Stu Bailey and Jeff Spencer were the wisecracking, womanizing private detective heroes of this Warner Brothers drama. Stu and Jeff worked out of an office located at 77 Sunset Strip in Los ... See full summary »
Efrem Zimbalist Jr.,
An anthology series starring Richard Boone as host and starred in about 50% of the shows. Each regular had parts in almost every episode and starred in at least one episode. Written by
J.E. McKillop <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Robert Blake, Lloyd Bochner, Richard Boone, Laura Devon, June Harding, Bethel Leslie, Harry Morgan, Jeanette Nolan, Ford Rainey, Warren Stevens and Guy Stockwell.
My vote for most valuable player would go to Actors Studio alumnus Warren Stevens, who was cast in a wide range of roles (including as a Vietnamese) and was always convincing and interesting. In a long and distinguished career (apparently still going on), this was his finest hour. Stevens was particularly fine in an episode as a dying journalist who returns to his home town and revives a relationship with a woman he once knew (a luminous Bethel Leslie).
Bethel Leslie was also extraordinary in this series, and showed great range. Many years later Leslie was in a superb production of O'Neil's "Long Day's Journey into Night" opposite Jack Lemmon.
Laura Devon was memorable in "The Fling" as a voluptuous, slutty waitress who makes the aging Boone burn in agony, even though he is deeply in love with his invalid wife (Bethel Leslie).
Richard Boone had just finished a six-year run on the superb "Have Gun Will Travel". That show was still strong in the ratings in its final year, but Boone was bored. Instead of using his clout to get a big raise, he got this ambitious series on the air. Boone didn't even take a year off between series.
Buck Houghton ("Twilight Zone", "Yancy Derringer") was the producer. Playwright Clifford Odets ("The Country Girl", the screenplay for "The Sweet Smell of Success") was the story editor.
The series was nominated for an Emmy as Best Dramatic Series along with the great "East Side, West Side" with George C. Scott. The winner was "The Defenders". 1963-64 was a remarkable season for drama series. Television drama got much more timid after the failure of "The Richard Boone Show" and "East Side, West Side". Who would try to do either of them today?
Bethel Leslie and Jeannete Nolan received Emmy nominations for single performances. Warren Stevens should also have been nominated, perhaps as Best Supporting Actor in a Series.
Richard Boone was nominated as Best Actor in a Continuing Performance in a Series. Boone was up against George C. Scott ("East Side,West Side"), David Janssen ("The Fugitive"), Dean Jagger ("Mr. Novak") and Dick Van Dyke ("The Dick Van Dyke Show"). Five superb performances made it a brutal choice for voters. The winner was Van Dyke. Boone was the only one of the nominees not to show up at the ceremony. Maybe he was fed up with television after his ambitious show was canceled. Or maybe Boone had already headed to Hawaii for a long, well deserved rest.
The fine Timothy Hutton version of "Nero Wolfe" sort of borrowed the repertory concept from the Boone show. The guest characters each week were largely played by a repertory group of actors (including Debra Monk). I think it enriched the show.
The poster who thought John McIntire was on "The Richard Boone Show" was probably thinking of Ford Rainey, who had a similar quality. But John McIntire's wife was on the show-the magnificent Jeanette Nolan.
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