Monday, October 22, 2018

Episode 56! Good bye, Ellery

Good bye, Ellery and Mr. Queen. Until we meet again...

Green Hornet! (More or less.)
Bourbon Street Beat
Ellery Queen

Please, listen and enjoy.





  1. More or less in order:

    - Green Hornet/Batman:
    Do you ever take the time to read the closing credits?
    On Batman, Charles Hoffman's official title was Script Editor.
    Job titles in TV can mean whatever the holders want them to mean, but on Batman Hoffman was essentially the head writer; all scripts passed through his hands (and frequently his typewriter, whether he took a credit or not).

    In days gone by, Charles Hoffman was the producer of Bourbon Street Beat, working informally under Howie Horwitz (who basically ran all the Warner Bros detective shows); When Bill Dozier was putting Batman together, he hired Horwitz as showrunner, who in his turn brought over as many old WB hands as he could - including Hoffman.
    As to GH, Richard Bluel came from that same stable, as did many of the writers and directors - and at some level, the style of the overall series.

    A couple of books I've recently read have shed some light on this crossover, to wit:
    - Apparently, the GH/B show went on the boards after the Hornet season had already been locked in.
    For ABC, it was a "Hail Mary"; they'd already decided to cut back on Batman, and Hornet was "on the bubble".
    GH had already changed producers, and Dozier had just seen his latest effort to convert Hornet into an hour show get shot down by the network suits.
    Dozier, Horwitz, and Hoffman were all veterans of the biz, going back many years; all of them knew "handwriting on the wall" when they saw it, which is why this particular "Hail Mary" wasn't so full of grace …
    - I am a little bewildered at your having left out the one thing that the GH/B crossover is mainly remembered for today - namely, the Window Cameo by Edward G. Robinson (arguably the biggest name Batman got for that gig).
    Please don't tell me that you didn't recognize Edward G. - you can't possibly be that young.
    By the way, do you know how those window bits were set up?
    Many of the folks who did them likened the experience to being in a coffin; Edward G. Robinson was almost 70 when he did his, so you can imagine how he must have felt.
    Anyhoo, you've only got two more stories to go (I'm counting the final two-parter as one story), and the flailing should be painfully obvious.
    Really, I wouldn't blame you and Kiki if you wanted to bail early - but due diligence must have its way, I guess …

    Back in a bit with Bourbon Street Beat (I gotta re-watch the show and re-listen to the 'cast).



    1. Picking up with Bourbon Street Beat (and your observations thereof):

      Since BSB is by far the oldest series you've dealt with here, you should be aware of the slightly different rules that maintained circa 1959.
      When Leonard Goldenson and the Paramount Theatre chain took over ABC, the stated intention was to get major Hollywood studios to start making film product for the network.
      Goldenson scored two major 'gets' right out of the gate: Walt Disney (by putting up a pile of cash to build Disneyland) and Warner Bros (by convincing Jack Warner that he'd make a pile of dough by keeping his factory in constant production).
      By '59-'60, Warners was supplying roughly one-third of ABC's prime-time schedule: westerns and detectives mainly, with the occasional off-trailer.
      Much of the talent, on and off camera, came from the studio contract lists.
      At Warners, as with the other majors, contract actors were being groomed to be all-rounders; they were kept working at anything that came up, at all levels.
      Thus, if Adam West, then at an early stage of his career, was asked (?) to go to a soundstage and loop a line or two for another actor who happened not to be available, he did it; part of the contract.
      In return, West would be considered "dependable", which would often result in better on-camera parts down the line.
      During the early seasons of 77 Sunset Strip, Adam West made several notable appearances: in one of them, "Thanks For Tomorrow", he was a slightly shady leading man for a still-middle-nameless Mary Moore (this would have aired a few weeks before the BSB episode).
      Gotta read those credit crawls …

      My own "collector" set of BSBeat is missing the next two episodes on the main list; do you have them?
      These would be "Portrait of Lenore" and "Kill With Kindness".
      The next in order would be "Inside Man", which is one that I really want to hear your reactions to, and if I have to wait a whole month for it …

      … And when are you going to play the entire Bourbon Street Beat theme song?
      I mean, it's on every episode; are you really going to make us wait a whole year?
      Think about it …

    2. One day... oh one day, I will play the whole theme.

  2. Just re-listened to the Ellery Queen segment:

    Dana Wynter (note spelling) pronounced her first name as DAH-na (in an interview she said that she considered DAY-na to be a male name, like Dana Andrews; anyway, her real first name was Dagmar, but that's another story …).
    Once again, the casting pecking order surprised me; logically, R.G. Armstrong (the mechanic) should have come first in alphabetical order, but no go.
    If I didn't make it clear earlier, I'm fairly sure that NBC did not demand that EQ be updated to the then-present.
    Levinson & Link were on record that what the network suits wanted was "... to get out of the camp business and go harder …", which L&L (and Peter Fischer) took to mean more "action/violence" - which might have meant a "noir" approach (that term wasn't in use then, but I think you get the idea).
    All of that was up in the air, when the Bonos (Bonae?) and CBS staged their domestic stunt, so we'll never really know, will we?

  3. After spending much of this morning trying to find the right place to put this, so I'm taking the short cut:

    Mr. & Mrs. Budnic:
    Remember "The Blunt Instrument"? - and Eva Gabor's performance therein?
    This was Eva's third appearance on an Ellery Queen TV show.
    Not this particular EQ show …

    Back in 1951, the Dumont Network was doing a live series from New York, Kaiser-Frazer Adventures In Mystery: The Adventures Of Ellery Queen, starring Lee Bowman and Florenz Ames.
    One half-hour episode was titled "The Twilight Zone" - and one of its cast members was a very young Eva Gabor.
    Very few of these live shows were saved on kinescope; this episode was one of the lost ones.

    Fast forward to 1958:
    NBC launched a new series, live and in color - The Further Adventures Of Ellery Queen, starring George Nader and Les Tremayne.
    One of these live shows was "So Rich, So Lovely, So Dead" - and in the cast was Eva Gabor.
    NBC didn't bother to save a kinescope of this one either - in fact, this whole EQ series is considered permanently lost (unless some middle-management drone at NBC stole a print).

    As a lifelong fan of Ellery Queen in all media, this has been a perpetual source of frustration, and will continue as such for whatever remains of my life, So There Too.

  4. Hello again …
    Because I can't get the comment tech on Soundcloud to work properly, I have to put my comment about your newly-minted minisode here.

    Future Cop:
    As it happens, I've got the Mill Creek DVD set here in the Old DVD Wall.
    The hour-and-a-half pilot.
    Six one-hours (including a two-parter smooshed together).
    … And a two-hour TV movie that was made for NBC a year after ABC dropped the series: The Cops And Robin.
    The major difference in NBC's version is that the Asian lady scientist has transformed into Carol Lynley.
    Also noted: the director of Cops And Robin was Allen Reisner, who directed about a third of the Green Hornet episodes.
    (Oh, and if his name comes up, his name is pronounced RISE-ner.)

    As to why this series was short-lived:
    It was most likely due to the massive plaigiarism suit that Harlan Ellison brought against Paramount (in partnership with another writer named Ben Bova).
    If you're interested, Ellison wrote the whole story up in Brain Movies: Volume 4, part of his collection of his movie and TV scripts.

    As you might infer, short, shorter, and unsold series make up a large part of my DVD Wall; I'm getting new(?) ones all the time.
    Just in case you're, you know, interested