Search - Best of TV Detectives 150 Episodes on DVD

Best of TV Detectives 150 Episodes
Best of TV Detectives 150 Episodes
Actors: Mike Connors, Jack Webb, Doug McClure, Ralph Byrd
Genres: Television, Musicals & Performing Arts, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2007     42hr 33min

Available for the first time, 150 complete episodes from 33 exciting television series of the 1950's to the 1970's. You will not believe your eyes when you watch such thrilling programs as Dragnet, Alfred Hitchcock P...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Mike Connors, Jack Webb, Doug McClure, Ralph Byrd
Genres: Television, Musicals & Performing Arts, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Television, Musicals & Performing Arts, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Best of
DVD Release Date: 06/12/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 42hr 33min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 12
SwapaDVD Credits: 12
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Outstanding sampling of early TV detective series
David Bassler | Richmond, VA USA | 08/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Mill Creek has put out another great collection of television shows, this time focusing on detective series from the 1950s. Although some of these episodes can be found in other low-priced sets, there are many series sampled here that have never been released on DVD before. Here are the individual episodes you'll find on the disk:

The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu (1956)

Sir Dennis Nayland-Smith (Lester Matthews) attempts to prevent the evil Dr. Fu Manchu (Glen Gordon) from achieving world domination. Episodes included in this package are: "Death Ships of Fu Manchu" and "Prisoner of Fu Manchu"

The Adventures of Ellery Queen (1950)

This ill-fated Dumont network series, featuring Richard Hart as the titular detective, is represented by a single episode: "The Hanging Acrobat"

Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955):

A curious choice for inclusion in this set, this series' premise had little to do with detective work. The episodes included can be found in many other public domain offerings: "The Cheney Vase" (starring Darren McGavin and Carolyn Jones) and "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (starring Brandon de Wilde and Diana Dors).

Burke's Law (1963)

Gene Barry starred as Amos Burke, an independently wealthy Chief of Detectives for the Los Angeles police force. The episode included in this set is "Who Killed Jason Shaw."

The Cases of Eddie Drake (1952)

Originally nine episodes of this series, which starred journeyman actor Dan Haggerty, were filmed for CBS, but were never aired. Dumont purchased the group, filmed four additional episodes and released the series to the unsuspecting public in 1952. The episode presented here, "Shoot the Works" shows why CBS choose to cut their losses.

Checkmate (1960)

Doug McClure, Anthony George and Sebastian Cabot starred in this series about a high-priced San Francisco detective agency. Episodes included in this package are "Human Touch" and "Nice Guys Finish Last".

Code 3 (1957)

Richard Travis starred as the Assistant Sheriff of Los Angeles who introduces the episodes in this police procedural series. Included in this set are "The Benson Case", "The Man with Many Faces", "The Rookie Sheriff" and "The Sniper".

Colonel March of Scotland Yard (1956)

Boris Karloff starred as the titular detective, based on the stories of John Dickson Carr. The series were originally released in England. The episode included with this set is "Error at Daybreak".

Court of Last Resort (1957)

Founded by Erle Stanley Gardner, the court investigated potentially innocent men and women accused of crimes of which they might be innocent. Lyle Bettger starred as one of the lead investigators. Episode included are: "The Clarence Redding Case", "The Jim Thompson Case", "The John Smith Case" and "The Mary Morales Case".

Decoy (1957)

Beverly Garland starred as an undercover New York City policewoman who faced all sorts of perilous situations. Episodes included are: "Fiesta at Midnight", "High Swing", "Night Light", "The Comeback", "The Sound of Tears" and "To Trap a Thief".

Dick Tracy (1950)

Ralph Byrd, a capable lead in many B-movie adventure films, could never escape being typecast as Dick Tracy. Despite his aversion to reprising the role, Byrd agreed to play Chester Gould's iconic square-jawed detective in this early TV series because of a paucity of other offers. These six episodes show just how good an actor Byrd really was: "Dick Tracy and Flat Top", "Dick Tracy Meets Heels Beals", "Hijack", "Mole - Part 1 and 2: and "Shaky's Secret Treasure".

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Presents (1953):

This anthology series included an unsold television pilot for a detective series based on the adventures of Bulldog Drummond. The character was originally created in 1920 for a series of novels about a former British officer who was bored after the excitement of World War I. By the time this 1957 episode, entitled "Bulldog Drummond and `The Ludlow Affair'", aired, Drummond was a British private detective with no connection to the Great War. This episode starred Robert Beatty as Drummond.

