Mike Barnett
Created by Lawrence Klee

Featured on both radio and television, MIKE BARNETT was a New York private eye so tough he didn't need a gun (take that, Hammer!). Along with Martin Kane, which made its debut just a few weeks earlier, was the first of what would soon be a long line television eyes. And Mike got around, popping up in New Orleans, Stockholm, Vienna, and Lisbon, among other locations.

The New York Times described him as "an average fellow, not too bright and not too dumb, quick-fisted, amiable and something of a modern Sir Galahad." Whatever, the show was a hit, especially on the tube, where it won a national popularity poll as best mystery on television for its third year. The shows were done live, with all the usual problems that entailed, but eventually the big switch was made to film, in the fall of 1952, giving the fight and chase scenes an added touch of authenticity.

In fact, action was the keyword. According to Television: A History, by Francis Wheen (London: Century Publishing, 1985), writers on the show were told that "somebody must be murdered, preferably early, with the threat of more violence to come...Bellamy must be menaced early and often."

Ralph Bellamy played Barnett on both radio and television, and, in fact, played Barnett through its entire initial television run, giving it a consistency that Martin Kane lacked. As well, the show was more popular, both critically and commercially. When it left CBS in 1953, it made some sort of television history when it became a regularly scheduled show on two different networks, NBC and Dumont, occupying the same time-slot on both.

in 1956, two years after it left the airwaves, the producers tried to revive the show, bringing in Frank Lovejoy to play Barnett, who carried a gun, but not the show. It died.





Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. And a tip of the fedora to Betsy Bogert Mölders for getting my head straight.

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