Kraft Suspense Theatre (1963–1965)

TV Series   |  TV-PG   |    |  Crime, Drama, Mystery


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Kraft Suspense Theatre (1963) Poster

Kraft Suspense Theater was an anthology series which featured a new cast and stories each week.

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20 August 2006 | Cheyenne-Bodie
Great guest stars in intriguing mysteries from producer Roy Huggins
Roy Huggins ("Cheyenne","Maverick", "77 Sunset Strip", "The Rockford Files") was the uncredited executive producer of this entertaining hour-long anthology series from Universal.

The story editor was Anthony Boucher, who wrote the weekly Crime section of the Sunday New York Times Book Review.

The two-part opening episode was "The Case Against Paul Ryker". Lee Marvin played army Sgt. Paul Ryker, who was being court-martialed for treason during the Korean War. Vera Miles played his beautiful wife. Bradford Dillman was his JAG defense lawyer who has an intense flirtation with Miles. Peter Graves was the prosecuting attorney. The rest of the cast included Lloyd Nolan, Norman Fell, Murray Hamilton and Charles Aidman. Lee Marvin was the stand-out in this terrific cast. A fine legal drama/mystery that was later turned into a series called "Court Martial" with Dillman and Graves.

Another good episode (from a story by Robert Altman) had Mickey Rooney as a sadistic sheriff tracking down innocent fugitive James Caan with a pack of vicious dogs.

Jack Kelly ("Maverick") was a Las Vegas gambler trying to make a killing at the poker table in "The Name of the Game".

Cornel Wilde played a middle-aged man with amnesia in "Doesn't Anyone Know Who I Am?".

Jack Kelly played a man who hires an assassin to kill him so that a woman he has wronged will get the insurance money-but then changes his mind in "Kill Me On July 20th". (The story was by Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne.)

"Rapture at Two-Forty" was the well produced pilot for "Run For Your Life", where Ben Gazzara played a lawyer with only one or two years left to live. The romantic interest was played by lovely young Katherine Crawford, who was Roy Huggins' daughter.

Herschel Bernardi played a small town lawyer who is dying of leukemia. Bernardi defends young Dean Stockwell, who is accused of murdering his wife. Stockwell doesn't want to live.

Jack Warden (without toupee) is superb as a Hemingway-like newspaperman/novelist who tells his New York psychoanlayst about his relationship with revolutionary/gangster Telly Savalas. This was an amazing pilot for a series with Warden. Sidney Pollack directed a script by David Rayfiel ("Three Days of the Condor"). The pilot was produced by Leslie Stevens ("Stoney Burke", "The Outer Limits") and Jack Laird ("Ben Casey", "Kojak"). Apparently the series would have been called "The Watchman".

Roy Huggins cast some of the stars of his Warner Brothers shows in "Kraft Suspense Theater": Clint Walker of "Cheyenne", Jack Kelly of "Maverick" and Roger Smith and Edd Byrnes of "77 Sunset Strip". Other former Warner Brothers contract players Huggins used in this series were Robert Conrad, Philip Carey, Peter Brown, Lee Patterson, Richard Long, Andrew Duggan, Diane McBain and Julie Adams.

Other guest stars included Donnelly Rhodes, Gary Lockwood, Brian Keith, Richard Conte, Tippi Hedren, Jeffrey Hunter, Gig Young, Peter Lorre, Tina Louise, Richard Crenna, Tom Tryon, Jack Lord, Robert Ryan, Gena Rowlands, John Cassavetes, Nancy Kovack, Anne Helm, and Ronald Reagan.

John Williams wrote the suspenseful theme music.

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Crime | Drama | Mystery

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