EDITORIAL

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What we don't know and you just might...      Audiofragments,... could you help out?      Missing articles, magazines,...      Missing books...      Unknown pictures...

Q.B.I. Covers added since April 2024: 2 better and 1 new covers. The latter corresponding with the red numbers in this list. Latest additions made on May 14. 2024:

 
Φόνος αυτοκτονία ή τι άλλο - cover Greek edition, Viper, 1976Las Nuevas Aventuras de Ellery Queen - cover Spanish edition, editions Diana, MexicoCat of Many Tails - cover American Mystery Classics edition,  August 6th, 2024X的悲剧 - cover Chinese edition, Shanghai Dook, September 2023The Devil to Pay - cover pocket book edition, Pocket Book edition N°270, Nov 1944 (2nd printing).Il rovescio della medaglia - cover Italian edition, 90 anni di Giallo Mondadori, Jan 2019Double, Double - cover Blue Book magazine from the 1950s, Hong Kong. It contained Ellery Queen's "Double, Double", (Universal Publishing Company started publishing Blue Book Magazine in Shanghai in 1946)Os Crimes de Eva - cover Portuguese edition, Colecção Policial de Bolso nº. 24, Edições de Bolso, Agência Internacional de Livraria e Publicações, Lisboa, 1967

Past additions to the site:
April 2022 - April 2023: 69 better and 131 new covers
April 2021 - April 2022: 284 better and 324 new covers
...
Order at Crippen and Landru by clicking here...
May 23. 2024 - April 18. 1999
Sergeant Thomas Velie made his entrance into the Queen-saga
with the words "What's up, Doyle?" in The Roman Hat Sergeant Velie as depicted by Frank Godwin for a "Redbook" edition of "The Chinese Murder Mystery".Mystery where he is introduced to us as a tall man in plain clothes. He is addressed by Inspector Queen in a rather fatherly way as "Thomas". While t
he faithful sergeant addresses Ellery as "maestro".
Velie aka
"the tall one with the sledgehammer hands and the rumbling voice.." still has (largely through the Hutton TV series) somewhat of a cult following.
According to one radio play "The Old Witch"
(02-26-42 or 02-28-42 - episode 75) Velie lived in an apartment and had one daughter!
Tom Reese  -- CLICK FOR MORE -- ...
Now ALL (!) of the 9 profiles of actors who played Sergeant Velie are updated... Read them by clicking on the photo of each individual actor on the "Other Character" page...
Tom Reese who played Velie in the unforgettable 1975-76 TV series Ellery Queen stands out (above left)...
Or click on a photo of one of the actors below... to read much much more...

Howard Smith  -- CLICK FOR MORE -- ...
Ted de Corsia  -- CLICK FOR MORE -- ...James Burke  -- CLICK FOR MORE -- ...Ed Latimer  -- CLICK FOR MORE -- ...
George Mathews  -- CLICK FOR MORE -- ...Alan Reed  -- CLICK FOR MORE -- ...Elliott Sullivan  -- CLICK FOR MORE -- ...Bill Zuckert  -- CLICK FOR MORE -- ...
April 21. 2024
The 25th (!) anniversary of the site is a fact. I've said this before, but I'm happy to repeat it: This site has given back to me as much as I've put into it! That says something.

Perhaps a word of thanks from me to everyone who took the time (who does that nowadays?) to contact us and make small or large contributions. Or simply to express some appreciation (who does that nowadays?).

Then there are the "Usual Suspects," or maybe I should say the West 87th Street Irregulars, with whom I am more frequently in contact. Ready to answer questions... about this niche topic. I want to specifically mention Dale C. Andrews here. What started in a conversation long ago on a blog... resulted in many enjoyable online and real-world contacts.

So it's very fitting now to add an interesting text from Dale to the site. It perfectly illustrates what our conversations often revolved around... I'm sure anyone with a little knowledge of Ellery Queen's books will enjoy this: Ellery Queen Easter Eggs.

Where is this extra section hidden? That's also a bit of an Easter Egg... click above on the banner at the very top on "EQ". This will take you to the main page with all sections... But not everything is as it seems. Some objects are also clickable (shh, don't tell anyone). The pen will take you to a specialized section...

