Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, February 11, 2020


It's past time that we took a look at Ed McBain's The 87th Precinct, which ran from 1961 to 1962 on NBC.  Let's join Steve Carella (Robert Lansing), Bert Kling (Ron Harper), Meyer Meyer (Norman Fell). and Roger Havilland (transformed into a good cop for the series; played by Gregory Walcott) as they investigate a case of  the kidnapping of the wrong child.  Featuring Charles McGraw, Nancy David (yes, Mrs. Ronald Reagan), and John Astin, "King's Ransom" is based upon the book by McBain.  Directed by James Sheldon and scripted by McBain himself (one of only two episodes out of 30 that he scripted).   Cast member Gina Rowlands, who played Carella's deaf mute wife, does not appear in this episode.

When a couple of ex-cons set out to kidnap the son of wealthy shoe manufacturer Douglas King, they mistakenly grab the son of King's chauffeur.  Trying to cash in on their mistake, they still demand a hefty ransom from King.  King, afraid the demands will ruin him financially, refuses to pay. 

This episode first aired on February 19, 1962.  The following year saw the release of Akira Kurasawa's classic film High and Low, which was based on McBain's King's Ransom.

The long-running series of 87th Precinct books by McBain set the location in the fictional city of Isola (hah!  Everyone knows that this was a thinly veiled New York City.) but the television series transformed Isola back into New York City.

Enjoy meeting (or reacquainting yourself with) the men of the 87th.

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