Saturday, January 11, 2014
TAPE WAS ROLLING - FIRST AMERICAN CRIME DRAMA RECORDED ON TAPE - DIAGNOSIS:UNKNOWN - CBS-TV - CIRCA JULY 5, 1960
In the hopeful summer of 1960, CBS-TV traded the bright lights of a Broadway theater for the dimly lit recesses of a pathologists lab, with surprising and entertaining results.
DIAGNOSIS: UNKNOWN was a B&W,CBS-TV mystery hour , that replaced Garry Moore's vibrant , NYC -based,variety show in the summer of 1960 and showcased Patrick O'Neal as a suave, urbane pathologist who solves crime by scientific method.
AS Dr. Daniel Coffee, O'Neal methodically navigated the byzantine clues that each case offered, while he engaged in badinage with upper class suspects from New York society.
Bearded and attired in a white lab coat, Dr. Coffee was portrayed as a pungent blend of an idealistic scientist and world-weary investigator.
Shot on videotape in NYC, at a time when most hour-long, crime dramas were shot on film in Los Angeles, it features early video performances by Tom Bosley and Larry Hagman, before they became two of the most famous faces and beloved leading men in television history.
You will also recognize some famous faces of fifties TV, like game show stalwart, Phyllis Newman and versatile character actor, Chester Morris. He played one of the medium's first and best crime fighters, when his BOSTON BLACKIE theatrical films came to the LATE SHOW and the LATE, LATE SHOW on local stations.
There were even some exterior elements shot on videotape ,when the most portable of field production systems filled a 1/2 ton truck.
The taught and stylish effort was directed by the legendary Fielder Cook.
From the SCREEN STAGE AND SONG YOU TUBE site, here is DIAGNOSIS:UNKNOWN