TV mysteries


REVIEWED BY MICHAEL SHONK:


FOUR JUST MEN

FOUR JUST MEN. Syndicated, 1959-60. Sapphine Films / ITC Release. “Inspired by ‘The Four Just Men’ of Edgar Wallace.” Starred Richard Conte as Jeff Ryder, Dan Dailey as Tim Collier, Vittoria de Sica as Ricco Poccari, and Jack Hawkins as Ben Manfred. Co-starred Honor Blackman, Lisa Gastoni, Andrew Keir, and June Thorburn. Executive Producer: Hannah Fisher.

   When their Commanding Officer from their days in the WWII invasion of Italy dies, four men gather together to honor him. They discover he had left them a large amount of money and a request they use it to fight injustice. They agree, but unlike the book, go their separate ways to star in each own adventure. At one point during every episode the featured star would contact one of the other four, usually on the phone and for just one scene.

         RICHARD CONTE

   Conte was lawyer Jeff Ryder who operated out of New York, and was aided by his law student assistant Vicky, played by June Thorburn.

Crack Up.” Episode 22. Screenplay: Louis Marks, from a story idea by Lee Lolb. Directed by Anthony Bushell, Produced by Jud Kinberg. Guest Cast: Robert Shaw, Charles Irwin and Delena Kidd. The crossover scene featured Jack Hawkins as Ben Manfred.

   The discovery of a downed plane tied to a five year old mystery of missing gold leads the wife of the still missing pilot to hire the “four just men” to help her get to the plane and prove her husband had not stole the gold. The mystery was better than average but it was hard to care what happens to any of the one dimensional characters.


         DAN DAILEY

   Dailey was Tim Collier, an American reporter based in Paris. Honor Blackman played his girlfriend and secretary Nicole who among the four just men assistants played the largest role.

Marie.” Episode 16. Screenplay by Gene Levitt and Louis Marks. Directed by Don Chaffey Produced by Jud Kinberg Guest Cast: Perlita Neilson, Alec Mango and Peggy Ann Clifford. The crossover scene was with Jack Hawkins as Ben Manfred.

   One of the better episodes, a thriller set against the backdrop of the Algerian War (1954-1962) and its effects on those in France. Collier and Nicole try to save the life of a suicidal young woman.


         VITTORIA DE SICA

   De Sica was Ricco Poccari, owner of the Hotel Poccari in Rome. Assisting him was his secretary Giulia played by Lisa Gastoni.

Maya.” Episode 12. Written and Directed by William Fairchild. Produced by Sidney Cole. Guest Cast: Mai Zetterling, Peter Illing and Raymond Young. The crossover scene featured Richard Conte as Jeff Ryder delivering a vital plot point.

   Ah, the good old days of royalty. A spoiled Princess is in danger from those who are attempting a coup of an uranium rich country ruled by her wise and popular brother.


         JACK HAWKINS

   Hawkins played Ben Manfred, Member of Parliament and based in London. Andrew Keir was Jock, Manfred’s manservant and friend.

Money to Burn.” Episode 21. Screenplay by Jan Read. Directed by Basil Dearden. Produced by Sidney Cole. Guest Cast: Ian Hunter, Charles Gray and Wolf Press. The crossover scene featured Richard Conte as Jeff Ryder.

   A General plans to stage a coup in a small democratic country. He tricks a British company that has been hired to print the country’s currency to help financially ruin the young Republic.

   The script tries hard to avoid any action or show any interest in plausibility as Manfred attempts to get the money back.


   The series was popular in England where it was number two in the ratings (Wagon Train was first) (Broadcasting, December 7, 1959). By August 1960 Four Just Men was in 159 markets (Broadcasting August 15.1960). According to Broadcasting (April 11, 1960), Four Just Men had sold in 16 other countries including Canada, Mexico and Czechoslovakia. ITV Board Chairman Michael Nidorf told Broadcasting (March 7, 1060) that the series had grossed nearly two million dollars.

