Ellery Queen: A Fan Site

This was a fan site for those who were intrigued by the Ellery Queen Mysteries.
Content is from the site's 1999- 2002 archived pages.
Enjoy all Ellery Queen fans

 

Introduction
 

N

Now why would we choose the 1975 television adaptation of Ellery Queen to profile through a website?   More than thirty years later...
Quite simply, we consider the author as well as the character, to be the quintessential master of audience involved mystery; and the Jim Hutton characterization to be the most engaging, charming, and classic. A perpetual fountain of profound deduction; yet every once in a while a sparkling wit that manages to divert a spray of that endless genius with such whimsical ingenuity that the most serious watcher’s fancy is set dancing with delight. Such is the case with this marvelous series, which – set in the 1940’s – enhances each scene with period piece perfection. Add to this the dynamic of father and son, so perfectly matched as Hutton with veteran actor, David Wayne, and the Queens reach true royalty status. Rounding out the cast, John Hillerman’s portrayal of Radio Mystery Master, Simon Brimmer — a perfect foil for Ellery; and Ken Swofford’s newspaper loudmouth, Frank Flannigan bring the series familiarity and depth.

 

E llery Queen is arguably the greatest fictional detective of American
creation, but despite several attempts in diverse styles, until 1975, he had never been accurately portrayed in movies or on television. The great complexity of plot and depth of character that marked the extraordinary series of Queen novels almost never survived in attempts to transfer them to visual formats, and the part was often played for comedy (one of the first movie Queens was comic Eddie Quillan).

 

The character of Ellery Queen was re-fashioned for the NBC series as well, but there were legitimate bases in the books for most of the characteristics that Jim Hutton displayed in the role. More importantly, Hutton’s charm and natural manner played perfectly against David Wayne’s crusty Inspector (though Wayne lacked the mustache so often mentioned in the books, his is otherwise the definitive depiction of The Old Man). The show had a sense of good humor, and its setting in 1947 made nostalgia an important component of its success.

Though the episodes varied in quality, none was poor, and even the weakest of them (probably Chinese Dog, which takes the meticulously-drawn town of Wrightsville from several novels and turns it into a hicksville populated by idiots) are redeemed by the plots, the production values, and the marvelous casts.

Adding to the authentic feel of the series is the “challenge to the viewer,” in which Hutton as Queen turns to the camera, and invites the audience to add up the clues and name the guilty party. This is a direct visual analogue to the “Challenge to the Reader” that appeared in the earlier Queen novels just before the solution was revealed. Only sometimes Hutton gives too many hints!

The episodes seen in syndication have been cut by several minutes each. The first thing to go is the clever opening montage, in which the announcer says something like, “This famous song-writer is about to be murdered. Who is guilty? Is it ...” Each suspect is shown in a brief clip, speaking a short phrase (sometimes deliberately excerpted to look off-beat and humorous), then: “Match wits with Ellery Queen and see if you can guess WhoDunit!” This is all cut from the edited shows, which begin directly with the stylish opening credits, accompanied by Elmer Bernstein’s Big-Band 40’s-type theme music. A few minutes of program content have been trimmed from within each episode itself, which is unfortunate because the amusing by-plays between Queen and his Dad are usually the first things to go. Even edited, however, this is as fine a mystery series as American television has given us.

 

B eing a web developer by trade, I was surprised to see that this
remarkable show had little or no real online representation. A few individuals had written a page here or there — usually little more than a footnote to articles about the Lee/Dannay Ellery Queen novels. While the novels are wonderful, and I've read as many of them as I can get my hands on, I felt the television adaptation was of such high calibre that it needed its own spotlight. Hence, this site.

We sincerely thank the individuals that helped with this endeavor, and we mention them specifically in our Links area. As for showings of the series — it was originally shown on A&E (I believe in 1992-94) as part of their Mystery Theatre. These were the cut versions. Then in August of 1995, uncut episodes of the series aired on the Encore Mystery channel (that's a part of the “Encore 8,” usually seen only on Satellite Systems) and dedicated to mystery-themed programming. This was the first time these programs had been seen in their complete form since the original network broadcasts. I was lucky enough to get about 1/2 of them on tape at this time — the old A&E; tapes beginning to show their wear. Thanksgiving of 1997 marked the last showings of Ellery on Encore, and the entire year of 1998 it went unshown. In January of 1999, the syndication rights were acquired by Nick At Nite’s TV Land, though they show it sporadically, out of order, and in cut form. I'd love to see this show get some of the respect that it deserves.

There are unconfirmed rumors about a possibility of a re-make (probably as a TV Movie) with Jim Hutton’s son, Tim playing the role his late father made famous. Sadly, Jim Hutton passed away of liver cancer in 1979 and we lost David Wayne in 1995 of lung cancer. The legacy they left behind was short-lived, but a true gem.

 

 

Lora



 

 



 

Episode Guide


NOTE: Some episode listings will offer audio files in mp3 format of the Opening Narrator Sequence — where the suspects are named and shown and the announcer asks you to "Match wits with Ellery Queen and see if you can guess Whodunnit!" This sequence is always cut from the syndicated versions (a crime in itself), so wherever possible, we'll be bringing these to you.


 
Ellery Queen (aka Too Many Suspects)
Movie Length — Considered the series pilot

Director: David Greene
Featuring:
Jim Hutton as Ellery Queen
David Wayne as Inspector Richard Queen
Tom Reese as Sergeant Velie
Ray Milland as Carson McKell
Monte Markham as Tom McKell
Kim Hunter as Marion McKell
Gail Strickland as Gail Stevens
Tim O'Connor as Ben Waterson
Vic Mohica as Ramon
Franny Michel as Penny
Nancy Mehta as Monica Gray
and introducing John Hillerman as Simon Brimmer

Source: Novel — The Fourth Side of the Triangle
Original Air Date: 03/23/75
 

Pilot film for the series that followed. The novel was simplified and the most important clues significantly altered in this otherwise handsomely mounted and well-played production. But even at 96 minutes it contained hardly any padding.

