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The Adventures of Ellery Queen                            t e r u g
     
(Mystery Is My Business)

1954 Advert from "Fortnight Magazine" California - "The Adventures Of Ellery Queen" with Hugh Marlowe, Tuesday at 9:00 PM, KCOP Lucky Channel 13.Syndicated (Norvin/Arrow), 1954-1956
for Television Programs of America, Inc. (TPA)
for First-Run Syndication
Directors: Charles F. Haas, Gerald Mayer, Ray Nazarro, Harold D. Schuster
Leon Fromkess (Executive Producer)
black & white, 30 min
Theme: Ray Carter (pseudonym for Maurice Krumbein)
Cast: Hugh Marlowe (Ellery), Florenz Ames (Inspector Queen), Charlotte Keane (Nikki Porter)

Above right: 1954 Advert from Fortnight Magazine California - The Adventures Of Ellery Queen with Hugh Marlowe, Tuesday at 9:00 PM, KCOP Lucky Channel 13

 

The portrayals were given a certain degree of authenticity since Ames was familiar with his role and both Charlotte Keane and Hugh Marlowe had played their role on radio. Furthermore both actors came physically close to the image of the characters described in the books. The production values of this syndicated version were nil and the storylines poor. 32 episodes were filmed. In 1954 actor John Ireland sued the Young and Rubicam Add agency for dropping him for the lead for this series. Ireland eventually received an out-of-court settlement. Supposedly this proofed that actors who were labeled political nonconformist were banned from work.

Viewers and critics weren't mild for this series. As one critic put it: "Apart from that occasional touch and the fact that two of the characters bear the same names, there is no significant resemblance between the original stories and the TV series. They might as well build a situation comedy around the character named Hamlet and sit back and wait for the Shakespeare fans to crowd around." (Bob Blackburn - Ottowa Citizen, June 22. 1956)

Some of the music used was also heard on the TVs-series for The Adventures of Superman.

The title was changed to Mystery Is My Business when rerun in 1956. 

'Ellery' Release May 1
Off the nine properties, five are already in production (three are in release). “
Ellery Queen,” of which the first 13 are complete, goes into syndication May 1,
                                        (Variety, Wednesday April 7, 1954)


Television Programs of America’s newest entry in the vidpix sweepstakes (and, incidentally, the first new series it’s bringing out other than the shooting of Edward Arnold as host of the “Your Star Showcase” series) shapes as good standard nighttime programming fare that should have little trouble finding sponsors on a regional and local level. The Ellery Queen tie-in makes the property a familiar one, and it’s well-timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the mysterioso books. A good production job and the multi - faceted cross plugging that it should evoke makes the series a good programming and sponsorship bet. There’s not likely to he anything spectacular about the series. Film caught showed close attention to production details, good acting and direction and a standard story that eschewed violence in favor of the trick solution. Hugh Marlowe and Florenz Ames are well cast as Queen and his inspector father; rest of the cast in segment caught is excellent and if thespian standard is maintained, series should be among the top on that score. Ditto direction of Harold Schuster. If there’s any complaint against the series, it’s going to be that it isn’t different enough from the rest of the mysterioso field. True enough, the type of crime portrayed and type of story line isn’t going to be too different, but the series has two distinct characters in Marlowe and Ames, and they should prove sufficient to give the series a stamp of individuality.  Chan.
                            
                                                                          (Variety, Wednesday April 21, 1954)


'ELLERY QUEEN' PROMOTION TELEVISION PROGRAMS of America, N. Y., is promoting its Ellery Queen film series by means of Ellery Queen paper-bound fiction books. Sealy Mattress Co., which sponsors the show in Baltimore and Washington, and the Lee Optical Co., advertiser in Dallas, have purchased 11,000 copies of the books for distribution to customers using Sealy's 200 retail outlets and Lee's three stores. Customers may select one of 20 different "Queen" books, which contain a letter inviting the recipient to view the series and giving appropriate information as to time, day and station.
                                             (Broadcasting, November 1. 1954)

 

The list of episodes with description and the first New York telecast date (followed by the production order §).

