Friday, April 11, 2014

What Might've Been: The Adventures of Hiram Holliday (1956)

A newspaper proofreader prevents a punctuation error from seeing print, and saves his employers from a libel suit. His reward? A world tour, which turns him into a globetrotting, unassuming, plain-clothed crime buster who was far more formidible than his slight appearance would suggest.

The Adventures of Hiram Holliday began as a novel, published in 1939, and written by the acclaimed author, Paul Gallico, who posited Holliday as an Everyman hero who was skilled in a number of different talents, including martial arts. Fittingly, Wally Cox, fresh from Mr. Peepers, was cast as Holliday. In real life, Cox was a perfect match for Holliday, his slight appearance hiding a muscular frame. One wonders if Cox was not only drawn to Holliday, but also the animated superhero whom he's also famously associated with, Underdog.

However, NBC pulled the plug a wee bit early, leaving 3 episodes unaired, although the entire series was shown in England on the BBC. Aside from Underdog, Cox never headlined another series, although he would make a number of guest appearances on shows as diverse as Beverly Hillbillies and It Takes A Thief, and became a regular panelist on the original Hollywood Squares until his passing in the early 70's.

Gilmore Box uploaded the open:

In my own opinion, the sitcom format killed the show. Had it been played more as a drama, playing to Cox's physical strength more than his comic strength, he would've escaped the typecasting that came out of Peepers.

Rating: C.


magicdog said...

I have never heard of this show but the premise is intriguing. A bit like a cross between "Castle"
and "Murder She Wrote" (amateur sleuths who solve crimes in their own unique way).

My mom used to watch "Mr. Peepers" back in the day, and used to tell me about what a funny actor Wally Cox was. He was pretty much forgotten by those of my generation.

It might be a nice idea to revive the format for film - perhaps using Steve Carrell in the Cox role.

hobbyfan said...

Hmmm. Steve Carell as Hiram Holliday. Actually, that's been done, except it was Carell as Maxwell Smart.