A show that never made it past its pilot episode - a shame
This show was evidently an un-aired pilot for a new television show starring Robert Middleton as "The Fat Man". At the time, The Fat Man character would perhaps have been known by many because of the popularity of the radio show of the same name (although the character in the radio show was named Brad Runyon and not Lucius Crane). J. Scott Smart played the character in an earlier movie entitled, "The Fat Man." Good movie. There is a very interesting discussion of this show (and others) on the Mystery File web site linked above under the critic reviews. Lucius Crane is a well to do private detective who is hired by friends of the recent suicide victim, Gina Lardelli (played well by a very young Rita Moreno). The police are sure that Gina's death was suicide but her friends believe she was not a suicide but was murdered. If a suicide, she could not be buried in consecrated ground - a situation anathema to those of faith. Crane and his assistant investigate and because Gina was running in mobster circles they soon come against some very tough guys indeed. Since this show is now readily available at the Internet Archive (as is the movie "The Fat Man") I'll not give away the biggest twist n the show but will say I have seen the exact plot elsewhere (perhaps "The Untouchables" or "Naked City") since it is highly unlikely that I have seen this pilot show before. I liked the show mostly because I'm a fan of Robert Middleton, he had one of the best laughs in the business and was good with the sympathetic light touch even though he is best known for being a villain. The 1950s tough guy slang used in the show is almost quaint now but still interesting. Although I could have done without the harpsichord music, I thought this was a good show and am surprised that it wasn't continued - perhaps there were too many detective stories at the time or that they were not as popular as Westerns. Oh, well - at least there is this one available.
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