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Climax! (later known as Climax Mystery Theater) is an American television anthology series that aired on CBS from 1954 to 1958. The series was hosted by William Lundigan and later co-hosted by Mary Costa. It was one of the few CBS programs of that era to be broadcast in color (using the massive TK-40A color cameras pioneered and manufactured by RCA, and used primarily by CBS' arch-rival network, NBC). Many of the episodes were performed and broadcast live, and although the series was transmitted in color, only black-and-white kinescope copies of some episodes survive to the present day. The series finished at #22 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1955-1956 season and #26 for 1956-1957.[1]

Climax!
Dennis O'Keefe Phyllis Kirk Lloyd Bridges 1954.JPG
Dennis O'Keefe, Phyllis Kirk, and Lloyd Bridges in "Edge of Terror", 1955.
Also known as''Climax Mystery Theater''
GenreAnthology
Directed byJohn Frankenheimer
Ida Lupino
Arthur Hiller
Allen Reisner
Ralph Nelson
Buzz Kulik
Paul Nickell
William H. Brown, Jr.
David Swift
Jack Smight
Don Medford
Anthony Barr
Presented byWilliam Lundigan (1954–1958)
Mary Costa (1956–1958)
Theme music composerLeith Stevens
Composer(s)Jerry Goldsmith
Bernard Herrmann
Alex North
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes166
Production
Producer(s)Martin Manulis
Bretaigne Windust
Running time47–50 minutes
Release
Original networkCBS
Picture formatcolor
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseOctober 7, 1954 (1954-10-07) –
June 26, 1958 (1958-06-26)

Notable episodesEdit

In 1954, an episode of Climax! featured Ian Fleming's secret agent James Bond in a television adaptation of Casino Royale. It starred Barry Nelson as American secret agent "Jimmy Bond" and Peter Lorre as the villain Le Chiffre. This was the first screen adaptation of a James Bond novel, made before Eon Productions acquired the Bond film rights. Eon would later obtain the rights to Casino Royale in the late 1990s. This adaptation is available on DVD as a bonus feature on the MGM DVD release of the 1967 film adaptation of the novel.

The Lou Gehrig Story was released on a DVD named Legends of Baseball, America's Pastime by PC Treasures, LLC. The disc also features The Jackie Robinson Story.

The only other episode of Climax! available on DVD is Gore Vidal's adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, retitled on Climax! as "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde".[2] It stars Michael Rennie, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, and Lowell Gilmore; it is available in the DVD box set "Classic Sci-Fi TV - 150 Episodes" from Mill Creek Entertainment.

In an earlier episode of Climax!, an adaptation of Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye, actor Tristram Coffin, playing a dead body, arose in shot and walked off stage. The event was widely covered in the media of the day, later becoming an urban legend that was attributed to Peter Lorre and the previously mentioned adaptation of Casino Royale.[3]

In addition, a small number of select episodes from the series can be found on YouTube.

