09 August 2015

Rocky King: The Hermit’s Cat

As mentioned last week (2nd August), Rocky King, Detective was shot live. Besides the thread of the plot, it adds a level of interest for me as I figure out how they managed the telecast on live television from the DuMont Studio premises.

This episode contains an outdoor scene utilizing a couple of different shots. The oncoming car headlights sequence is cleverly done. I imagine a couple of small light bulbs on a black-painted board moving closer to the camera. The camera shows a car wheel, not an actual car itself, rolling to a stop against the victim’s body. The scene in the garage was assembled with only a few props; at no time did the cameras leave the studio.

Note the touches of humor, some of it self-deprecating.
Norton (gardener): “I like to read these and sometimes I get scared.”
R.King: “Oh, detective magazines, huh. You can find out a lot from these, here.”

Norton: “They sure kill people funny ways, don’t they.”
R.King: “That depends on your sense of humor.”
Notice the hideous clown picture in the King family’s house at the beginning of the episode… it will come up again before the episode ends.

My apologies to Bonnie Stevens; even Rocky King, Detective, wasn't able to save the cat.

Grab your popcorn, settle in your armchair, and watch…

The Hermit’s Cat
broadcast: 1952-Aug-31

in which a cat dies and a lawyer loses the will to marry…


  1. I'm pretty familiar with a lot of old TV, but boy this one escaped me. Maybe 'cause it's from the time when things were live. Thanks for turning me onto it, Leigh.

  2. Thanks, Paul. I have a fondness for old B&W movies and television. Rocky King was new to me until I wrote about DuMont. Sadly, selfish machinations not only sabotaged DuMont, but also destroyed virtually its entire library. I think only three of the Ellery Queen series remain and other series no episodes at all.

  3. A Broad Abroad09 August, 2015 14:58

    “… Clorets – for kissing sweet breath” (smiling)

    Impressive what they accomplished without leaving the Studio.
    Random thoughts:
    - Did chuckle at the wooden footsteps on the ‘road’ as the killer stepped over his victim.
    - Was there a resourceful reusing of the panelling in the victim’s home and King’s office?
    - Hadn't realised photostats were already around in the early ‘50s.
    - The permanent off-screen character device (Mabel) was recently employed in The Big Bang Theory (Mrs Wolowitz).

    [PS - hope Velma's not too put out at her icon being replaced with a rose.]

  4. Good points, ABA.

    Rocky King and other DuMont dramas often used DuMont offices to represent offices of police, attorneys, physicians, etc, in addition to their in-house studio sets. This sometimes involved actors and actresses dashing up and down stairs to reach their next venue. It’s possible Rocky’s home was just another DuMont office with domestic touches.

    I’ve seen only a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory so I haven’t caught on to Mrs Wolowitz. However, Columbo’s wife was often mentioned but never seen.

    I also hadn’t realized wire faxes were around in the early 1950s.

    The ‘fav-icon’ was all Velma’s idea. She thought it made a more consistent logo. Thanks for picking up on that, ABA!


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