Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Wednesday, May 31, 2023


Leonidas Witherall is an instructor at a boy's school in Dalton, Massachusetts.  He also happens to be both an amateur detective and the pseudonymous author of the popular Lieutenant Hazeltine (Haseltine) stories.  In looks, he resembles William Shakespeare and, for that reason, is sometimes called "Bill."  Witherall, the creationj of mystery author Phoebe Atwood Taylor (1909-1976), writing as "Alice Tilton," appeared in eight novels from 1937 to 1947.  The homicides he solves tend to be farcical and Witherall spends much of his time trying to maintain his dignity.  His housekeeper in the books is Mrs. Mollet, sometimes called Mullet. 

About the Leonidas Witherall novels, here's critic Dylis Winn:  "Tilton books are so busy, so complicated, so Marx Brothers...that makes them sound as if they might have a plot, doesn't it?  Bad assumption."   And H. R. F. Keating wrote:  "If a writer can keep in play an interest in a crime of some sort, preferably indeed murder, and at the same time induce the reader to take the hither-and-thither balloon flight of farce, then the entertainment provided will not be doubled but tripled...[T]he only recipe for success is sheer deftness in writing, coupled perhaps with establishing a firm basis in fact before the hilarious fantasy is about to take off.  Both these elements Alice Tilton has at her disposal."

The Adventures of Leonidas Witherall ran on the Mutual Network from June 4, 1944 to May 6, 1945, although a pilot appears to have aired on September 7, 1943.  Walter Hampdon starred as Witherall.  Mrs. Mollett/Mullet was played by Ethel Remey and Agnes Morrehead.  Jack MacBryde played Police Sergeant McCloud.  

In this episode, Mrs. Mollet/Mullet has been kidnapped.  She escapes, and Leonidas and the housekeeper set out to capture the crooks.  Ethel Remey plays Mrs. Mollet/Mullet in this one.  The script was by Howard Merrill.


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