Detective Ellery Queen has to solve a series of murders where the victims were killed in numerically descending ages, the male victims were strangled with blue cords and the female victims with pink ones.
Detective Ellery Queen has to solve a series of murders where the victims were killed in numerically descending ages and the men were strangled with blue cords, the women with pink ones.Written by
Peter Lawford's "Ellery Queen" was competing with "Columbo", "McCloud", and "McMillan and Wife" to be on the NBC Mystery wheel.
"Ellery Queen: Don't Look Behind You" was a super stylish pilot for a projected NBC series for the 1971-72 season.
"Ellery Queen" was up for a slot on the new "Wednesday Mystery Movie" wheel that wound up including "Columbo", "McCloud", and "McMillan and Wife". NBC almost picked "Ellery Queen" over "McMillan and Wife".
Barry Shear's direction of "Ellery Queen" was really stunning (including cartoon segments of the "hydra" killer).
Peter Lawford gave a light, suave, likable performance as Ellery Queen, even if he was miscast.
I wish "Queen" had sold. "Ellery Queen" was really a who-done-it mystery, which you can't say for "Columbo" or "McCloud". "Ellery Queen" could have been a fine fourth detective on the mystery wheel. I think it would have been a success.
I could well have lived with the charming Peter Lawford as Ellery, but if the role had to be recast I think James Wainwright, Roy Thinnes, Mike Farrell, Michael Douglas, Michael Parks, or Bradford Dillman might have been interesting.
Andrew Duggan or Jose Ferrer would have been cool as Inspector Richard Queen, Ellery's father. But Harry Morgan made an excellent Inspector Queen in the movie.
To produce the show, I would have tried to get the great Richard Alan Simmons ("Trials of O'Brien", the "Banyon" movie pilot).
The writer of this "Ellery Queen" pilot movie was "Ted Leighton", which was a pseudonym for Richard Levinson and William Link ("Columbo"). Levinson/Link later produced the fondly remembered "Ellery Queen" series with Jim Hutton and David Wayne. (Edward Herrmann was also considered to play Ellery in the series in addition to Jim Hutton.) Levinson/Link sold their first story to "Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine" when they were teenagers. They must have been big fans of the writer/detective. Levinson/Link later created "Murder, She Wrote" about a woman writer/detective.
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