EpisodesEdit

Season 1: 1954–55Edit

Ep Title Original air date
11"The Long Goodbye"October 7, 1954 (1954-10-07)
22"The Thirteenth Chair"October 14, 1954 (1954-10-14)
33"Casino Royale"October 21, 1954 (1954-10-21)
44"Sorry, Wrong Number"November 4, 1954 (1954-11-04)
55"The Gioconda Smile"November 11, 1954 (1954-11-11)
66"The After House"November 25, 1954 (1954-11-25)
77"An Error in Chemistry"December 2, 1954 (1954-12-02)
88"Epitaph for a Spy"December 9, 1954 (1954-12-09)
99"The White Carnation"December 16, 1954 (1954-12-16)
1010"Nightmare in Copenhagen"December 30, 1954 (1954-12-30)
1111"The Bigger They Come"January 6, 1955 (1955-01-06)
1212"Escape from Fear"January 13, 1955 (1955-01-13)
1313"The Mojave Kid"January 27, 1955 (1955-01-27)
1414"The Leaf Out of the Book"February 3, 1955 (1955-02-03)
1515"The Valiant Men"February 10, 1955 (1955-02-10)
1616"The Box of Chocolates"February 24, 1955 (1955-02-24)
1717"South of the Sun"March 3, 1955 (1955-03-03)
1818"The Great Impersonation"March 10, 1955 (1955-03-10)
1919"The Darkest Hour"March 24, 1955 (1955-03-24)
2020"The Champion"March 31, 1955 (1955-03-31)
2121"Private Worlds"April 7, 1955 (1955-04-07)
2222"Flight 951"April 21, 1955 (1955-04-21)
2323"The First and the Last"April 28, 1955 (1955-04-28)
2424"The Deliverance of Sister Cecilia"May 5, 1955 (1955-05-05)
2525"No Stone Unturned"May 19, 1955 (1955-05-19)
2626"A Farewell to Arms"May 26, 1955 (1955-05-26)
2727"The Unimportant Man"June 2, 1955 (1955-06-02)
2828"The Dark Fleece"June 16, 1955 (1955-06-16)
2929"To Wake at Midnight"June 23, 1955 (1955-06-23)
3030"The Dance"June 30, 1955 (1955-06-30)
3131"Wild Stallion"July 7, 1955 (1955-07-07)
3232"The Escape of Mendes-France"July 14, 1955 (1955-07-14)
3333"The Healer"July 21, 1955 (1955-07-21)
3434"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"July 28, 1955 (1955-07-28)
3535"One Night Stand"August 4, 1955 (1955-08-04)
3636"Edge of Terror"August 11, 1955 (1955-08-11)
3737"Fear Strikes Out"August 18, 1955 (1955-08-18)
3838"Deal a Blow"August 25, 1955 (1955-08-25)

Season 2: 1955–56Edit

Ep Title Original air date
391"Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"September 1, 1955 (1955-09-01)
402"Public Pigeon #1"September 8, 1955 (1955-09-08)
413"Silent Decision"September 15, 1955 (1955-09-15)
424"Night of Execution"September 22, 1955 (1955-09-22)
435"Sailor on Horseback"September 29, 1955 (1955-09-29)
446"Thin Air"October 13, 1955 (1955-10-13)
457"House of Shadows"October 20, 1955 (1955-10-20)
468"The Pink Cloud"October 27, 1955 (1955-10-27)
479"Schedule to Defraud"November 10, 1955 (1955-11-10)
4810"A Promise to Murder"November 17, 1955 (1955-11-17)
4911"Portrait in Celluloid"November 24, 1955 (1955-11-24)
5012"A Man of Taste"December 1, 1955 (1955-12-01)
5113"The Passport"December 8, 1955 (1955-12-08)
5214"The Day They Gave the Babies Away"December 22, 1955 (1955-12-22)
With Mary Treen.
5315"Bailout at 43,000 Feet"December 29, 1955 (1955-12-29)
5416"The Prowler"January 5, 1956 (1956-01-05)
5517"The Hanging Judge"January 12, 1956 (1956-01-12)
5618"The Secret of River Lane"January 26, 1956 (1956-01-26)
5719"Gamble on a Thief"February 2, 1956 (1956-02-02)
5820"The Fifth Wheel"February 9, 1956 (1956-02-09)
5921"Nightmare by Day"February 23, 1956 (1956-02-23)
6022"The Sound of Silence"March 1, 1956 (1956-03-01)
6123"The Louella Parsons Story"March 8, 1956 (1956-03-08)
6224"Pale Horse, Pale Rider"March 22, 1956 (1956-03-22)
6325"An Episode of Sparrows"March 29, 1956 (1956-03-29)
6426"Spin Into Darkness"April 5, 1956 (1956-04-05)
6527"The Lou Gehrig Story"April 19, 1956 (1956-04-19)
6628"Sit Down with Death"April 26, 1956 (1956-04-26)
6729"The Empty Room Blues"May 3, 1956 (1956-05-03)
6830"Flame-Out in T-6"May 17, 1956 (1956-05-17)
6931"The Shadow of Evil"May 24, 1956 (1956-05-24)
7032"Figures in Clay"May 31, 1956 (1956-05-31)
7133"Faceless Adversary"June 7, 1956 (1956-06-07)
7234"To Scream at Midnight"June 14, 1956 (1956-06-14)
7335"The Circular Staircase"June 21, 1956 (1956-06-21)
7436"A Trophy for Howard Davenport"June 28, 1956 (1956-06-28)
7537"Phone Call for Matthew Quade"July 5, 1956 (1956-07-05)
7638"Fear Is the Hunter"July 12, 1956 (1956-07-12)
7739"Fury at Dawn"July 19, 1956 (1956-07-19)
7840"The Man Who Lost His Head"July 26, 1956 (1956-07-26)
7941"Child of the Wind / Throw Away the Cane"August 2, 1956 (1956-08-02)
8042"No Right to Kill"August 9, 1956 (1956-08-09)
8143"The 78th Floor"August 16, 1956 (1956-08-16)
8244"Dark Wall"August 30, 1956 (1956-08-30)