Thanks to everyone who helped, or visited the site in the first 25 years ... On to the next 25!

Enjoy!
March 27. 2024
The 25th (!) anniversary of the site is just around the corner. It has never been for lack of ambition on my part. "Everything about Ellery Queen." This ultimately led to writing the mini-biographies you can find in this section, covering all the actors who have ever played a role in any of the Ellery Queen adaptations, be it on radio, film, or television. Often, these biographies are pieced together from small snippets found in newspapers here and there. Let's be honest, they don't always feature very well-known actors. As a result, their careers are often obscure and were, as such, not searchable on the internet. The search brought forth careers first brought to light online, and, as extra, providing interesting insights into the life of the previous century.
The cult of personality in the media clearly began to emerge in the 1920s and '30s, and the new media often paid little attention to the "previous" media from which they were recruited. Radio ignored vaudeville, or television ignored radio...

Some of the biographies here I started over 10 years ago. They are regularly updated or revised (an advantage you don't have with books). Due to circumstances, I am in the process of a detailed revision this year. As online archives are expanded and "historical" information becomes more available, profiles can be updated. Online searches often bring me back to my own site. Some actors already have multiple pages paying tribute to them. In such cases, it's essential to look beyond just the factual information and search for that extra something: amusing anecdotes, family photos, and so on, ultimately adding value. You would truly be surprised at how often information is misrepresented (and subsequently copied), making it difficult to discern the truth. Don't get me wrong, mistakes happen (I've made a few)... but thorough fact-checking can prevent this. However, this takes time, and in this fast-paced world, it seems too much to expect from every webmaster, blogger, ...

As an exception to the rule sometimes a great many biographies are found. This was so for both Peter Lawford and his co-star Harry Morgan in Ellery Queen Don't Look Behind You (Universal, Nov 19. 1971). But what is the real story  Col. Potter was a heavy drinker and a smoker, as was Morgan, in real-life.behind the original name of Harry Morgan who became best known as Colonel Sherman T. Potter in M*A*S*H? What is truly known about the beginning of his career, his studies, or his start with theater companies? There are many aspects to clarify... This has now been done, with representative photos accompanying each section... So, without claiming to be exhaustive, we can certainly assert that this is the most comprehensive overview online for this actor, as described by Alan Alda as "a treasure as a person, an imp at times, and always a true professional."

Click here to read his full profile ...


Another example is the biography of yet another actor who portrayed Inspector Queen, but this time in the TV series The Further Adventures of Ellery Queen (NBC, 1958-59), with a very As the clerk Mr. Lowell "A Slight Case of Charity" (NBC, Feb 10 1965)distinctive voice and highly active on radio. While Harry Morgan had an equally expressive voice, he was much less active on radio compared to Les Tremayne. It's difficult to ascertain why this is the case, but sometimes things unfold as they do. While Morgan achieved quick success in other media, Tremayne faced more challenges.
We have been able to reconstruct his life before his breakthrough, from a very young age, starting from his departure from London aboard the S.S. Saint Paul bound for the U.S., up to his major breakthrough with the program First Nighter (1937). Furthermore, you will notice that Tremayne was married three times, with one marriage garnering more media attention than the others.

Click here to read his full profile ...
Perhaps one of the most celebrated actors to appear in an Ellery Queen series has to be the 2x Tony award-winning David Wayne. For many the ultimate portrayal of Inspector Queen, In "Ellery Queen" there was remarkable chemistry between Hutton and Wayne, forming a robust and convincing duo, seamlessly complementing each other's performances.Ellery's father. Wayne had a very extensive career and had obviously lost his heart to the stage. This time a multitude of footage from which the right choices were made. Certainly about his early beginnings in show business, in stage companies here and there and, in marionette theater,... there was still something to clarify. Few actors were given the chance to play opposite Marilyn Monroe no less than three times! There was nothing short of drama in David's life that began early with the death of his mother. His skills included sword swallowing, and he once drove his ambulance into a mine and could recount it....

Click here to read his full profile ...
February 25. 2024
Nathanael T. BoothAs we have already discussed elsewhere in the pages of this website, Ellery Queen's popularity is world wide. While it has ebbed in some parts of the globe, it remains perhaps at its highest among the mystery readers of China and Japan. It is therefore fitting that our next inductee into the fraternity of the West 87th Street Irregulars is Nathanael T. Booth, Associate Professor in the School of Foreign Languages at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China.

