Murder, She Wrote: Season 6, Episode 16

The Big Show of 1965 (25 Feb. 1990)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Crime | Drama
7.9
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Murder occurs at the reunion of a variety show, site of a similar crime 25 years earlier.

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Title: The Big Show of 1965 (25 Feb 1990)

The Big Show of 1965 (25 Feb 1990) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
...
Lt. John Meyerling
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Lee Haley
Elaine Joyce ...
Cathy Haley
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Sgt. Bulldog Kowalski
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Art Sommers
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Ozzie Gerson
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Barry Barnes
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Marge Haley
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Scott Fielding
Joy Garrett ...
Sharon King
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Sid Lyman
John Rubinow ...
Joel Roth
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Richie King
Isabel Cooley ...
Head Nurse
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Storyline

Charming Reynolds publishing executive Scott Fielding begs Jessica to try her hand at a 'reality mystery book' on the still unsolved 1965 murder of TV host Richie King during his variety show, claiming a similar show will generate perfect publicity by staging some of the same vocal acts, including the trio Haley Sisters -a reunion- and Barry Barnes, actually Scott's uncle, who explains he saw again the 'shadowy lady' dressed in black pointing at him, as if accusing. She would have given up but met retired LAPD detective Sergeant Bulldog Kowalski, still obsessed by the case. While they snoop around TV cats and crew and King's family and adulterous life, show writer Art Sommers is also shot backstage. Jessica ties it all together. Written by KGF Vissers

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25 February 1990 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Summer Wind
(uncredited)
Written by Henry Mayer, Johnny Mercer and Hans Bradtke
Performed by Kim Strauss as character Richie King
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User Reviews

 
Don't Scream in the Dressing Room, Daring
21 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode marks one of the final appearances of Joy Garrett, who has acted in film and television since the 1970's, as well a one of the last appearances by Sheldon Leonard, who has appeared in many film and television productions since 1934. Donald O'Connor, a star of film and television since 1937, has also since passed.

In the NYC offices of Reynolds and Company Publishers, Agent Scott Fielding (Jeff Yagher) presents Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) with a video tape demonstration of a televised performance of Richie King's (Kim Strauss) singing "Summer Wind," from "Barry Barnes' Big Show of 1965," then suggesting to her reluctance her adapting a story based upon tragic events of the night of its performance.

When Jessica decides to visit Barry Barnes Theater, to observe rehearsals, Barry Barnes (Donald O'Connor) glances into the otherwise vacant theatre seating to mistake Jessica for "The Lady in Black," a mysterious veiled figure, who had appeared in that location 25 years earlier, to point an accusing finger in his direction.

Displaying relief upon realizing her identity, Barry introduces Jessica to the Haley Sisters, who have just rehearsed the song, "Just One Of Those Things," and another number a bit later.

Lee Haley (Anne Francis) openly objects to the new choreography, with dancers upstaging the sisters, whereas Marge Haley (Connie Stevens) and Cathy Haley (Elaine Joyce) tell their elder sister that they don't mind performing the old standards with the new twist. Lee's husband, Art Sommers (Gavin MacLeod), the head writer for Barry Barnes, as well as agent for the Haley Sisters, attempts to convince the trio that this comeback would serve them well, for they had been discovered because of performing on "The Big Show of 1965," and now they may revitalize the careers which they had abandoned in 1974, on this, "Barry Barnes Reunion Special," to be broadcast from this theater.

Additional dissension in the ranks follows by way of Music Director Ozzie Gerson (Don Most), whose father had served in the same capacity for Barry, and who also disagreed with Art on occasion, plus television script writers Sid Lyman (Timothy Williams) and Joel Roth (John Rubinow), whose ideas are dismissed by Art as too youth-oriented for a nostalgic presentation.

After Barry collapses at another appearance by "The Lady in Black" at his theater that evening, Jessica meets him in his hospital room, in which he explains that Scott Fielding, at the Publisher's office, is the nephew of his brother-in-law, and that Barry had put Scott to the challenge of enlisting Jessica to investigate the unsolved 25-year-old murder and the identity of "The Lady in Black" for his peace of mind.

Jessica pays a visit to retired Sergeant Bulldog Kowalski (Sheldon Leonard), who had never ceased his investigation of the murder at Barry's theater, and has transferred his files, clippings and photographs onto a computer, to display before her. When Jessica and "Broadway Bulldog" visit Sharon King (Joy Garrett), she sheds light on the case but requests that the two not damage any reputations for the sake of her daughter and grandchildren.

One conflicting point which arises during this investigation and remains unresolved centers around Bulldog's telling Jessica that the Haley Sisters arrived to NYC from rural Ohio, while Cathy tells Jessica that she wishes to return to her family, in Iowa, where the sisters were reared. Often on this series, a discrepancy between accounts may signal a clue to resurface by showdown time. Here, however, the geographic difference remains just that, so we must do our own detective work to figure that Cathy most likely knows her home state, as well as her current residence, whereas Bulldog may nonchalantly dismiss everything west of Hoboken as "Ohio," much the same way suspects would tell Jessica to return to "Vermont" symbolizing everything north of Yonkers.

So, as Jessica accepts the challenge to investigate a 25-year-old murder, and to attempt to identify the mysterious apparition, Bulldog recreates the scene of the crime, in the audience of the Haley Sisters performance of "You're Gonna Hear from Me" and two uncredited poll spinners, who break plates and bowls, while a scream is heard from the dressing room, and another body is discovered bludgeoned by a vase of flowers. Lieutenant John Meyerling (Michael Cole) enters to investigate the current murder, as Jessica now has three puzzles on her hands 25 years in the aftermath of "The Big Show of 1965."


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