Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


The Dow Hour of Great Mysteries:  The Bat (1960)

Here's the classic Mary Roberts Rinehart/Avery Hopwood mystery play, adapted by Walter Kerr and featuring Helen Hayes, Jason Robarts, Jr., Bethel Leslie, and Margaret Hamilton.  (The host for The Dow House of Great Mysteries was attorney Joseph N. Welch, who famously said to Senator Joseph McCarthy during the Army-McCarthy Hearings, "You've done enough.  Have you no sense of decency, sir?  At long last, have you left no sense of decency?")

The Dow Hour did not last long, only seven episodes.  The program presented live performances of mystery classics, the remaining being John Dickson Carr's The Burning Court, Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White, Richard Marsh's The Dachet Diamonds, John Willard's The Cat and the Canary, Sheridan Le Fanu's The Inn of the Flying Dragon, and E. Phillips Oppenheim's The Great Impersonation.  The Bat the show's premier episode.

What an impressive line-up!

Enjoy this episode:

The Bat, based on Rinehart's 1908 novel The Circular Staircase, premiered as a play in 1920 and had two Broadway revivals, in 1937 and 1953.  Three movies were based on the play, in 1926, 1930, and 1959.  (Artist Bob Kane has credited the 1930 film as an inspiration for his Batman comic book character.)  There were also two television films besides the Dow Hour episode, in 1953 and (in Germany) in 1978.  In 1926, the play was novelized (re-novelized?) as a novel as The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart; it has long been rumored that this novelization was ghosted by Stephen Vincent  Benet.  In 1933, RCA Victor released The Bat as one of the first recorded books.  Libravox has issued a sound recording of the novelization of the play, read by Alan Winterrowd.  The link to the Libravox recording is below:

1 comment:

  1. There was also the pulp hero / character, but he was totally unrelated, I believe.