"God and the Great Detective: Ellery Queen's Struggle with the Divine, 1945-1965" (McFarland, 2023).Nathanael is not only an avid reader of the Queen oeuvre, he is also truly a scholar of those works. His relationship with Ellery Queen has been a long one, stretching back to the time when, as a teenager, he discovered The Dutch Shoe Mystery at a library book sale. He has written extensively about Ellery Queen in both of his books:
American Small-Town Fiction, 1940-1960: A Critical Study (McFarland, 2019) and recently God and the Great Detective: Ellery Queen's Struggle with the Divine, 1945-1965 (McFarland, 2023).


As the newest member of the West 87th Street Irregulars, Nathanael introduces himself with an essay -- in this case his scholarly analysis of the transformation and humanizing of Ellery that began with the introduction of the small New England town of Wrightsville.

Somehow, we suspect that Nathanael is not done with Ellery yet.

Welcome to our latest West 87th Street Irregular!

Read Nathanael's essay here...
 
TIP: Interested readers should know that the icons/covers of books, used throughout the website have extra descriptions/information not included in the text on the same page. Pointing your cursor at the icon/cover used to reveal this extra information. To achieve the same effect Firefox users can install an add-on called 'Popup ALT Attribute'.
When installed pointing your cursor at an icon/cover results in showing you the details or additional information.
The Further Misadventures of Ellery Queen edited by two West 87th Irregulars Josh Pachter &‎ Dale C. Andrews. Order at Wildside Press by clicking here...
January 26. 2024
Names.

Any Ellery Queen fan could take at least a 15-minute run-up before talking about the works. Who is Ellery Queen?

That run-up would then cover original names, stage names, aliases, ... This cult of names was not that uncommon in the United States. Name changes were made as early as immigration. Usually to make them easier to pronounce, but sometimes also because there already existed artists with the same name.

In the case of some of the biographies on this site, this does matter a great deal. To this day, achievements of actors are assigned to namesakes. Thus (at least) 2 biographies were reviewed and completed. Extra attention was paid to the exact changes of persons.


Carleton Young in "Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Hollywood" (MGM, Oct 5. 1945)Carleton G. Young and Carleton S. Young were both actors. The former once took the role of Ellery Queen. Despite their markedly different appearances, they are still sometimes confused in many descriptions. This confusion is a bit self-seeking because, for both, the role description used the name Carleton Young. Our research revealed, in addition to details from his early career, that Carleton G. was married not once but twice. Carleton S. Young starred once as a drunkard in The Mandarin Mystery, but that is where all Ellery Queen connections end.

Click here to read his full profile ...



n "Rosemary" (CBS, 1945) Sydney Smith played Peter Harvey a brilliant young lawyer, who has come closer to arousing real affection in Rosemary than any other men who have loved her. When Peter took the offer of a job with an important New York law firm, Rosemary was firm in her conviction she didn't love Peter enough to leave her family and go to New York.Sydney G. Smith at one point also played Ellery Queen in the radio series. It came as a surprise that his father, who was a doctor, first took to the stage. Sydney H. Smith performed before the birth of our Sydney on Broadway. All Broadway references before 1905 pertain to his father. Sydney took the name Sydney Goffe Smith, perhaps when his parents divorced, and Sydney and his sister were raised by their mother. Again, the text, images, and content were liberally adapted. It is also clearly indicated in the notes what remains to be discovered ... .

Click here to read his full profile ... 


Some like crosswords. I find making these much more fun ... ;-)
December 14. 2023
Cat of Many Tails - cover American Mystery Classics edition,  August 6th, 2024

News that comes as an early Christmas present! Next year (Aug 6. 2024) Otto Penzler's American Mystery Classics will add Cat of Many Tails to its series of Ellery Queen reprints. Richard Dannay will provide the introduction.

 

In this early serial killer novel, Ellery Queen stalks a mass murderer through the streets of 1940s New York.

In the dog days of August, it is no surprise to see New Yorkers perspire. But this summer, a killer called the Cat gives the city a new reason to sweat. He selects his victims seemingly at random and strangles them, then escapes without leaving a clue. As the death toll climbs and the press whips the public into a horrified frenzy, Gotham teeters on the edge of anarchy.