 

1*

"Stranger in the Dark"
10/02/55 (§27)
Other airdates: Dec 11, 1954
based on an episode of ABC's tv-series The Adventures of Ellery Queen "A Touch of Death"
10/22/52
Scripted by Betty Loring &  Jerry Sackheim
Director: Harold Schuster

A blind girl returns to her apartment too late to prevent her  roommate's murder but in time to brush her hand against the fleeing killer's face. Ellery devises a plan to bring the face and the hand together again.

ADVENTURES OF ELLERY QUEEN, "Stranger in the Dark."   WPIX, New York. 1/2 Hour. 9 P.M., EDT, October 2, 1955. On Film. For Carter Drugs.

In the person of Hugh Marlowe,
Ellery Queen comes to Television, and is plausible and effective. The subject is entertaining of its detective story genre. The story concerns the blind girl whose roommate is killed by an insane local delivery boy who is "recognized" escaping by the blind girl's hands on his face. His efforts to murder the blind girl are scotched just in time, of course, by Ellery, but it makes
for a taut, well-told tale, made more effective by virtue of good performances. Television Productions of America produced.
                            
(Motion Picture Daily, October 10, 1955)

2* "Mardi Gras" (4)
10/09/55 (§17)        
Other airdates: Aug 31, 1955 (4) ; Nov 26, 1955
With: Ivan Trisault

In New Orleans during Mardi Gras time, Ellery comes to the aid of a beautiful girl who is being blackmailed after supposedly murdering her lover's wife.

Florenz Ames (left) as Inspector Queen, and Hugh Marlowe as Ellery Queen in a tense moment from one of the thrilling episodes of Mystery is My Business. This episode is entitled "Mardi Gras".
Above: Florenz Ames (left) as Inspector Queen, and Hugh Marlowe as Ellery Queen in a tense moment from one of the thrilling episodes of Mystery is My Business. This episode is entitled "Mardi Gras".
3* "The Golden Snow"
10/16/55 (§29)
Other airdates: Aug 7, 1955  (4)

During World War II in Italy, two soldiers come upon a wrecked medical supply truck and bury a shipment of morphine they find inside, planning to come back after the war and smuggle the drugs out of Italy. Ellery becomes involved when their attempt to retrieve the morphine leads to murder.
4* "The Trigger Man"
10/23/55 (§16)
 Other airdates: Aug 7, 1955

Ellery and Inspector Queen are called upon to break up a kickback racket operating in the produce market.
5* "The Girl Friend"  (5)
10/30/55 (§13)
Other airdates: Jun 13, 1955

The young wife of a minister goes to Ellery for help after an anonymous donor gives $ 10,000 to her church and her kid brothers is beaten by an unknown assailant. It appears her ex-husband, a convict, came back to terrorize his ex-wife.

Note : aka "The Moll" (12),  cross referencing the plot descriptions with various sources seems to indicate that the episode called "The Moll" was actually 14*
6* "A Fatal Signal"
          aka "The Fatal Signal
"
11/06/55 (§30)
Other airdates: Oct 1, 1955
Directed by: Ray Nazarro

A fire extinguisher is Ellery's clue to the solution when the much-hated pitcher of a baseball team is found dead at the team's Florida training camp, apparently from natural causes.
7* "Memoirs Unwritten"
11/12/55 (§32)
Other airdates: Sep 28, 1956

A concert pianist - the romantic idol of many women - is murdered in his lavish hotel suite. Evidence points to several suspects.
Ellery is confused when a lonely middle-aged widow confesses to a murder of the famed concert pianist.  He saves the widow from being killed by the real murderer.
8* "Woman on the Wire"
11/20/55 (§23)
with Joan Banks, Ivan Trisault, Gloria Talbott, Craig Hill, Edit Angold.
Original Story by: Irving Pincus
Teleplay by Jerry Sackheim and Ellis Marcus
Production Supervised by Leon Fromkess
Directed by Harry Keller