A son, discovering his father has been having a secret love affair, is determined to go to the aid of his mother, and so arranges a meeting with the "other woman." But complications ensue when he falls in love with her himself.

Now Ellery Queen must track down the murderer of famous fashion designer, Monica Grey, who pulled out the plug of her clock and her TV set as a cryptic dying message. Chief suspects are her Thursday evening lover, financier Carson McKell, and McKell's jealous wife and hot-tempered son, each of whom in turn is charged with and then cleared of the murder. Ellery uses a series of anagram clues to uncover a fourth theory and then — after issuing a most Queen-like challenge to the viewer — turns the dying message into the keystone of a fifth and final solution.

Here we are introduced to the recurring character of Simon Brimmer; a radio mystery sleuth with an insatiable desire to best Ellery in a real murder case. His show was called "The Casebook of Simon Brimmer," sponsored by Vita-Cream.

Movie first aired on March 23, 1975 and was re-run once on September 7, 1975 (the Sunday before the premiere of the series run.)
 

 

The Adventure of Auld Lang Syne

Director: David Greene
Featuring:
Joan Collins as Lady Daisy Frawley
Ray Walston as Howard Pratt
Karen Machon as Kitty McBride
Thayer David as Marcus Halliday
Guy Lombardo as Bandleader
Barbara Rush as Emma Zelman
David F. Doyle as Don Becker
Farley Granger as Paul Quincy
Charles Knox Robinson as Lewis Halliday
Arch Johnson as The Commissioner
George Wyner as Joe Kemmelman
Peggy Rea as Madge Velie
Joseph Perry as Rawson
Lou Gus as McCoy
William Lanteau as Avery Dickson
Herb Edelman as the Taxi driver

Original Air Date: 09/11/75

"124 West End Avenue"
"Hey - c'mon, I thought you were in such a hurry to go see this murder."
"Look, if I don't get to 124 West End Avenue, there's liable to be two murders tonight..."

This story of a murder on New Year's Eve (1946) is charming and smart, one of the best in the series, with even a couple of touching moments, and a clever, but completely fair, dying clue. A wealthy man is murdered after excusing himself from the posh ballroom to make a phone call to his lawyer. This just moments after revealing his plans to disinherit his companions. An ingenious use of the real Guy Lombardo lends great credibility to this episode.

In addition, we see the "other side" of Ellery — the consequences of his forgetfulness when he misses his appointed date with the lovely Kitty McBride. A lady who is, quite obviously, smitten with the dashing young sleuth.

This episode, the premiere, is packed with famous names, but of interesting note:
Peggy Rea who plays Mrs. (Madge) Velie is better known now as Grace's mother-in-law (Jean Kelley) in "Grace Under Fire." George Wyner who plays Joe Kemmelman is better known in such roles as Colonel Sandurz in "Spaceballs" and Irwin Bernstein in "Hill Street Blues."



 
The Adventure of the Lover's Leap

Director: Charles S. Dubin
Featuring:
Don Ameche as Dr. Norman Marsh
Jack Kelley as Attorney J.T. Latimer
Ida Lupino as Stephanie Talbott Kendrick
Craig Stevens as Jonathan Kendrick
Anne Francis as Nurse Evelyn Chandler
Susan Strasberg as Cathy Kendrick
Jason Wingreen as Roy Miller
Nina Roman as Grace
Basil Hoffman as Technical Print Man
James Lydon as Radio Actor
John Lawlor as Radio Technician
and John Hillerman as Simon Brimmer

Original Air Date: 09/18/75

"How do you put up with him?!"
"Practice..."

 

While reading an Ellery Queen book (of the same name as this episode's title), Fountain Pen Heiress Stephanie Kendrick begins having all the same experiences as the character in the book. From hearing noises to having an overwhelming urge to leap off the balcony! It isn't long till she's found dead at the bottom of that balcony, but did she really leap on her own? And if so, why?

One of the in-jokes the writers utilized here was naming all of the episode-specific characters after well-known mystery writers: Marsh, Chandler, etc..

A highlight of this episode finds Ellery commandeered into playing Caddy for Simon and Dr. Marsh on the golf course.
 



 
The Adventure of the Chinese Dog

Director: Ernest Pintoff
Featuring:
Orson Bean as Warren Wright
Katherine Crawford as Julia Wright
Eugene Roche as Sherrif Oscar Eberhart
Murray Hamilton as Henry Palmer
Geraldine Brooks as Tilda McDonald
Robert F. Simon as Eben Wright
Robert Hogan as Gordon Wilde
Jerry Fogel as Deputy Ralph Brown
Hal Smith as Coroner Will Bailey
Bill Quinn as Reverend J.P. Dell
Dee Wallace as Waitress

Original Air Date: 09/25/75

"You mean you forgot?"
"Dad — I think I forgot... not sure I forgot. But I think I forgot."
"How could you forget?!"

 

A wealthy man — owner of a multi-million dollar galoshes factory and grandson of the town's founder — is murdered. He's been struck by an ornamental dog figurine meant as a wedding gift for his daughter and worth a half million dollars. On the scene to investigate is a Sherrif up for election, whose heels are being nipped at by rival Henry Palmer. Palmer enlists the aid of the vacationing Queens when he thinks old Sherrif Eberhart can't handle the first murder in Wrightsville in decades.

Poor Inspector Queen, thought he'd actually get to do a little fishing. Of course once Ellery — just along for the ride — learns that the influencial man's been hit over the head with a dog, he's too intrigued not to get involved.

Interesting cast notes: You might remember the Coroner (Hal Smith) as Otis Campbell (the town drunk) from "The Andy Griffith Show," and the waitress in the town diner is played by Dee Wallace (later "Wallace-Stone") who was Elliot's mother, Mary in "E.T. The Extraterrestrial."



