Monday, March 17, 2014

What Might've Been: Philip Marlowe (1959)

I was rummaging through some of the DVD compilations I acquired from Radio Spirits over the years the other day, and decided to revisit some of the TV/radio combos I had on my shelf.

Then, my good buddy Ivan Shreve over at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear put the word out about Movies Silently and their "Sleuthathon" blogathon, which wraps today. I promised two entries, and, by gum, we'll get to them straight away!

First up is Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler's seminal sleuth, who made his TV debut in 1959 for ABC. The kicker, though, is that it's one of those rare non-game shows from the game show legends, Mark Goodson & Bill Todman.

Today's generation will remember star Philip Carey not for this series, but his long stint on another ABC show, One Life to Live, dating back to the 80's, when soaps were in fact big business. So you can figure it threw me for a loop or two seeing this show, which was before my time.

Full episodes aren't available on YouTube, unfortunately, so jpwrites cobbled the following video together, which tosses in highlights of a particular episode in between the opening & closing:

Marlowe would return years later, in a cable series (HBO, I believe), with Powers Boothe in the title role. From what I saw here, this should've gotten a second season at least, but the competition back then, as now, made programming very tricky. It was never an exact science to begin with, but Carey acquits himself well as Marlowe. In a way, the by-play between Marlowe & Lt. Harris (William Schallert) mirrored Peter Gunn, and maybe, just maybe,  that's what turned viewers off.

Rating: A.

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