Associate Producer: Rudolph Flothow
Director of Photography: William Whitley
Film Editor: Dwight Caldwell
Sound Editor: John Bushelman
Sound: Dean Thomas
Art Director:Perry Ferguson
Story Editor: Jerry Sackheim
Production Assistant: Milton Trager
Set Decorator: Herman Schoenbrun
Property Master: George Bahr
Assistant Director: Stanley Neufeld
Gowns by Ohrbach's
Ellery Queen's Wardrobe customized by Hickery Freeman

Ellery probes the love and hate relationships that led to the death of a member of a high wire act involving two men and two women. The pocket of a blouse is the clue Ellery follows to prove that the death of a trapeze artist was murder and to trap the murderer.

Rerun: "Woman on the Wire" - Jan 2021 shortly available on YouTube
Above: Screen capture from the rerun: "Woman on the Wire"
- Jan 2021 shortly available on YouTube
9* "The Recluse"
11/27/55  (§11)
Other airdates: Nov 18, 1954
based on an episode of ABC's tv-series The Adventures of Ellery Queen "Companion to a Killer" 11/19/
52
scripted by
Irving Pincus and Betty Loring

A hotel bellhop murders the desk clerk and takes refuge in the room of a diabetic old woman. Ellery uses a lump of sugar as part of a plan to capture the murderer without endangering then hostage.
10* "One Week to Live"
12/04/55 (§19)
Other airdates: Dec 9, 1954; Dec 4, 1955 based on an episode of ABC's tv-series The Adventures of Ellery Queen
2/3/52
Scripted by
John C.Gibbs.
Director: Roy Kellino
With (7) :Eve Miller, Alan Mowbray, Ralph Dumke and Kurt Katch


A bereaved widow is visited by a stranger who demands that she share with him the insurance proceeds on her late husband's life. She goes to Ellery for help and he decides to investigate the stranger's racket.

The episode was filmed (as pilot) at the Hal Roach studios (7)
11* "Close-up of Murder"
12/11/55 (§7)
Other airdates:
Oct 23, 1954; Dec 16, 1954; Jul 1, 1955
based on an episode of ABC's tv-series The Adventures of Ellery Queen 10/29/52  
With Willard Parker, Nancy Gates, Jacqueline De Wit
Teleplay by Jerry Gruskin and Henry Misrock
Production Supervised by Leon Fromkess
Directed by Harold Schuster

Associate Producer: Rudolph Flothow
Director of Photography: William Whitley
Film Editor: Dwight Caldwell
Sound Editor: John Bushelman
Sound: Dean Thomas
Art Director:Perry Ferguson
Story Editor: Jerry Sackheim
Production Assistant: Milton Trager
Assistant Director: Stanley Neufeld
Gowns by Ohrbach's
Ellery Queen's Wardrobe customized by Hickery Freeman

Ellery becomes involved when the wife of a Hollywood producer is murdered after the producer receives threatening letters - which the police think he sent to himself. With the solution almost in his grasp, Ellery finds Cupid has intervened, and not only does he have to find a murderer but he also has to deal with the thorny problems of love.

("Close-up of Murder" - Jan 2021 shortly available on YouTube
Above: Screen capture from "Close-up of Murder"
- Jan 2021 shortly available on YouTube
12* "Design for Revenge"
12/18/55 (§28)

A former district attorney, just released from a mental institution, decides to take revenge on Ellery Queen for an imagined wrong that had caused him to lose his job by committing a series of  baffling crimes that Queen cannot solve, and so ruin his professional reputation. Ellery is helpless as he tries to track down almost meaningless clues, when a twist of fate steps in that will either solve the mysteries, or complete his downfall.
13* "The Mask of Rosselli"
12/25/55 (§14)
Other airdates: Dec 25, 1955
based on an episode of ABC's tv-series The Adventures of Ellery Queen "The Two-Faced-Man" 10/15/
52
Writer:
Dwight V. Babcock
Directed by Ray Nazarro
With: Ernest Borgnine (Luigi) (5) , Barbara Woodell