 
The Adventure of the Comic Book Crusader

Director: Peter Hunt
Featuring:
Tom Bosley as Bud Armstrong
Lynda Day George as Alma Van Dine
Donald O'Connor as Kenny Freeman
Joseph Maher as Lyle Shannon
Eddie Firestone as Phil Collins
George Sperdakos as Vincent Porter
Alan Landers as Ronald Himes
Herbie Faye as Moe Fletcher
Sandy Ward as Jail Guard
Archie Johnson as Deputy Commissioner
Maggie Nelson as Vera
and Ken Swofford as Frank Flannigan

Original Air Date: 10/02/75
 

This episode opens with a fiery-angy Ellery Queen (we don't often see a high-level of emotion in EQ) at the offices of money-grubbing Comic Mogul, Bud Armstrong. It seems they are putting out a Comic Book version of The Adventures of Ellery Queen in which EQ is played with heavy-handed violence. (There actually was an Ellery Queen comic, by the way.) Ellery is even more angered to learn that Capricorn Comics is owned by his publisher's company and they can get away with this legally via some hidden small print in his contract. So it's no wonder he ends up threatening Mr. Armstrong. Needless to say, later that day Armstrong — vicious to each of his employees and unwilling to give credit for their work, nor release them from contracts — ends up quite dead.

Ellery is a suspect — especially when a dying clue seems to point to him. And worse yet, he's fingered in the media. This is thanks to Frank Flannigan, a Walter Winchell-type columnist for the New York Gazette, a recurring character we are introduced to in this episode.

To save his Dad's reputation with City Hall, Ellery surrenders himself to jail where he pours over comic books until he can discover a much needed clue.

It didn't help that this episode aired around the same time as the movie Murder On The Orient Express was released, as their solutions have elements of similarity.
 



 
The Adventure of the 12th Floor Express

Director: Jack Arnold
Featuring:
Pat Harrington as Mitchell McCully
Dina Merrill as Harriet Manners
Ruth McDevitt as Zelda Van Dyke
George Furth as Albert Klinger
Paul Stewart as Thornton Johns
Kip Niven as Arthur Van Dyke
John Finnegan as Fred Durnhoffer (Elevator Starter)
Tyler McVey as Henry Manners
Suzanne Arnold as Judy Adams
Sandy de Bruin as Sally
Kristin Larkin as Dorothy
and Ken Swofford as Frank Flannigan

Original Air Date: 10/09/75
 

"Queen – comma – Ellery. Mystery writer of some reknown. Born April 2nd. New York City 1912. Father — Queen – comma – Richard. Inspector New York City Police Department." — Arthur Van Dyke

News Mogul Henry Manners of the New York Daily Examiner is murdered in an elevator — an express elevator to the 12th Floor to be exact — with no one inside but the victim. A crafty plot that will test the mettle of the best whodunit fans. And the key clue is right up there on the screen — for a lengthy period of time with Ellery and the Inspector framing it — for anyone who can recognize it.

After Manners is killed, his sister, Harriet takes over the running of the paper — a job she had when Manners was away covering the war, but which she lost when he returned. Then there's the communist-conspiracy minded columnist who was always getting the paper in legal hot water. And the lawyer who had to keep putting out the fires. The Editor who was being forced into retirement against his wishes... Plus the prime shareholder's grandson who worked at the paper for seven years and couldn't get past writing obituaries. There's no end to possible suspects. But how was the victim shot at close range with a 32 calibre? And why did he press the buttons for the 6th and 5th floors? What was he trying to tell us?



 
The Adventure of Miss Aggie's Farewell Performance

Director: James Sheldon
Featuring:
Eve Arden as Vera Bethune (Miss Aggie)
Bert Parks as Lawrence Denver
Betty White as Louise Demery
Paul Shenar as Wendell Warren
John McGiver as Mr. Pearl
Nan Martin as Olivia Burns
Gerald Hiken as Alvin Burns
Joseph R. Sicari as Gus Geropolis
Penelope Windust as Anita Leslie
Beatrice Colen as Mary Lou Gumm
Hilda Haynes as Nurse Frawley
Nina Roman as Grace
Sidney Miller as Morgue Attendant
Don Keefer as The Fence
and John Hillerman as Simon Brimmer

Original Air Date: 10/19/75
 

"Queen... Queen! He's not the fellow who writes all the whodunits?!
Oh, my dear — I thought you said he was an author!"


Radio Soap Opera diva, Vera Bethune — known to her fans as dear Miss Aggie, beloved school teacher — is poisoned during a taping of the show. She survives, and asks Ellery at the hospital to stay on the case, but in short order, Miss Aggie is found shot to death. Both Ellery and Inspector Queen feel responsible for not protecting her and dive into the sea of suspects who might have wanted her dead — but hot on their heels in Simon Brimmer, determined to beat them to it and win back his lost Vita-Cream sponsor.

This episode finds the Queens in a number of interesting situations:
Ellery discovers the disasterous effects of cooking with a pressure cooker.
Inspector Queen goes on a diet, and it's making him a little 'on edge'!
And in one of the best scenes of the series, Ellery becomes locked in a closet while trying to question a suspect, but goes on with his questions anyway right through the locked door!
 



 
The Adventure of Colonel Niven's Memoirs

Director: Seymour Robbie
Featuring:
Lloyd Bochner as Colonel Alec Niven
Robert Loggia as Alexsei Dobrenskov
Nina Van Pallandt as Sonja Dobrenskov
Gretchen Corbett as Jenny O'Brien
Pernell Roberts as Rosh Kaleel/Barney Groves/Major George Pearson
Rene Auberjonois as Marcel Fourchet
Peter Bromilow as Colin Esterbrook
Caryn Matchinga as Glenda Dunlap
Jonathan Hole as Dress Shop Manager
Claude Earl Jones as Mounted Officer

Original Air Date: 10/23/75
 

"Uh, Dad - Think you could take care of that for me? Now, I got that
  while I was working on the case."
"Ellery! You want me to fix a parking ticket? Pay the two dollars."


