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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TV Tie-in: Little Red Monkey

Little Red Monkey by Eric Maschwitz with Bevis Winter (London, Herbert Jenkins, 1953)
A scientist found murdered in a locked and guarded apartment; a toy monkey clutched in the dead man's hand; a marijuana cigarette beside the body; a newspaper picture of the Man Nobody Knew!
__Such was the grim spectacle that confronted Superintendent Harrington of the Special Branch—such was the prelude to the bizarre and high-pitched drama of counter-espionage in which Colin Currie, ace executive of Underground Operations, played so sensational a part.
__Little Red Monkey, introducing a new type of spy-hunter, 'Never Worry' Currie, is the novelized version of Television's most popular thriller to date. Working in conjunction with Bevis Winter, Maschwitz has translated to this novel all the suspense and tension that were responsible for the immense success of the play. Point is given to the story by the fact that the author, Eric Maschwitz, during the last war was a colonel in Intelligence, serving in both Europe and America.
BBC (6 x 30m episodes, 1953). Starred: Donald Houston (Colin Currie), Arthur Rigby (Superintendent Harrington), Honor Blackman (Jocelyn Cullum), Philip Lennard (Commander Hilliard), Basil Appleby (Williams).

Popular BBC TV series which ran for six 30-minute episodes in early 1953. Donald Houston is probably best remembered nowadays as Taffy Evans in Doctor in the House (the Dirk Bogarde version from 1954), Charles Soames in Room at the Top (1959), First Officer Jonathan Howett in Carry on Jack (1963), Group Captain Don Barrett in 633 Squadron (1964) or Captain James Christiansen in Where Eagles Dare (1968); he was also the lead in the TV comedy Now, Take My Wife (1971) and the SF series Moonbase 3 (1973)—one of those actors whose name you might not immediately know but whose face you recognise from all over. Honor Blackman, on the other hand, probably needs no introduction at all!

The show was subsequently filmed in the USA in 1955 with an American lead, Richard Conte, playing a federal agent (Bill Locklin) who is sent to the UK to help baffled Scotland Yard officers protect a defected Russian nuclear scientist.

About the author
Eric Maschwitz, former B.B.C. executive, is famous for his many musical plays, the latest being Love From Judy. He has written many popular song-lyrics (including These Foolish Things) and the screen version of Good-bye Mr. Chips.

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