In this Pilot episode we are introduced to Jessica Fletcher, a recent widow, who lives in Cabot Cove, Maine. Jessica is an English teacher who becomes a mystery book author thanks to her nephew, Grady Fletcher. Grady submits his Aunts manuscript to a publishing company who loves it and publishes it immediately. It is a best-seller and Jessica goes to New York City to promote her new book. While there Jessica gets involved in a murder while at her publishers home for a costume party. When her nephew becomes a suspect of the murder, Jessica must find the real killer. Written by
Production Designer Hub Braden, early in his career, had been the scenic designer for a summer at the Kennybunkport Playhouse, in Maine. During his return to Kennybunkport for a vacation, he discovered an Atlantic ocean inlet bay which a main town road bridged over. The inlet has a very small sign on either end of the bridge with the inlet bay's name: Cabot Cove. See more »
When Jessica sneaks into Ashley's office, the double light switch on the wall had the left switch up, and the right switch down, and the lights were off. When Jessica peaks down the hall (because she hears Ashley coming), both light switches are up, but the lights are still off in the office. When Ashley comes in, she changes one switch and the office lights go on (but we can't see which switch she changes). When Ashley leaves the office, she flips the right switch down and the lights go off. See more »
[Police Chief Gunderson questions Preston Giles and his house guests]
Chief Roy Gunderson:
Suppose you tell me what happened here last night, Mr. Giles. Folks don't go 'round gettin' half their heads blown off for no reason. I'm lookin' for motive.
For killing Caleb McCallum? Surely you jest. Half the country had reason to kill him. The other half didn't know him.
Chief Roy Gunderson:
Not funny, friend.
But accurate. The Captain wasn't particularly well loved. Though I doubt that any of us despised him enough to kill him.
Except for me....
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The character of Jessica Fletcher hadn't quite come into focus yet when this pilot episode was written. She seems a bit "folksier," quick to dispense home-remedies for cleaning dress stains or curing corns on feet. She has as yet only a tentative grasp on what it means to be a best-selling author and too often seems a bit bewildered about life in the Big City. The later Jessica Fletcher grew in assurance and seemed to find strength in her Cabot Cove background rather than viewing it simply as a safe retreat from a troubling Outside World. This growth in her character probably helped account for the long-running appeal of the show.
While this pilot episode has the somewhat questionable advantage of greater length, it doesn't rank as one of the show's better offerings, but it certainly has a curiosity value and it does offer a pleasing array of guest stars: Arthur Hill, Brian Keith, Anne Francis, Raymond St. Jacques, Ned Beatty, Burt Convy, etc.
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