MYSTERY SERIES CHARACTERS: FROM THE PRINTED PAGE TO TELEVISION
by Marvin Lachman
Any additions and corrections are very welcome.
Part 5: P - Z
Palmer, Stuart: HILDEGARDE WITHERS was played by Eve Arden in a 1971 TV movie, A Very Missing Person. James Gregory was INSPECTOR PIPER.
Parker, Robert B.: Robert Urich was SPENSER in the American TV series Spenser: For Hire (beginning in 1985). Avery Brooks was HAWK, and Barbara Stock was SUSAN SILVERSTEIN. There were also several TV movies about Spenser, based on Parker novels, after the series ended. Also after the series ended, Brooks starred in his own spin-off series A Man Called Hawk (1988-1989).
Pentecost, Hugh: Royal Dano played GEORGE CROWDER in “My Dear Uncle Sherlock” on WABC-TV’s Short Story Special in 1977.
Peters, Ellis: Sir Derek Jacobi played BROTHER CADFAEL on Cadfael, the British series of the 1990s.
Poe, Edgar Allan: George C. Scott was AUGUSTE DUPIN in a 1986 TV movie, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, based on the famous short story. For this movie, Dupin was made a police inspector.
Queen, Ellery: Richard Hart first played ELLERY QUEEN in the series The Adventures of Ellery Queen (1950-1952). When Hart died of a heart attack, Lee Bowman replaced him. Florenz Ames was INSPECTOR RICHARD QUEEN. In a syndicated film series, beginning in 1954, originally with the same title, Hugh Marlowe was Queen. The series was later called Mystery Is My Business. In the 1958-1959 series The Further Adventures of Ellery Queen, George Nader was initially Queen; he was replaced by Lee Phillips. Les Tremayne was Inspector Queen. The series title was eventually shortened to Ellery Queen.
In a 1971 TV pilot movie, Look Behind You, Ellery Queen, based on the novel Cat of Many Tails, Peter Lawford was Queen, and Harry Morgan was Inspector Queen, changed for the movie to Ellery’s Uncle. William Zuckert was SGT. VELIE. The most recent series was Ellery Queen in 1975, with Jim Hutton as Ellery, David Wayne as Inspector Queen, and Tom Reese as Sgt. Velie.
Rankin, Ian: John Hannah plays his DET. INSP. JOHN REBUS in the 21st century series Rebus.
Reeve, Arthur B.: Donald Woods was CRAIG KENNEDY in the 1952 series Craig Kennedy, Criminologist.
Rendell, Ruth: In the British series The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, begun in 1987, George Baker was DET. CHIEF INSPECTOR REGINALD WEXFORD, and Christopher Ravenscroft was DET. INSP. MIKE BURDEN.
Rice, Craig: Lee Tracy played JOHN J. MALONE in the 1951 American series The Amazing Mr. Malone. In 1957 an episode of George Sanders Mystery Theatre was based on her story “And the Birds Still Sing,” but Malone’s name was changed to Francis Parnell. He was played by John Archer.
Rohmer, Sax: In a 1955-1956 British series, The Adventures of Fu Manchu, Glen Gordon was DR. FU MANCHU, and Lester Matthews was NAYLAND SMITH.
“Sapper” (H.C. McNeill): Robert Beatty was BULLDOG DRUMMOND in the 1950s British series Bulldog Drummond.
Sayers, Dorothy L.: Her stories about LORD PETER WIMSEY were first televised on Masterpiece Theatre beginning in 1973 with the TV version of Clouds of Witness. Ian Carmichael was Wimsey; Glyn Houston was his man BUNTER, and Mark Eden was INSPECTOR PARKER. In the late1980s, the BBC resumed the series with Edward Petherbridge playing Wimsey and Harriet Walter as HARRIET VANE.
Simenon, Georges: Basil Sydney played INSPECTOR MAIGRET in “Maigret and the Lost Life” on BBC-TV Sunday Night Theatre in1959. Anne Blake was MADAME MAIGRET. From 1960 through 1963 the BBC broadcast 51 shows based on the Maigret novels and short stories as part of the series Maigret. Rupert Davies was Maigret, Helen Shingler was Madame Maigret, and Ewen Solon was SERGEANT LUCAS. (In 1966 the BBC broadcast 13 non-series stories by Simenon.) In 1969 on the BBC1: Play of the Month, they broadcast Maigret at Bay, with Davies and Shingler.
Richard Harris was Maigret in a 1988 TV pilot movie titled Maigret. In Granada Television’s 1992-1993 British series, Maigret, Michael Gambon was Maigret, Ciaran Madden was Madame Maigret, and Geoffrey Hutchings was Sgt. Lucas. There were 12 episodes in this series.
Spillane, Mickey: Darren McGavin was MIKE HAMMER in the 1958-1959 series Mike Hammer, Detective. Bart Burns was PAT CHAMBERS. Kevin Dobson played Hammer in Margin for Murder, a 1981 TV movie. Stacy Keach was Hammer in the 1984 series Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, which followed a successful 1983 pilot film. Don Stroud was Chambers. Tanya Roberts played VELDA in the pilot but was replaced by Lindsay Bloom for the series. About 1987 Keach starred in a TV movie The Return of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer. That was followed by a brief series with Keach: The New Mike Hammer.
Stout, Rex: In a segment called “The Art of Murder” on the Sunday afternoon program Omnibus in 1956, Robert Echols played NERO WOLFE, and Gene Reynolds was ARCHIE GOODWIN. The Doorbell Rang, a 1979 TV pilot movie based on Stout’s novel of that name, had Thayer David as Wolfe, Tom Mason as Archie, and Biff McGuire as INSPECTOR CRAMER. Thayer’s death soon after is said to have spoiled any chance for a series.
In the 1981 series Nero Wolfe, William Conrad was Wolfe, Lee Horsley was Archie, Allan Miller was Cramer. Also, George Voscovec was Wolfe’s cook, FRITZ BRENNER, and Robert Coote was his gardener, THEODORE HORSTMANN, and George Wyner was SAUL PANZER. Most recently in the 2001 series, Tim Hutton (whose father played Ellery Queen) was Archie to the Wolfe of Maury Chaykin. Bill Smitrovich was Inspector Cramer.
Tidyman, Ernest: Richard Roundtree played JOHN SHAFT in the 1973 series Shaft.
Uhnak, Dorothy: In The Bait, a 1973 TV film version of the novel of that name, Donna Mills was CHRISTIE OPARA. The character’s name was changed to Christie Love for the 1974-1975 series Get Christie Love! with Teresa Graves in the title role.
Upfield, Arthur W.: John Laurenson was INSPECTOR NAPOLEON BONAPARTE for the 1974 series filmed in Australia: About Boney.
Vance, Louis Joseph: Louis Hayward was MICHAEL LANYARD (THE LONE WOLF) in the 1954-1955 syndicated series The Lone Wolf.
Van Gulik, Robert: Khigh Dhiegh was JUDGE DEE in the 1974 TV movie Judge Dee and the Monastery Murders.
Wallace, Edgar: There was an international cast for the 1957 series called THE FOUR JUST MEN. Jack Hawkins was Ben Manfred; Dan Dailey was Tim Collier; Richard Conte was Jeff Ryder; and Vittorio De Sica was Ricco Poccari.
Watson, Colin: Anton Rogers was his INSPECTOR PURBRIGHT in the episodes based on his novels of the series Murder Most English, circa 1977.
Wingfield, R(odney) D.: David Jason played DET. INSPECTOR JACK FROST in the 1990s British series A Touch of Frost.
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