Ellery is baffled when an American doctor is kidnapped in Rome only to be identified a few weeks later as a dangerous masked murderer. It looks as though no crime has been committed - but Ellery counts on one little error to reveal the whole story.
14* "The Moll" (6)
    
aka "Mr. Big
"
Other airdates: Jan 19, 1955
01/01/56 (§31) 
based on an episode of ABC's tv-series The Adventures of Ellery Queen 2/10/
52
Scripted by
Betty Loring
Directed by: Ray Nazarro

Ellery suspects that the suicide death of a smalltime gangster is connected with the operations of the underworld's Mr. Big. Ellery's investigations take him to the victim of a double-cross, to a murderer and finally, face to face with Mr. Big.
15* "Custom Made"
01/08/56 (§2)
Other airdates: Oct 7, 1954
based on an episode of ABC's tv-series The Adventures of Ellery Queen 10/08/
52 scripted by
Raphael Hayes and Helene Hanff
Directed by Harry Keller
With: Jalma Lewis (Dorothy Smith), Joey Pay (Larry Hacket), Melville Cooper (Jason Beckworth)

When his date receives the wrong dress, Ellery offers to return it to the shop. He finds a dead man when he goes to collect a dress for a friend. His only clue to the murder is a missing brooch.
16* "Woman in the Chair"
01/15/56 (§15)
Other airdates: Oct 14, 1954 and Oct 21, 1954
Directed by Harold Schuster
With: Sherry Jackson

A little girl discovers the body of an unidentified woman in the home of a famous Hollywood actor. Ellery and the little girl help the actor to prove his innocence.
This photo probably was a promotional shot (for TV Guide or a similar trade magazine) for the old Ellery Queen TV series from the 1950’s made by TPA. The tag on the back of the very shapely model reads "Ellery Queen Couldn’t Pin Anything On Us. See Queen on 13 Tuesday, 9 PM."
This photo probably was a promotional shot (for TV Guide or a similar trade magazine) for the old
Ellery Queen TV series from the 1950’s made by TPA. The tag on the back of the very shapely model reads "Ellery Queen Couldn’t Pin Anything On Us. See Queen on 13 Tuesday, 9 PM."

17*

"A Letter from the Dead"
01/22/56 (§9)

An accountant for a racketeer decides to leave the gang and live on money he would obtain through blackmail. It is a race for time as Ellery Queen, in his attempt to break up the racketeering syndicate, ties to get evidence from the accountant before a violent death protects the criminals from detection.

18* "Doodle of Death"
01/29/56 (§12)
Other airdates: Oct 28, 1954
based on an episode of ABC's tv-series The Adventures of Ellery Queen 
4/23/52  
Scripted by
Betty Loring

Penciled doodles help Ellery connect the theft of a ruby from a jewelry store and the death of a woman at an employment agency
19* "The Fix"
02/05/56 (§21)
Other airdates: Oct 27, 1956
Directed by Harold Schuster

When a college championship basketball game is lost, circumstances indicate that the star of the losing game was in on a fix. Ellery tries to uncover what really happened.
20* "Once a Killer"
02/12/56 (§10)
With Lynn Roberts, Jess Barker, Nacho Galindo
Teleplay by Henry Misrock
Production Supervised by Leon Fromkess
Directed by Harold Schuster

Associate Producer: Rudolph Flothow
Director of Photography: William Whitley
Film Editor: Dwight Caldwell
Sound Editor: John Bushelman
Sound: Dean Thomas
Art Director:Perry Ferguson
Story Editor: Jerry Sackheim
Production Assistant: Milton Trager
Assistant Director: Stanley Neufeld
Gowns by Ohrbach's
Ellery Queen's Wardrobe customized by Hickery Freeman

Ellery and his Dad are vacationing in Acapulco. Mystery immediately happens when Ellery and his Dad hear a bloodcurdling scream coming from the woods!
They discover the dead body of a gorgeous redhead. Ellery's dad recalls meeting a  man in the hotel bar before somewhere. It turns out the man who is on a honeymoon with his charming wife was once an infamous attempted killer! Could he be the killer? And what's the motive?

