27. The Case of the Perfect Husband
After a truly wonderful and delightful First Anniversary party the happy couple is finally alone, and the husband, Russell Partridge (Michael Gough), known as a successful art collector, casually tells his wife Janet (Mary Sinclair) that he intends to kill her at 9 p.m. the next evening, and he briefly strangles her to let her know how it will be done. He also says that she will be victim # 8!
The next day she goes to Inspector Lestrade (Archie Duncan), but sees his clear disbelief and rises to leave with an apology for having wasted his time. He says that he is quite happy she seems to have conquered her delusion, and says Mr. Partridge has already been to the Yard to discuss her strange behavior of the night before. She apologizes again and goes straight to Holmes. Holmes is out, and Watson is so effusive with praise for her husband, that she excuses herself and is leaving when Holmes returns, listens, and believes. Intrigued by her husband’s statements, Holmes gets Lestrade to search the Partridge mansion, but no bodies are found. Still worried about Mrs. Partridge as 9 P.M. approaches, Holmes suddenly realizes where they did not look.
Very good and very well-acted.
Directed by Steve Previn from an Original ScreenPlay by Hamilton Keener.
NOTE: From the beginning one of the most interesting characters has been Lieutenant Wilkins, who is always working closely with Lestrade. I have reported the actor’s name as Richard Leake, but for at least the second half of the episodes his billing has read Kenneth Richards. Another Sherlockian mystery.
28. The Case of the Jolly Hangman
Holmes is enjoying Watson’s new Stereoscope (though Watson really wants a chance to look it over himself) when the doorbell rings. It is a young woman, plainly dressed and perhaps lower-middle class. Jessie Hoper (Alvys Maben) turns out to be the widow of a traveling salesman who hanged himself in his hotel room in Glasgow during a sales trip – although she says he didn’t. They have their first child, of whom her husband was very proud. He was certainly not depressed. He apparently had a friend, a very jolly one, who at least is known to have taken the train with him. This man may have something pertinent to contribute that would remove the stigma of suicide.
So Holmes and Watson (without getting to play with his new toy) travel to Glasgow and work there with Inspector MacDougal (Archie Duncan). Testimony reveals that the “friend” was not only excessively jolly, but had a limp as well. With Holmes’s determination the case is reinvestigated, and past incidents come into play in the present, and suicide is proven to be murder.
Directed by Steve Previn from an Original ScreenPlay by Charles and Joseph Early.
NOTE: Watson’s Stereoscope is the more modern type of the one designed, but purposely not copyrighted, by Oliver Wendell Holmes; it was called the Holmes Stereoscope.
29. The Case of the Imposter Mystery
Holmes snd Watson return from a week at Brighton only for Holmes to be attacked by Sir Arthur Treadley (Basil Dignam) for giving him bad advice and getting him robbed. It is obvious to Holmes (and to us) that the imposter has used a convincing manner and some very large lies to make Treadley take advice so bad that any child could see its lack of logic.
So Watson becomes a Maharajah and Holmes becomes his vizier, and they wait at an expensive London hotel, covered with faux gems. They announce that the Maharajah is accepting interviews from the press, and the imposter (Bob Cunningham) soon shows up, way too curious about the Maharajah’s jewels and security. Indeed, our heroes are only too happy to oblige with “useful” information.
Not quite as funny as it would like to be, but still a nice change for Lestrade, who is required to play alternately embarrassed and happy.
Directed by Steve Previn from an Original Screenplay by Joe Morhaim.
30. The Case of the Eiffel Tower
Since the series was shot in Paris, I suppose this episode was inevitable.
The three lads make a quick trip to Paris to meet someone Unknown at the top of the Eiffel Tower in order to receive a coin which Lestrade needs to close a case. Holmes and Lestrade go to the top while Watson stays below to observe and stop anyone running away. Holmes receives the coin, but is attacked by two men trying to get it. He throws it down to Watson, who is paying more attention to a lovely woman, Nana de Melimar (Martine Alexis), the star of the cabaret at a somewhat seedy club. While Lestrade and the two would-be thieves are chasing each other downstairs, Holmes takes the elevator, and Nana takes the coin. This sets up an action-filled finale at the club with good guys and bad guys fighting for the coin.
