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GE True

GE True
A screenshot from the opening sequence
Also known asGeneral Electric True
Written byHarold Jack Bloom
Otis Carney
John Kneubuhl
Lou Morheim
Dean Riesner
Michael Zagor
Directed byWilliam Conrad
Robert M. Leeds
Jack Webb
Presented byJack Webb
Narrated byJack Webb
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes33 (list of episodes)
Executive producerJack Webb
ProducerMichael Meshekoff
CinematographyDaniel L. Fapp
Bert Glennon
Carl E. Guthrie
Harold E. Stine
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time25 minutes
Production companiesWarner Bros. Television
CBS Television Network
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 30, 1962 (1962-09-30) –
May 26, 1963 (1963-05-26)

GE True (also known as General Electric True)[1] is a 33-episode, American anthology series sponsored by General Electric that aired from September 30, 1962,[2] until May 26, 1963, with repeats through September 1963. Telecast on CBS, the series presented stories, both published and unpublished, from the files of True magazine.[1] The series' executive producer was Jack Webb through his Mark VII Limited company; he also acted as host-narrator, directed several episodes, and acted in several episodes.[3]

Program overview

A representative of the publisher of True magazine met Jack Webb at a party in New York and suggested the magazine as a source of material.[3] Webb and others then researched the magazine's files for story ideas.[3] Stories were adapted for television primarily by head writer Harold Jack Bloom. More than half of the episodes were directed by William Conrad, who portrayed Matt Dillon on radio's Gunsmoke and was later the star of the CBS crime drama Cannon.

In an overview of the 1962 television season, Time noted:

Jack ("dum-de-dum-dum") Webb is back. This time he is retelling stories from the files of True magazine. The first one was set on a hospital ship off Okinawa, where a doctor (played by William Conrad) operated on a marine who had a live and sensitive shell in his body capable of blowing a six-foot hole in a steel deck. It was a hell of a moment, but Webb sank it. "At 1830 hours exactly," he intoned, "the operation began on a human bomb dead center in the circle of death." He hosts the program in an echo-chambered voice, while he stands beside the word TRUE, spelled out in block letters 22 feet high, or roughly 10 times as tall as Jack Webb.[4][a]
Jan Shepard in episode "Gertie the Great"

GE True aired at 9:30 p.m. Sundays,[2] following The McCoys, a sitcom that had moved to CBS from ABC.[1] GE True aired a half-hour later than a predecessor series, General Electric Theater, hosted by Ronald Reagan, which had aired at 9 p.m. from 1953 to 1962. Both The McCoys and GE True faced opposition from the highly rated Western series Bonanza on NBC.[1]

The show had a unique opening, of which there were at least two variants. Each opening featured a large "TRUE" sign, apparently several stories tall and shown at an oblique angle, initially in deep shadow. One variant began with Webb voicing "Good evening. Your host, General Electric." with a large GE logo displayed next to the TRUE sign.[5] Another variant lacked the GE logo, but included a superimposed quotation from Daniel Webster: "There is nothing so powerful as truth, and often nothing so strange."[6] Strong symphonic music was featured as part of a majestic opening theme. Webb walked alongside the TRUE sign and stated either "And this, is true" (GE logo variant) or simply "This is true". The sign became brightly lit and the camera changed to a direct view of Webb, who then introduced the episode.

The Webb-hosted short film Red Nightmare (1962) had similarities to the GE True episode "The Last Day", although the former was presented as fantasy via a dream sequence.

In February 1963, Webb succeeded William T. Orr as executive in charge of Warner Bros. Television, with Orr moving to the motion picture part of Warner Bros.[7] At the beginning of June 1963, it was reported that GE True would not continue.[8] Webb's role with Warner ended in December 1963.[9]

Reruns of GE True were later syndicated under the title True.[citation needed]