Season 3: 1956–57Edit

Ep Title Original air date
831"Bury Me Later"September 6, 1956 (1956-09-06)
842"Burst of Violence"September 13, 1956 (1956-09-13)
853"The Garsten Case"September 20, 1956 (1956-09-20)
864"The Fog"September 27, 1956 (1956-09-27)
875"Island in the City"October 4, 1956 (1956-10-04)
886"Journey Into Fear"October 11, 1956 (1956-10-11)
897"The Midas Touch"October 18, 1956 (1956-10-18)
908"Night of the Heat Wave"October 25, 1956 (1956-10-25)
919"Flight to Tomorrow"November 8, 1956 (1956-11-08)
9210"Night Shriek"November 15, 1956 (1956-11-15)
9311"The Chinese Game"November 22, 1956 (1956-11-22)
9412"The Secret Thread"November 29, 1956 (1956-11-29)
9513"Savage Portrait"December 6, 1956 (1956-12-06)
9614"Strange Hostage"December 20, 1956 (1956-12-20)
9715"Ten Minutes to Curfew"December 27, 1956 (1956-12-27)
9816"Carnival at Midnight"January 3, 1957 (1957-01-03)
9917"The Gold Dress"January 17, 1957 (1957-01-17)
10018"Circle of Destruction"January 24, 1957 (1957-01-24)
10119"The Trouble at Number 5"January 31, 1957 (1957-01-31)
10220"The Stalker"February 7, 1957 (1957-02-07)
10321"Stain of Honor"February 14, 1957 (1957-02-14)
10422"The Long Count"February 21, 1957 (1957-02-21)
10523"And Don't Ever Come Back"February 28, 1957 (1957-02-28)
10624"Night of a Rebel"March 7, 1957 (1957-03-07)
10725"Let It Be Me"March 21, 1957 (1957-03-21)
10826"Strange Sanctuary"March 28, 1957 (1957-03-28)
10927"Don't Touch Me"April 4, 1957 (1957-04-04)
11028"The Mad Bomber"April 18, 1957 (1957-04-18)
11129"Avalanche at Devil's Pass"April 25, 1957 (1957-04-25)
11230"The Strange Deaths at Burnleigh"May 2, 1957 (1957-05-02)
11331"Bait for the Tiger"May 16, 1957 (1957-05-16)
11432"The Hand of Evil"May 23, 1957 (1957-05-23)
11533"The Disappearance of Amanda Hale"May 30, 1957 (1957-05-30)
11634"Mr. Runyon of Broadway"June 6, 1957 (1957-06-06)
11735"The Man Who Stole the Bible"June 13, 1957 (1957-06-13)
11836"A Taste for Crime"June 20, 1957 (1957-06-20)
11937"The Trial of Captain Wirtz"June 27, 1957 (1957-06-27)
12038"Locked in Fear"
"False Witness"
July 4, 1957 (1957-07-04)
12139"Payment for Judas"July 11, 1957 (1957-07-11)
12240"Walk a Tightrope"July 18, 1957 (1957-07-18)
12341"The High Jungle"July 25, 1957 (1957-07-25)
12442"The Giant Killer"August 1, 1957 (1957-08-01)
12543"Trail of Terror"August 8, 1957 (1957-08-08)
12643"Murder Is a Witch"August 15, 1957 (1957-08-15)
12744"The Stranger Within"August 22, 1957 (1957-08-22)
12846"Deadly Climate"August 29, 1957 (1957-08-29)

