Anthology series hosted by John Nesbitt and then Frank Baxter.
March 17,1957 episode – “Fight For The Title” w/Michael Landon – Benny Leonard (George Brenlin) is the light heavyweight boxing champ. His win is chased off the headlines by America’s entry into World War One. He tells his manager Billy that he wants to enlist but is convinced to keep fighting.
He wins several more bouts and his next opponent is Tommy “Kid” Lombard (Michael Landon). He’s won five in a row. Before the bout Lombard’s sister Madge goes to Benny’s dressing room. She says her brother doesn’t really belong in the ring and wants him to go easy on him.
Benny and Billy then start towards the arena and Billy says he thinks Madge is a fake. It’s just an old con trick. In the ring when Benny gets Lombard in a clinch he tells him to take it easy. Lombard is determined to keep going. The fight lasts the full ten rounds and Benny wins by a knock out.
He goes to Lombard’s dressing room and he’s really out of it. Billy encourages Benny to keep fighting. Finally Benny enlists. The war is now over and Benny returns to the ring. In the gym he sees Lombard. He’s obviously brain damaged. He doesn’t recognize him until he runs into Madge outside the gym.
She says he’s obsessed with becoming the champ. Benny and Billy go to a doctor to see about Lombard’s condition. They’re told he could go anytime. That gives Benny an idea. It’s feel good corn but no one hams it up and everyone gives good performances and that makes it watchable.
At the end of the episode Nesbitt says it was a true story. Benny Leonard was a champ so maybe it was true but…who knows?