by Michael Shonk

   Before beginning, you may wish to go back to the first two in this series of articles about one of the more mysterious private eye series in early TV, The Cases of Eddie Drake. Part One is here, and Part Two followed soon thereafter.

   After these two posts appeared, I asked various archives for information about the series. David Bushman of the Paley Center for Media Arts responded they had nine episodes and offered me the chance to watch them. To this old researcher it was like getting a free ticket to Disneyland, but I was unable to go. Mr. Bushman asked me to send in my questions and someone there would watch the episodes and try to find some answers.

   I am amazed by the effort Mr. Bushman and the Paley Center put into answering questions about a show few remember and even fewer care about. If you have any interest in saving old television I can’t think of a better place to support or be a member. Please, check out their website at

   The episodes were in no condition to view, so techs at the Paley Center have been hard at work making viewable digital copies. This done, Mr. Bushman watched the following episodes: “The Brass Key” (episode one), “Hush, Hush”, “Murder By Proxy”, “Murder in Three-Quarter Time”, “Sleep Well, Angel”, “The Judas Coin”, and “A Hole in the Head” (all with Patricia Morison). He also watched “Murder Ad Lib” and “The Man Who Was Nobody” (with Lynne Roberts).

   With “Shooting The Works” (new link), this leaves only three episodes still missing.

   While the question of when did Eddie Drake first air remains unknown, we have learned more about the series.

   Copyright date on the Patricia Morison’s episodes is 1948. The copyright on the Lynne Roberts’ episodes is 1951. Copyright holder for both is IMPPRO. There is no mention on copyright screen of CBS, DuMont, or NBC.

    “Were there any changes to the standing sets? Was Eddie’s rare 1948 Davis Divan in all episodes?” It is unlikely the sets for a series shelved for three years would have survived.

   Eddie’s rare car was in all the episodes except the first “The Brass Key”. This makes “Shooting the Works” episode two since Eddie mentions he has bought a new car.

   Amazingly, Mr. Bushman took the time out to map Eddie’s office in Morison and Roberts’ episodes. The water cooler, the map, the window with the fake brick wall showing through, the bookshelf, and the rest were the same. The most noticeable change was the set looks better in the Roberts’ episodes.

   There were differences. The theme song and opening credits changed. Roberts’ episodes had a fancier title card featuring a full body silhouette of a man in a suit (drawing) in lower right corner of the screen his shadow cast under the letters of the title.

   Morison’s episodes had her and Haggerty deliver the credits at the end, while Roberts’ episodes credits were graphics upfront.

    “Any changes in the credits?” The chances the exact same people would return after three years is unbelievable.

   The same people but with newly credited help. Jason James wrote all episodes seen, but the Roberts’ two had an additional credit for additional dialog by Robert Lehman. Harlan Thompson and Herbert Strock produced all episodes with Paul Garrison directing, Morison’s episodes had photography by Guy Roe OR Charles Trego. Roberts’ episodes had photography by Guy Roe and Lucien Androit. Strock was credited alone in the Morison’s episodes while he AND Ed Taylor got screen credit in the Roberts’ episodes. Assistant director was Leo Pepin then Leo Peppin (unknown why he added another p to his name) and Chuck Wasserman.

    “Any differences in the two female characters?”

   Both were psychiatrists. There is no mention of Dr. Gayle (Morison) or the book in the two Roberts’ episodes seen. The relationship between Drake and the two remains much the same. Cop Lt. Walsh is played by Theodore von Eltz in all episodes.

   So what have we learned? For one, a major clue in the Producer credits.

   Searching Billboard (at Google books), the August 13, 1949 issue, regarding the Ed Wynn Show for CBS, there was this: “Harlan Thompson named yesterday (6) as show’s associate producer. Thompson is a former veepee of IMPRRO (sic) Inc with film and Broadway musical comedy production experience.”

   IMPPRO was still in production in 1952, but without Harlan Thompson. Herbert L. Strock was now President of the company.

   If IMPPRO, the copyright holder, was still active, why would DuMont need to film the final four episodes? If DuMont did film the final four (as is currently believed), why were the thirteen episodes shown on WENR-TV starting September 7, 1951 when DuMont did not air Eddie Drake until March 6, 1952? If filmed in 1951, why is Harlan Thompson credited as producer when he left the company before August 1949?

   Now what do we know and what can we deduce?

   Billboard magazine from 1948 reported five episodes of Eddie Drake were delivered to CBS, with four more in editing. The filming of the final four episodes was scheduled for November 17, 1948.

   Suddenly, Patricia Morison was offered the lead in Broadway play Kiss Me, Kate. She is gone. Deduction: This is why IMPPRO had to recast the part for the final four episodes to complete the order CBS had paid $300,000 for.

   Current belief says CBS tossed the nine and never aired them. Why? $300,000 in 1948 is a great deal of money to just toss away. And why copyright the episodes in 1948?

   If so many confirmed clues point to the final four being filmed in 1948-49, why are those episodes copyrighted 1951?

   How the Sherlock Holmes do I know? But I can guess.

   The improved look of the series probably came from a sudden increase in the budget. Where did IMPPRO get the money?

   During the delay to recast, did CBS TV Film Sales copyright and shop the nine episodes around? Was the early sales of the first nine episodes where IMPPRO got the money to increase the budget?

   But if the Roberts’ episodes were filmed in 1948-49, why weren’t they copyrighted then?

   Deduction: something went wrong. Perhaps the sales were not good enough for CBS, so it didn’t bother to copyright the final four and shelved the entire series.

   Until 1951 when there was a growing demand for TV Film syndicated series. CBS dusted off Cases of Eddie Drake, copyrighted the Roberts’ episodes, and sold them in syndication.

   I remain convinced Eddie was on the air somewhere in 1949, but until I can prove it:

THE CASES OF EDDIE DRAKE (Syndicated) 1951. Created and written by Jason James. With additional dialog for few episodes by Robert Lehman. Produced by Harlan Thompson and Herbert L. Strock. Directed by Paul Garrison.