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"Circle of Death"Jack WebbDale WassermanSeptember 30, 1962 (1962-09-30)
During the Battle of Okinawa, a doctor (William Conrad) operates on a marine with a live projectile shell in his body.[10]
2"V-Victor 5"Robert M. LeedsGene Roddenberry and Harold Jack BloomOctober 7, 1962 (1962-10-07)
In 1933, an off-duty police officer (Karl Held) attempts to apprehend five wanted criminals in Hell's Kitchen.[11][12]
3"Harris Vs. Castro"William ConradHarold Jack BloomOctober 14, 1962 (1962-10-14)
Miami advertising executive Erwin Harris takes legal action against Fidel Castro to make good on an advertising contract.[13]
4"Code Name: Christopher (Part 1)"Jack WebbOtis CarneyOctober 21, 1962 (1962-10-21)
In late 1942, a Marine Corps captain (Jack Webb) is sent to assist with the sabotage of a Nazi chemical plant in Norway.[14]
5"Code Name: Christopher (Part 2)"Jack WebbOtis CarneyOctober 28, 1962 (1962-10-28)
Conclusion; see above.
6"The Handmade Private"William ConradDean RiesnerNovember 4, 1962 (1962-11-04)
During World War II, a U.S. Army corporal (Jerry Van Dyke) creates an imaginary private, who then becomes the subject of a worldwide search.[15]
7"The Last Day"William ConradJohn Joseph (John Furia Jr.) & Harold Jack BloomNovember 11, 1962 (1962-11-11)
During the Cold War, what appears to be a typical American town is actually a Russian spy school.[16]
8"Man With a Suitcase"William ConradHarold Jack BloomNovember 18, 1962 (1962-11-18)
A man (Bill Berger) smuggles a woman (Erika Peters) out of East Berlin in a suitcase.[17]
9"Mile Long Shot To Kill"William ConradHarold Jack BloomNovember 25, 1962 (1962-11-25)
During the Civil War, a Union Army officer develops a telescopic sight.[18]
10"Cheating Cheaters"Robert M. LeedsHarold Jack BloomDecember 2, 1962 (1962-12-02)
A card game expert (Jack Hogan) is sent to a cruise ship to help investigate the death of a passenger.[19]
11"UXB (Unexploded Bomb)"Robert M. LeedsHarold Jack BloomDecember 9, 1962 (1962-12-09)
Major Bill Hartley (Michael Evans) is part of a bomb disposal unit still disarming German bombs from World War II in London.[20]
12"The Wrong Nickel"William ConradHarold Jack BloomDecember 16, 1962 (1962-12-16)
A Soviet spy is eventually captured following the discovery of a modified nickel.[21][b]
13"The Amateurs"William ConradDean RiesnerDecember 30, 1962 (1962-12-30)
In 1909, a Boston jeweler (Jonathan Hole) gets a lead to $1 million in stolen jewels from a former Harvard classmate (Vinton Hayworth).[22]
14"Open Season"William ConradHarold Jack Bloom & Barry OringerJanuary 6, 1963 (1963-01-06)
Courageous Wisconsin game warden Ernie Swift (James Best) faces the reprisal of organized crime after he tickets gangster Frank MacErlane (David McLean) for illegal fishing.[23]
15"Defendant: Clarence Darrow"William ConradHarold Jack BloomJanuary 13, 1963 (1963-01-13)
In 1912, Clarence Darrow (Tol Avery), the Chicago lawyer who later clashed with William Jennings Bryan over the theory of evolution at the Scopes trial, is accused of having attempted to bribe a juror. Darrow argues passionately over legal procedures with his own lawyer, Earl Rogers (Robert Vaughn).[24]
16"O.S.I."William ConradHarold Jack BloomJanuary 20, 1963 (1963-01-20)
A communist spy asks for help from the Office of Special Investigations to secure the safety of his family in East Germany.[25]
17"Firebug"William ConradJohn KneubuhlJanuary 27, 1963 (1963-01-27)
Victor Buono plays Charles Colvin, a barber in Los Angeles, who is by night a pyromaniac. The United States Forest Service believes that one arsonist is causing a series of fires. The episode also stars Keith Andes and Arch Johnson.[26]
18"Little Richard"Jack WebbHarold Jack BloomFebruary 3, 1963 (1963-02-03)
An Oklahoma man (Hampton Fancher) seeks help when his hunting dog becomes trapped in a hole.[27]
19"Escape (Part 1)"William ConradLouis MorheimFebruary 10, 1963 (1963-02-10)
