Off the Big Screen: A Look at George Nader’s Television Career (Part One)

Whilst perhaps best known for his starring roles in Hollywood movies, George Nader was no stranger to the smaller screen. The winner of the 1955 Golden Globe for most promising newcomer appeared in a whole host of different TV shows and series throughout his career. We’re going to chronicle Nader’s performances away from the big screen in a multi-part series starting right now.

Big Town

George Nader’s actor career began in 1950 with a series of small (often uncredited roles) in films and larger roles on stage at the Pasadena Playhouse. His first appearance on the small screen came in 1952. He secured a part in an episode of the long-running TV series ‘Big Town’.

Big Town began life as a network radio series and was so popular that it spawned three films and eventually moved onto TV. The show was shot in a film-noir style and followed the exploits of the staff of ‘The Illustrated Press’ newspaper.  

The show ran for a total of six seasons on TV, first on CBS and subsequently on NBC. It was in season two that Nader made his TV bow, with a part in an episode called ‘Baby Sitter’. He appeared alongside series regulars Patrick McVey, of North By Northwest fame, and Jane Nigh.

Chevron Theatre

In the same year as his TV debut in Big Town, Nader also appeared in four different Chevron Theatre productions. Chevron Theatre was an anthology series composed of individual 30-minute dramas. It ran from 1952 until 1954 and an impressive total of 105 episodes were ultimately aired. Nader appeared in four of those episodes, all in the later months of 1952.

Nader’s episodes were titled ‘The Letter of the Law’, ‘An Affair at the Embassy’, ‘The Tin Bridge’ and ‘My Brother’s Wife’. He received top billing for the first pair of episodes, which revolved around a conflicted policeman and a story of international intrigue, respectively.

In both ‘The Tin Bridge’ and ‘My Brother’s Wife’ Nader appeared and was billed alongside Marguerite Chapman. She had been a popular TV and film actress for over a decade by that point and would soon go on to star in Billy Wilder’s hit, The Seven Year Itch with Marilyn Monroe.

My Little Margie

Another popular series in which Nader made a brief appearance toward the beginning of his career was My Little Margie. That show ran from 1952 until 1955 and starred Gale Storm and Charles Farrell. Storm was the title character, Margie Albright, who consistently got her father Vern (Farrell) into all kinds of scrapes. Nader popped up in a 1953 episode of the show, called ‘The Two Lieutenants’. He played Lieutenant Ralph Brooks, one of two servicemen who mistakenly believed that Margie had been writing to them. The other hapless lieutenant was played by Chris Drake, who would go on to have recurring roles in major shows like The Lone Ranger and Lassie.