Ellery Queen, the brilliant amateur sleuth, has gone into retirement when the Cat begins to kill. As his father, a seasoned homicide detective, leads the investigation into the murders, Ellery tries to avoid getting involved. When Queen discovers a clue that could hold the secret to untangling the puzzling crimes, he pounces on the opportunity to crack the case. But unfortunately for him—and for the citizens of 1940s New York City—he’s barely scratched the surface.…

Combining gobsmacking deduction with plenty of period detail, Cat of Many Tails is among the most beloved of Ellery Queen’s timeless mystery novels. Reissued for the first time in nearly half a century, the book retains a place in popular culture as one of the first serial killer novels ever written; and, to this day, it’s still one of the best.

Click here to read more ... 

"The Mandarin Mystery" - Film posterWhen Eddie Quillan was cast as Ellery Queen in 1937's The Mandarin Mystery there was some novelty value in the fact that an actor whose initials were E.Q. was cast as intellectual sleuth. Eddie, who though a talented and appealing performer was woefully miscast as Queen.

By today’s standards the fact that Eddie Quillan worked so successfully in the entertainment industry for over sixty years is truly amazing. Longevity is a quality to be sought and rarely attained. The emphasis on craft rather than stardom or financial gain has slowly diminished over the course of time. However, one fact remains constant. A passion for the art is essential for endurance. Looking back over Eddie’s career, we see many reasons for his success—some personal, some professional—but over it all is this passion for his craft. In the course of an interview he was asked, as he was on many occasions, for the secret to his professional longevity, Eddie answered, "I love my work, and I'll stay with it as long as I can."

The role for which Eddie is probably best known is Tommy Elison, the most endearing and tragic character of the ill-fated crew, in the movie, "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1935). The film starred Clark Gable (seen here with Eddie), Charles Laughton, and Franchot Tone.
His biography on this site has been revised, almost a site on its own, sprinkled with rare pictures and factoids from his career. While puzzling things together I found out many things about vaudeville life for youngsters, Mack Sennetts' productions,...

Right: The role for which Eddie is probably best known is Tommy Elison, the most endearing and tragic character of the ill-fated crew, in the movie, Mutiny on the Bounty (1935). The film starred Clark Gable, Charles Laughton, and Franchot Tone.

To read much more click here...

December 4. 2023

Howard Irving Smith is one of those actors who, aside from some brief descriptions online, would remain a bit of a mystery had he not had an Ellery Queen connection. He played Sergeant Velie in the hour-long first radio series, The Adventures of Ellery Queen. Typical for that time, Smith came from the vaudeville circuit. Realizing its reign came to an end, he made the switch to theater, radio, and later TV.

His private life has been puzzled together piece by piece. A few mysteries remain. He was married two times and must have had an extramarital relationship early on during his second marriage. Although many career descriptions mention his meeting with Enrico Caruso, no exact details were found.

We've updated his biography with extra information and pictures.

To read more click here...
Howard in Hazel (1961)

November 10. 2023
New Book on Ellery Queen! God and the Great Detective, Ellery Queen’s Struggle with the Divine, 1945–1965 by Nathanael T. Booth an associate professor in the School of Foreign Languages at Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

The problem of human evil is never far beneath the surface of mystery fiction. This was particularly true in the wake of the horrific events of World War II. One figure who set out to investigate this crisis was Ellery Queen. This book provides a much-needed intervention in the study of detective fiction by giving sustained attention to Ellery Queen as well as suggesting possible directions for broader discussions of the genre. After the war, Queen mounted an inquiry into the state of masculinity and of the world in the wake of unimaginable horrors represented by the death camps and the atomic bomb. During his investigation, Ellery rummaged through the ruins of culture, invoking and evoking figures such as Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, and (naturally) Edgar Allan Poe. Ultimately, this quest brought him up against an unexpected foe: God himself. This book examines the ways Queen pushes against the boundaries of what was (and, in some circles, still is) considered possible or desirable in the genre.