An escape artist poses as an RAF officer, allows himself to be captured, and helps RAF pilots escape from a German prisoner-of-war camp.[28][c]
20"Escape (Part 2)"William ConradLouis MorheimFebruary 17, 1963 (1963-02-17)
Conclusion; see above.[29]
21"The Moonshiners"William ConradJohn KneubuhlFebruary 24, 1963 (1963-02-24)
Walter Kopek (Gene Evans), an agent of the United States Treasury Department, assumes an undercover role to halt a bootlegging operation in Florida,[30] run by mobster Bill Munger (Robert Emhardt). James Griffith is cast in this episode as Stan Woolman.
22"Security Risk"William ConradJohn KneubuhlMarch 3, 1963 (1963-03-03)
In 1960, George Ellsworth (Charles Aidman), an official with the United States Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, is blackmailed through a romantic affair with a young woman named Erica (Erika Peters) into passing secret information to the communists at the height of the Cold War. He confessed his guilt despite the protection of diplomatic immunity. Karl Swenson and Parley Baer also appeared in this episode.[31]
23"The Black-Robed Ghost"William ConradHarold Jack Bloom & Maxine Robinson & John RobinsonMarch 10, 1963 (1963-03-10)
After a young female artist dies suddenly, an aunt (Josephine Hutchinson) reports seeing her outside their home.[32]
24"Ordeal"William ConradHarold Jack BloomMarch 17, 1963 (1963-03-17)
In New Orleans, an ex-convict (Chris Robinson) kills a police sergeant, then forces his way into an apartment where he holds a family of three (the father played by Kevin Hagen) hostage.[33]
25"Pattern for Espionage"William ConradHarold Jack BloomMarch 24, 1963 (1963-03-24)
In 1954, a U.S. Army colonel, Harvey Madison (Rex Reason), is approached by a former Russian comrade-in-arms to spy for the communists. Instead, he covertly cooperates with the FBI to uncover a spy ring operated by the Soviet Union. Anthony Eisley and Gregory Walcott also appeared in this episode.[34]
26"The Tenth Mona Lisa"William ConradLouis MorheimMarch 31, 1963 (1963-03-31)
In 1911, Vincenzo Peruggia (Vito Scotti) steals the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in Paris, but is apprehended by a French detective when he attempts to sell the painting to an art dealer.[35]
27"Gertie The Great"Robert M. LeedsHarold Jack BloomApril 14, 1963 (1963-04-14)
A mallard duck in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, captivates the community; Jan Shepard plays a reporter assigned to cover the story.[36][d]
28"Black Market"Alan Crosland Jr.Michael ZagorApril 21, 1963 (1963-04-21)
In post-World War II Munich, an American investigator (Ron Foster) works to stop black market trafficking of cigarettes.[37] Hanna Landy also stars.[38]
29"Nitro"John PeyserHarold Jack Bloom & Les PineApril 28, 1963 (1963-04-28)
An employee of an electroplating business in Kansas City, Missouri, accidentally makes 9 US gallons (34 L) of nitroglycerin while mixing chemicals.[39][40]
30"Heydrich (Part 1)"William ConradJohn Kneubuhl & Harold Jack BloomMay 5, 1963 (1963-05-05)
In 1942, Nazi chief of the Reich Security Main Office, Reinhard Heydrich (Kurt Kreuger), is assassinated by Czech resistance,[41] and Adolf Hitler takes revenge on a village.[42] Werner Klemperer also stars as Karl Hermann Frank.[43]
31"Heydrich (Part 2)"William ConradJohn Kneubuhl & Harold Jack BloomMay 12, 1963 (1963-05-12)
Conclusion; see above.
32"Commando"William ConradMichael ZagorMay 19, 1963 (1963-05-19)
A safecracker (Sean McClory) is recruited to assist in a commando raid in Rome during World War II.[44]
33"Five Tickets to Hell"Robert M. LeedsHarold Jack Bloom & Richard HarbingerMay 26, 1963 (1963-05-26)
In the series finale, John Quigley (Bing Russell), a Chicago mobster travels to Chihuahua, Mexico, where he robs the mint of $500,000 and kills seven men in the commission of the crime. Police Lieutenant Juan Garcia (Carlos Romero) tracks down Quigley and his three accomplices. Barbara Luna appears in this episode as Cotita.[45][46]

