» » Studio One There Was a Crooked Man (1948–1958)

Studio One There Was a Crooked Man (1948–1958) Online

Studio One There Was a Crooked Man (1948–1958) Online
Original Title :
There Was a Crooked Man
Genre :
TV Episode / Drama
Year :
Directror :
Paul Nickell
Cast :
Robert Sterling,Charles Korvin,Virginia Gilmore
Writer :
Kelley Roos,Charles Monroe
Type :
TV Episode
Time :
Rating :
Studio One There Was a Crooked Man (1948–1958) Online

Otis Block is found dead in the boarding house where he lived. Although one of his fellow boarders is undoubtedly responsible, their collectively eccentric personalities make the solution of the crime a difficult problem.
Episode credited cast:
Robert Sterling Robert Sterling - Jeff Troy
Charles Korvin Charles Korvin - Paul Collins
Virginia Gilmore Virginia Gilmore - Haila Troy
Richard Purdy Richard Purdy - Prof. Simons
Ann Shoemaker Ann Shoemaker - Mrs. Girard
Harry Cooke Harry Cooke - Mr. Girard (as Harry M. Cooke)
Marion Scanlon Marion Scanlon - Kay Abbot
Robert Emhardt Robert Emhardt - Otis Block
James Coots James Coots - Henley
Marc Cavell Marc Cavell - Walter (as Butch Cavell)
Judy Rich Judy Rich
Donald Keyes Donald Keyes
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Paul Brinson Paul Brinson - Announcer (voice)
Betty Furness Betty Furness - Herself - Commercial Spokeswoman

User reviews



This episode was included as one of the 50 films in the "Dark Crimes" mega pack. This is an example of early television as presented in the anthology series "Studio One." Yes, the picture quality is grainy and dark and many of the actors appear to be using their stage training for television, but rough, cutesy, hammy beginning aside--one of my favorite character actors, Robert Emhardt, really munches more than Gouda (if you watch the episode, you'll know what I mean)--it's a nifty little mystery involving a stolen letter, murder, and other chicaneries. The main couple has an easy-going charm--with some banter that's a bit risqué for the times--and the viewer is treated to some fine character actors one didn't get to see much of. If you modernized the episode a bit, it wouldn't be out of place on an episode of "Perry Mason" or "Matlock," so if you like those program and are a fan of early TV, this will be a treat. And dig the ad for the "big screen" television--at least I think it's on this episode.


I remember the guy from the Topper show (George Kirby). He was a ghost who had been killed in a skiing accident. He is front and center here in this Studio One drama. The plot involves a mean spirited fat man who takes advantage of people and bilks them out of money. It is a fifties rooming house. Why is this collection of people here? Why is this their home. Anyway, a murder is committed and all are suspects. Of course, with most of these, the most likely isn't going to be the right guy. There must have been something fresh about these dramas. There are booted lines and overacting. There is lots of necking and fooling around. There are even women in their pajamas. This has its moments. I love the way the camera simply pans the whole set of people and at times actually leaves the set for a second. When all is said and done, we have the right person and we know why. That stupid joke. The woman works in a library. "How would you like your books, sir?" Rare. People were a lot easier to please back then.


The overacting is bizarre like there was no director. It's so over the top it's not even funny. As if their only direction was someone shouting 'louder louder!' Oh well they can't all be gems.


Mr. Otis nibbles the cheese and that is what you will do watching this cheesy episode. It's bloody awful! The overacting is not even funny enough to poke fun at - it's cringe worthy. And this story, it's lame.

Bloopers aren't even funny either: In the beginning, the older man sitting on the bench and the boy with the ball... when the man stands up and turns around we see a chalk drawing on the wall where he was leaning back and the chalk on his coat - the drawing was in the same direction - which is not the way it really would be if he had gotten it on his coat.

And the screaming of the lines - there is a fine line between speak up or loud taking so the microphone can catch your voice and simply shouting/screaming. Over half of the cast is screaming their lines half of the time. Very annoying.

