Nowadays it seems that almost every successful television series winds up on the silver screen. For a while, every series from the '60s and '70s was being made into a film - from Mission Impossible to The Beverly Hillbillies.

Before that, in the early days of television, Hollywood refused to admit to its existence on screen. Television was seen as a competitor and no TV set was shown or mentioned.

So, what was the first television series to wind up on the cinema screen?
The earliest I can think of is The Quatermass Experiment from 1955. A Hammer Film adaptation of the BBC series that was itself an adaptation of a radio play. Admittedly, not a Hollywood film. Was there something earlier? I'm sure there must be.

  • 1
    Not from TV, but from Book via Radio, so can't be an answer - War of the Worlds, book 1898, radio adaptation 1938, movie 1953 - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_War_of_the_Worlds
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 19, 2016 at 19:49
  • The 1943 Batman film was also a TV serial. It was essentially an adaptation of itself.
    – user7812
    Jan 19, 2016 at 20:05

2 Answers 2


There was a Dragnet film in 1954. Dragnet was originally a radio program, but that program spawned a television series in 1951.


Gunsmoke the movie was made in 1953

  • 3
    That wasn't an adaptation of the TV series, though. It was a completely unrelated production. The TV series only began in 1955.
    – F1Krazy
    Jun 25, 2023 at 19:23

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