Guest stars

In addition to performers mentioned above, other notable persons who guest starred on GE True include:


  1. ^ The final clause in the Time quote is unclear, as it suggests Webb's height was 2.2 feet (0.67 m)—Webb was 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) tall.
  2. ^ "The Wrong Nickel" is based on Rudolf Abel and the Hollow Nickel Case.
  3. ^ "Escape" includes escape and evasion aids created by Christopher Hutton.
  4. ^ A statue commemorating the mallard, Gertie the Duck, has been on display in Milwaukee since 1997.


  1. ^ a b c d Lowry, Cynthia (September 30, 1962). "Webb's TV Series Will Face Stiff Competition". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Charleston, West Virginia. AP. p. 9s. Retrieved April 8, 2023 – via
  2. ^ a b "Jack Webb in Pursuit of Truth". Press & Sun-Bulletin. Binghamton, New York. September 29, 1962. p. Ent. 3. Retrieved April 8, 2023 – via
  3. ^ a b c "'Just The Truth, Ma'am,' Theme Of New Jack Web Drama Series". Santa Maria Times. September 22, 1962. p. 2-B. Retrieved April 8, 2023 – via
  4. ^ "Show Business: The Retreads". Time. Vol. LXXX, no. 15. October 12, 1962. p. 100. Retrieved April 3, 2023 – via
  5. ^ See episode "Code Name Christopher"
  6. ^ See episode "V-Victor 5"
  7. ^ "Webb Lands Post With Warner Bros". The Ardmoreite. Ardmore, Oklahoma. AP. February 20, 1963. p. 2. Retrieved April 17, 2023 – via
  8. ^ Finnigan, Joseph (June 1, 1963). "Jack Webb Is Running Warner Lot". Cumberland Evening Times. Cumberland, Maryland. UPI. p. 3. Retrieved April 15, 2023 – via
  9. ^ "TV Notes". The Salinas Californian. Salinas, California. December 23, 1963. p. 14. Retrieved April 15, 2023 – via
  10. ^ Rahn, Pete (October 10, 1962). "Jack Webb 'True' Series Good Tv". St. Louis Globe-Democrat. p. 5B. Retrieved April 8, 2023 – via
  11. ^ "G E True - V Victor Five Karl Held". Retrieved April 4, 2023 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ Kirkley, Donald (October 10, 1962). "Look and Listen (column)". The Baltimore Sun. p. 14. Retrieved April 8, 2023 – via
  13. ^ "'Harris Vs. Castro' Story Of Unique Legal Conflict". Napa Valley Register. September 29, 1962. p. 3-A. Retrieved April 8, 2023 – via
  14. ^ "GE True 1962 Code Name Christopher - sabotaging Nazi A-bomb factory - Jack Webb". Retrieved April 8, 2023 – via YouTube.
  15. ^ "Sunday's Best On Television". The News & Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. November 4, 1962. p. III-13. Retrieved April 8, 2023 – via
  16. ^ "The Last Day - Jack Webb host - frightening cold war drama that is like a Twilight Zone episode". Retrieved April 8, 2023 – via YouTube.
  17. ^ "She's Tiny, Has Accent—She Gets Part". Press & Sun-Bulletin. Binghamton, New York. November 17, 1962. p. 15. Retrieved April 8, 2023 – via
  18. ^ "GE TRUE 1962 Mile Long Shot to Kill history of the telescopic rifle Civil War - Russell Johnson". Retrieved April 4, 2023 – via YouTube.
  19. ^ "Fool and Money Part Easily". The Salinas Californian. Salinas, California. December 1, 1962. p. 6A. Retrieved April 11, 2023 – via
  20. ^ "Program Notes". The Gazette. Cedar Rapids, Iowa. December 9, 1962. p. 92. Retrieved April 11, 2023 – via
  21. ^ "'Wrong Nickel' on 'General Electric True'". The Times-Mail. Bedford, Indiana. December 15, 1962. p. 13. Retrieved April 11, 2023 – via
