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The Adventures of Ellery Queen                            b a c k
                   
("A Kaiser-Frazer Adventure in Mystery")

Click on left and/or right sideLee Bowman Dumont, 14 Oct 1950-1951
ABC, 1951- Dec,1952

Producers: Norman and Irving Pincus
Directors: Donald Richardson, William Hart, Alex Cohen.
Scriptwriters: Helene Hanff, Reginald Denham,
Mary Orr,
Eugene Burr, ...
Composer "Ellery Queen Theme"(the same theme that was used on the last 2 Radio series): Chester ("Chet") Kingsbury.  Music Arranged by Ray Carter
Set designer: J.R. Lloyd
EQ: Richard Hart, Lee Bowman
Inspector Queen: Florenz Ames

Being broadcast at the beginning of TV, the series were allegedly broadcast live. Although ABC made recordings Richard Hartwhich somehow seem to have survived. At first Richard Hart, big and strapping and sporting an incongruous Errol Flynn moustache, was the star The Adventures of Ellery Queen also known as A Kaiser-Frazer Adventure in Mystery. This first series was aired live and was well done for a Dumont net program. Florenz Ames played his father, Inspector Richard Queen. The show appeared on the Dumont Network beginning in 1950 and each episode took 25 minutes. It was broadcast on Thursdays from 9:00 to 9:30 PM.
The program won the TV Guide Award for best television mystery of 1950 and it lasted until 1952. They kept about five writers busy via a rotation routine, due to the shortage of good actors that quintet is often forced to rewrite a script so a character will fit one of the "dependable six."
Some episodes were announced at the end of each episode, often titles were changed by the next week...
 
The first season consisted of 38 episodes.

 

Richard Hart, big and strapping and sporting an incongruous Errol Flynn moustache, was the star of "The Adventures of Ellery Queen" also known as "a Kaiser-Frazer Adventure in Mystery".

 

 

 

First Season

Starring Richard Hart

1* "The Bad Boy"
10/19/50
Adapted from the Queen radio play with the same name broadcast on July 30, 1939
Director: Donald Richardson
Writers: H.R. Hays, Henry Gilfond
With: Hilda Vaughn, Helen Wagner, Elliott Sullivan, Martin Brandt, Lester Mack, Sandy Kennedy (5)

Investigation by Ellery and his father of the poisoning of a hateful old matriarch in a rooming house.

Ellery Queen’s TV bow last Thursday (19) via WABD, N Y. and the DuMont net  was marked by good acting that overshadowed an unpleasant, mediocre story. For the series initialer, “The Case of the Bad Boy” emerged as a disturbing psychological study of three characters, none of whom excited audience sympathy.
Aunt Sarah, a miserly rooming house proprietor, Coveted her sister’s ill-behaved 10-year-old son. His widowed mother was a spineless woman who chose neither to train her offspring correctly nor challenge the boy’s dominating aunt. Into
this strained atmosphere came Ellery Queen and his inspector-father to probe an attempt upon the aunt’s life. In no time- at all the writer amateur criminologist perceived that the aunt earlier took some of her own arsenic by mistake and correctly traced her subsequent murder to a switch of dinner plates deftly executed by the boy. If the solution was obvious to the sleuth, it was even more obvious to viewers. Richard Hart was suave and thorough as Queen, while the bumbling inspector was competently portrayed by Florenz Ames. Thesping honors, however, were copped by Hilda Vaughn, as the aunt, who reveled in exhibiting the symptoms of arsenic poisoning. Supporting cast was also good, as was Donald Richardson’s direction. It’s fairly evident that the success of the EQ video version depends upon what original Queen story the adaptors choose for the visual medium. Plugs for Kaiser Frazer cars were relatively innocuous, with most of the pitch conveyed via film. - Gilb.
                                   (Variety, Wednesday October 25, 1950)
2*

"The Mad Tea Party"
10/26/50
Adapted from the short story collected in The Adventures of Ellery Queen (1934)
Director: Alex Siegel
Musical director: Ray Carter

With: Felicia Montealegre

At a house party a private performance of Alice in Wonderland triggers a series of mad doings.

