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Orson Welles, CBS radio broadcast.

Film, radio & television

The Lilly Library, while not a multimedia repository, houses a great deal of material that documents and describes developments in these media and preserves records of many special events, landmarks, and advancements in all three areas.


Materials relating to films in the Lilly Library range from a collection of 1,000 stills for the 1907 silent version of Ben Hur, to theatre lobby cards, press books, and publicity stills, to a second draft script for the 1981 Academy Award winner, Chariots of Fire. Included in the more than 2,000 motion picture scripts are The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1920), Anna Christie (1930), The Jazz Singer (1927), and the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture, Wings (1928).

As the script collection grew so did the Library's interest in acquiring background materials to provide in-depth research opportunities. This interest was established with the acquisition of the Upton Sinclair Papers in 1957. Among the files in this collection are hundreds of still photos and records relating to the Eisenstein film Que Viva Mexico!. In succeeding years, the Lilly Library acquired the papers of actor-director-producer Orson Welles in 1977, the papers of director John Ford in 1982, the papers of Clifford Odets in 1991, and more than 60 annotated working scripts of Twentieth-Century Fox producer Darryl F. Zanuck. Most recently, the Library acquired the papers of Peter Bogdonavich, director of such films as Paper Moon (1973), What's Up, Doc? (1972), and The Last Picture Show (1971).


The Lilly Library's collection of radio scripts includes more than 800 BBC scripts from the mid-1940s through the early 1970s and relates to the "Third Programme." Productions by Douglas Cleverdon for the BBC included some of the best creative writing of the 1950s: Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood, J. Brownowski's The Face of Violence, and Ted Hughes's The Wound. The Library also holds the papers of two other BBC pioneers: Lance Sieveking and D.G. Bridson.

With few exceptions, the Lilly Library's holdings of non-BBC radio scripts are located in the papers of Orson Welles and television writer John McGreevey. The Welles Collection includes 142 bound radio scripts and tape recordings of more than 140 programs including the Jack Benny Program and the Campbell Playhouse.


Almost all of the Lilly Library's early television scripts are also found in the McGreevey Papers. During the early 1950s he wrote dramas for Armstrong Circle Theatre, Lux Video Theatre, Westinghouse Studio One, and Climax!. Additional scripts in the collection include those McGreevey wrote for a variety of series such as The Farmer's Daughter, My Three Sons, General Electric Theatre, Hazel, Ironside, Laredo, The Name of the Game, Wagon Train, and The Waltons.

Other holdings of note related to television include the entire run of annotated production scripts for Laugh In, as well as scripts for such landmark series as Star Trek, Mission Impossible, Wild Bill Hickok, The Addams Family, All in the Family, Gunsmoke, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Maude, Perry Mason, Room 222, and The Wild Wild West.

To purchase exhibition catalogues, see information on the Lilly Library's Publications. To search the Library's catalog and other finding aids, see the Collections page.

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Last updated: 09 December 2011

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