  22. ^ "TV Scout". The Tennessean. Nashville, Tennessee. December 30, 1962. p. 4-C. Retrieved April 11, 2023 – via
  23. ^ "TV Previews for Tonight". Press & Sun-Bulletin. Binghamton, New York. January 6, 1963. p. 6-C. Retrieved April 11, 2023 – via
  24. ^ "G E TRUE: "DEFENDANT: CLARENCE DARROW" Jack Webb Narrator. 1-13-1963. (HD)". Retrieved April 4, 2023 – via YouTube.
  25. ^ "Television for the Week". The Miami News. January 20, 1963. p. 82. Retrieved April 11, 2023 – via
  26. ^ "GE TRUE 1963 - Firebug - Victor Buono, Keith Andes - host Jack Webb - directed by William Conrad". Retrieved April 6, 2023 – via YouTube.
  27. ^ "Dog's Rescue Told". The Register-Herald. Beckley, West Virginia. February 2, 1963. p. TV-3. Retrieved April 12, 2023 – via
  28. ^ "Television listing". Detroit Free Press. February 10, 1963. p. 65. Retrieved April 12, 2023 – via
  29. ^ "Television listing". Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. February 16, 1963. p. 20. Retrieved April 12, 2023 – via
  30. ^ "Agent 'Joins' Bootleg Ring". The Times Herald. Port Huron, Michigan. February 23, 1963. p. TV-7. Retrieved April 15, 2023 – via
  31. ^ "G.E. TRUE: "SECURITY RISK" Charles Aidman, Erika Peters Guest Stars. 3-3-1963. (HD HQ 1080p)". Retrieved April 4, 2023 – via YouTube.
  32. ^ "Featured Sunday". The Marion Star. Marion, Ohio. March 9, 1963. p. 5. Retrieved April 15, 2023 – via
  33. ^ "Family Held Prisoner On 'GE True'". The News Leader. Staunton, Virginia. March 15, 1963. p. 1-TV. Retrieved April 15, 2023 – via
  34. ^ "PATTERN FOR ESPIONAGE 1963 - host Jack Webb, Rex Reason - true life story similar to I Led 3 Lives". Retrieved April 8, 2023 – via YouTube.
  35. ^ "A Short Order". The Boston Globe. March 31, 1963. p. 28 (Magazine). Retrieved April 15, 2023 – via
  36. ^ "(photo)". Scranton Tribune. Scranton, Pennsylvania. April 13, 1963. p. TV-3a. Retrieved April 15, 2023 – via
  37. ^ "Previews of Television and Radio Shows". The Dispatch. Moline, Illinois. April 20, 1963. p. 18. Retrieved April 15, 2023 – via
  38. ^ "TV Previews, Programs". Rutland Daily Herald. Rutland, Vermont. April 20, 1963. p. 7. Retrieved April 15, 2023 – via
  39. ^ "Television Programs". The Kansas City Star. April 28, 1963. p. 6G. Retrieved April 5, 2023 – via
  40. ^ "G.E. TRUE 1963 Nitro hosted by Jack Webb - harrowing story of chemical plant accident". Retrieved April 5, 2023 – via YouTube.
  41. ^ "Himmler's Aide Target On GE True". The Times Herald. Port Huron, Michigan. May 4, 1963. p. TV-6. Retrieved April 15, 2023 – via
  42. ^ "TV Highlights". Arizona Daily Star. May 5, 1963. p. 14-C. Retrieved April 15, 2023 – via
  43. ^ "Terrorist". The Fresno Bee. May 5, 1963. p. 1-TV. Retrieved April 15, 2023 – via
  44. ^ "G.E. TRUE: "COMMANDO" Jack Webb Narrator , Sean McCory. 5-19-1963. (HD HQ 1080p)". Retrieved April 4, 2023 – via YouTube.
  45. ^ "'Five Tickets To Hell' Set As 'True' Drama Sunday". The Register-Herald. Beckley, West Virginia. May 25, 1963. p. TV-5. Retrieved April 15, 2023 – via
  46. ^ "Plays Waitress In 'True' Sunday". The Register-Herald. Beckley, West Virginia. May 25, 1963. p. TV-4. Retrieved April 15, 2023 – via
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GE True
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