   Much like the book, today the series is hopelessly outdated. They don’t make them like this any more for a reason. The premise is pure 1950s with older white men having all the answers including a view of morality that would not be accepted in today’s society. In an excellent review by “tanner” at blog double o section, he more fully discusses the flaws of the series.

   Four Just Men was an average 1950s era thriller TV series. Its production values were above average for the day but weak even compared to the 60s era shows that followed. Some of the scenes were shot on location but the series rarely took advantage of the scenery in places such as New York, Paris and Rome. The scripts and plots were limited by the half-hour format and the humorless TV dramatic style popular at the time but soon to change with the success of future series such as Peter Gunn, The Saint and The Avengers. The acting with few exceptions was a disappointment.

   The result was a usually passable thirty minutes of television worth sampling but not worth searching for the now out of print British DVD.

   For a review of the book Four Just Men you will find one by David L. Vineyard here on this blog.

REVIEWED BY GEOFF BRADLEY:         


DONOVAN Tom Conti

DONOVAN. Granada TV, UK, 2004. 2 x 90 minute episodes. Samantha Bond, Ryan Cartwright, Tom Conti, Kara Wilson, Rhea Bailey, Jonathan Beswick, Anthony Edridge, Martin Scoles, David Fleeshman.

   Donovan was a one-off story with Tom Conti as the titular forensic scientist. Ten years ago he had a breakdown and resigned after a convicted murderer was acquitted on appeal after Donovan had been fond to have suppressed some evidence.

   Now a body is found with an identical method to the original crime. Donovan is pursuing a successful career writing about crimes he has investigated, but because of this connection is called in to do some forensics alongside the new scientist.

   (I would have thought that because of this connection he would have been the last person called in to do the work — but this is typical of the way that the obvious is simply glossed over to allow the situation to develop.)

   Some DNA is found at the scene and it turns out to be Donvan’s: he claims it is planted, but at first it is thought that he has carelessly left it while investigating.

   Later, when the victim turns out to be one of his wife’s lovers, it is used as evidence of Donvan’s guilt. Worse, he is suffering memory losses, especially of items that are important to the plot. Could he have committed the murder and forgotten about it?

   This had a strong cast, though Conti chose to play his part without any discernible emotions, and in truth I quite enjoyed it, but it just wasn’t plausible. It was done in all seriousness and presumably we were meant to take it seriously.

Editorial Comment:   This two-parter story has been packaged with three additional episodes from 2005 and is available on DVD in the US as DNA. See the image above.

DONOVAN Tom Conti

TV SERIES NOT ON OFFICIAL DVD – ON YOUTUBE – AMERICAN EDITION
by Michael Shonk


When it comes to watching lost or forgotten television series not available on official DVD YouTube has become an alternative to dealing with the collectors market. Below are just a few series without DVD that as of February 2014 can be seen on YouTube.

MARKHAM – CBS -“Vendetta in Venice” (6/27/59)

Written by Jonathan Latimer. Directed by Robert Florey. Produced by Warren Duff and Joseph Sistrom. Cast: Ray Milland. Guest Cast: Paula Raymond and Robert Lowery. Markham Production. Revue Studio-MCA-TV.

When a woman confronts her blackmailer she is surprised to find him dead. She turns to world famous detective Roy Markham (Ray Milland) to prove she didn’t kill him. Production values are laughable but the cast and Jonathan Latimer’s script makes this episode worth watching.


PHILIP MARLOWE – ABC – “Ugly Duckling” (10/6/59)

Written and Produced by Gene Wang. Directed by Robert Ellis Miller. Cast: Philip Carey and William Schallert. Guest Cast: Virginia Gregg, Barbara Bain and Rhys Williams. Mark Goodman and Bill Todman Production in association with California National Production.