Self absorbed author Colonel Alec Niven is in New York for a signing of his new book, "Memoirs of a Spy." It's a character assasination novel in which he accuses a myriad of people of war crimes and treasonous acts. It seems that Niven was with the British Intellegence during the war and got his hands on some Nazi files that they didn't burn when they evacuated Paris.

Ellery's latest girlfriend, Jenny O'Brien worked at Gotham Bookstore where the signing was held and was invited to dinner with the Colonel that evening, but when she arrived, she found him dead — stabbed with an antique Cashmir daggar. She and Ellery spend the rest of the episode chasing down clues and suspects' true identities and motives.

Best moment in this story is when we see that the intruders who ransacked the Queens' apartment looking for the files were unsuccessful. The reason? An absent-minded Ellery had inadvertantly placed the files in the refrigerator — he had them in his hand when he put away the leftover turkey.



 
The Adventure of the Mad Tea Party
 

 

Director: James Sheldon
Featuring:
Edward Andrews as Spencer Lockridge
Jim Backus as Howard Biggers
Rhonda Fleming as Laura Lockridge
Larry Hagman as Paul Gardner
Julius Harris as Butler/Body Guard Doyle
Julie Sommars as Emmy Reinhart
Carmen Mathews as Letetia Allingham
Patricia Smith as Diana Gardner
Lew Brown as Lt. Carr
George Janek as Johnny Lockridge
Olan Soule as the Train Conductor
William Benedict as the Cabbie

 

Source: short story — The Adventure of the Mad Tea Party
Original Air Date: 10/30/75

"The time has come, the Walrus said, to speak of many things —
Of shoes, and ships, and sealing wax; Of cabbages and kings..."


The only series entry based on an actual Queen story, it is the finest of the episodes, and is regarded by many as the best filming of Queen ever. The script is faithful to the original story, and even surpasses it in clearing up a few logical loopholes. A classic plot makes for a classic episode.

Ellery takes a train to Greenhaven Estate in Douglaston with agent Howard Biggers (Bakus) who is arranging for Ellery's book, The Adventure of the Alabaster Apple, to be made into a play funded and produced by wealth eccentric Spencer Lockridge. A humorous scene (cut from syndicated versions) involves Ellery discussing a murder scenario from one of his books with Biggers on the train. The conductor overhears part of the conversation and is ruffled as he thinks their discussion centers on a real murder. At the end scene of this episode the conductor overhears yet another conversation and becomes quite disconcerted. This part is included in the cut versions, but makes less sense if you have not seen its context from the opening.

Shortly after arriving at the manor, meeting the assembled houseguests/family, and trying to get some sleep on a stormy night, Ellery stumbles into the disappearance of Lockridge and soon becomes deluged with Alice in Wonderland-esque clues and happenings, leading him to clues that are both ingenious and engaging.



 

The Adventure of Veronica's Veils

 

Director: Seymour Robbie
Featuring:
Julie Adams as Jennifer Packer
George Burns as Sam Packer
Jack Carter as Risky Ross/Joey Flanders
William Demarest as Alexander Denny (Pops)
Hayden Rourke as Marcus Brady
Barbara Rhoades as Veronica (Ronnie) Vale
Don Porter as Gregory Layton
Joshua Shelley as Dick Bowie
Peter Hobbs as Dr. Steiner
John Dennis as Tolson
John H. Lawlor as Director
Romo Vincent as Gus Banana
Pat Sturges as DoDo
and John Hillerman as Simon Brimmer

Original Air Date: 11/13/75

 

"The name is Simon Brimmer.
  Surely you've heard of me, Officer nine-three-seven"


Before a new burlesque-revival show called "Take It Off" can open, its producer, Sam Packer (played in cameo by George Burns) is found dead of an apparent heart attack. But the dead man has left a video behind to be shown at his funeral declaring that no matter what it looks like, he was murdered. And he asks Simon Brimmer to solve the case. The widow, however, goes to Ellery for help, who realizes that the disappearance of the stripper's bird is more than a coincidence.

In no time at all we see, as usual, that there are more people that wanted Packer dead than you could throw a cat at. And it's no surprise that in the end, Brimmer fingers the wrong suspect.



 

The Adventure of the Pharoah's Curse

Director: Seymour Robbie
Featuring:
June Lockhart as Claudia Wentworth
Ross Martin as Dr. Otis Tremane
Simon Oakland as Norris Wenthworth
Nehemiah Persoff as Mustafa Haddid
Wallace Rooney as Harry the Guard
Nancy Belle Fuller as Margie Coopersmith
Joel Steadman as Bud (Norris Jr.) Wenthworth
Nedra Deen as Lois Gordon
Charles Macaulay as the Art Critic
Gerald S. Peters as Gilbert (Wentworth's butler)
and John Hillerman as Simon Brimmer

Original Air Date: 12/11/75

 

Inspector Queen: "It's past your bedtime."
Margie Coopersmith: "Is it really past your bedtime?"
Ellery: "He's been trying to get me to go to bed at ten o'clock since I was 14..."


Norris Wenthworth has brought an Egyptian sarcophagus from Germany to display at the Tremane Museum, but there's a curse on it that's killed its previous six owners. Simon Brimmer is onhand to interview the new owner and ponder his fate, when lo and behold, he does indeed become the mummy's 7th victim. Or could someone else have had murder on his mind? Seems that Norris Wenthworth was a former aircraft manufacturer who had been investigated by a Select Senate Committee on charges of war profiteering.

This episode offers us a chance to see Ellery's writing processes in a bit more depth as he's injured his finger (on a can opener) and cannot type, so he's dictating it all to his faithful assistant, Margie Coopersmith ("with a 'C' ", as she says.)

Also, watch for a short appearance of a bellboy, played by then-unknown actor, John Larroquette.



