The Great Detectives of Old Time Radio The great ones are back in action.

11Mar/150

EP1517: Philip Marlowe: The Fatted Calf

Gerald Mohr
Marlowe is hired by a cartoonist  who is concerned about his assistant's wife's unusual behavior.

Original Air Date: September 24, 1949

Support the show.

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Reader
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
10Mar/150

EP1516: Crime and Peter Chambers: The Stockbroker’s Daughter

Dane Clark
Pete is hired to deliver a letter to a wealthy man's future son-in-law.

Original Air Date: August 24, 1954

Support the show.

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Reader
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
9Mar/150

EP1515: The Saint: The Dame on the Doorstep

Vincent Price

A woman who is a afraid a gangster returning to the U.S. will harm her asks the Saint for help.

Original Air Date: November 12, 1950

Support the show

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Reader
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
8Mar/150

Video Theater 062: An Error in Chemistry

A carnie marries the daughter of an old man with $75,000 in property. Soon after the wedding, he calmly calls the police to confess to murdering her.

Season 1, Episode 7 (December 2, 1954)

From a story by Nobel Prize winning author William Faulkner that originally appeared in Ellery Queen Magazine in 1946.

1955 Academy Award Winner and Golden Globe Winner Edmond O'Brien stars as Joel Flint with Lon Chaney, Jr. as Old Man Pritchel, and Douglas Kennedy as Uncle Gavin.

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Reader
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
Tagged as: , No Comments
7Mar/150

EP1514: Dragnet: The Big Grifter

Jack Webb

Friday and Romero hunt for a conman with a record going back to World War I.

Original Air Date: February 23, 1950

Support the listener support campaign.

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Reader
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
7Mar/150

Telefilm Review: Columbo: A Stitch in Crime

Peter Falk and Leonard Nimoy
Originally, this week was slated to feature a review of the radio series, I Was a Communist for the FBI.  However due to the passing of Leonard Nimoy, I've opted for something a little different my radio of the radio version of I Was a Communist for the FBI appears next week. 

Leonard Nimoy recently passed away. He's best known for playing the role of Mr. Spock. He played the character in Eighty Episodes of the original 1960s TV series, eight movies, a guest appearance on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and he voiced the character in twenty-two episodes of the animated series.

Yet, Nimoy's sixty year career was more than sixty year as actor, director, producer, and writer went far beyond a single role. As an actor, he was among the best of his time.

This is well-illustrated in the 1973 Telefilm, A Stitch in Crime in which Nimoy plays Doctor  Barry Mayfield, an ambitious heart surgeons who is partnered with an older doctor (Will Geer) in a research project. He performs surgery on his partner but Nurse Sharon Martin (Anne Francis) becomes suspicious and makes some calls and plans to discuss her concern. Before she can, Doctor Mayfield murders her in the Hospital parking lot.

There's so much that makes the film work. The music is great and at no time is it better than in the murder scene, as it adds to the suspense. Hy Averback's directing is flawless with him taking advantage of every minute of the 70+ minute screen time.

The supporting cast is among the best Columbo ever had. Golden Globe actress Anne Francis was a great  choice to play Sharon Martin, as the character was someone we really sympathized with which isn't always the case with Columbo victims.  And to add to our sense of sympathy, Doctor Mayfield's partner Doctor Hidemann is played by none other than the actor who played Grandpa Walton.

The story also had a bit of mystery as to what Mayfield's endgame was. We had a sense early on based on Nurse Martin's reaction that it was something sinister involving Doctor Hidemann but we don't learn what until the final fifteen minutes.

However, the key strength of Columbo is the interaction between the detective and the murderer.  There's a rhythm to it much like a dance and that dance was never more perfectly executed than in A Stitch in Crime. 

Columbo begins as usual with friendliness and a bit of a comic and sloppy presence, perhaps even more so as he's eating at the crime scene and has a cold. Doctor Mayfield is similarly polite and helpful, at one point helping Columbo with his cold and writing him a prescription for medicine. I once thought this was a goof as what Doctor writes a prescription to someone they didn't formally examine and whose history they don't know? Now, I tend to think of it as a sign of arrogance.

And arrogance defines Mayfield as a character. Nimoy's portrayal combines that with the cool headedness of a surgeon and Mayfield easily becomes one of Columbo's most sinister opponents.  Only one Columbo killer looked more sinister than Nimoy did in the moment before Sharon Martin was killed. (Rip Torn in "Death Hits the Jackpot") and his coolness throughout makes him more intimidating.

Mayfield's arrogance leads him to taunt Columbo. When Columbo is barely hinting that Mayfield may have planted evidence that points to Martin's death being drug-related, Mayfield demands to know what motivate he would have. Columbo responds, "You ask tough questions, sir." Mayfield flashed a grin. "So do juries."

Ultimately, when Columbo learns Doctor Hidemann's life is at risk, he confronts Mayfield and when Mayfield begins laughing at him, Columbo has one of his few bursts of anger as he slams a carafe of water down and accuses Mayfield of murder.

The only thing that surpasses that moment is the end of the episode. It's more typical for Columbo to spend several minutes exposing the murderer in grand style.   However in A Stitch in Crime,  Columbo nearly failed. Columbo's final gambit appears to fail and he concedes to Mayfield and walks away. The surgeon showing signs of relief. It appears the murderer has won until the final minute when Columbo returns and we find that Mayfield's calm demeanor proved to be his undoing.

The ending is a great payoff for what I think is Columbo's greatest episode. It was an episode that knew when to follow the formula the series was already becoming famous for and when to diverge. It featured two fine actors who were used to their full potential to create an episode that stands out even in a series that was full of great episodes.

Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0

If you enjoyed this post, you can have new posts about Detective stories and the golden age of radio and television delivered automatically to your Kindle.

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Reader
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
6Mar/150

EP1513: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Alkali Mike Matter

Bob Bailey

Johnny's old friend Meg O'Malley is accused of murdering her wealthy employer.

Original Air Date: November 10, 1957

Support the listener support campaign.

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Reader
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
5Mar/150

EP1512: Nick Carter: The Case of the Perfect Alibi

Lon Clark

A man hires Nick to be his alibi because he fears a man he'll be murdered and he'll be charged. When the man is charged, Nick is convinced he's guilty.

Original Air Date: October 19 1947

Support the listener support campaign.

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Reader
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
4Mar/150

EP1511: Philip Marlowe: The Baton Sinister

Gerald Mohr

Marlowe is hired to delivery a tapestry. He's beaten up and the tapestry is stolen.

Original Air Date: September 17,  1949

Support the listener support campaign.

 

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Reader
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
3Mar/150

EP1510: Crime and Peter Chambers: The School Teacher and the Professor

Dane Clark
A school teacher hires Pete to investigate the murder of a professor's wife.

Original Air Date: August 17, 1954

Support the listener support campaign.

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Reader
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg

Subscribers

Pages

Friends of the Show

GAR Links

Great OTR LInks

Other Old Time Radio Shows

April 2015
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Tags

Categories

Archives