Bain makes a great femme fatale who is involved with a rich man’s son-in-law. The wife refuses to divorce her cheating husband so the rich father hires Marlowe to deliver a payoff to the bad girl. Check out Marlowe’s home, a place Peter Gunn would have approved, but I doubt Chandler would have.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Well, it didn’t take long. Here it is the same day that Michael’s post appeared, and the video that was linked to has already been removed. Wish us luck that the rest of the episodes will stay online longer than this!


THE NEW BREED –ABC – “Compulsion to Confess” (10/31/61)

Written by David Z. Goodman. Directed and Produced by Walter E. Grauman. Guest Cast: Telly Savalas and Sidney Pollack.

Followed by “The Deadlier Sex” (3/20/62)

Teleplay by Don Brinkley, from novel by Genevieve Manceron. Directed and Produced by Joseph Pevney Guest Cast: Paula Raymond and James Doohan.

Cast: Leslie Nielsen, John Beradino, John Clarke and Greg Roman. Narrator: Art Gilmore.

Created by Hank Searls. Executive produced by Quinn Martin. Quinn Martin Production in association with Selmur Production Inc.

These two episodes are different but both good examples of the QM production style that would prove popular during the 60s and 70s. Stars Leslie Nielsen as Lt. Price Adams, the head of a four-man special police unit called the Metropolitan Squad. The first story deals with how psychiatry can be used as a tool for the police to solve crimes such as the murder of a man working on a government project. The second is a story of a robbery gone wrong. The noir tale highlights include an evil femme fatale and thieves betraying each other with fatal consequences. The second episode begins around the 49:40 mark.


CORONET BLUE – CBS – “Saturday” (7/31/67)

Written by Alvin Sargent. Directed by David Greene. Produced by Edgar Lansbury. Executive Produced by Herbert Brodkin. Created by Larry Cohen. CAST: Frank Converse, Joe Silver. Guest Cast: Charles Randall, Neve Patterson, David Hartman and Andrew Duncan. (Plautus Production. CBS Production – credits clipped, source: IMdb.com)

While mysterious men try to kill “Michael” (Frank Converse), he spends time with a young boy trying to deal with his father’s recent death.


TOMA – ABC – “50% of Normal” (1/18/74)

Teleplay by Zekia Marko. Story by Peter Salerno and Jane Sparkes. Directed by Jeannott Szwarc. Produced by Stephen J. Cannell. Created by Edward Hume. Executive Produced by Roy Huggins. Cast: Tony Musante, Susan Strasberg and Simon Oakland. Theme by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter. Guest Cast: Steven Keats, Louise Troy and David Toma as Doorman 1. Public Arts Inc and Universal TV

Toma is searching for a rapist when an old friend, who is having mental issues due to his service in the Vietnam War, returns home. The show deals with social issues more than mystery and now forty years later can be heavy handed, but the last act is a good example why fans still miss this series. After star Musante left the series it would evolve into BARETTA.


NAKIA – ABC – “No Place to Hide” (10/19/74)

Written by Jim Byrnes. Directed by Nicholas Colasanto, Executive Produced by Charles Larson. Created by Christopher Trumbo and Michael Butler. Developed for TV by Sy Salkowitz. Cast: Robert Forster, Arthur Kennedy and Gloria DeHaven Guest Cast: Gabe Dell, Ray Dalton and Marc Singer. David Gerber Production, Inc in associations with (Columbia Pictures Television: credit clipped off video, source IMdb.com)

Deputy Nakia Parker (Forster) befriends an on the run accountant for the mob. A weak generic script that could have fit almost any cop show makes no use of the native heritage of Nakia (you know the premise of the series). Filmed on location.


FEATHER AND FATHER GANG – ABC – “Never Con a Killer” (5/13/77)

Written by William Driskill. Directed and Produced by Buzz Kulik. Executive Produced by Larry White. Produced by Bill Driskell & Robert Mintz. Cast: Stefanie Powers, Harold Gould, Joan Shawlee and Frank Delfino. Guest Cast: John Forsythe, Marc Singer, Bettye Ackerman, and Jim Backus. Larry White Production in association with Columbia Pictures Television.