Well-paced and amusing, with a lot of nifty shots of the Eiffel Tower.
Directed by Steve Previn from an Original ScreenPlay by Roger E. Garris.
31. The Case of the Exhumed Client
A graveside funeral service is read flatly and boringly by a clergyman whose manner may be historically accurate, but is certainly an affront to the church.
Then back in the mansion of the dead man, Sir Charles Farnsworth, his will is read by his counselor. The four heirs, Sir Charles’s cousin Sir George (Alan Adair), his sister Elizabeth (Alvys Maben), his ward Sylvia Taylor (Judith Haviland), and his young doctor Dr. Henry Reeves (Michael Turner), all seem somewhat unemotional except that Elizabeth sincerely congratulates Henry on his receiving two thousand pounds, enough to buy a medical practice of his own.
George of course gets the title and the estate, and the responsibility of caring for Elizabeth until she marries (this may apply to Sylvia too, except that there is some reason to think that George may marry Sylvia himself). He accepts this ungraciously, causing Elizabeth to say, “My brother was a generous man!” George replies, “He was a bully and a braggart!” Sylvia says, “George, please. Charles is dead now.” And George says, “He treated you more like one of his hounds than his ward, and you know it, Sylvia!”
Then the counselor says, “The will is not quite finished. Your cousin Charles added a most unusual codicil.” (Reading) “Having made many enemies in my life and suspecting that any one of them may be tempted to bring my paltry days to an abrupt end, I hereby direct, no matter how I die, that Sherlock Holmes be engaged to investigate the circumstances of my death.”
Sir George: “I won’t allow Holmes to investigate!”
The Counselor: “I’m afraid Mr. Holmes has already commenced his investigation. A court order was issued this morning.”
Sir George: “A court order for what?”
Sherlock, off camera: “The exhumation of Sir Charles’s body. The autopsy has been completed. Sir Charles died from arsenic poisoning.”
Now THAT’S a setup!
Directed by Steve Previn from an Original Screenplay by Charles and Joseph Early.
32. The Case of the Impromptu Performance
A prison guard and a clergyman approach the cell of a convicted murderer, Edward Brighton (Patrick Shelley). Brighton has a last request on the eve of his execution: to see Sherlock Holmes. The clergyman seems more than a little unworldly when he replies, “If the man can be found, I’ll have him brought here.”
Brighton, who has been maintaining his innocence in the face of rather damning stories from neighbors, tells Holmes that he has only just remembered something, that he came home in one of his malaria attacks, he passed out on the stoop, but he had seen something that was not his and clearly did not belong there. It’s just that he can’t recall precisely what it was.
With this rather impossible task Holmes and Watson set out to find an answer before dawn. And their impromptu performance will be the interruption of a professional company’s version of Othello by standing in the wings and reaching out any time the lead actor gets close enough to try for a sample of his wig. Eugene Deckers does a funny job as Mr. Pettyfoot, the state manager.
Directed by Steve Previn from an Original ScreenPlay by Joe Morhaim.
33. The Case of the Baker Street Bachelors
Holmes and Watson try to save Mr. Mason’s (Seymour Grenn) chances of getting elected to Parliament in the face of his involvement with what he thought was an innocent dating service. However, “Cupid’s Bow Marriage Bureau, J. Oliver Manager” is a blackmail ring. Holmes agrees to help, but finds himself outmatched when the “ladies” of Cupid’s Bow have him arrested for assault. Now Watson must help Mason, and soon Lestrade gets draw in too. Oliver is played by Duncan Elliott, and of the ladies, Alvys Maben plays Pamela and Penny Portrait plays Edna.
A modern story of impropriety in politics, but in this case justice wins – because there is no impropriety.
Directed by Steve Previn with an Original Story by Joseph Victor and a Screenplay by Roger E. Garris.