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Checkmate is an American detective television series created by Eric Ambler, starring Anthony George, Sebastian Cabot, and Doug McClure. The show aired on CBS Television from 1960 to 1962 for a total of 70 episodes. It was produced by Jack Benny's production company, "JaMco Productions" in co-operation with Revue Studios. Guest stars included Charles Laughton, Peter Lorre, Lee Marvin, Mickey Rooney and many other prominent performers.

Sebastian Cabot Doug McClure Carolyn Craig Checkmate 1962.JPG
Created byEric Ambler
Directed byFrank Arrigo
Jules Bricken
Herschel Daugherty
Walter Doniger
Robert Florey
William A. Graham
Tom Gries
Douglas Heyes
James Wong Howe
Robert Ellis Miller
Alexander Singer
Don Taylor
Don Weis
StarringAnthony George
Sebastian Cabot
Doug McClure
Theme music composerJohn Williams
Composer(s)Marty Paich
Pete Rugolo
Morton Stevens
John Williams
Stanley Wilson
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes70
Producer(s)Richard Berg
Herbert Coleman
Joseph T. Naar
CinematographyJoseph F. Biroc
Dale Deverman
Ray Flin
Lionel Lindon
Fred Mandl
John L. Russell
Bud Thackery
John F. Warren
Editor(s)Howard Epstein
Lee Huntington
Tony Martinelli
Running time60 mins.
Production company(s)JaMco Productions
Revue Studios
DistributorMCA TV
NBCUniversal Television Distribution
Original networkCBS
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 17, 1960 –
September 1, 1962



The program chronicles the cases of the San Francisco detective agency called Checkmate, Inc. Don Corey and Jed Sills run the agency, which specializes in preventing crimes before they happen from Corey's stylish apartment supposedly at 3330 Union Street. Sebastian Cabot portrays Dr. Hyatt, a college professor whom they employ as an adviser. Dr. Hyatt's dachshund, Bismarck, occasionally appears. Ken Lynch is frequently seen as police dept. contact Lt. Thomas Brand.

The series was a critical favorite. Many exterior scenes were shot in San Francisco. In 1961 John J. Lloyd won the show's sole Emmy nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction and Scenic Design.[1] The icon for this series is swirling liquid shapes at the opening and closing of each episode with theme music by John Williams. Series star Anthony George left his recurring role as Federal Agent Cam Allison on The Untouchables (starring Robert Stack), to front this series.

In 1962, Gold Key Comics published a two-issue comic book run based on the series.

Broadcast HistoryEdit

CBS aired the series on Saturday in the 8:30-9:30 PM time slot from its début on September 17, 1960 until June 24, 1961. The series finished at #21 among all series.[2] It was then reprogrammed to Wednesday in the same time slot from October 4, 1961 to June 20, 1962, where it fell in the ratings opposite The Perry Como Show on NBC.[3] CBS replaced it with The Beverly Hillbillies.


The series was also seen in Canada from 1961 on CTV during that network's initial season.[4]


Notable guest starsEdit

Home mediaEdit

Timeless Media Group has released two "Best of..." collections on DVD in Region 1. Checkmate: The Best of Season 1[5] was released on October 30, 2009 and Checkmate: The Best of Season 2 was released on March 25, 2008.[6] Timeless Media Group released Checkmate: The Complete Series on 14 DVDs on June 22, 2010 (Region 1).[7]


  1. ^ "Checkmate". Awards & Nominations: Outstanding Achievement In Art Direction And Scenic Design - 1961. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. 2015. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  2. ^ "1960-1961". TV Ratings. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  3. ^ "1961-1962". TV Ratings. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  4. ^ Braithwaite, Dennis (2 October 1961). "Filmed Accolades Put Private TV Network on the Air". The Globe and Mail. p. 4.
  5. ^ "Best of CHECKMATE". Archived from the original on 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
  6. ^ "Best of CHECKMATE Season Two". Archived from the original on 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
  7. ^ "CHECKMATE: The Complete Series". 2010-06-22. Archived from the original on 2010-11-29. Retrieved 2019-01-05.

External linksEdit