 

The Adventure of the Blunt Instrument

 

Director: Ernest Pintoff
Featuring:
John Dehner as George Tisdale
Eva Gabor as Magda Szomony
Richard Jaeckel as Nick McVey
Dean Stockwell as Cliff Waddell
Joanna Barnes as Camellia Justice
Keene Curtis as Edgar Manning
Ellen Weston as Mary Parks
Clyde Kusatsu as Mateo
Robert Casper as Melville
Robert Cornthwaite as Osterwald

Original Air Date: 12/18/75

 

"We're going to nip this thing in the bud. I've got the most fantastic cure-all. Hot lemondade and sassafrass — mixed with the extract of a pound of calves' liver. And after a rub-down with menthol and oil of peppermint, you take a bath in scalding chicken soup — hold the noodles..."

The episode opens with an awards dinner sponsored by the "Crime Writers of America" who announce this years' recipient of their Blunt Instrument Award to be mystery writer, Edgar Manning for his book, "The Shanghai Solution." Ellery Queen is not in attendance, as he's at home with a head cold — a great running gag throughout this episode.

At a gathering after the awards dinner, we see the story's principals at Manning's residence where each one seems to feel equal disdain for their host. After a sour toast, Manning goes into his study to call Ellery — in hopes to gloat over his win, when he is murdered while speaking to Ellery on the telephone. All Ellery hears is Manning's remark that some "rash person is there to balance the books."

While the mystery and clues are good adventure, this episode's charm is tied to everyone's attempts at cures for Ellery's cold!

This was the last first-run episode to be shown in the Thursday night time slot. After this, the show was moved to Sundays (they had tested this night's showing in October with the airing of "The Adventure of Miss Aggie's Farewell Performance.")



 

The Adventure of the Black Falcon

Director: William Doniger
Featuring:
Howard Duff as Eddie Morgan/Emile Morganstern
Lewis Charles as Nick Kingston/Harry Norman
Signe Hasso as Flora Schumann/Gretchen Schiller
Tab Hunter as John Randall
Roddy McDowell as The Amazing Armitage
William Schallert as Alexander the Sommelier
Susan Stafford as the Hat-Check Girl
Rosanna Huffman as Nancy McGuire
George Skaff as the Maitre D'
Bob Basso as the Waiter
and John Hillerman as Simon Brimmer

Original Air Date: 01/04/76

 

"There's nothing so sacred as true sentiment shared intimately by
   those who have sacrificed so much..."
"I'm sure they'd love to tell the world about it on my radio show
   tomorrow night."


Simon arrives at a restaurant where he will give a live-remote broadcast of his show and reveal his results of a murder investigation. To that end, he's invited the Queens so that he might gloat in person. But before he can pull it off, a murder is comitted in the restaurant. One of the owners is poisoned by a bottle of wine.

Lots of twists and turns in this one as the plot pulls itself forward and back in time and motives. Who really is who they claim to be? The one clue? The victim has pulled a bottled of wine off the rack with his dying breath in an attempt to point to his killer's identity.

Roddy McDowell gets the best lines in the episode and delivers a great one to Inspector Queen.



 

The Adventure of the Sunday Punch

 

Director: Seymour Robbie
Featuring:
Robert Alda as Frank Anthony
Art Aragon as Eddie
Pervis Atkins as Rocky
Dick Bakalyan as Maddie "Knucks" O'Neill
Dane Clark as Sam Hatter
John Furlong as Dave
Janet MacLachlan as Corrine Ogden
Juanita Moore as Mrs. Douglas
Maggie Nelson as Vera
Lloyd Nolan as Doctor Sanford
Terrence O'Connor as Melinda Sanford
Jerry Quarry as Brad "Kid" Hogan
Otis Young as Joe Adams
and Ken Swofford as Frank Flannigan

Original Air Date: 01/11/76

 

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 fiance that he abused? Her father, the fight doctor? The mobster who needed him to take a dive? His manager who was being muscled?

When it turns out that Joe was a student at Manhattan Pharmaceutical, things only get worse. Episode written by Larry Alexander.



 

The Adventure of the Eccentric Engineer

 

Director: Peter H. Hunt
Featuring:
Ed McMahon as Lamont Franklin
Arthur Godfrey as Claude Sitwell
Ann Reinking as Lorelei Farnsworth
David Hedison as Roger Woods
Dorothy Malone as Carol Franklin
Dick Van Patten as Billy Geeter
Ellen Madison as Emily Woods
Bobby Sherman as Doug Charmichael
Patricia Wilson as Bridget
John Fujioka as Chinese Restaurant Manager
Art Ballinger as Newscaster

Original Air Date: 01/18/76

 

When 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 get admittance to the train room, one had to have a "ticket." This narrows the suspects down to his family and his business associates.

Meanwhile, Ellery's being shadowed by a young woman who wants help with a love story she's writing and EQ can't seem to shake her. Eventually he wants anything BUT to shake her, as once again, Ellery shows the 'lady's man' side of his personality.

This episode affords us a number of quite priceless scenes. It's the only episode containing a genuine old-fashioned foot chase! Imagine if you will, Sergeant Velie followed by Ellery, followed by Inspector Queen all scurrying after a suspect on foot at full speed — well, as full-speed as Inspector Queen can handle.

The next great scene is when IQ comes in believing he's alone with Ellery in the house for the evening when he hears a woman's voice coming from Ellery's bedroom calling out, "Ellery... I've got my dress off."

Lastly, catch the look on the Manager's face at the Chinese Restaurant just before Ellery and Miss Farnsworth walk out. They've had a small dispute over the bill moments before Ellery realizes who the murderer is. So when Ellery says, "...we're going to Police Headquarters," the manager grabs his abbacus to recalculate their bill once again!



 

The Adventure of the Wary Witness

 

Director: William Doniger
Featuring:
Michael Constantine as Leo Campbell
Dwayne Hickman as Linville Hagen
Sal Mineo as Johnny Danello
Michael Parks as Terry Purvis
Cesar Romero as Armand Danello
Dick Sargent as D.A. Tom Calabrese
Tricia O'Neil as Yvonne Danello
Kate Woodville as Priscilla Hagen
James Demopoulos as Nick Danello
Sam Gilman as The Judge
Richard Young as Dr. Kemp
Ollie O'Toole as Hobby
Jackie Russell as Virginia
Myron Natwick as 1st Reporter
Robert Stoneman as 2nd Reporter
and Ken Swofford as Frank Flannigan

Original Air Date: 01/25/76

 

One of the most serious episodes of the series, and one of the best. Can Ellery help the accused murderer of mobster Nick Danello find a missing witness who can 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.

