CTVA US Crime - "Harlem Detective" (WOR-TV NY)(1953-54)

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Harlem Detective (1953-54)
Episode Guide compiled by The Classic TV Archive
with contributions by: Rina Fox
references:
TV Guide /  Library of Congress (telnet://locis.loc.gov)
Internet Movie Database (http://us.imdb.com)
UCLA Film and Television Archive,  New York Times

 
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HARLEM DETECTIVE
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WOR-TV New York Channel 9
Producer Lawrence Menkin
Writer Jay Bennett
Director Bob Eberle
Background Music Al Fanelli

US Crime Drama series 1953-54 14 episodes x 30 min.

Stars:
William Hairston
Owen Jordan
William Marshall


Novelist and radio-television writer William Attaway. New York's station WOR-TV hired him as script editor for its
interracial "Harlem Detective" tv series.

Premise: Based on actual police files.

############## Harlem Detective ##############
############### season 1953-54 ###############
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WOR-TV New York Channel 9 Wednesdays 9:30-10pm

[01] Harlem Detective: SAY HELLO
14Oct1953 [Premiere]
with
William Hairston
Owen Jordan
Josh White Jr.
Ruth Attaway

[02] Harlem Detective: PAY YOU SATURDAY
21Oct1953
with
William Hairston
Owen Jordan

[03] Harlem Detective: THE MILLION DOLLAR PENNY
28Oct1953 [Brooklyn Daily Eagle NY]
with
William Hairston
Owen Jordan

[04] Harlem Detective: THE INVISIBLE WITNESS
04Nov1953 [Brooklyn Daily Eagle NY]
with
John Marriott
Owen Jordan

[05] Harlem Detective: ARMED AND DANGEROUS
11Nov1953 [Brooklyn Daily Eagle NY]
with
John Marriott
Owen Jordan

*Time change to 10:30pm.

[06] Harlem Detective: THE QUACKS
18Nov1953
with
Owen Jordan
P.J. Sidney

[07] Harlem Detective: ON A NOTE OF MURDER
25Nov1953
with
Owen Jordan
Clark Morgan

[08] Harlem Detective: A WOMAN'S SWEET TALK
02-Dec-1953 [Brooklyn Daily Eagle]
with
William Marshall
Owen Jordan
Clark Morgan

[09] Harlem Detective: THE DANCER
09-Dec-1953 [Brooklyn Daily Eagle]
with
William Marshall
Owen Jordan
Clark Morgan

[10] Harlem Detective: KILL ME TOMORROW
16Dec1953
Written by Jay Bennett
with
Owen Jordan
William Marshall
Val Prince
Abbe Shuford
Synopsis:
A hood plans to kill an insurance broker and then pin the murder on a counterman.

[11] Harlem Detective: MIRACLE IN HARLEM
23Dec1953
with
Owen Jordan
William Marshall

[12] Harlem Detective: THE CLUE
30Dec1953
with
Owen Jordan
William Marshall

[13] Harlem Detective: BEFORE I DIE
06Jan1954
with
Tommy Anderson
Stewart Bradley

[14] Harlem Detective: I HATE WOMEN
[Final show of the series]
13Jan1954
with
Tommy Anderson
Stewart Bradley

############## Harlem Detective ##############
################### Review ###################
##############################################

21-Oct-1953 issue of "Weekly Variety"
HARLEM DETECTIVE
With William Hairston, Owen Jordan, Josh White, Jr., others
Producer: Lawrence Mention
Director: Bob Eberle
Writer: Jay Bennett
30 Mins., Wed.. 9:30 p.m. WOR-TV, N. Y.
Still another drama series carrying the "from the police files" tagline has found its way into TV— but this time under circumstances
that are, to say the least, unique.
"Harlem Detective," the brainchild of Lawrence Menkin, the program director of WOR-TV (and creator of the DuMont "Mono-Drama Theatre"),
which" preemed (premiered) on the Gotham Mutual flagship last Wednesday (14) is, indeed, paved with such honorable and praiseworthy
intentions that it's regrettable the initial segment, "Say Hello!," was distorted by an avalanche of production crudities that almost
decimated the noble aims of the show.
As its major protagonist, as implied in the title. "Harlem Detective" features a Negro (portrayed by William Hairston) as one of two
sympathetic Harlem cops. (His white counterpart is played by, Owen Jordan.) Specifically, the program is designed in content to skirt
violence but rather to focus attention on some of the more human equations surrounding a Harlem beat.
"Say Hello!," by Jay Bennett, was presented as the initial offering; the story of a- young Negro boy who is a deaf mute and lost in the city.
The Harlem detectives' compassionate attempts to help locate him had elements for a poignant tale of human interest and suspense.
But as presented it was fragmentary, neither completely a documentary, (as it sometimes made pretensions of being) nor straight dramatic fare.
"Harlem Detective's" utilization of a mixed cast and intent to show no differences between the thinking and feeling of either race, is
commendable. That's why it's all the more regrettable that neither the scripting nor the production did much to launch the series.
Two detectives start their search in Harlem for the missing Negro child. They first question the teacher of the special class in the hopes
of establishing the reason for his running away. Even though they elicit some guilt on her part, it stops right there, and they never delve
further to probe the reasons for her action. Nor does the short interview with the mother disclose why the child should be disturbed.
Again, the boy, Billy, as played by Josh White. Jr., failed to portray, either emotionally or physically, his withdrawal from his circle.
The suspense and tension were awkwardly solved by the introduction of an escaped Bellevue patient who runs into the boy. As a result it all
added up to a stark police record without the fullness of a human or sociological understanding.
On the production side, there are overtones of Menkin's "Mono-Drama" closeup technique, with the supplementary off-screen narration being
excessively used when the cast itself should have developed the theme. There are some good filmed Harlem shots, but one questions in this
instance their contribution to the program. Similarly, the sound effects were overdone—as, for that matter, was the entire production.
It should have been simple. It had a story to tell of real, live people. There's nothing wrong with the casting, but a half-hour show offers
enough time for deeper background and character development to tell a more sympathetic story of individuals and of Harlem. [TA]

############## Harlem Detective ##############
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