Show Type: Detective Drama

First Telecast: October 14, 1950

Last Telecast: September 5, 1976

Broadcast History:

October 1950-December 1951, Thursday 9:00-9:30 on DUM

December 1951-March 1952, Sunday 7:30-8:00 on ABC

April 1952-December 1952, Wednesday 9:00-9:30 on ABC

September 1958-August 1959, Friday 8:00-9:00 on NBC

September 1975-December 1975, Thursday 9:00-10:00 on NBC

January 1976-September 1976, Sunday 8:00-9:00 on NBC


Ellery Queen (1950-1951)...... Richard Hart

Ellery Queen (1951-1952)..... Lee Bowman

Inspector Richard Queen (1950-1952)..... Florenz Ames

Ellery Queen (1958-1959)..... George Nader

Inspector Richard Queen (1958-1959)..... Les Tremayne

Ellery Queen (1959)..... Lee Philips

Ellery Queen (1975-1976)..... Jim Hutton

Inspector Richard Queen (1975-1976)..... David Wayne

Sgt. Velie (1975-1976)..... Tom Reese

Simon Brimmer (1975-1976)..... John Hillerman

Frank Flannigan (1975-1976)..... Ken Swofford


Fictional mystery writer and super sleuth Ellery Queen had been the main character in a number of popular mystery novels written by Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee, before he became a regular feature on the CBS Radio Network in 1939. A decade later, he mad the first of 4 appearances on television.

Ellery was a slightly absent-minded mystery writer who would sort through a mass of evidence and a large collection of suspects to determine the guilty party in a crime - usually murder. His aid was regularly sought by his Father, an inspector with the New York Police Department. Inspector Queen never ceased to marvel at the way his son could reach the proper conclusion by unearthing the most obscure clues - often left by the dying victim - and piecing them together.

Richard Hart was television's first Ellery Queen, portraying the role in The Adventures of Ellery Queen, a live series that premiered on DuMont in the fall of 1950. The following January, Hart died of a sudden and unexpected heart attack - he was in his 30's - and was replaced by Lee Bowman. Bowman stayed with the series when it moved to ABC in December of 1951 and played Ellery until its cancellation in December 1952. In 1954, a syndicated film version appeared, also title The Adventures of Ellery Queen, and starring Hugh Marlowe, one of four actors who had played the role on radio. Florenz Ames continued as Inspector Queen in these films. The title of the syndicated version was changed in 1956 to Mystery Is My Business.

Ellery returned to live network television on NBC in the fall of 1958 with George Nader in the title role. To distinguish it from its predecessors, this edition was titled The Further Adventures of Ellery Queen but, effective with the October 24, 1958 telecast, the title was once again shortened to Ellery Queen. When production of this edition shifted from Hollywood to New York, and went from live to videotape, both of the principal actors - George Nader and Les Tremayne - left the series. The role of Ellery was assumed by Lee Philips and that of Inspector Queen was dropped.

After a gap of 16 years, NBC once more brought the series back to television, with Jim Hutton in the title role. This version, also titled Ellery Queen,  was done as a period piece set in New York City in the late 1940's. Sergeant Velie, the plain-clothes assistant to Inspector Queen, was now a regular in the cast; he had appeared in the novels and radio series, but had not been seen regularly in any of the previous TV versions. Also added to this latest TV cast were Simon Brimmer, a radio detective who vied with Ellery in trying to solve the murders and newspaper columnist Frank Flannigan.

At the end of each episode, just before resolving the case, Ellery would turn to the television audience and ask, "Have you figured it out? Do you know who the murderer is?"