Along for the ride is ace reporter, Frank Flannigan, who works more closely than usual with Ellery (or "Junior" as he calls him) since he sees anyone that rid the city of sleeze like Nick deserving of a medal. But he's chomping at the bit to get this story of the mysterious witness of the St. Patrick's Day Murder — who's contacted Ellery secretly — into the headlines. Sitting on a scoop is not easy for Flannigan.

An unusual setting for Queen as much of the episode takes place in the courtroom, and the final whodunit revelations are done with Ellery speaking to the court. This episode could easily have been a 2-hour movie.

The clues are discreetly, but fairly dropped, and the twists nicely devious. Sadly, Sal Mineo was killed (knifed to death by a street mugger) shortly after this episode filmed.



 

The Adventure of the Judas Tree

 

Director: Walter Doniger
Featuring:
Dana Andrews as Lewis Marshall
Bill Dana as Salvatore Mercadonte
Clu Gulager as Father Terrence Devlin/Capt. Thomas Horton
George Maharis as Dr. Tony Bender
Diana Muldaur as Paulette Sherman
James Shigeta as Stephen Yang
Jack Kruschen as Gunther Starr
Ted Gehring as Bufford
Michael Pataki as Albert Russo
Peter Hobbs as Medical Examiner
Nina Roman as Grace

Original Air Date: 02/01/76

 

Ellery and his Dad investigate when wealthy industrialist and former war profiteer George Sherman is stabbed to death with a Chinese ceremonial dagger 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.

Religious symbolism blends with classic whodunit. As usual, Walter Doniger directed episodes tend to be a bit 'heavier' and run to a more classic style.

A fun subplot deals with Ellery's inability to repair the pipes in the kitchen after he's already torn them apart. A plumber, he's not.



 

The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario

 

Director: Peter H. Hunt
Featuring:
Noah Beery as Lionel Briggs
Don DeFore as Dave Pierce
Troy Donahue as Gilbert Mallory
Vincent Price as Director Michael Raynor
Barbara Rush as Claire Mallory
Paul Fox as Captain Benjamin Blake
Susan Damante as Pamela Courtney
Jack Murdoch as Al Garvin
James Sikking as Mike Hewitt
Rod Porter as Assistant Director
Karl Lukas as Sergeant Harris
Paul Carr as Lt. Braden
Carole Cook as the Gossip Columnist
Jack DeMave as Sonny North

Original Air Date: 02/08/76


"I didn't know...I finessed him, Dad."
 

An interesting concept: the Queens go to Hollywood to watch the filming 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 that will be playing Inspector Queen (Noah Beery) 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 murdered.

The early-Hollywood nostalgia in this episode is priceless, and the self-skewering of the film industry is not to be missed! At one point, Inspector Queen comments that he heard they tried to get "Lee Bowman" for the part — a great in-joke as Lee Bowman played Ellery Queen in the 1951-52 (ABC) adaptation of "The Adventures of Ellery Queen."

Interesting cast note: The stunt man is played by James Sikking (later billed as James B. Sikking) who gains fame as Lt. Howard Hunter in "Hill Street Blues.")



 

The Adventure of the Two-Faced Woman

 

Director: Jack Arnold
Featuring:
Theodore Bikel as Sergio Vargo
Joyce Brothers as Lillian McGraw
Forrest Tucker as Clint McGraw
Vera Miles as Celeste Wakefield
Victor Buono as Dr. Friedland
Edward Mulhare as Myles Prescott
Alfred Ryder as Claude Gravette
Woodrow Parfrey as Dr. Saltzman
Ben Wright as Anton Lucheck
Diana Chesney as Edna the Maid
James Andronica as Eddie Hummel
Michael Arthoferas as Brimmer's Sound Effects Man
and John Hillerman as Simon Brimmer

Original Air Date: 02/29/76

 

While visiting Simon Brimmer's radio studios, Ellery gets a call that socialite Lillian McGraw has been stabbed. Learning of this, Simon shares with Ellery the events of the day in 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.

Even more fascinating about this story is that it takes Ellery to the offices of the victim's psychiatrist (Victor Buono) who mistakes Ellery for a patient and takes notes as EQ rambles on about a blue faced woman and bearded axe murderers. The scene is priceless.

A more convoluted plot than usual as it has its underpinnings in events that happened in France in 1922, but the journey to the solution is quite enjoyable and we are treated to outstanding performances from a host of well-known guest stars. It's no surprise though, that in the end, once again Simon Brimmer fingers the wrong person.



 

The Adventure of the Tyrant of Tin Pan Alley

 

Director: Seymour Robbie
Featuring:
Rudy Vallee as Alvin Winer
Polly Bergen as Dinah Carroll-Winer
Albert Salmi as Herbie Morrow
Ken Berry as Paul (Buddy) Parker
Norman Fell as Errol Keyes
Michael Callan as Gary Swift
Renne Jarrett as Penny Carroll
Brad David as Dan Murphy
Dori Brenner as Laura Schramm
Vince Howard as Charlie
Harold Ayer as Studio Engineer
Billy Varga as Security Guard
and John Hillerman as Simon Brimmer

Original Air Date: 03/07/76

 

"Can you imagine anyone being that absent minded?"
"Huh?   Oh! Oh yeah.. yeah.. You see, sometimes a person has so much to
  think about, that there's no room for fountain pens, or car keys, or glasses..."

"Or hats?"
"..or even hats."

Popular songwriter Alvin Winer (who thinks of himself as "America's tunesmith") is murdered during the musical interlude on a radio interview show when he's gone to the station's library to find a record. Ellery tries to clear a friend — a waiter at a diner EQ frequents — who has just publicly accused the victim of stealing his latest tune from him.

