Saturday, May 13, 2017

Forgotten TV: I Love a Mystery (1967-73)

Now, here's an interesting conundrum.

I Love a Mystery, which had been a successful radio program in the Golden Age (1939-44), then adapted into a feature film series beginning in the 40's, was being brought to television by Universal for NBC.

However, the Peacock Network got cold feet after a pilot movie had been shot, and shelved the film for six years before it finally aired as a  NBC World Premiere Movie in 1973. By that time, director Leslie Stevens (ex-The Outer Limits) had moved on, and would helm Search, one of the network's fall premieres for 1973 (originally titled, Probe, and previously reviewed) for Warner Bros..

Even though one of the central characters had been killed off the radio show, the trio of detectives were back together for this 1-shot adventure. David Hartman, after the movie was completed, moved on to The Virginian, then, The Bold Ones, which had finished its run by the time I Love a Mystery finally aired.

NBC also engaged in a little misdirection by hyping Don Knotts as one of the stars, but he only had a brief cameo at the end of the movie, a waste of his talent.

We'll take a look at the radio series another time, but for now, scope out I Love a Mystery. Not sure who the narrator is, as I can't place the voice.

I remember reading about this movie when it did air, but it was on past my bedtime. Could it work today, upgraded with modern technology? Can't say for sure.

No rating.


Samuel Wilson said...

The original "I Love a Mystery" movies are running on TCM next Friday, May 19, in the afternoon and early evening.

Mike Doran said...

We're looking here at the last gasp of mid-'60s "Camp".

By 1967, I Love A Mystery was already hopelessly dated; six years on the shelf didn't help matters any.

NBC and Universal-TV had a long-standing sweetheart deal in the telemovie biz; the mid-'60s was the (sort-of) Golden Age thereof.
This pilot was one of a number of TV-movies that fell between the cracks during this time.

Would I Love A Mystery work today?

Hell, it didn't work in 1967 ...
(1973 either, comes to that ...)

hobbyfan said...

@Samuel Wilson: I may catch at least one or two movies on Friday before baseball comes on.

@Mike Doran: Universal, now owned by Comcast, ultimately purchased NBC, making that "sweetheart" deal permanent, if you will. UTV would ultimately gift NBC with hits like "The Name of the Game" and the NBC Mystery Movies (i.e. Columbo, McMillian & Wife) as part of that "golden age" of TV-movies.