Dragnet (1951)

Jack Webb starred as Los Angeles police sergeant Joe Friday in this classic 50s detective series. Twenty-five episode from the series are included in this package - "The Big Ante", "The Big Betty", "The Big Boys", "The Big Break", "The Big Casing", "The Big Cast", "The Big Crime", "The Big False Make", "The Big Frame", "The Big Girl", "The Big Grandpa", "The Big Hit and Run Killer", "The Big Lift", "The Big Little Jesus", "The Big Look", "The Big Oskar", "The Big Phone Call", "The Big Producer", "The Big Score", "The Big Send-Off", "The Big September Man", "The Big Seventeen", "The Big Shoplift", "The Big Show", "The Big .22 Rifle for Christmas".

Federal Men (1950) aka Treasury Men in Action

The Chief (Walter Greaza) leads his team of agents against counterfeiters and other criminals whose misdeeds fall under the Department's purview. Episodes in this set include: "The Case of the Chartered Chiseler", "The Case of the Fatal Error", "The Case of the Iron Curtain", "The Case of the Man Outside" and "The Case of the Ready Guns".

Follow That Man (1949) aka Man Against Crime

Ralph Bellamy played Mike Barnett, a two-fisted private detective operating in New York City. Originally broadcast live, the episodes in this set were filmed for the series fourth and fifth season. The shows included are "Ferry Boat", "Fraternity of Five", "Paradise Lost", "The Cube Root of Evil", "The Iceman" and "The Silken Touch".

Front Page Detective (1951)

Edmund Lowe played a hard-bitten newspaper reporter who investigated crime stories for a major eastern newspaper. Episodes included are "Little Black Book", "Murder Rides the Night Train", "Seven Seas to Danger".

Gang Busters (1951)

An anthology series based on the Phillip H. Lord's long-running radio program, this series alternated with Dragnet throughout 1951 because Jack Webb was unable to produce enough episodes of his iconic show to air every week. Although both series received extremely high ratings, Gang Busters was canceled after only 13 episodes. Episodes included are "The Bayless Case", "The Phantom", "The Scissors Case" and "The Unholy Three".

I'm the Law (1953)

George Raft played a gritty New York police detective in this series which ran only 26 episodes. This set features episodes "O Sole Mio", "The Cowboy and the Blind Man Story" and "The Trucking Story".

The Lawless Years (1959)

Sixteen years before James Gregory portrayed Police Inspector Frank Luger on Barney Miller, he fought organized crime in 1920s New York as detective Barney Ruditsky. The series lasted two years. Episodes in this set are "Framed", "The Cutie Jaffe Story", "The Dutch Schultz Story", "The Morrison Story", "The Poison Ivy Story" and "The Story of Lucky Silva".

Lock-Up (1959)

Defense attorney Herbert Maris (Macdonald Carey) protects his unjustly accused clients each week. The eight episodes included in this set are "Flying High", "His Father's Footsteps", "Murder Is a Gamble", "Society Doctor", "The Beau and Arrow Case", "The Case of Joe Slade", "The Case of Nan Havens" and "Top Secret".

Lone Wolf (1955)

Louis Hayward was one of the few A-list Hollywood stars who embraced television almost from its inception. He plays Michael Lanyard, a swaggering P.I. who leaves a coin with a wolf on it as a calling card. Episodes in this set are "The Beverly Hills Story", "The Karachi Story", "The Las Vegas Story, "The Oil Story" and "The Stamp Story".

The Man Behind the Badge (1953)

Police anthology series featuring a stellar cast of character actors. Six episodes from the series are included in this set, "The Case of the Hunted Hobo", "The Case of Operation Sabotage", "The Case of the Capital Crime", "The Case of the Dying Past", "The Case of the Hot Stock" and "The Case of the Priceless Passport".

Man with a Camera (1958)

Charles Bronson starred as Mike Kovac, a globe-trotting photographer in search of interesting assignments. Episodes from the two-year run include, "Missing" and "Two Strings of Pearls".

Mannix (1967)

Mike Connors starred in this violent, long-running series as Joe Mannix, a private detective who seemed to get shot in the shoulder every other week. The series ran for eight years. Episodes from the show are "Nothing Ever Works Twice" and "The Cost of a Vacation".

Martin Kane, Private Eye (1949)

This NBC detective series survived numerous cast changes to run for five years. Kane was played by William Gargan, Lloyd Nolan and Lee Tracy and episodes from each actor's tenure are included in this package. About the only constant during the series' run was Happy's tobacco shop, which allowed the tobacco company that was series' sponsor to have its advertisements built into the fabric of the show. Episodes included are "A Crooner Is Murdered", "A Jockey Is Murdered", "Altered Will", "The Black Pearl", "The Comic Strip Killer", and "The District Attorney Killer".