Simon Brimmer appears once again — as is usual in episodes with radio-themed storylines. There is, of course, a dying clue in place, as well as plenty of other "leads" to the killer. The final solution will be more obvious to veteran readers of Queen than it was to Simon. So it will be no surprise to fans when Ellery once again out-trumps Mr. Brimmer — during his on-air broadcast.

Was the payola scandal already underway in 1947? It plays a role in this story of murder at a radio station. Take a close look when the episode title appears on the screen. Can you spot the incredibly careless goof? (hint: at first glance, your mind will try to "fix" it.)



 

The Adventure of Caesar's Last Sleep

 

Director: Richard Michaels
Featuring:
Jan Murray as Ralph Caesar
Edward Lawrence Albert as Lee Marx
Stuart Whitman as Erwin Murphy
Kevin Tighe as Jim Millay
Elizabeth Lane as Ruth Caesar
Michael V. Gazzo as Benny Franks
Erica Hagen as Melody Todd
Timothy Agoglia Carey as Jay Bonner
Arch Johnson as Deputy Commissioner Hayes
Bibi Besch as Edie Allen
Stanley Ralph Ross as Gabe

Original Air Date: 03/14/76

 

A mobster who is going 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.

An interesting subplot attempts to look a little more seriously at the Queen father-son relationship and how it plays against Dad's role in the police department. 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.

Richard Michaels' only turn at directing, this episode has a different flavor than all the others, but definitely one to savor. I love Ellery's passion in this one. And seeing Velie's many sides adds a richness to his character that would have borne out well if the series had been given a fair run.

Of note: Many times writings about this episode list the character of Lee Marx as "Eddie Albert" making people assume it's the fellow from "Green Acres" and "Switch." In reality, the actor is Edward Albert — billed sometimes (as he is here) as Edward Lawrence Albert, a younger man seen most recently as Athos in "The Man in the Iron Mask."



 

The Adventure of the Hard-Hearted Huckster

 

Director: Edward Abroms
Featuring:
Eddie Bracken as Horace Manley
Fred Beir as James Bevin Long
Bob Crane as Jerry Crabtree
Carolyn Jones as Rita Radcliffe
Juliet Mills as Florence Ames
Herb Edelman as Max Sheldon
Danny Wells as the Waiter
Charles Bergansky as the Chauffeur
Wonderful Smith as the Apartment Super
Larry Block as the Floor Director
Maggie Nelson as Vera
and Ken Swofford as Frank Flannigan

Original Air Date: 03/21/76

 

The then-new world of television is the backdrop for this yarn. When the marketing exec for Quick Silver Tobacco Company is off'd while alone in his office having lunch, it's a lucky thing both Ellery Queen and Frank Flanagan are on the scene. Ellery is there to get some research information for a new book, and Frank has just been offered his own radio show to be sponsored by Quick Silver Cigars. But when James Blevin Long is murdered, his disdain for television is out of the way and Flannigan's offer is switched to a TV show.

But how was Mr. Long killed (stabbed) if he was alone? And who could have done it? Ellery skillfully puts the pieces together as usual, as we amusedly watch Flannigan's stagefright destroy his TV career. In the end, he is cancelled and replaced by Ed Sullivan (FF scornfully calls him "old wooden face" and adds, "That zombie won't last two weeks!")



 

The Adventure of the Disappearing Dagger

 

Director: Jack Arnold
Featuring:
Walter Pidgeon as Hamilton Drew
Mel Ferrer as Brandon Childs
Dana Wynter as Alyssa Childs
Gary Burghoff as Jerry Hacker
Ronny Cox as Buck Nolan
Michele Marsh as Norma Lee Burke
R.G. Armstrong as Sam Buffo

Original Air Date: 04/04/76

 

Ellery probes the murder of a retired detective who was killed while investigating a five-year-old unsolved homicide case. Another impossible crime situation, and a reasonably good one, leads us to both cases solved by the conclusion of the episode.

This is the final aired episode of the series, but there were a number of scripts waiting to go — some of them quite excellent. Many were given over to a short-lived NBC series called "The Eddie Capra Mysteries" starring Vincent Baggetta (a show that tried to mix elements of "Columbo" with elements of "Ellery Queen" but acheived neither as the star was totally miscast.) Another of the unused scripts and one of the best, "The Adventure of the Grand Old Lady," was re-tooled and used on "Murder, She Wrote." Jessica Fletcher introduced the story, which was set in 1947. The EQ role became "Christy," a famous author of crossword puzzles, with a father who was a Homicide cop.

 



 

What's New?


 

June 25, 2001:

Still having trouble getting the search engines to re-index us. What a bummer this has been. On the positive side, I've just aquired a host of vintage photos from the show and we'll be getting them up on the site shortly.
 
 
April 25, 2001:

We're back at a different domain. Our former domain (elleryqueentv.com) was commandeered by an adult (porno) site. How did this happen? Our domain renewal notice was sent to our old address. The day we received it after the post office stored it before sending it on, was the SAME DAY these low-lifes took the name. If you're here reading this, you know we re-registered at elleryqueenshow.com. However, search engines will forever be sending EQ fans to porno sites. What a shame. We tried to fight this one to no avail. Their answer was basically, "tough luck". :(
 
 
December 25, 2000:

Merry Christmas, fellow EQ fans. It hasn't seemed so Christmas-y with the election stuff this year, but the snow here has been truly magical looking, so it more than made up for it. Family and spirit are what it's all about!
 
 
June, 2000:

Added images to gallery... And... Our site was featured in Mystery Buff Magazine! It's always fun getting a little recognition. ;)
 
 
February 5, 2000:

Well, a move to a new city and a major job shift have once again kept me too busy to update the news on this page (though I have tried to keep popping in to update certain areas when possible.)

TVLand has had Ellery on the schedule; off the schedule; on; off... it's getting hard to know when it might be on. I think they use the show like a ping-pong ball - whenever they have an hour that needs filling. Without most viewers ever finding it, are they surprised it doesn't get them high enough ratings?? If they would give it the time slot and promotional respect they give their "real" series', the show could gain a following. They could do a marathon, or -gasp- show some of them uncut!! Perhaps even the pilot!! Well, keep bugging them, folks.