Variety reported on May 3, 1950 that Norman and Irving Pincus were having a kinescope made that week of the "Adventures of Ellery Queen". The title of the kine show was "The Mad Tea Party".

3* "The Invisible Lover"
11/02/50
Script: Ethel Frank
Adapted from the short story collected in The Adventures of Ellery Queen (1934)

In a boarding house an artist who was romancing his landlord's daughter gets murdered
4* "The Long Count
             
aka "The Last Count"
11/09/50
Script: Richard Morrison

Apparently this was a boxing story, but no description or cast names are available.
5* "The Three Lame Men"
11/16/50
Script: Richard Morrison
Adapted from the short story collected in The Adventures of Ellery Queen (1934)
With: Elliott Sullivan

At first glance the case of the three cripples who kidnapped a banker an left the girlfriend to suffocate to death. Ellery and his dad look further...
6*

"The Human Weapon"
11/23/50
Script: Alvin Sapinsley
Likely adapted from the Queen radio play with the same name broadcast on April 1 and 3, 1943
With: Joan Wetmore, Richard Purday

Mr. Sykes has been placed in an insane asylum by his wife. He must be released today so that he can kill his wife...and he asks Ellery for help! Abel Sykes escapes from the asylum and does in fact murder his wife...or does he? 

Add from "TV Forecast" 1950Too often in those TV crime dramas these days, the producers are content to allow a name star to carry much too much of the acting burden. The supporting people are invariably strictly from the bottom of the files. With the scripts what they are, it doesn't add up to much. An exception last Thursday night (23),however, was "Ellery Queen" (DuMont), in which Richard Hart and Florenz Ames are the weekly regulars. Outstanding among the support were such performers as Joan Wetmore and Richard Purdy, especially the latter in a part that easily could have become a scenery-chewer. Purdy played a madman who escaped from an asylum and was on the loose to murder. The script was not all it might have been, nor for that matter did it call for Hart, as the titular detective character, to give forth the vitality that one associates with Ellery Queen; but it generally added up to interesting crime dramatics because of the casting. Norman and Irving Pincus are the producers, with Worthington Miner as production supervisor.
                             (Variety, Wednesday November 29, 1950) 

7* "The Crooked Man"
11/30/50
Script: Ethel Frank
Likely adapted from the Queen radio play with the same name broadcast on 03-12-47

A private eye is blackmailing culprits of crimes, many of them have committed suicide. Ellery sets a trap by framing himself for Nikki's  murder.
8* "The Blind Bullet"
12/07/50
Script: Blanche Gaines and Henry Misrock
Likely adapted from the Queen radio play with the same name broadcast on 06-30-40

A ruthless tycoon feels threatened as he received a precise minute and day of his death. The magnate turns to Ellery to protect him from this anonymous enemy
9* "Two Pieces of Silver"
12/14/50
Script: Ethel Frank
With: Hope Miller, Roger DeKoven
10* "The Hanging Acrobat"
        
      aka "
Carnival Acrobat"
              aka
"Carnival Killer" (?)
              or "
Murder at the Carnival" (?)
12/21/50
Repeated on 10/11/51
Donald Richardson (director), Gilbert Braun (adaptation),  Eugene Burr (script editor), Trew Hocker (settings), Ray Carter (music), Rex Marshall (announcer: uncredited).
With: Sono Osato (Louise), Kurt Katch (Hugo), Frank Tweddell (Sheriff), Ray Bramley (
Colonel Day), Don Kennedy (Tex)

Amy Muller, a carnival acrobat with too many boyfriends, is found strangled to death. The prime suspect is "Tex," but Ellery Queen soon discovers who really did it. 
 
