The Long, Hot Summer (TV series)

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The Long Hot Summer
Genre Drama
Created by Dean Riesner
Written by William Bast
Alfred Brenner
Oliver Crawford
William Faulkner
James Gunn
Anthony Lawrence
Dean Riesner
Mark Rodgers
Jerome Ross
Donald S. Sanford
Robert J. Shaw
Jack Turley
Directed by Marc Daniels
Robert Gist
Alex March
Don Richardson
Mark Rydell
Vincent Sherman
Starring Edmond O'Brien (1965 – January 1966)
Dan O'Herlihy (January 1966-1966)
Roy Thinnes
Nancy Malone
Paul Geary
Ruth Roman
Lana Wood
Theme music composer Sammy Cahn
Alex North
Opening theme "The Long Hot Summer" performed by Jimmie Rodgers
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 26
Producer(s) Frank Glicksman
Running time 45 mins. (approx)
Original network ABC
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original release September 16, 1965 – April 13, 1966

The Long Hot Summer is an American drama series from 20th Century Fox Television that was broadcast on ABC-TV for one season from 1965–1966. It was aired in the UK on ITV.


The series was set in the Deep South community of Frenchman's Bend, Mississippi. The community was dominated and owned by the town's wealthy, powerful (and deceitful) bank owner "Boss" Will Varner (Edmond O'Brien). A widower with two grown children who also owned other businesses besides the town's bank, the unscrupulous Varner ran the town and its citizens with an iron fist and nobody dared to question him. He and his family lived in the largest mansion in Frenchman's Bend.

However, problems arose in Varner's orderly world when Ben Quick (Roy Thinnes), a young man whose father Varner destroyed some years prior, returns to town after thirteen years away to reclaim his family's farm and to challenge Varner's absolute authority over the town and its people. Ben's aim was to settle the score against the wicked Varner in the fight his father ran from.

Supporting characters include Clara and Jody Varner; Jody was Will's weak-willed and immature, but more honest son and Clara was Will's sensitive and sensible but deeply troubled older daughter who was considered to be the lady of the house (in lieu of her late mother). To her father's dismay, she liked Ben; Minnie Littlejohn, the town's hotel owner who is a good friend to many in town and was also the mistress of Will Varner; and Eula Johnson, a 17-year-old girl who becomes a central point in wealthy Jody Varner's life after he picks her up during a rain storm and defends her from her brother and fiance. (In the movie, Eula was married to Jody Varner; but in the TV series, she was merely a friend of Jody's.)

Also seen occasionally was Andrew, the Varner family's butler/chauffeur; Sheriff Harve Anders, the local sheriff for the county in which Frenchman's Bend is located; Judge Armistid, the community's judge; and Dr. Aaron Clark, the Varner family's physician.



Guest cast[edit]



Created by Dean Riesner, The Long Hot Summer was based on the novel The Hamlet by William Faulkner, the short story "Barn Burning", and the 1958 film of the same name. The show retained the movie's theme song, "The Long, Hot Summer," written by Sammy Cahn and Alex North, and Jimmie Rodgers sang it for the series just as he did for the film.


The Long Hot Summer was scheduled on Thursdays at 10 p.m. EST opposite CBS' Thursday Night Movie and NBC's long-running variety series The Dean Martin Show.[1] The series was canceled after twenty-six episodes with the last original episode airing on April 13, 1966.


In January 1966, series star Edmond O'Brien left the series after a disagreement with the producers (the disagreement was about making Ben Quick the main focus of the show instead of the Varners) and was replaced by Dan O'Herlihy. O'Herlihy played the role of Will Varner for the rest of the series' run.


Episode # Episode title Original airdate
1–1 "The Homecoming" September 16, 1965
1–2 "A Time for Living" September 23, 1965
1–3 "A Stranger to the House" September 30, 1965
1–4 "The Twisted Image (Part 1)" October 7, 1965
1–5 "The Twisted Image (Part 2)" October 14, 1965
1–6 "Home Is a Nameless Place" October 21, 1965
1–7 "No Hiding Place" October 28, 1965
1–8 "Run, Hero, Run" November 4, 1965
1–9 "The Desperate Innocent" November 11, 1965
1–10 "Bitter Harvest" November 18, 1965
1–11 "Hunter to the Wind" December 2, 1965
1–12 "Nor Hell a Fury" December 9, 1965
1–13 "The Return of the Quicks" December 16, 1965
1–14 "Track the Man Down" December 30, 1965
1–15 "Face of Fear" January 6, 1966
1–16 "Evil Angel" January 13, 1966
1–17 "Day of Thunder" January 19, 1966
1–18 "The Warning" January 26, 1966
1–19 "The Intruders" February 2, 1966
1–20 "From This Day Forward" February 9, 1966
1–21 "A Time to Die" February 16, 1966
1–22 "Reunion—Italian Style" February 23, 1966
1–23 "Blaze of Glory" March 2, 1966
1–24 "Crisis" March 9, 1966
1–25 "Carlotta, Come Home" March 30, 1966
1–26 "Man with Two Faces" April 13, 1966


  1. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (2003). Short-Lived Television Series, 1948–1978: Thirty Years of Bore Than 1,000 Flops. McFarland & Co. p. 155. ISBN 0-7864-1420-0. 

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