The lips are out of sync in this video but beyond that (and how awful the two-hour episode is) it is watchable. Yet one more 70s detective who uses the con to trap the bad guy, brilliant female lawyer Toni “Feather” Danton (Stefanie Powers) who is honest and by the book and her con man turned PI father Harry (Harold Gould) who uses his skills and old friends to con killers into revealing themselves. We know the killer from the beginning and the action centers around the con.


OUTLAWS – CBS – TV Movie Pilot (12/28/86)

Written and Executive Produced by Nicholas Corea. Directed by Peter Werner. Produced by Stephen F. Caldwell. Cast: Rod Taylor, William Lucking, Charles Napier, Patrick Houser, Richard Roundtree and Christina Belford. Guest Cast: Lewis VanBergen and Windy Girard. (Mad Dog Productions. Universal Television: credits clipped, source: IMdb.com)

The video is a direct dub from the TV Movie’s original airing complete with commercials and promos of most of the 1986 CBS TV series lineup. Better than average TV movie. It is 1899 Houston, a gang of four bank robbers were running from their former leader, now Sheriff, who leads a posse to catch them. The five have a face off in an ancient Indian burial grounds during a thunderstorm. Lightning strikes the five and sends them into present day Houston (1986). There they struggle to adapt until they come together in the end and form the Double Eagle Ranch Detective agency. The weekly episodes are also available (at the moment) on YouTube.


OVER MY DEAD BODY – CBS – TV Movie Pilot (10/26/90)

Teleplay by David Chisholm. Television Story by David Chisholm and William Link. Suggested by Motion Picture LADY ON A TRAIN. Screenplay by Edmund Beloin & Robert O’Brien. Story by Leslie Charteris. Directed by Bradford May. Created and Executive Produced by William Link and David Chisholm. Consulting Producer Shaun Cassidy. Produced by Ken Topolsky. Cast: Edward Woodward and Jessica Lundry. Guest cast: Edward Winter, Ivory Ocean and Dan Ferro. Universal TV.

Included for William Link fans (COLUMBO). Nikki Page (Jessica Lundry) was the obit writer for a San Francisco newspaper who sees a woman murdered in the apartment across from hers. Before the cops arrive the killer takes the body and no one believe Nikki. So she turns to her favorite mystery writer, ex-Scotland Yard Inspector Maxwell Beckett (Edward Woodward). He refuses to help until she finally convinces him. Two of television’s most annoying characters join up and solve the crime.


THE HANDLER –CBS – “Street Boss” (9/26/03)

Written, Created and Executive Produced by Chris Haddock. Directed and Produced by Mick Jackson. Co-Produced by Larry Rapaport. Produced by Sean Ryerson. Cast: Joe Pantoliani, Anna Belknap, Lola Glaudini, Tanya Wright and Hill Harper. Guest Cast: Harry Lennix, Mary Mara, James Macdonald and Pruitt Taylor Vince. (Haddock Entertainment. Viacom Productions: credits clipped, source: IMdb.com).

It is a busy time for Joe Renato (Joe Pantoliani) who trains and handles FBI undercover agents. It’s the first night for a new female agent, one of his agents undercover in the Russian mob wants out, the local police need the FBI help finding someone new to go undercover in a possible murder investigation, and Joe’s brother is just out of prison. The episode is a dark drama with a fast pace, interesting characters and some nice twists.

REVIEWED BY GEOFF BRADLEY:         


JUDGE JOHN DEED. BBC, Series Three; 4 90 minute episodes: 27 November through 18 December 2003. Martin Shaw (Judge John Deed), Jenny Seagrove (Jo Mills), Barbara Thorn (Rita ‘Coop’ Cooper).

JUDGE JOHN DEED

   You may remember (but if you live in the US, probably don’t) that Deed is a pompous and arrogant judge who is a thorn in the side of the establishment because he refuses to bow to pressure from anyone, especially the government advisers who attempt to get him to toe the line on government policy. (The writer, G. F. Newman, is known for his antiestablishment views.)

   I endured rather than enjoyed the previous series, but I have to confess that I quite enjoyed this one. Typically Deed gets to the bottom of the case in front of him by asking more questions than either of the two competing barristers, to their extreme annoyance.

   One of the barristers in his cases always seems to be Jo Mills, his long time lover to whom he is always proposing. Sge sets the condition that he consults a therapist to confront his womanizing ways. He agrees and then rather predictably sleeps with the therapist.

   This is another of those series not to be taken seriously for a moment but at times is quite fun, although I suspect the writer would want us to take it rather more seriously.

Reviewed by MIKE TOONEY:


IRONSIDE (1967-75): 8 seasons, 195 episodes. Regular cast: Raymond Burr (Ironside), Don Galloway (Det. Sgt. Ed Brown), Elizabeth Baur (Officer Fran Belding), and Don Mitchell (Mark Sanger).

   If you like your TV crime dramas with complications and the rare out-of-left-field plot twist, these two episodes might fill the bill. One is yet another variation on the “caper” trope, while the other involves the venerable locked room murder theme.

“All Honorable Men.” Season 6, Episode 21 (150th). First broadcast: 8 March 1973. Guest cast: William Daniels, Fred Beir, Johnny Seven, Sandra Smith, Leonard Stone, Henry Beckman, Arthur Batanides, Regis Cordic. Writer: William Douglas Lansford. Director: Russ Mayberry.

   A bank manager closes the vault and activates all the security systems; sixty-three hours later, when it’s opened, the floor is littered with safety deposit boxes, some of them having been broken open — but the rest of them and even the stacks of money in the vault lie untouched.

   Everything indicates that a handful of thieves tunneled up through the vault of the floor, selectively plundered the richest deposit boxes, and made a subterranean getaway, with a helicopter waiting to take them out of the country. Every bit of forensic evidence (including geological analysis of the sand at the crime scene and aboard the abandoned chopper) points to that inescapable conclusion.

   Only that’s not how it went down — nowhere near it — and, although it takes him a while, eventually Ironside figures out what really happened.

   Kudos to writer Lansford (1922-2013) for coming up with a nicely gnarly caper scenario (even if he did borrow elements from Doyle’s “The Adventure of the Red-Headed League”), as well as to actor Raymond Burr (1917-93) for pulling off what was clearly a very difficult physical stunt.

“Murder by One.” Season 7, Episode 2 (154th). First broadcast: 20 September 1973. Guest cast: Mary Ure, Clu Gulager, Herb Edelman, Michael Baseleon, Dennis McCarthy, Robert Van Decar. Teleplay: David Vowell and Sy Salkowitz. Story: David Vowell. Director: Alexander Singer.

   An emotionally disturbed young man is found inside a locked room, a fatal gunshot to the head. He had been undergoing psychotherapy after his parents’ divorce, and his therapist can’t be sure he hasn’t missed some warning sign presaging the tragedy. In any event, there seems to be no compelling reason not to assume he committed suicide; a slip of paper with a quotation from A Tale of Two Cities next to the body can reasonably be considered a farewell note.

   But when Ironside & Co. hit the scene, several seemingly unrelated bits of evidence turn up: the fact that the gun is found 8 feet 2 inches from the body; the merest trace of a not readily recognizable substance is detected on the door’s dead bolt lock; a large rubber band is found on the floor; $5,000 in hard cash is discovered inside a phonograph album sleeve in the kid’s music collection; the man hoping to marry the young man’s mother has a criminal record and is going under an assumed name; and the “suicide” note itself has a jagged edge that, to Ironside, seems out of character, contrary to the victim’s neat and orderly lifestyle.

   Ultimately Ironside will uncover a plot to make a murder look like a suicide but with the real intention of making that suicide look like a murder.