"Once a Killer" - Jan 2021 shortly available on YouTube
Above: Screen capture from "Once a Killer" -
- Jan 2021 shortly available on YouTube
21*  Charlotte Keane, who already had played the role of Nikki in the Ellery Queen radio series 1946-47"The White Orchid"
          aka "The Orchid
"
02/19/56 (§26)
Directed by Harold Schuster
Other airdates: Nov 25, 1954 and Dec 28, 1955


Ellery is baffled by the mid-winter deaths of three people from sleeping sickness, a tropical disease carried only by the African tsetse fly. Ellery is called in, and thinks that a white orchid may hold the clue to the mystery.          

Right: Charlotte Keane, who already had played the role of Nikki in the Ellery Queen radio series 1946-47
22* "Death of a Wax Doll"
02/26/56 (§25)
Other airdates: May 25, 1955
based on an episode of ABC's tv-series The Adventures of Ellery Queen
5/7/52
Scripted by
Betty Loring
Directed by Charles Haas

A boy who unknowingly was a witness to a murder is trapped into visiting a wax museum to see the reenactment of the crime in wax. Ellery uncovers the plot and arrives in tome to capture the murderer and save the boy from death.
23* "Vicious Circle"
           aka "The Vicious Circle" (5)
03/04/56 (§18)
Other airdates:
Jun 24, 1954
With: Paul Langton (5)

Ellery tries to help a assistant district attorney who was fired from his job and disgraced because of his alleged association with a murderer.
24* "The Night Visitors"
03/11/56 (§24)
Other airdates: Jul 1, 1955
based on an episode ABC's tv-series The Adventures of Ellery Queen "The Man without Faces"
4/30/52
scripted
by Henry Misrock
With: Paula Raymond (Marga), Peter Van Eyck (Rudi Lange), Rudolph Anders ( Otto Kortmann), Richard Karlan (Willi), Henry Rowland (Heinz), John Banner (Buehler), Jack Clinton (Joe Bailey)

While traveling in Germany Ellery witnesses the beating of a young couple by a Neo-Nazi group wearing uniforms and masks. Ellery decides to expose it. He meets with no success  however until he meets an old innkeeper.
25* "Dark Corridor"
03/18/56 (§1)
Other airdates: Jul 22, 1955

Ellery goes to a quiet hospital to investigate the not-so-quiet murder of an orderly.
26* "Death in a Ghost Town"
03/25/56 (§6)
Other airdates: May 13, 1955 and Jul 6, 1955
based on an episode of ABC's tv-series The Adventures of Ellery Queen 11/01/
51
scripted by Arthur Orloff, & Henry Misrock
With: Lynn Thomas (as Terry Wilson), (Kurt Freidrichs), (Tex Martin), (Orville Dobson), (Frank Barstow), (Old Lady)

Ellery and his father find a body in a Western ghost town but it disappears before anyone else sees it. Ellery suspects that somewhere in the ghost town both the victim and the murderer are hiding.
27* "Double Exposure"
04/01/56 (§3)
Other airdates:
Jul 22, 1955
based on an episode of ABC's TV-series The Adventures of Ellery Queen 11/26/52
With K.T. Stevens, Margaret Sherman, Louis Jean Heydt, John Berardino, Jean Inness
Teleplay by Henry Misrock and Hugh King
Production Supervised by Leon Fromkess
Directed by Gerald Mayer

Associate Producer: Rudolph Flothow
Director of Photography: William Whitley
Film Editor: Dwight Caldwell
Sound Editor: John Bushelman
Sound: Dean Thomas
Art Director:Perry Ferguson
Story Editor: Jerry Sackheim
Dialogue Director: Rita Minton
Production Assistant: Milton Trager
Set Decorator: Herman Schoenbrun
Property Master: George Bahr
Assistant Director: Stanley Neufeld
Ellery Queen's Wardrobe customized by Hickery Freeman

A frightened father comes to Ellery for help when the kidnappers of his son warn him not to go to the police. Ellery compares two photographs and comes up with a clue.