You can buy it here...
Other recommended reading here...
A challenge to the reader: if you think you could add additional information (even corrections) please do so... What we don't know and you just might...You can reach us by clicking the "Uncle Sam" icon (right). We've always appreciate corrections and additional information, however small the detail may be...
Unusual Suspects by Joseph Goodrich, ... click to buy at Amazon
 
October 8. 2023
"Ellery Queen: The Series" is a new reference book on the 1975-76 TV series Ellery Queen, starring Jim Hutton and David Wayne. All 22 episodes are included, along with two pilot films. The book also contains the episodes in original date transmission order, complete cast listings, numerous photographs, directorial credits, and a story synopsis for each entry. The book is written by Scott V. Palmer, who has a large series of reference books on films, TV series out.
First reviews on Amazon are reservedly positive. However some found it "disappointing” due to the lack of testimonials from the performers and staff, production episodes, etc. The book does however list the cast and synopsis of each story. 178 pages of that information (at about 7 pages per episode). The images are all in color, but a bit blurry.

Coincidentally, separately, I also recently received two comments from readers of this site about the TV series. Burt Barnard draws our attention to a series called Castle which ran from 2009 to 2016. The main character's name was Richard Castle. Burt points out this was a mystery writer who teamed up with a New York City police detective to solve crimes.
A castle is synonymous with a rook, which, like the queen (relevant for our purposes), is also a chess piece. The central character was also a mystery writer and, like Ellery, he solved crimes with a police officer relative. This time it was a woman police officer, who later became his wife.
I did have a quick look at the Wikipedia page, which states that Richard Castle in the series is looking for a new main character for his new book series: "Nikki Heat." Our Nikki Porter  would likely be appreciative!

The other reaction I received was from Marco Bigliazzi who points out the recent BBC series Beyond Paradise, which to him is a sort of an updated version of the EQ series from '75 . Marco says that he immediately felt a strong EQ flavour watching the very first episode. He sets out his arguments as follows:

"First of all, it's a whodunit - a classic one, I should say, with a light comedy touch - but it's true that there are other shows of this kind around today (it seems that the whodunit is experiencing a small renaissance on TV and streaming).

But the true ingredient that struck me and made me jump in my armchair while watching the show (and my wife as well) is Kris Marshall, who plays DI Humphrey Goodman: this very tall man, his poses, gestures, gazes, his whole acting, brightly reminded me of Jim Hutton as Ellery.

I could also add, for the Queen-verse sake, that the small imaginary town of Shipton Abbot (set in real Looe, South Cornwall) where the stories take place could resemble Wrightsville, but this would be going too far.

I don't know if the creators or writers of the show did this on purpose, but I'm quite sure that this flavor exists - and can be smelt.

No inspector, no challenge to the watcher, but anyway, Kris Marshall alone is more than enough to cause this sort of déjà vu effect - a pleasant one, indeed.
"

Marco goes on:; "Beyond Paradise is actually a spin-off of Death in Paradise, a similar whodunit series set in a fictional Caribbean island running for nearly 12 years now. DI Humphrey Goodman - the Elleryan protagonist of Beyond Paradise played by Kris Marshall - appears in seasons 3-6 (2014-17), 30 episodes which are mostly about "impossible" crimes or bizarre ones.
In my opinion, even if in Beyond Paradise the Queen flavour is stronger, I find it's already present there.
"

I had a look on BBC First myself, and behold, there was the first series! Recorded all of them. I'll be watching them anytime soon, and I'll let you all know what I thought...
September 23. 2023
What Ellery Queen fan does not have a special place in his heart for Nikki Porter? Ellery's secretary finally got the attention she deserved in the radio stories. Viewed from the point of view of the
radio makers, creating a female lead seemed mostly practical (for the sake of the "color" of a female voice) which, to me, was as important as the romantic possibilities this choice provided.
Nikki made her appearance in films, short stories, and books, but was actually tailor-made for radio.
It is an "amazing" fact that each time we meet Nikki she not only has a different look but also carries a different personal history. There are several "first" encounters between Nikki and Ellery. One of the many reasons for this, I think, is the added tension that a "budding" relationship between two protagonists brings. If we factor in books, radio and film, Nikki met EQ in as many as four different ways!
Publicity shot for the NBC radio show "The Adventures of Ellery Queen" (1943) with the lovely Marian Shockley.Publicity shot for the NBC radio show "The Adventures of Ellery Queen" (1944) with the lovely Marian Shockley.
Above: Publicity shots for the NBC radio show The Adventures of Ellery Queen (1943 and 1944) with the lovely Marian Shockley.
As mentioned, it really began for Nikki in radio stories and then you can't get around Marion/Marian Shockley. An actress with a career quite typical of that era. She made the transition from stage to radio where she had her greatest success. But she began quite untypical almost directly in Hollywood.
Despite a rather well-behaved image, she married three times and more exaggerated stories did circulate in the media. For example, her third marriage is said to have once occurred during a radio show....
Also typical for that time was that for the (newly composed) family with her third husband she put her own career aside. Consequently, popular magazines portrayed her as the ideal mother of three children (She never had children herself, but her 3rd husband Bud had three from a previous marriage).

