Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Overlooked TV: Craft Suspense Theater -- The Deep End

Toby O'Brien clued me in to this episode of Kraft Suspense Theater, which was based on a novel (The Drowner) by John D. MacDonald.  The story follows the novel pretty well, so if you've read the book, you know how it turns out.  I suspect that even if you haven't read the book, you'll know how it turns out before you get to the end.  It's pretty entertaining, though.

Aldo Ray plays Sam Kimber, a businessman who's in love with another man's wife.  The wife drowns (but we know it's murder), and Clu Gulagher shows up to investigate.  He's a private eye hired by the murdered woman's sister (Ellen Burstyn, billed as Ellen McRae), who doesn't believe the story about the drowning.  Kimber's been hiding money from the IRS with the dead woman, and the money's disappeared. He's naturally the chief suspect.  Tina Louise plays his secretary, and Whit Bissell plays his accountant.  

Everything is worked out quickly as the episode is only 45 minutes long.  I suspect something was cut, but maybe not.  There's on pretty good line.  Gulagher asks Louise how tall she is, and she responds, "With heels?" "With anybody," Gulagher says.  I don't know if that's in the novel.


7 comments:

  1. That's KRAFT SUSPENSE THEATER (in all its cheese), or SUSPENSE THEATER, or CRISIS, depending on when you were catching it...even though SUSPENSE THEATER is the official syndication title, Antenna TV has been running the episodes with the CRISIS title-card that NBC (iinm) used for the summer repeat run of this two-season series, from the production company of the master of suspense...Perry Como (KST alternated weeks with the Como-hosted KRAFT MUSIC HALL). Morton Fine and David Friedkin were able to parlay their work here, after their radio scripting careers, into I SPY.

    Speaking of radio, this episode reminds me powerfully of YOURS TRULY, JOHNNY DOLLAR, only with a somewhat less believable gimmick than that series was prone to on its frequent better days...Tina Louise is almost the right choice, but not quite (height, yes...other characteristics, maybe not)...and remarkable how few people think of pulling at the airhose on the SCUBA equipment, no?

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  2. Best line--va-va-voom gal Tina Louise on her lack of a boyfriend: "Between work, bowling, and church, I don't have time for that."

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  3. And words to this effect later from our Heroes: "And that healthy mammal out there doesn't have a man of her own..."

    I don't miss the old days, in so many ways. And really, aren't they still so very much with us?

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  4. FWIW, 45 minutes is probably trimmed about five minutes from the original, since this is the syndicated package version (probably part of the reason Antenna is using the CRISIS versions).

    And, as I didn't quite state before, you opt for the English word "craft" only in your headline (so far)...

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  5. Thanks, Todd, for the correction.

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  6. I read THE DROWNER a couple months ago and I'm sure that "heel" line was NOT in the JDM novel.

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  7. A couple of other shows in this series worth watching (in constant repeat on Antenna TV): The Watchman by David Rayfiel (Hemingway-like writer Jack Warden and retired gangster Telly Savalas in Spain. An odd noir broken friendship, bittersweet romance yarn. The Trains of Silence -- Jeffrey Hunter is a new employee meeting Howard Hughes-like boss (Lloyd Bochner) and his assistant (Tippi Hedren) and discovering deadly secret.

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