The Old Woman

The Old Woman holds the distinction of being Levin's first piece of professional writing. The half-hour suspense teleplay – in which a wheelchair bound 103-year old woman foils a murder plot against her – was written while he was still a student at New York University.

Levin entered the work in a college writing competition held by CBS in 1950. Despite the entry achieving only runner-up status, someone at CBS felt the script was ready for prime time, and put Levin in touch with later-legendary agent Flora Roberts, who summarily sold it to NBC, which aired it later that year in their suspense anthology series The Clock.

Intriguingly, in Levin's later stage play Interlock, a different wheelchair-bound woman serves as that work's antagonist (not its potential victim).

Levin appreciated the opportunity provided by CBS' contest (see our Footsteps page's FUN FACT), and perhaps for that reason included a reference to the network in Rosemary's Baby – it's where Rosemary worked before marrying Guy.

  • As reflected in the below clipping, one of the CBS competition judges was John Steinbeck

  • Newspaper clipping (1950)

    (Above) Original typescript, 1950

    (Above) Typescript page

    (Above) Production rehearsal schedule, 1950