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 & 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).

"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.


    (1954, ABC)
    Live. 15 one-hour episodes
    Writers: Halsted Welles; Charles Robinson, Irving Gaynor Neiman, Robert Tallman, Ben Hecht, Franz Spencer, Mel Goldberg, Sam Ross, Henry Kane, Frank Gruber (story), Philip MacDonald (story), Cornell Woolrich (story)
    Directors: Robert Stevens, Jeffrey Hayden, Leonard Valenta, Carl Frank
    Produced by Robert Stevens and Halsted Welles
    Starring Gary Merrill as WALTER GUILFOYLE
    andWilliam Prince as PETER GUILFOYLE
    Guest Stars: Paul Newman, Jo Van Fleet, Parker Fennelly, Sherry Brinton, James Gregory, Kathleen McGuire, John Marley, Robert H. Harris, Frank Overton, Joseph Campanella, Gaby Rogers, George Macready, Steven Hill, Cloris Leachman, Hildy Parks, Tom Tryon, Joey Walsh, Luther Adler, Virginia Gilmore, Brian Keith, Martin Brooks, Edgar Stehli, Don Dubbins, Russell Hardie, Audrey Christie, Arthur Storch

  • "Murder at the Burlesque House" (January 10, 1954)
  • "Hotel Murder" (January 17, 1954)
  • "Murder in the Print Shop" (January 24, 1954)
  • "The Will" (January 31, 1954)
  • "Framed for Murder" (February 7, 1954; AKA "The Loophole"; based on "Three Kills for One" by Cornell Woolrich )
  • "The Young Dancer" (February 14, 1954)
  • "Marked for Murder" (February 21, 1954)
  • "Poisoned Village" (February 28, 1954)
  • "The Visitor" (March 7, 1954)
  • "65 Pacific Street" (March 14, 1954; Frank Gruber)
  • "The Fingers of Fear" (March 21, 1954; Philip MacDonald)
  • "The Gambler" (April 4, 1954)
  • "Party Night" (April 11, 1954)
  • "The Backyard" (April 18, 21954)
  • "Royal Revenge" (April 25, 1954)

Respectfully submitted by Ted Fitzgerald.

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