Martin Kane (1949–1954)
"Martin Kane, Private Eye" (original title)

TV Series  |   |  Drama
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Private detective Martin Kane works in New York solving crimes. Depending on the year, Kane was either smooth and suave or hard bitten and the cooperation he received from the police ... See full summary »

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Title: Martin Kane (1949–1954)

Martin Kane (1949–1954) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »
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Complete series cast summary:
Walter Kinsella ...
 Happy McMann (26 episodes, 1949-1954)
Nicholas Saunders ...
 Sgt. Ross (17 episodes, 1950-1954)
King Calder ...
 Lt. Grey / ... (15 episodes, 1952-1954)
William Gargan ...
 Martin Kane (12 episodes, 1949-1951)


Private detective Martin Kane works in New York solving crimes. Depending on the year, Kane was either smooth and suave or hard bitten and the cooperation he received from the police depended on the year. The only constant was Happy McMann's tobacco shop where Kane hung out. Written by J.E. McKillop <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

1 September 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Martin Kane  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This live NBC detective series debuted on 1 September 1949 and was last shown 17 June 1954. Title was shortened in August 1953 to "Martin Kane" and coincided with Kane no longer hanging out in the tobacco shop. Revived in 1957 in a syndicated version with William Gargan reprising his role as the original Kane. See more »


Featured in Married Life (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Lee Tracy as Martin Kane
5 April 2006 | by (Van Buren, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

One of the first shows I watched when we got our television in 1953 was "Martin Kane, Private Eye" starring Lee Tracy. I remember being disappointed when Tracy was replaced by Mark Stevens. The show's producers made a big deal about the switch. The new Martin Kane was introduced as Tracy left the series. As it turned out Mark Stevens was almost as good as Tracy in the pivotal lead role.

Recently I watched earlier live Martin Kane programs on DVD starring Lloyd Nolan. While I still prefer Lee Tracy in the part, Nolan was very good, especially considering I was viewing a Kinescope made over 50 years ago. One of the episodes I watched, "Rest Home Murder," was at times creepy and very violent, even by today's TV standards. There was a goon-like muscle man who kept the patients in line by brute force, intimidation, and even murder. Seems the head of the nursing home was a greedy woman who "took care" of the occupants to get a cut of the inheritance money from equally mercenary relatives. One of the tortured souls is able to contact Martin Kane by phone, but not without being overhead on the extension. Kane finds himself in a situation where he may very well be the next victim.

Some viewers may find the tobacco ads which are interwoven with the plot offensive. Yet the same thing goes on today in movies, if not on TV. When you see Ford or Chevy cars used exclusively in a film, then you're looking at a commercial for those companies interwoven into the plot. "Martin Kane, Private Eye" came by the method honestly. It was already a mainstay of old time radio. Most early TV programs were patterned after radio shows of the day, though I did think it quaint that the camera zeroed in on a package of Old Briar Pipe Tobacco for several seconds after Kane filled his pipe and lit it. The benefit of interwoven commercials is obvious: There are no interruptions from the story with one-minute product promotions.

Postscript: There was a real-life Martin Kane. He was an executive with the advertising agency that produced the series.

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