Ellen Welch
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States