("The Hanging Acrobat" - YouTube ComicWeb)
11* "The Star of India"
12/28/50
Script: Ethel Frank
With: George Reeves (4),  Margaret Hayes Swope (4)
Later adapted for an episode of (TPA) the Adventures of Ellery Queen   "The Star of Kashmir" broadcast on 04/29/56

Ellery tries to solve the theft of a valuable jewel and a connected murder.
The Adventures of Ellery Queen required 25 hours of going through lines and setting scenes. After only four months, less than a third of the way through the season, in January of 1951, Hart died of a heart attack during a rehearsal (January 2, 1951) and was replaced on 24 hours notice by Lee Bowman. older, suaver, and slimmer. Lee recalled "Hart died on a Tuesday and I did the show on Thursday. I had no idea of getting into a live series, but they offered it to me, and I stayed."

detail of a Henry J. add with Lee Bowman

 

 

 

 

Starring Lee Bowman

12* "The Survivor's Club"
1/04/51
Script: Ethel Frank
With: Jean Carson  
13* "Prescription for Treason"
1/11/51
Script: Robert Tallman 
14* "The House of Terror"
1/18/51
Script: Nancy Moore
With: Monica Boyar (2)
15*

"The Hollywood Murder Story" (2, 5)
             
aka  "Murder in Hollywood" (1)
1/25/51
With: Judith Evelyn (Alice Blythe), Dennis Hoey (Ronny Sinclair), Ronald Telfer (Coil Wagner),  Neil Harrison (Mrs.Jordan), Peter Chan (Mox)
adaptation: Ethel Frank, script editor: Eugene Burr, music: Ray Carter

Ellery goes to Hollywood to write a script for a  picture. "I had no idea  how to write a picture but the salary was excellent" Suffering from writers block he finds it easiest to solve a 20-year-old crime. An actor  was shot in his Malibu beach house. His wife actrice Alice Blythe and his mother-in-law and co-actor Ronny Sinclair are the suspects...

Survives on Kinescope (1) 

Kaiser-Frazer Dealers' "Adventures of Ellery Queen" via the DuMont net Thursday (25) had a fine cast which came up with equally fine performances.
But unfortunately the players' work in "Hollywood Murder Story" failed to off-set a clichéd script that was replete with telegraphed situations.  Adapted from one of the Queen originals by Ethel Frank, "Hollywood Murder" erred in letting the audience know the identity of the murderer midway in the script. Drama, from then on, gained its suspense from attempts of Queen himself, to find the culprit.
It's far more interesting to keep the viewer or reader guessing as to "whodunit" rather than have 'em speculate as to how the law will catch up to the villain.
Dialog was also sprinkled with such gems as "enough poison to kill a regiment..." etc.
Lee Bowman, who replaced the late Richard Hart as Queen several weeks ago, was suave and resourceful in the gumshoe role. Judith Evelyn was diabolically cunning as the killer, while Dennis Hoey turned in a masterful portrayal of a character actor whom Miss Evelyn blackmailed. Don Richardson's direction was good in this Norman and Irving Pincus production.
                             (Variety, Wednesday, January 31. 1951)
 

16* "The Man who Killed Cops"
Lee Bowman and Jean Carson in "The Man Who Killed Cops" (1951)2/ 1/51
Script: Henry Misrock
With:  Harry Bellaver, Jean Carson,  Matt Briggs, (...)

In New York's Lower East Side a Cop is killed and a man is beaten-up. A man called Joe Huckleberry is selling protection to storekeepers. One coffee shop is a frontend for a card room in the back. A lot of gambling is going on. When Louie takes Joe "to the cleaners" he gets murdered.

Above right: Lee Bowman and Jean Carson in "The Man Who Killed Cops"
(1951)

"The Man who killed Cops" - Jan 2021 shortly available on YouTube
("The Man who killed Cops" - Jan 2021 shortly available on YouTube)
17* "The Hanging Patient"
2/8/51  
Script: Ethel Frank
Lee Bowman was ill most of the rehearsal week, and almost missed the performance of the title role in “Ellery Queen” last week on DuMont. Up to performance night there was uncertainty as to whether Bowman could appear, though he had studied and knew the role before he became ill. Norman and Irving Pincus, who produce the show, had considered the possibility of his not being able to show, and hired John Newland to learn the role and rehearse in it, just in case. (Variety, Wednesday, February 14, 1951)
18* "The Jewel-Handled Knife"
2/15/51
Script: Henry Misrock 
With: Felicia Montealegre, Ted Hecht, Kurt Katch (2), Morton L. Stevens (5)
19* "The Falling Corpse"
2/22/51
Script: Ben Radin
With: Ruth Ford
 
20* 

Lee Bowman with Jean Carter (as Carole Brighton) in "The Adventure of the Strange Voyage". Jean Carter as Jean Carson became one of the future Andy Griffith Fun Girls."The Strange Voyage"
3/1/51
Script: Henry Misrock  
With:
Jean Carter  (Carole Brighton)


Story is about the search for some missing jewels, and a murder that takes place on a ship.

