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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mr. Novak
James Franciscus Dean Jagger Mr. Novak 1964.JPG
James Franciscus as Mr. Novak and Dean Jagger as Principal Albert Vane.
Written byJohn D. F. Black
Joseph Calvelli
Richard De Roy
Meyer Dolinsky
Mel Goldberg
Sidney Marshall
James Menzies
E. Jack Neuman
Milt Rosen
Carol Sobieski
Betty Ulius
Roland Wolpert
Preston Wood
Directed byAbner Biberman
Richard Donner
Alvin Ganzer
Ida Lupino
Michael O'Herlihy
Allen Reisner
Boris Sagal
Joseph Sargent
Paul Wendkos
StarringJames Franciscus
Dean Jagger
Burgess Meredith
Opening themeLyn Murray
Composer(s)Leith Stevens
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes60
Executive producer(s)E. Jack Neuman
Producer(s)Joseph Calvelli
Running time48 mins.
Production company(s)MGM Television
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 24, 1963 (1963-09-24) –
August 31, 1965 (1965-08-31)

Mr. Novak is an American dramatic series starring James Franciscus in the title role, which aired on NBC for two seasons, from 1963 to 1965. The series won a Peabody Award in 1963.[1]


The series follows John Novak, an idealistic first-year English teacher at Jefferson High School in Los Angeles who often got involved in the lives of his students and fellow teachers. Principal Albert Vane was played by Dean Jagger (he was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1964 and 1965 for his performance). Jagger left the series in 1964 after forty-four episodes, and it was explained that his character was elected California Superintendent of Public Instruction; Burgess Meredith played the new principal, Martin Woodridge, for the remaining seventeen episodes. The series showcased many popular actors of the time including Martin Landau, Walter Koenig, Beau Bridges, Tony Dow, Ed Asner, June Lockhart, Sherry Jackson, and many others. This trendsetting show was the first to depict both teachers and students in a dramatic and realistic manner and was very influential on the Educational Community. Many cutting edge themes were showcased including racial discrimination, cheating on exams, anti-semitism, alcoholism, dropouts, drug abuse and political extremism. In its two year run, the program won over 47 awards from various educational institutions including the National Education Association and was the recipient of a prestigious Peabody Award for excellence.[2]


The school seen in Mr. Novak duplicated Los Angeles' John Marshall High School "complete to walks, shrubs, and parking."[3] After using the school itself for the pilot, the duplicate was built at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios, the "largest permanent set to be constructed [there] in a number of years."[3] The complete set filled an acre at the studio. Other construction on the MGM sound stages included duplicates of corridors and classrooms.[3] Exteriors for the fictional Jefferson High School were filmed at both John Marshall High School and Hamilton High School near Culver City.[4]

Guest stars

Production notes

The show, produced by MGM Television, was broadcast on Tuesday evenings from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. (Eastern time). In its first season, Mr. Novak's principal competition was the ABC series Combat!, and the second half of the hour-long The Red Skelton Show on CBS. In the second season, the competition was still Combat! on ABC, and the documentary series World War One on CBS. Skelton was moved a half-hour later in December 1964.

The series was created by producer/writer E. Jack Neuman and director Boris Sagal and featured top directors such as Richard Donner.[5]

DVD Release

George Feltenstein, Senior VP of Classic Catalog Marketing at Warner Brothers Home Entertainment, announced the first season of Mr. Novak will be released in early 2018 in a DVD set by Warner Home Video. Prints will be struck from the original 35mm camera negatives.

Warner Archives released Season 1 of the series on DVD on November 6, 2018.

Book Release

“Mr. Novak An Acclaimed Television Series” by Chuck Harter was published by in October 2017 and is a comprehensive examination of the show.

See Also

Room 222


  1. ^ "The Peabody Awards - Mr. Novak (NBC)". Peabody Awards. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  2. ^ Harter, Chuck. Mr. Novak an Acclaimed Television Series. Bear Manor Media, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Dillar a dollar, an NBC Scholar" (PDF). Sponsor Magazine. 17 (24): 59. June 17, 1963. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  4. ^ Harter, Chuck. Mr. Novak an Acclaimed Television Series. Bear Manor Media, 2017.
  5. ^ Harter, Chuck. Mr. Novak an Acclaimed Television Series. Bear Manor Media, 2017.

External links

This page was last edited on 31 March 2019, at 16:14
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