Hollywood Offbeat was a1952-53 crime drama starring Melvyn Douglas as a supposedly hard-boiled and occasionally idiosyncractic Hollywood gumshoe named STEVE RANDALL who knows Hollywood, the narrator solemnly states, "like the back of his hand."
Steve was a disgraced former attorney who took on the usual TV private eye gigs, such as blackmail and murder, while working towards clearing his name and searching for the person responsible for his disbarment.
Steve ran a one-man agency out of an office at 6103 Gentry Avenue in Hollywood, and charged $25 a day for his services, plus expenses. He liked to boast that "Trouble is his business," but to tell the truth, his Hollywood wasn't particularly offbeat.
It may have been a short-lived series, but it took syndication and two networks to finally air all thirteen episodes. The show was originally on the DuMont network, but later switched to CBS. The last DuMont episode was broadcast was on January 30,1953, and it resumed a few months later on June 16. The final show, on August 11, wrapped up the series nicely, with Steve finally getting reinstated to the bar.
In real life, former big time film star Douglas was finding movie roles mighty scarce by the early 1950s, thanks to McCarthism. Douglas was married to Congresswoman Helen Gahagan, the woman whom Richard Nixon took great pride in denouncing as a "pink lady," friendly to communism. Some of the Washington mob soon went after Douglas himself, suggesting that because he was Jewish and had changed his name for professional reasons, he was also politically suspect. Hollywood Offbeat was the first step Douglas took in reviving his career, and it was more than a little ironic that one of the recurring themes of the show was his character's ongoing attempt to salvage his reputation.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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