A friend picked up this two- disc DVD set for £3 recently. A real bargain.

So much to enjoy in the 12 half hour episodes from. 1959,  with so many familiar faces. DAVID NIVEN introduces each episode and appears in one.

The dvd has 12 episodes, but 13 were made. The missing one features JULIE LONDON and STEVE BRODIE.

My favorite, ‘A Day of Small Miracles’, featured EDDIE BRACKEN as The Great Merlin, Pick-pocket Extraordinaire.

Trouble is Merlin has arthritis in his hands and hasn’t worked for months. But he has many friends – his landlady isn’t pushing him for the rent, and his agent says he owes Merlin $100.

Ironically, his wallet with the $100 is stolen by another pickpocket (CASEY ADAMS), and he decides he is going to get some money crookedly, using his skills.

The first person he uses his pick pocketing skills on turns out to have collected the money from the unemployment office – Merlin gives it back.

Then he meets DON BEDDOE and does it again – quietly steals his wallet. The chap turns out to be a doctor who notices Merlin’s swollen hands and offers to help him. So the wallet is returned to the doctor .

He just can’t seem to become a crook.

In a neat twist, back at his boarding house, a cop he knows is waiting for him to tell him they recovered his wallet! And his agent calls to say there’s a job for him, still in magic!

Most interesting about this story was to see Eddie Bracken for the first time in a serious role.He was fine. Shame he was always typecast.

My second favorite episode ,’BackTrack’ stars FRANK LOVEJOY as a District Attorney standing for higher political office. His last case sent a murderer to the gas chamber.

A man comes to his office and tells him that he sent an innocent man to his death. The man says he knows the truth because he’s the real killer. He wants money to stop speaking to the authorities . He explains he has a bad heart and may only have a year to live, so  he doesn’t care if Frank turns him in.

So the D.A. has to look at the case again and there is a good twist in the end.

‘Fortune Telling Cookie’ is also good, with DON TAYLOR  visiting his fortune telling aunt and pretending to predict the future of a rich young  lady. Things get complicated when his predictions start to come true .

Nice to see the usual prim and proper ISABEL ELSOM as a gypsy lady.

The one episode David Niven appeared in with EDUARD FRANZ wasn’t so good. David is an interrogator in a future society where the bible is banned.

The DAN DURYEA  episode was also disappointing.Dan plays a Justice of the Peace in a small town. ADAM  WILLIAMS  has escaped from prison and has come back to kill Duryea.

A shame the series only ran one season.

Photos below:

Eddie Albert, Eduard Franz

Rhys Williams, Joanne Dru, Frank Lovejoy

Isabel Elsom,John Ericson, John Hoyt

Dan Duryea, James Best, Virginia Grey

John  Dehner, Anne Francis, Eddie Bracken

4 responses »

  1. Hey, this sounds good! I know Niven was host of The Four Star Playhouse but didn’t realize that he hosted his own show, too. Thanks for spotlighting it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Gravatar Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s