Hot on the trail of adventure with more TV nostalgia
"Checkmate was created by Eric Ambler and followed the adventures of three rather different private-eyes in San Francisco. They were a mixed bunch and starred Anthony George as Don Corey, Doug (Trampas) McClure as Jed Sills, and the unique bearded British actor Sebastian Cabot who played criminologist Dr. Hyatt. The three owned and operated "Checkmate Incorporated," a private detective organisation. Mind you, you had to be quick to catch this one as this black and white series only ran from 1959 - 1961, with a fairly short summer week night run on Midland ATV. But during that time Revue (Universal Studios) did manage to produce 70 fifty-minute episodes for CBS.
"Man of the World hit our TV screens following the success of the series Peter Gunn in the US. Craig Stevens, who played photographer and journalist Mike Strait, began filming at the Shepperton Studios for ATV / ITC in 1962. In the story he worked for a famous fashion magazine which took him to different parts of the world on separate assignments with his assortment of cameras. He was never far away from trouble, whether it was bullets, blackmail, bombs, assassinations, murder or kidnapping, similar in a lot of ways to the adventures encountered by Roger Moore in The Saint.
"His glamorous assistant was, for most of the fifty-minute adventures, played by Tracy Reed, and the pilot episode entitled Death of a Conference, was reputed to have been filmed in colour, whilst The Sentimental Agent, served as pilot to another adventure series. Twenty episodes were filmed for British viewers, but in the US they were shown as 10 two-hour TV movie compilations with titles such as The Fanatics or Love-me-love-me-not. The unforgettable theme tune was written and orchestrated by Henry Mancini.
"The Invisible Man series was probably made a little before its time, but nevertheless it still ranks as an unforgettable chapter in the realms of early TV history. The setting was at the Castle Hill Laboratory just outside London where Dr Peter Brady, a promising young scientist, was conducting various experiments, including testing his theory on the refraction of light. During one of the sessions he finds himself rendered invisible as a result of a leaking conductor and two gases that mix with oxygen.
"Thus began the shooting of two pilot episodes for ITC which then resulted in a run of 26 half-hour black and white episodes between 1958 and 1959. The star who could not be seen was revealed years later to be Tim Turner; Robert Beatty having played Peter Brady in the first pilot. The story was of course based on The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells, but its more modern version followed "the man without an identity" as he undertook a series of hazardous missions for the British Government both here and abroad. The supporting cast included Lisa Daniely as Brady's sister Diane; Deborah Watling as his niece Sally; whilst Ernest Clark played the cabinet minister Sir Charles Ward. When he was invisible and the screen was blank Brady was presumably naked, but always wore bandages and dark glasses when dressed. Filmed at National Studios - Elstree, the pioneering special effects were, incredibly, never credited, but who can forget the fight scenes, the driver-less car and the floating cigarette. The show had a final re-run by ABC TV on Sunday afternoons, forty years ago in 1966.
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