Watch Orson Welles' forgotten 1956 TV Pilot, "The Fountain Of Youth"

In the mid-1950s, Orson Welles created a TV pilot episode for a potential anthology series adapting short stories for television. As biographer Joseph McBridge wrote in his 2006 book, What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?: A Portrait of an Independent Career:

It was intended to inaugurate a series of short stories Welles would narrate and direct in the First Person Singular style of his Mercury Theatre on the Air and Campbell Playhouse radio series, but with his innovative radio techniques adapted for the visual intimacy of the newer medium. Welles described it to me as his only 'film conceived for the box'. The vaudeville-show tone and blackout style, suited to the 1920s setting, lend unsettling dark humor to this fable about human vanity … As the faintly sinister host, Welles is so ubiquitous a presence, sometimes even mouthing the characters words, that he becomes their puppet master, darkly amused by their self-destructive foibles.

The pilot episode, titled "The Fountain of Youth" adapted the John Collier short story "Youth From Vienna," and aired only once—in September 1958, on NBC's Colgate Theatre anthology. Still, The New Yorker calls it "as groundbreaking as Citizen Kane," and it actually became the only unsold pilot to ever win a Peabody Award.

You can watch the 30-minute episode above.

Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons