MICHAEL SHAYNE “Spotlight on a Corpse.” NBC, 13 January 1961 (Season 1, Episode 15). 60 minutes. Richard Denning (Michael Shayne), Herbert Rudley (Lt. Will Gentry), Gary Clarke (Dick Hamilton). Neither of the characters Lucy Hamilton or Tim Rourke appear in this episode. Guest Cast: Herbert Marshall, Robert Lansing, Constance Moore, Ruta Lee, Alan Hewitt, Jack Kruschen. Based on characters created by Brett Halliday. Director: Sidney Salkow.

   Found murdered on a movie set is the associate producer-writer who also happens to be a notorious womanizer. Mike Shayne is hired by the producer who wants his own investigation done, but the thing is, his current would-be investor actually likes the idea of all the publicity a killing such as this would produce. A killing in more ways than one?

   I wonder how many viewers at the time found the story line interesting. The money and the problems thereof that are involved in putting a movie together isn’t the sort of thing that people even bother to read about in their daily newspaper, much less in a sit-back-and-relax sixty minute TV show.

   Or is that only me?

   What I found far more watchable was a subplot involving the acting pair of Constance Moore (the elderly female lead) and Herbert Marshall (her former director now relegated to being her dialogue coach), who as a team are completely at odds with the young director (Robert Lansing), who thinks their way of making films are completely outmoded.

   As for Richard Denning, he doesn’t fit my picture of Michael Shayne very much at all. He’s doesn’t have the build for it. He’s too cerebral. He’s too pleasant, and as written, too agreeable. He made a great Mr. North, but as Mike Shayne, the tough Irish detective, he’s a complete lightweight. In my opinion.


PostScript: The credits, I believe, claim this episode was based on a Mike Shayne novel. I don’t recognize the story line, but then again, I haven’t read them all. Anyone?