Above right: Lee Bowman with Jean Carter (as Carole Brighton) in "The Adventure of the Strange Voyage". Jean Carter as Jean Carson became one of the future "Andy Griffith Fun Girls".

21 "The Madcap Robbery" (1)
3/8/51
Script: Robert Tallman  
"The Chapeau Murder Mystery" (2)
3/8/51
With: Ferdi Hoffman
22 "The Man Hunt"
3/15/51
Script: Bob Patterson    
23 "Murder in the Museum"
3/22/51
Script: Russell Beggs  
With: Ruth Matteson
 
24*  "The Man who Enjoyed Death"
3/29/51
Script: Henry Misrock
With: Rex Marshall (Announcer) and John Newland (Boone)  
      

Charles Boone, district attorney, who's career ended when EQ proved that the accused couldn't have committed the crime, returns six months later  to take his revenge. 
 
("The Man Who Enjoyed Death" - YouTube ComicWeb Classic TV.) 
25*  "The Frightened Lady"
4/5/51
Script: Ben Radin
With: Jerome Cowan (2)
    
26*  "The Baseball Murder Story" (2)
              aka  "
The Baseball Murder Case" (1)
4/12/51
Script: Ben Radin    
Episode 4/19/51 apparently pre-empted episode 27 was rescheduled to the following week (2) 
27*  "Murder for Twelve Cents"
4/26/51
Script: Norman Lessing 
28*  "The Key to Murder"
5/3/51
Script: Henry Misrock    
With:
Donald Briggs, Don Ameche, Constance Dowling
29*  "Death Spins the Wheel" (2)
              aka  "Death takes a Spin"
              aka  "Death Spins a Wheel

5/10/51
Adaptation: Ethel Frank, script editor: Eugene Burr, music Ray Carter
With: Robert Harris (Phil Artel), Evelyn Ward (Janine Carr), James Vender (Leo) Howard Erskine (Bob Dawson), Lew Herbert (Longio), John Armstrong (Scott)

Last Summer a piano player in a gambling joint called "the Springs"
 was about to be killed. Bob supposedly committed suicide and was found clutching a counterfeit bill  in his hand. His fiancé doesn't seem to think Bob killed himself. Ellery goes undercover as  Eddie Quinto, piano player... 
 
("Death Spins The Wheel" - YouTube ComicWeb.) 
30*  "The Frame-up"(2)
5/17/51
Script: Norman Lessing
"Dissolve to Death" (1)
5/17/51
Script: Henry Misrock 
31*  "The Frame-up"
5/24/51
Script: Norman Lessing 
32*  "The Happiness Club"
5/31/51
Script: Henry Misrock based on a story by Evelyn Goodman 
33*  "The Chinese Mummer Mystery"
6/7/51
Script: Norman Lessing
With: Anne Marno
 
34*  "Murder in the Zoo"
6/14/51
Script: Ethel Frank
With: Joan Wetmore, Kurt Katch
 
35*  "Death in a Capsule"
6/21/51
Script: Henry Misrock

Ellery sets out to uncover a narcotics dealing ring. 
36*  "The Upright Man"
6/28/51
Script: Betty Loring
With: John Carradine
 
37*  "The Frightened Child"
7/05/51
Script: Henry Misrock  
38*  "The Ballet Murder"
7/12/51
Script: Helene Hanff based on story by Irving Pincus and Eugene Burr
With: Tamara Geva, Robert H.Harris.
 

Second Season...

References
(
1) The Live Television of Ellery Queen  by Francis M.Nevins Jr in
    
The Armchair Detective volume 17, 1984
)
(2) Brooklyn NY Daily Television and Radio Programs Newspaper, 1951
(3) IMDb
(4) Wikipedia
(5) Variety

Last updated February 20, 2021

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Introduction | Floor Plan | Q.B.I. | List of Suspects | Whodunit?  | Q.E.D. | Kill as directed | New | Copyright 

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