Miami Undercover (1961)

Lee Bowman starred as an undercover detective operating in southeastern Florida during the early 60s. The show was shot in around Miami. The single episode included is "The Thrush".

Michael Shayne (1960)

Brett Halliday's two-fisted, red-haired Irish detective trod the mean streets of Miami, willing to take on thugs and low-lifes on behalf of his clients. Richard Denning played the title character. Episodes included in this package are "Murder and the Wanton Bride", "Murder in Wonderland" and Shoot the Works".

Mr. and Mrs. North (1952)

Richard Denning plays a mystery magazine editor with Barbara Britton as his wife. The two live in Greenwich Village and like to play amateur detectives, more often than not getting in way over their heads. This boxed set includes 16 episodes from the series' two-year run, "Homicide Limited", "Hot Mink", "House Behind the Wall", "Model for Murder", "Quick and Deadly", "Salt in His Blood", "Shrinking Violet", "Target", "The Man Who Came to Murder", "The Placid Affair", "The Silent Butler", "The Ungrateful Killer", "Till Death Do Us Part", "Two Faced", "Weekend Murder" and "Where There's a Will".

The Public Defender (1954)

Reed Hadley plays Bart Matthews, a defense attorney working for the state of California defending men and women without sufficient money to hire their own attorney. The series ran for two years. Episodes in this set are "Badge of Honor", "Behind Bars" and "Eight Out of One Hundred".

Racket Squad (1951)

Before "The Public Defender", Hadley played John Braddock, a police captain in charge of investigating confidence games. Episode from this series include, "Let Justice Be Done", "Desperate Money", "His Brother's Keeper", "Kite High", "Take a Little Leave a Little", "The Bill of Sale Racket" and "The System".

Richard Diamond, Private Detective (1957)

David Janssen plays a private detective who works the mean streets of New York and later Los Angeles performing investigations for his clients and annoying the local constabulary while he's at it. Episodes from the series are "Picture of Fear" and "The Merry-Go-Round Case".

The Shadow (1954)

Tom Helmore played Lamont Cranston, the wealthy young man about town who has mastered the oriental art of clouding men's minds so as to be invisible to them. The 30 minute pilot episode for a proposed TV series, "The Case of the Cotton Kimono" which featured Paula Raymond as Lamont's girlfriend, Margot Lane, is included in this package.

The Sheriff of Cochise (1957) / U.S. Marshal (1959)

This contemporary police drama set in 1950s Arizona starred John Bromfield as Sheriff Frank Morgan. After two years, Morgan changed jobs and became a U.S. Marshal with a wider scope of responsibilities. Episodes included in this set are "Bank Robbery" and "The Red-Headed Visitor" from `Sheriff of Cochise' with "Diner" and "Rest in Peace" representing the `U.S. Marshal' series."
Just the Facts . . . . . 150 Episodes of Classic Crime Fight
Robert Huggins | Suburban Philadelphia, PA United States | 07/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Let's cut to the chase and get the negatives out of the way first . . . . .

1. This collection doesn't include any of the Warner Brothers detective series of the late 1950s/early1960s.

2. The audio/visual quality of the episodes is variable.

This is a rather astounding collection of television detective shows from the 1950s and 1960s, with episodes that have apparently slipped into the public domain. Anyone familiar with DVD releases of public domain material knows that very little of the Warner Brothers catalog is in the public domain (the reason their detective shows are not represented here), and companies releasing public domain material almost never have access to the original film elements (negatives or master prints) and usually have to rely on whatever 16 millimeter prints that are available (or video masters thereof) as the source. So while the audio/visual presentation is not up to the standards typically found on releases from the major studios, most of the episodes in this collection are highly watchable.

There are some very popular and well known shows on this set including the original 1950s version of "Dragnet," "Burke's Law," and "Mannix," but where this set really shines is the inclusion of episodes from a number of obscure and hard-to-find series, several of which are making their commercial DVD debuts on this set. I was even surprised to see a few shows represented from the old DuMont Network which ceased operation in the mid-1950s; much of that network's programming is lost to the ages, so finding even a few episodes is like finding buried treasure. You'll get a chance to see Charles Bronson star in a weekly series, "Man with a Camera," as well as TV's first policewoman series, "Decoy" (with Beverly Garland), that was broadcast nearly two decades before the Angie Dickinson series. I was delighted to see a couple of episodes of "Checkmate" (starring Sebastian Cabot, Anthony George and Doug McClure) from the early 1960s, with future Spielberg collaborator Johnny (John) Williams contributing a great opening/closing theme, and guest stars like Peter Lorre and James Whitmore. It's always fun to look for guest stars in these older shows and you'll see people like Lee Marvin in an episode of "Dragnet," Euro film star Peter Van Eyck in "Code Three," and even talk show host Larry King makes a brief appearance in "Miami Undercover."

