PHILIP MARLOWE “The Ugly Duckling.” ABC. 06 October 1959 (Season One, Episode One.) Philip Carey (Philip Marlowe), William Schallert. Guest Cast: Virginia Gregg, Rhys Williams, James Griffith, Barbara Bain, Addison Richards. Writer: Gene Wang. Director: Robert Ellis Miller.

   It is difficult to say for sure, since very few of the series’ episodes have survived (a second one can be found below), but this early attempt at adapting Raymond Chandler’s iconic character Philip Marlowe did not really have a lot going for it. The star Philip Carey has the right first name, and physically he looks the part, but he has none of the star power that was needed to push the series anywhere near the top.

   It is a young Barbara Bain, pitch perfect in her role of a golddigger “other woman,” who makes this first episode of the season worth watching. She has her hooks in nebbish James Griffith’s character, and won’t let go. Not even the $10,000 dollars Marlowe offers ger on the man’s wife’s behalf will make her change her mind.


   It comes as no great surprise the, that she is a mysterious killer’s first victim. There are enough people in the story for the deceptive fans watching to puzzle over, but the fact remains that (again based on only this first episode) that it need not have been Marlowe who was the detective. Any generic PI would do just as well.

NOTE: Michael Shonk covered this episode very briefly on this blog quite some time ago. The accompanying video disappeared from YouTube very quickly thereafter, but as you see, it has returned, at least for a little while.

   Michael later did a more complete overview of the series. You can read it here, and I strongly suggest you do.