   There’s also some more borrowing from Conan Doyle here, in this case “The Problem of Thor Bridge.”

TV HIGHLIGHTS IN JANUARY 2014 –
ADVENTURE, CRIME AND MYSTERY TV SERIES
by Michael Shonk


   January is quickly replacing September as TV viewers’ favorite month. With cable networks programming all year round more and more new TV series begin in mid-season. Here is the schedule for returning and new series in January.

   Below are some of the adventure crime mystery series I look forward to watching.

       Tuesday January 7:

INTELLIGENCE (CBS at 9pm then moves to Monday at 10pm on January 13th): New series. Shades of Hugh O’Brian and Angel Tompkins of 1972 NBC series SEARCH. Gabriel (Josh Holloway) is a high-tech agent with a microchip in his head that connects him to the entire global information network (computers, phone, satellites). Marg Helgenberg plays Lillian Strand his boss and Meghan Ory (Riley) is there as his bodyguard and someone to flirt with.

JUSTIFIED (FX at 10pm): Season 5 premiere. Based on characters created by Elmore Leonard who admired the show. Each season has Federal Marshall Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) face off against a new group of criminals in Harlan County Kentucky. This season it is the Crows. Also with Walton Goggins, Jere Burns, Nick Searcy and Joelle Carter.

KILLER WOMEN (ABC at 10pm): New series of eight episodes, each week female Texas Ranger Molly Parker (Tricia Helfer) hunts down the female killer of the week.

PERSON OF INTEREST (CBS at 10pm): Series returns from holiday vacation. The group continues to deal with the death of series’ most popular character, Joss (Taraji P. Henson) and new developments with “the machine.” Created by Jonathan Nolan (THE DARK KNIGHT) and stars Jim Caviezel, Michael Emerson, Kevin Chapman, Amy Acker and Sarah Shahi. You can watch a full episode for free at http://www.cbs.com/shows/person_of_interest and see my favorite scene of Season Three here:


       Sunday January 12

TRUE DETECTIVE (HBO at 9pm): New series deals with what happens to two detectives (Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson) in a period of over ten years as they try to solve a monstrous murder.


       Monday January 13

ARCHER (FX at 10pm): Season 5 premiere. Animated spy spoof. The story of Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) and the staff of I.S.I.S., a small privately owned international spy agency. Also in the voice cast are Jessica Walter, Aisha Tyler, Judy Greer and Amber Nash.

THE BLACKLIST (NBC at 10pm): TV’s most popular new series returns after its holiday vacation. Someone is not happy with Red’s (James Spader) involvement with the FBI. Now despite being on the run from everyone, bad and good, Red’s interest in FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) remains.

   Free full episodes here: http://www.nbc.com/the-blacklist


       Sunday January 19

SHERLOCK (PBS at 10pm): Season 3 premieres. Created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, they have produced the best version of Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Dr. Watson (Martin Freeman) I have ever seen or read. This British TV series will last three episodes on MASTERPIECE.


       Saturday January 25

BLACK SAILS (Starz at 9pm): New series. Yar, pirates of old! Its 1715 and pirates run the island of New Providence, among them is the most feared, Captain Flint (Toby Stephens).

http://www.starz.com/originals/BlackSails


   Other new series of interest to adventure, crime and mystery fans include limited series (eight episodes) spy thriller THE ASSETS (ABC Thursday January 2nd at 10pm), cop series CHICAGO P.D. (NBC Wednesday January 8th at 10pm) and lawyer drama RAKE (Fox, Thursday January 23rd at 9pm).

   Returning series to make its new season premiere include CRACKED and KING (both on Reelz channel Monday January 6th), PSYCH (USA, Wednesday January 8th at 9pm), BANSHEE (Cinemax, Friday January 10th at 10pm), and THE FOLLOWING (FOX, Sunday January 19th after NFL football, moves to its regular spot on Monday at 9pm January 27th).