Snake Rocking

Snake Rocking

In just an hour, audiences could avoid a trek to their local movie theater by turning on an oddly shaped box, fix the horizontal and vertical and get a B movie on their own home. This began the ending of the double bill, although that would still take several years for that to totally come to fruition.

In this episode of "Studio One", the future George Kirby of the "Topper" T.V. series headlines, but is pretty much wasted as one of the residents of a strange boarding house complete with truly strange people. A cold-hearted man who kicks cats, a fat man who argues over cheese, a landlord who borrows his tenant's clothes without permission, a librarian who knows too much, and a spinster with a secret. Who gets a knife in their belly? Who investigates the crime? What are the motives? This is indeed a strange case, filled with some creepy characters. Early T.V. remains difficult to look at with stagnant cameras and cheap looking sets. Yet, it's history, and we have the pioneers to thank. As a time travel, this is interesting, if not really clever.


"Studio One" was one the finest series of its type during the early years of television. In the late 40s and through the 50s, some of the best writing occurred not in movies but for TV. Several different series of teleplays were popular during this time--and the programs were essentially live plays! Yes...live. To make them even more amazing is that in most cases, there was only a week or so between productions--and hundreds and hundreds of original scripts were created. Several of them were simply marvelous--teleplays that were soon remade into sensational Hollywood films. "Marty", "Days of Wine and Roses", "Requiem For a Heavyweight" and "Patterns" were among these awesome productions--and I try as hard as I can to scour up copies of whatever teleplays I can find. Rarely, VERY rarely, are they bad--and the standards they set were very high. However....I must point out that "There Was a Crooked Man" was one of these rare exceptions--a very bad production. Most of the problem seemed to be the director, Paul Nickell--though the writing wasn't especially good, either. Too many of the characters in the play simply overacted--delivering bombastic lines of poorly written dialog in the most ridiculously effusive manner. In particular, the Professor, his friend and the landlady were simply terrible and the director should have pushed them to deliver more subtle performances. Subtle they certainly weren't!! As for the rest of the cast, though they were better, they, too, should have been directed to act more realistically.

If you care, "There Was a Crooked Man" is a bad mystery film. There is a murder, some letters that are being used as blackmail and a lot of other subplots that NEVER seem the least bit realistic. Frankly, I got very bored with all this after a while and think the average Charlie Chan film is MUCH more realistic and enjoyable. Don't waste your time with this one unless you simply want to see them all...or at least try.


I can't say I wasn't entertained by this Westinghouse Studio One presentation, but thinking about it now, the story leaves one with a lot of head scratching. The stolen letter at the heart of the story (along with the murder) was never recovered, and the murderer was too dumb to move away from the boarding house before the police closed in. Stuff like this passed for quality entertainment back in the early days of television, and this was certainly an imaginative story with it's twists and turns, but ultimately, it's value today lies in being a curiosity piece.

Think about this for a minute - the landlady's husband, Mr. Gerard, returns home after being gone for six years, and surreptitiously 'borrows' clothes from the rooming house tenants. Later, police lieutenant Henley reveals that Gerard, for all that time, was living three blocks over and nine blocks down from his wife and son. Gerard brushes it off to amnesia, and says he'll write a book about it!

The cool thing for me here was seeing Robert Sterling a couple of years before his run on the 'Topper' TV series in which he portrayed one half of a comedy ghost couple with the lovely Anne Jeffreys. The other redeeming feature of the presentation was Robert Emhardt as the apartment bound tenant, Otis Block, victim of the 'murder over cheese' mystery. Cheese it was, even if the world's best Edam.

Story aside, if you pick this up as part of the Mill Creek Entertainment Mystery Collection, you'll be treated to a couple of the most eye opening commercials ever from the early Fifties. Westinghouse was it's own sponsor of course, touting the likes of it's line of air conditioning units. But for pure grins, wait till you get a load of the 'Biggest Bargain of the Year' - the NEW big screen TV set, available with trade-in allowance on your old set! - and costing you only the price of two theater tickets per month in payments! Who could resist that offer?