Walter and Peter Guilfoyle
Created by Halsted Welles (?)

Here's a real rarity: American TV's first hour long mystery series (with continuing characters), contributed by Ted Fitzgerald. These guys, the Guilfoyles, get onto this site under what Ted calls the Brady Coyne Exemption, lawyers who do their own sleuthing. That's good enough for me.

WALTER and PETER GUILFOYLE were brothers and lawyers who did their own investigations into murders and other assorted crimes in television's THE MASK, the first hour-long mystery program with continuing characters (CBS had produced two hour-long mystery anthologies in 1950, The Trap and Sure as Fate). The Mask focused on the crime-busting, mystery-solving adventures of the two, according to . "Each week's episode involved a homicide, and as the series progressed, the lawyer image was dropped, and the Guilfoyle brothers became just another pair of private eyes", according to Larka's Television's Private Eye. The show aired live on Sundays, kinescoped episodes were repeated on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, depending on what part of the US one lived in.

The chief behind-the-camera talent included writer Halsted Welles and director Robert Stevens, veterans of the live TV version of SUSPENSE, and at least three episodes were based on works by mystery novelists Cornell Woolrich, Frank Gruber and Philip MacDonald. Henry Kane and the legendary Ben Hecht each contributed a script as well. The show also provided early exposure for such up-and-coming young actors as Paul Newman, Cloris Leachman, Brian Keith, Steven Hill, John Marley and Tom Tryon.

As Brooks and Marsh note in their Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows, the show was expensive to produce and failed to find a sponsor and was cancelled after four months. After its demise, Welles and Stevens decamped for the West Coast where they became the workhorses on a slightly more successful filmed series -- ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS.


Contributed by Ted Fitzgerald.

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