   Of course, your fall favorites return with new episodes this month. A few such as HOSTAGES (CBS), SLEEPY HOLLOW (FOX) and AMERICAN HORROR STORY (FX) will have their season finale in January (both SLEEPY HOLLOW and AMERICAN HORROR STORY have been renewed for next season).

REVIEWED BY MICHAEL SHONK:


“MEET McGRAW” – An episode of Four Star Playhouse. CBS, 25 February 1954. Four Star Productions. Cast: Frank Lovejoy, Audrey Totter, Ellen Corby, Paul Picerni, Percy Helton, Peter Whitney, and Steve Darrell. Original Story and Screenplay by John and Gwen Bagni. Executive Producer: Don W. Sharpe. Produced by George Haight. Director of Photography: George E. Diskant. Directed by Frank McDonald.

   The episode is also available to watch at Archive.org.

   McGraw (no first name was ever given) was the typical hardboiled PI of the fifties, a tough guy with a soft spot for dames. The story made full use of the tropes of the fifties PI, complete with the less than handsome PI wearing a fedora and cheap suit as he smokes a cigarette while walking down dark streets to visit a bar to meet the femme fatale. McGraw was different in one way he was a traveling trouble-shooter as opposed to a PI with a set location.

MEET McGRAW Frank Lovejoy

   The writing was better than most from that the era, overcoming the limited budget and primitive filming conditions with the proper banter and a strong complicated plot. Writers John and Gwen Bagni were a married couple. He would die in 1954 and she would go on to write for many TV series including ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS. Gwen Bagni (with Paul Dubov) would later develop HONEY WEST for TV.

   Director Frank McDonald was a successful director of low budget films in the thirties and forties and moved over to television in the fifties where he continued into the sixties. His direction on MEET McGRAW was professional but nothing special.

MEET McGRAW Frank Lovejoy

   The cast fit perfectly in their roles. Frank Lovejoy looked and sounded the part of hardboiled trouble-shooter McGraw. Audrey Totter was well casted as she had a history of playing the hard tough dame in films such as POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE, LADY IN THE LAKE and THE SET UP. The supporting cast featured wonderful character actors such as Ellen Corby, Peter Whitney and Percy Helton.

   According to TVTango.com, the episode aired opposite THE RAY BOLGER SHOW on ABC, BROADWAY TO HOLLYWOOD: HEADLINE CLUES on Dumont and TREASURY MEN IN ACTION on NBC.

   Three years later and with the growing popularity of the TV detective, MEET McGRAW would become a weekly series on NBC. The series would air Tuesday at 9pm from July 2, 1957 to April 22, 1958.

   “Broadcasting” review (July 8, 1957) of the first NBC episode was favorable, especially for Blake Edwards’ script. It also listed some other information. Production cost was $36,000. The series was sponsored by Proctor & Gamble through Benton and Bowles. Frank Lovejoy repeated his role as McGraw. The series writers alternated among Blake Edwards, Frederic Brady, E. Jack Newman, and Lowell Barrington. Directors alternated between John Peyser, Harold Schuster and Anton Leader. Producer was Warren Lewis. The series was filmed and each episode was a half-hour long.

MEET McGRAW Frank Lovejoy

   Forty-one episodes were produced for MEET McGRAW on NBC. Adding the FOUR STAR PLAYHOUSE episode made forty-two half-hour episodes available for syndication. But before it went into syndication, ABC would air the reruns starting November 23, 1958 on Sunday (it had three different time slots during its run – 10pm, 9:30pm and 10:30pm). It would remain on the ABC network schedule until September 20, 1959. ABC Films released it into syndication for local markets on October 1, 1959.

   Despite claims by Wikipedia and IMDb, I can find no record of the series being called ADVENTURES OF McGRAW. “Broadcasting” always referred to it as MEET McGRAW, from its beginnings to its days in syndication (as late as March 25, 1963). I suspect (but can’t prove) the title ADVENTURES OF MCGRAW might have been used when Official Films took over the syndication rights from ABC Films (whenever that was).

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