Climax! "The Long Goodbye" (lost premiere episode of anthology series; 1954)
Climax! (later known as Climax Mystery Theater) was an anthology series broadcast by CBS in America between 1954 and 1958. Each episode showcased an entirely different story and production, most of which were performed and broadcast live. While many episodes of this series are considered lost, there is one that stands out amongst fans, that being the very first episode, titled The Long Goodbye (an adaptation of Raymond Chandler's 1953 novel of the same name).
On October 7, 1954, during the live broadcast of the premiere episode, actor Tristram Coffin (who was at the time playing the part of a corpse lying underneath a sheet) stood up and walked off set, thinking he was no longer in frame, with the other characters appearing seemingly oblivious to the anomaly. The broadcast, and subsequent goof was seen by many, and write-ups about the incident appeared in multiple newspapers, later even going on to spawn an urban legend in which the incident was attributed to "Casino Royale" (the James Bond adaptation which was actually presented as the third episode of Climax!, not the first).
Coffin later explained to CBS exactly how the mistake had occurred, also admitting that he had been embarrassed by the goof. The episode (as with many of them) is not available for viewing today, in fact, it is entirely unknown if there is even a copy still in existence.
As of 2013, the only episode of Climax! to ever get an official release on home media was "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde" which appeared in a Classic Sci-Fi TV compilation. Several episodes from later seasons have also shown up online.
- A Snopes article on the episode, featuring newspaper excerpts. Retrieved 06 Mar '13.