Details and photos were added to her profile. You can read the full profile here ...   
August 1. 2023
This site also offers profiles of the actors who starred in an Ellery Queen-related work. In the majority of cases, these were lesser-known actors, for whom comprehensive biographies were certainly not available. Small entries in books, magazines, and newspaper articles were collected and put together as puzzle pieces.

Viewed as a whole, these mini-biographies also offer a nice glimpse into the lives of actors at the beginning and end of the 20th century. The evolution from circus to vaudeville, from vaudeville to theater, ... and then to radio or film as well as television. Each popular medium grew so fast that it could not help but rely on the knowledge and skills of actors from the other "earlier" media.

Charles Grapewin -- CLICK FOR MORE -- ...For some actors, we even start late in the 19th century ... such is the case with Charley Grapewin. Charley played  Richard Queen in the Ellery Queen films no less than 7 times but will be known especially to the general public as "Uncle Henry" from The Wizard of Oz. His profile has been online since 2010 and, as frequent visitors to this site will know, those profiles get updated from time to time.

Meanwhile, other sites have also reported that Charley was married three times. Especially the first stretch of his career before 1930 is barely discussed.  While he had actually retired by then (1923) after a successful career mainly in vaudeville/theater. He was certainly an example of the versatility needed to earn an income in as many ways as possible. That is precisely why Charley also recovered relatively quickly from the stock market crash after a huge financial loss (which forced him back out of retirement). 

We are pleased with the reworking of this biographical sketch, now supplemented with some short anecdotes. Many questions have been resolved concerning the timing of events.... some still remain open and may never really be answered (Why, for example, did Charley run away from home so early?). The new details we have added to the profile bring the actor's life into better focus. If all the details could be filled in, a great biopic is certainly up for grabs there!

As is often the case, fate is cruel in a way. Charley, an avid fisherman, was often featured as a grandfather figure but never had children of his own. Hence, we also thought it a nice tribute to include a photo of the last scene from his last feature film: Charley walking down the road portraying a grandfather with his grandson to go fishing...


Going fishing with his grandson, the final scene from When I Grow Up (1951) ...

Read our full profile on this versatile actor here...
July 14. 2023

With the introduction of a "new" addition to the foreign covers, we also want to give some attention to "The Devil to Pay" from 1938 - the first of the Hollywood stories and the first EQ story with a slight political undertone.

The writer Ellery Queen (Manfred B. Lee & Fred Dannay) also made a brief passage as scriptwriters in Hollywood. Although very few words were said about that, in interviews, we can safely say that that passage was unsuccessful.

In the writer's full canon, then, the value of these books can often be traced to their veiled criticism of the American film city and its inhabitants...

Read more on "The Devil to Pay" here...

 

Order at Crippen and Landru by clicking here...
The Zanzibar Shirt and others Stories. Since time began, authors have been told to write what they know. James Holding (1907-1997) took that advice to heart. After his retirement from advertising, Holding began writing full-time. One of his early ghostwriting gigs was continuing the Ellery Queen Jr novels, which had first appeared in the 1940s. Fred Dannay and Manfred Lee, hired Holding to jumpstart the series after a lengthy hiatus.

The Further Misadventures of Ellery Queen edited by two West 87th Irregulars Josh Pachter &‎ Dale C. Andrews. Order at Wildside Press by clicking here...

 Recommended

Visit Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine's website...


 
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