Nice to be back. Thanks to all of you who have kept sending in letters about the show and the site!
 
 
July 7, 1999:

And how does a webmaster respond when a visitor blames them personally for the suspension of the show from TVLand?
 
 
July 6, 1999:

Sorry to have been away so long... work took me pretty far afield this time - out of the country - so I am quite behind in all my more enjoyable pursuits. Sadly, while I was gone, I learned that EQ had been removed from the TVLand schedule. This may be temporary and it may come back. Also, I've gotten a few hopeful whispers from Columbia House (no commitment yet - so keep writing!)
 
 
April 24, 1999:

The Letter-Writing campaign to TVLand really paid off!! We have heard back from literally hundreds of you who have been dedicated and caring enough to write to TVLand as well as writing to us to let us know. We are very grateful! With the debut of the May 1999 broadcast schedule, the proof was in - TVLand had heard our voices and added the rest of the series' episodes into rotation. They are ALL being shown now!

Now we have a New Mission! We are going to turn our enthusiasm and energy into an effort to persuade Columbia House (via their "re-tv" Classic TV Video Library offerings), to offer "Ellery Queen" on video in restored, complete and uncut format. This classic deserves to be preserved as so many other television icons have been. Please visit our Columbia House Video Project page to learn more and be a part of it!
 
 
April 4, 1999:

Added more images (meaning an extra page) to the "Usual Suspects" Photo Gallery pages. We are up to 104 great shots from the series now!
 
 
April 1, 1999:

Many of you have been of tremendous help in our letter-writing campaign to TV Land. We are so gratified to have heard from so many visitors! It appears it may all have paid off!   The new schedules now show that TV Land is finally showing some of the episodes they've not been airing. Not all, but most of them! Keep those letters going to TV Land to let them know we want the show to continue.

We'd like to send out a special thanks to Peggy Tapek for her tireless work in keeping all mystery venues aware of our site and our campaign. What a trooper! She's a regular Sergeant Velie! :)
 
 
March 21, 1999:

We have completed all episode synopses with full cast/character lists in our >Casebook page. It was fun watching all the episodes again!
 
 
March 18, 1999:

We have launched a Letter Writing Campaign to TV Land to get the unshown episodes of Ellery Queen to be aired. Of the 22 epiosdes plus pilot, they only air 13 of them over and over. Please visit our Calling All Fans! page to read more about this. And then - take a few moments to let your voice be heard!
 
 
March 15, 1999:

A visitor to our site, Dennis Willett, sent us a great shot of David Wayne in his Batman days as the "Mad Hatter". We've included it in the Cast/Character page for David Wayne. Thanks, Dennis. While we were at it, we finally added the "Higgins" photo of John Hillerman from his days in Magnum, PI.
 
 
March 11, 1999:

Lots of new additions. We have added a new area -Trivia & Incidentals that affords us a showcase for items that simply don't fit into one of the more structured areas. We offer a great selection of TV Guide Articles and Features on the show, plus reviews, retrospectives and more. We'll be adding some great behind-the-scenes stuff we're working on now as well. Plus, we'd love to have >your submissions if you'd like to write something original or have an article or some trivia to share.

By the way, we have since learned that a number of people wrote to Nick-At-Nite/TV Land to request more Ellery Queen showings. We sincerely thank Peggy Tapek for helping to get the word out!
 
 
March 7, 1999:

Nick at Nite's TV Land is showing Ellery Queen weekdays at 1pm (EST) throughout the month of March (starting March 8, 1999.) Here's your chance to catch more of this great show... and get a few on tape if you like!

I had written the programming department there with our disappointment at their not having scheduled any EQ showings for March, and voila! The next week they were placed into rotation. Did our letter prompt this, or is this simply coincidence? Let's just say it can't hurt to write them. When they first released their March schedule, EQ was not on it.
 
 
March 1, 1999:

We've added sound files to the site. We have begun offering the Opening Narrator Sequences from the episodes to the Episode Guide. These are the first things to go in the cut (syndicated) versions, so many people have never even heard these.

We're also offering the Opening Theme, Closing Theme and some great Incidental Music from the show. These can be downloaded/played from the first page of ourGallery. They are in mp3 format. If you don't have a player or need to learn more about the format, there are links with the sound files to allow you to download/learn about mp3 .
 
 
February 17, 1999:

We have become an Amazon.com partner so that we can more easily bring you our recommendations for Ellery Queen books (and books-on-tape), plus other great mysteries and even the films of our star, Jim Hutton. A small portion of the purchase price of anything you buy via referral from this site goes to the upkeep and maintenance of our site. You can browse, shop, or search by visiting our Book Store! And let us know if you have any recommendations you think we should include.
 
 
February 15, 1999:

We were chosen as a Yahoo! Daily Pick today. We are very gratified about all the wonderful letters we've received about the site and the memories we've been able to bring back to people. It's nice to know there are a lot more fans of this incarnation of EQ out there than I ever realized!

We've updated the Episode Guide a bit more. We've been fortunate enough to obtain some original scripts from the show, so the ones we cannot preview from video, we can review via the scripts.
 
 
January 27, 1999:

Well, we've just gone online so right now, everything's new! Stay tuned to this page for updates on new additions to our site, though. And keep in mind, that suggestions are encouraged. We want this site to be a treat!

The Gallery already contains 9 pages (88 images), but we'll be adding a lot more as we have time to review each episode and gather representative images from each. Gallery #6 contains some shots from EQ's classy opening sequence. If you have a photo (good quality please) of any of the cast members or from the show, please upload it to us. Thanks!

We are currently working on the Episode Guide. There is at least a short synopsis of each episode (thanks to David Gideon for many of these), but you'll notice that some episodes have long detailed info. As we review each episode, we'll flesh out each of the descriptions, cast lists, etc.
 

 

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