ELLERY QUEEN 1975-76 b a c k
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Part 2: 1976 Episodes (Part 1)
llery QueenIn his article "Confessions of a Mystery Writer" (William Link, 2002) Link says: "Thinking back, the Queen series was too complicated for its own good. I remember spending an entire afternoon with Dick trying to figure how keys on a keychain would fall into what configuration in one's pocket when placed there." And also "Our failure with Ellery Queen was our template. We deliberately made the clues on 'Murder She Wrote' easier to decipher, including a very guessable murderer now and then. Part of our psychology was to reward the focused viewers because they might then be motivated to return the following week. Another unexpressed reason was that it was far easier to come up with facile clues than sweating bullets over keys in a pocket. I remember we did solve the key problem, however. The upshot was that 'Murder She Wrote' thrived for 12 seasons, Ellery Queen less than one."
Ellery Queen moves to Sunday night bag and baggage
starting January 4. Doing their bit in making the move
are series stars Jim Hutton and David Wayne.
I swear to you, Ellery, if he tries to bust open my case I'll detain him on his own lousy broadcast.
Simon arrives at a restaurant where he will give a live-remote broadcast
of his show and reveal his results of a murder investigation. The Queens
arrive since the Inspector is
concerned that Simon's expected
revelations will undercut the
official investigation. Before
Simon can reveal his solution, a murder is committed in the restaurant.
One of the owners is
poisoned by a bottle of wine.
A prizefighter is killed while training for a Championship bout and when guilt points toward his sparring partner Joe Adams, Joe's girlfriend seeks out Ellery to prove his innocence. The autopsy discovers death due to poison, but who could have done it? Was it the fiancée that he abused? Her father, the fight doctor? The mobster who needed him to take a dive? His manager who was being muscled?
"Son, when it comes to women you'd better leave character analysis to your old man"
a formerly brilliant, now seemingly senile inventor is murdered in his
electric train workshop, the mystery is afoot. It seems no one could have
come in or gone out during the period of time when the murder must have
taken place. In order to gain admittance to the train room, one had to have a
"ticket". This narrows the suspects down to the victim's family and his business
One of the
more serious episodes of the series, and one of
the best. Can Ellery help the accused murderer of mobster
Nick Danello find
a missing witness to prove his innocence? Ellery feels obligated and
more emotionally involved than in other cases, as the defendant is his old
college buddy, Lin Hagen. But things don't seem to be adding up. The missing witness (a mysterious woman in a green dress) has left her fingerprints
nowhere in the apartment. And her description could match most of the women
in New York.
Guest star Sal Mineo was murdered on February
12, 1976, just 18 days after this episode first aired.
Ellery and his Dad investigate when wealthy industrialist
and former war profiteer George Sherman is stabbed to death with a Chinese
and then dragged out of the house and hung from a tree. The tree is
popularly known as a Judas tree, and a crown of flowers has been placed on
his head. Six sets of fingerprints, and plenty of motive to go around, leave
the Queens with much to sift through. And when they discover the victim was
dying of acute lymphoma, and had only months left to live, the plot thickens.
"I didn't know...I finessed him, Dad."
An interesting concept: the Queens go to Hollywood to watch
of an adaptation
of an Ellery Queen novel into a movie. The good Inspector
is just positive they'll be mixing with the glamorous Hollywood elite any
moment now, but it never seems to happen. At the studio, they meet the
fellow who will be playing Inspector Queen (Noah Beery
Jr.), as well as the star, Gilbert Mallory (Troy Donahue), who'll be
the "Ellery Queen" of the epic. Mallory is a real ass to
everyone on the set, from fellow actors to director, and proves himself to be
a philandering husband as well. So we aren't terribly shocked when he is
|19* "The Adventure of the Two-Faced Woman"
"Paperwork! Pretty soon you'll need a judge's permission to question a suspect. "
visiting Simon Brimmer's radio studios, Ellery gets a call telling him that socialite Lillian McGraw
has been stabbed. Learning of this, Simon shares with Ellery the events of the day,
which he was present as Mrs. McGraw purchased three hundred and fifty thousand dollars
worth of paintings at the Prescott Galleries. This affords the episode the luxury of a
series of flashbacks, as told through Brimmer, where we get to know the murder victim a bit
more than usual.
A popular songwriter is murdered during the musical interlude on a radio
interview show, and Ellery tries to clear a friend who has just publicly accused the
victim (a songwriter at a radio station) of stealing a hit tune from him.
A mobster who is to be the star witness for an ambitious
prosecutor is killed. Trouble is, Inspector Queen's office was in charge of guarding the
witness, who has yet to complete his testimony about organized crime. So the
crusading prosecutor goes after IQ's scalp. Before you know it, the finger of suspicion points to
Inspector Queen's right hand man, Sgt. Velie, whose
brother-in-law owns a restaurant that
mobster Benny Franks frequents. When things get publicly hot Inspector Queen is told he's
too old for the job and relies too much on his son. In fact, this time Dad spots the
crucial clue (although it's clear Ellery sees it first) and gets to do the final
"exposure of the killer" scene.
Directed by Richard Michaels
With: Stuart Whitman (Erwin Murphy), Michael V. Gazzo (Benny Franks), Timothy Carey (Jay Bonner), Bibi Besch (Edie Allen), Edward Albert (Lee Marx), Arch Johnson (Commissioner), Stanley Ralph (Ross Gabe), Kevin Tighe (Jim Millay), Jan Murray (Ralph Caesar).
"The plot is too complicated Mr.
Queen. Save it for one of your
James Bevin Long doesn't want
his company, Quick Silver Tobacco, to get to much
involved in this new medium: television. When Mr. Long makes one enemy too
many he gets stabbed in the back, whilst taking his
lunch alone in his office. Several people could have entered. The
pizza delivery boy is seemingly the last to have heard Long alive.
Ellery Queen is on the premises gathering some information for a new
novel (Can cigars be hollowed out to make some kind of weapon, e.g. a blow
"I know exactly what I
was doing five years ago. What?
time we match wits with Ellery
and his father in the investigation
of two murders. Upon returning from
Wrightsville, where Ellery finished his book and Inspector Queen managed to
catch one trout, they find a message from Hamilton Drew, a retired
detective who left the
force in 1938 at 65, and mentor of Richard.
The night before
Drew was setting a trap to uncover the true
killer in a five-year-old homicide case. He ends up
being murdered himself.
Drew had invited all those who were on board "The Lady A", the
which Stu Hendricks was murdered in 1942. Stu, president of a company,
was also being blackmailed for stealing plans
for the Madison Automatic rifle during WWII. Buck
Nolan, the pilot, was charged with both murder and blackmail, but only the
charges for blackmail stuck... Ellery
finds that the key to the second murder lies in the solution to the first case.
According to Fred Dannay the series drew as many as
twenty million viewers per week. Unfortunately, the networks did not consider
such numbers sufficient, and Ellery Queen
was taken of the air after a single season.
Last updated October 23, 2016
b a c k