8: Teleplay excerpt, Don Richardson's “The World of Sholom Aleichem,” The Play of the Week, 1959.
Arnold Perl’s 1953 theatrical adaptation of Peretz’s story appeared as the central act of “The World of Sholom Aleichem,” sandwiched between two adaptations of stories by Sholem Aleichem (this is the play, with its cast and production team consisting chiefly of blacklisted artists, of which Adi Mahalel writes in his article mentioned in the "Reading and Background" section of this guide). The play was later filmed for television and broadcast on December 14, 1959. This excerpt is taken from the end of Peretz’s story, and shows how its key closing moment was imagined for the stage and screen.
Suggested activity: Watch the excerpt. Ask students how the ending is similar to or different from the one in the story. Why would the playwright or filmmakers have removed the prosecutor’s laughter? Why would they include a large Star of David, framing Bontshe, in the final shot? If students have read Dinezon's anecdote about Peretz in Resource 4, ask them how the writer of "Bontshe Shvayg" might have reacted to this filmic choice.
Source: Don Richardson, dir., “The World of Sholom Aleichem,” The Play of the Week (December 14, 1959).