A few of the shows like "The Adventures of Fu Manchu" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" are a bit out of place on this collection, but the vast majority of the shows are in keeping with the TV detectives theme. Probably the only obvious omission of a series in this set that has a few public domain episodes is "Peter Gunn;" it was one of the most influential series of the genre and really should have been included here. Some of the shows are represented by a single episode, while "Dragnet" has 25 episodes included in the set, and Jack Webb's "Sergeant Joe Friday" is appropriately featured on the front cover of the box. Incidentally, when "Dragnet" was initially broadcast, it alternated every other week with "Gang Busters" which also has some episodes included.

Those who like vintage television crime series will appreciate this release, but the style and tone of the shows included are so broad that anyone interested in programming from television's first two decades is sure to find something to like in this collection. It's not perfect, but there's simply nothing else currently on the market that offers as many episodes and the broad variety of shows represented in a single collection as does "Best of TV Detectives" except, perhaps, Mill Creek's companion Ultimate TV Westerns - 150 Episodes collection.

My rating is closer to **** & ½ due to the variable visual quality of the episodes. Those who typically purchase official, studio sanctioned releases may be put off by the lesser visual quality, but those familiar with public domain material will know exactly what to expect.
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a great, fun collection of old TV shows from the 50's and early 60's that have fallen into the public domain. That means no copyrights-anyone can sell them. I have almost everything this company - Mill Creek Entertainment has put out. They cobble together collections of movies and TV shows- mostly bootlegged from old VHS tapes and sometimes they put a copyrighted logo on the lower right hand of the screen so people will not rip off their bootlegs and sell them too! But it is a good cheap way to get lots of great stuff that no one else is going to bother to put out in a better quality because it can just be copied and sold by anyone. This is a lot of material that is obscure to well known that may have been rerun in the 70's and maybe not, I know I saw some of them when I was a kid. The quality varies from poor to almost perfect but always wonderful to see for a bunch of old TV. If it looks a little cheesy it does not matter because it is all so enjoyable and also what you see is often all that is left of these old TV shows. A lot of what was on TV then was not saved at all so we are lucky we have it. Lots of them were shot live and the only way they had to save them then was to point a 16 MM film camera at a TV screen and film it in the studio when the shows went out live. This was called a Kinescope. Some "look" like old TV shows but others remind me of old black and white movies. Some even have a real "noir" quality that is priceless. You can see some stars before they got "big" in movies and some struggling unknowns that stayed that way as well as some veteran actors from the movies who made a living in TV when they began to fade. Can't wait for Vol. 2 of this, the wonderful thing about this stuff is it kind of saves it for people to enjoy when otherwise it is just gone and lost to the public. All these old shows have a character and a mood we do not see today. Lap this up as well as all the other stuff these guys put out. If these shows were to come out in some kind of "official" release it would be ridiculously expensive for a small amount of shows put out in multiple high priced volumes like all the other overpriced TV DVD fair, so enjoy getting something good for almost nothing. Included in this set are:
1. Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu, The
2. Adventures of Ellery Queen, The
3. Alfred Hitchcock Presents
4. Bulldog Drummond
5. Burke's Law
6. Cases of Eddie Drake, The
7. Checkmate
8. Code 3
9. Colonel March of Scotland Yard
10. Court of Last Resort, The
11. Decoy
12. Dick Tracy
13. Dragnet
14. Federal Men
15. Follow That Man
16. Front Page Detective
17. Gang Busters
18. I'm The Law
19. Lawless Years, The
20. Lock Up
21. Lone Wolf, The
22. Man Behind the Badge, The
23. Man With A Camera
24. Mannix
25. Martin Kane, Private Eye
26. Miami Undercover
27. Michael Shayne
28. Mr. and Mrs. North
29. Public Defender, The
30. Racket Squad
31. Richard Diamond - Private Detective
32. Shadow, The
33. Sheriff of Cochise"
Excellent value, you can't go wrong!!
No1Bob | 07/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Another great value from Mill Creek. 150 episodes of some of the greatest detective shows of all time. Dragnet, Gang Busters, Racket Squad, Hitchcock, Dick Tracy, the list goes on and on. I remember many of these shows from the 50's and 60's, and they're still as entertaining as ever. Don't hesitate to buy this set. You won't be disappointed."