When Henry Blankfort testified at a 9/18/51 HUAC hearing during the McCarthy "Red Scare" period, he was "belligerent and strident" (according to The Hollywood Reporter) and, when mentioning this film, wryly pointed out that the title had nothing to do with politics. See more »
1945's "The Crimson Canary" was a Universal mystery with a twist, the main suspects are jazz musicians, allowing for about 20 minutes of music to detract from the investigation. Noah Beery Jr. heads the cast as the trumpet playing bandleader, who discovers the body of their flirtatious singer (Claudia Drake), dead from a fractured skull, in the same back room as her unconscious fiancée, the group's drummer. With a young Mel Torme dubbing the drums, the music holds more intrigue than the whodunit angle (the killer's identity is hardly a surprise), but John Litel steals it as the detective with a fine ear. This film aired twice on Pittsburgh's CHILLER THEATER, although it was never included in Universal's popular SHOCK! package of classic horror films first issued to television in the late 50's, which still featured a number of non horror titles. Also shown on CHILLER THEATER was another whodunit with music, 1944's "Murder in the Blue Room" (also with John Litel), but at least that one featured an actual ghost, albeit a comic one. Other non SHOCK! Universals to air on CHILLER THEATER included 1934's "The Crosby Case," "The Man Who Reclaimed His Head," and "Rendezvous at Midnight," 1938's "The Black Doll," "The Crime of Doctor Hallet," and "The Missing Guest," 1939's "The House of Fear," 1940's "The Invisible Woman," 1941's "The Black Cat," 1942's "Invisible Agent," and 1944's "Jungle Woman."
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