Season 4: 1957–58Edit

Ep Title Original air date
1291"Trial by Fire"September 5, 1957 (1957-09-05)
1302"The Secret of the Red Room"September 12, 1957 (1957-09-12)
1313"Necessary Evil"September 19, 1957 (1957-09-19)
1324"Along Came a Spider"September 26, 1957 (1957-09-26)
1335"Jacob and the Angels"October 3, 1957 (1957-10-03)
1346"Mask for the Devil"October 10, 1957 (1957-10-10)
1357"The Largest City in Captivity"October 17, 1957 (1957-10-17)
1368"Tunnel of Fear"October 24, 1957 (1957-10-24)
1379"Keep Me in Mind"November 7, 1957 (1957-11-07)
13810"Two Tests for Tuesday"November 14, 1957 (1957-11-14)
13911"A Matter of Life and Death"November 21, 1957 (1957-11-21)
14012"Murder Has a Deadline"November 28, 1957 (1957-11-28)
14113"The Devil's Brood"December 5, 1957 (1957-12-05)
14214"Hurricane Diane"December 12, 1957 (1957-12-12)
14315"To Walk the Night"December 19, 1957 (1957-12-19)
14416"Shadow of a Memory"December 26, 1957 (1957-12-26)
14517"Scream in Silence"January 2, 1958 (1958-01-02)
14618"Thieves over Tokyo"January 16, 1958 (1958-01-16)
14719"Sound of the Moon"January 23, 1958 (1958-01-23)
14820"Burst of Fire"January 30, 1958 (1958-01-30)
14921"Four Hours in White"February 6, 1958 (1958-02-06)
15022"The Secret Love of Johnny Spain"February 20, 1958 (1958-02-20)
15123"Albert Anastasia—His Life and Death"February 27, 1958 (1958-02-27)
15224"The Thief with the Big Blue Eyes"March 6, 1958 (1958-03-06)
15325"So Deadly My Love"March 13, 1958 (1958-03-13)
15426"The Great World and Timothy Colt"March 27, 1958 (1958-03-27)
15527"On the Take"April 3, 1958 (1958-04-03)
15628"The Volcano Seat"April 10, 1958 (1958-04-10)
15729"Shooting for the Moon"April 24, 1958 (1958-04-24)
15830"The Deadly Tattoo"May 1, 1958 (1958-05-01)
15931"The Big Success"May 8, 1958 (1958-05-08)
16032"The Disappearance of Daphne"May 15, 1958 (1958-05-15)
16133"Time of the Hanging"May 22, 1958 (1958-05-22)
16234"The Push-Button Giant"May 29, 1958 (1958-05-29)
16335"Spider Web"June 5, 1958 (1958-06-05)
16436"House of Doubt"June 19, 1958 (1958-06-19)
16537"Cabin B-13"June 26, 1958 (1958-06-26)

Guest starsEdit

(in alphabetical order)

 
Joan Tetzel and Sir Cedric Hardwicke in "Strange Death at Burnleigh" (1957)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "ClassicTVHits.com: TV Ratings". www.classictvhits.com. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  2. ^ Reisner, Allen (1955-07-28), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Michael Rennie, Cedric Hardwicke, Mary Sinclair, retrieved 2018-03-14
  3. ^ "Death Takes a Powder". Snopes. Retrieved 1 June 2010.

External linksEdit