Recently caught 7 episodes of this classic husband and wife amateur detective series based on a successful radio series that proceeded it."Beauty Prize"
: Upon discovering Mr. North is to be a judge in a beauty pageant with a contestant named Kitty Palmroy, who’s practically a double in appearance for Mrs. North but whose personality has a penchant for making lots of enemies, Mrs. North decides to pay the pageant a visit and soon winds up taking Kitty’s place to investigate after Kitty is mysteriously murdered.
This episode really showed off star Barbara Britton's beauty as she played both Mrs. North and Kitty and spent a large part of it in a revealing bikini. "House Behind the Wall"
: While driving to meet friend Lt. Bill Wiegand for his birthday party, the Norths unexpectedly get a flat tire. Coming to a nearby house for help, they are surprised by how quickly they are turned away. As they leave, Mrs. North hears a cry and sees written on a window pane “Help! Murder”. Her curiosity now peaked, Mrs. North is more determined than ever to get inside the house and find out what is going on so she feigns illness in order to get a better look inside the place. The man, one Richard Burton (Fay Roope), who owns the house and his sister (Barbara Brown) claim the woman upstairs is Richard’s wife - a mental case only something doesn’t seem quite right about these people and their intentions. "Mask of Hate"
: Mrs. North is called upon to look after an invalid friend named Gordon Lane (Willis Bouchey), who is confined to his bed. Lane meanwhile is stewing with hatred and jealousy towards his wife Marion (Eve Miller) who he believes is cheating on him with another man, a fellow named Barry Weston (Harry Lauter). When Weston is murdered, Marion becomes the police’s leading suspect as Gordon couldn’t possibly have gotten out of his bed, or could he? "Till Death Do Us Part"
: On their way out to celebrate their fifth anniversary, the Norths are startled when they receive a pair of bridal dolls with the one of the wife having a knife sticking out of her back. Soon a real bride to be stumbles into the room with a knife in her back!
And the Norths suddenly find themselves smack dab in the midst of a murder investigation. "Reunion"
: Jerry North returns to his old university dormitory hoping to be reunited with an old friend named Stuffy Barton (Douglas Kennedy), now a professor at the university, but is stunned to discover Stuffy has now become obsessed with stopping atomic warfare having created an atomic bomb small enough to fit inside a suitcase with which he plans to blow up the gymnasium during the school’s big basketball game in order to make a statement.
Can the Norths find Stuffy in time to stop him and his mad plot? "Dead Man's Tale"
: Jerry North receives a threatening phone call from a gangster tough named Nick Magnus (Ben Welden) promising to rub him out only the gangster has the wrong number. The man he was trying to reach instead was a bookmaker named Jerry Lawson. The Norths decide they must warn this Lawson about the plot against him and so drive to Dave’s Cigar Store to get in touch with him. However while they are there, someone does rub out Jerry Lawson. Was it Nick Magnus or was it someone else who had it in for Mr. Lawson? "Million Dollar Coffin"
: Following a daring bank robbery, the crooks hide their loot in a casket and bury it in the ground, in the grave of one Gus Heinkel, a little known stranger in the town they choose for this very purpose. The crooks agree upon a pact - each goes their own separate way for three years and returns to this spot again three years later to dig up the loot only one gets the idea to come back early to get more than his share even getting a lady friend (Lynne Roberts) to pretend to be the daughter of one Gus Heinkel. Jumbo (Ben Welden), the man left to guard over the loot, however is none too pleased at this prospect and so changes the graves headstones. Meanwhile the Norths are in town trying to get permission to exhume the grave of one Nathaniel Sykes, said to have been buried with correspondence from George Washington amongst other famous dignitaries, the very man with whom Jumbo switched headstones.
Aside from perhaps "Till Death Do Us Part"
and portions of "Million Dollar Coffin"
, this is all fairly predictable fare. In most cases, it plays out in a rather obvious fashion and very few will be left guessing as to the truth about the mystery murder plots. Still there's a certain charm in seeing stars Richard Denning (Mr. North) and Barbara Britton (Mrs. North) in anything and they do seem particularly well cast in these roles here. In many ways this show is the 1950s equivalent of Hart to Hart
which seems an apt comparison to me. Yes it's by in large predictable fare but yet it has a certain charm thanks in large part due to the interactions between our leads. Also keep an eye out for notable guest stars like Douglas Kennedy and Jonathan Hale in "Reunion"
, Fay Roope (who arguably steals the show in both "Till Death Do Us Part"
and "The House Behind the Wall"
), Willis Bouchey in "Mask of Hate"
, a young blonde Carolyn Jones in "Dead Man's Tale"
and memorable character bits played by Ben Welden in both "Dead Man's Tale"
and "Million Dollar Coffin".