Rerun: "Double Exposure" - Jan 2021 shortly available on YouTube
Above: Screen capture from the rerun: "Double Exposure" - - Jan 2021 shortly available on YouTube
28* "Blackjack"
04/08/56 (§22)
Other airdates: Jan 27, 1955; Apr 21, 1955; May 19, 1955;  and Jul 20,1955
Directed by Gerald Mayer
With: Frances Rafferty  

While vacationing on a ranch in Nevada, Ellery witnesses a blackjack game that ends in murder. His problem is that too many suspects are eager to confess to the crime. They are a police officer who is also a friend of Inspector Queen; his wife who has lost all their savings at the gambling tables; and her uncle who has cheated at cards to help her win back the money.
29* "Backfire"
04/15/56 (§20)
Other airdates: Aug 29, 1956

A group of college girls on a geology excursion, at a lodge in the mountains, contrive to create a perfect crime. The detective decides to play along - until the joke backfires, and he discovers himself with a real corpse. An empty can of tobacco, the same kind the geology professor uses; a rock for murder weapon; and a quadrangle love affair involving the professor everything points to the latter as the killer. But Ellery uses him to trap the real murderer.

A televised scene from The Adventures of Ellery Queen. In the centre is Hugh Marlowe who plays the title role.
Above: A televised scene from The Adventures of Ellery Queen. In the centre is Hugh Marlowe who plays the title role.
30* "Comeback"
          aka
"The Last Payoff"
04/22/56 (§5)
Other airdates: Aug 3, 1955
Working title "The Last Pay-Off"
Scripted by  Jerry Sackheim & John C. Gibbs
Director: Ray Nazarro

This episode begins in a training gym. A fighter Danny Walsh is in danger of dying of a brain injury if he goes into the ring to meet the champion. This fact his manager does know, but two racketeers whom he owes 5000 dollars are forcing him to go through with the fight. Ellery tries to save the boxer's life. Ellery is captured and held before he can warn Danny. Later, boxing champion Joey Vinson is killed and Ellery investigates the murder.
31* "The Star of Kashmir"
04/29/56 (§8)
Other airdates: Feb 17, 1955  (4)

The theft of a valuable sapphire, the murder of a janitor, and the receipt by the police of an anonymous letter, exposing a diamond cutter as an ex-convict bring Ellery into the case.
32* "Mission of Murder"
          aka "Mission for Murder
"
05/06/56 (§4)
Script: Al C. Ward, Jerry Sackheim
Director:  Ray Nazarro
Other airdates: May 25 1955; Aug 17, 1955;
With: Brian Keith (Rails), Rhys Williams (Jackson),  Elisha Cook, Jr. (Matty), Viola Rye (Rose la Monge),  Richard Karlan (Alexis), Harry Shannon (Harve Miller)

An old Spanish good-luck coin that brings nothing but trouble to it's owner arouses the interest of Inspector Queen and Ellery. In an old mission on the water front they come face to face with brute violence and murder, and expose a black-market ring in their attempts to help "Matty" and his "good luck" coin.
            Add from "TV Guide" for May 25, 1957.
Above: Add from TV Guide for May 25, 1957: "STOP!! see Ellery Queen"


The series was also shown in Australia, where it played on ABN Channel 2 from 1956 to 1958.   


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References
(1) Ellery Queen on the Small Screen by Francis M.Nevins Jr.
     in The Armchair Detective volume 12, 1979
(2)
The Live Television of Ellery Queen by Francis M.Nevins Jr
     in
The Armchair Detective volume 17, 1984

(3) IMDb

(4) Geneva Times
(5) ABC Weekly
(6) TV Guide
(7) Ross Reports on Television
  Last updated June 6. 2021 

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