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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]

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''
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
Producer(s)Martin Manulis
Bretaigne Windust
Running time47–50 minutes
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.


Season 1Edit

  1. The Long Goodbye
  2. The Thirteenth Chair
  3. Casino Royale
  4. Sorry, Wrong Number
  5. The Gioconda Smile
  6. The After House
  7. An Error In Chemistry
  8. Epitaph for a Spy
  9. The White Carnation
  10. Nightmare In Copenhagen
  11. The Bigger They Come
  12. Escape From Fear
  13. The Mojave Kid
  14. The Leaf Out of the Book
  15. The Valiant Men
  16. The Box of Chocolates
  17. South of the Sun
  18. The Great Impersonation
  19. The Darkest Hour
  20. The Champion
  21. Private Worlds
  22. Flight 951
  23. The First and the Last
  24. The Deliverance of Sister Cecilia
  25. No Stone Unturned
  26. A Farewell to Arms
  27. The Unimportant Man
  28. The Dark Fleece
  29. To Wake at Midnight
  30. The Dance
  31. Wild Stallion
  32. The Escape of Mendes-France
  33. The Healer
  34. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  35. One Night Stand
  36. Edge of Terror
  37. Fear Strikes Out
  38. Deal a Blow

Season 2Edit

  1. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  2. Public Pigeon #1
  3. Silent Decision
  4. Night of Execution
  5. Sailor On Horseback
  6. Thin Air
  7. House of Shadows
  8. The Pink Cloud
  9. Scheme to Defraud
  10. A Promise to Murder
  11. Portrait in Celluloid
  12. A Man of Taste
  13. The Passport
  14. The Day They Gave the Babies Away with Mary Treen
  15. Bailout at 43,000 Feet
  16. The Prowler
  17. The Hanging Judge
  18. The Secret of River Lane
  19. Gamble on a Thief
  20. The Fifth Wheel
  21. Nightmare By Day
  22. The Sound of Silence
  23. The Louella Parsons Story
  24. Pale Horse, Pale Rider
  25. An Episode of Sparrows
  26. Spin Into Darkness
  27. The Lou Gehrig Story
  28. Sit Down With Death
  29. The Empty Room Blues
  30. Flame-Out on T-6
  31. The Shadow of Evil
  32. Figures in Clay
  33. Faceless Adversary
  34. To Scream at Midnight
  35. The Circular Staircase
  36. A Trophy For Howard Davenport
  37. Phone Call For Matthew Quade
  38. Fear is the Hunter
  39. Fury At Dawn
  40. The Man Who Lost His Head
  41. Child of the Wind
  42. No Right to Kill
  43. The 78th Floor
  44. Throw Away the Cane
  45. Dark Wall

Season 3Edit

  1. Bury Me Later
  2. Burst of Violence
  3. The Garsten Case
  4. The Fog
  5. Island in the City
  6. Journey Into Fear
  7. The Midas Touch
  8. Night of the Heat Wave
  9. Flight to Tomorrow
  10. Night Shriek
  11. The Chinese Game
  12. The Secret Thread
  13. Savage Portrait
  14. Strange Hostage
  15. Ten Minutes to Curfew
  16. Carnival at Midnight
  17. The Gold Dress
  18. Circle of Destruction
  19. The Trouble at Number 5
  20. The Stalker
  21. Stain of Honor
  22. The Long Count
  23. And Don't Ever Come Back
  24. Night of a Rebel
  25. Let It Be Me
  26. Strange Sanctuary
  27. Don't Touch Me
  28. Mad Bomber
  29. Avalanche at Devil's Pass
  30. Strange Deaths at Burnleigh
  31. Bait for the Tiger
  32. The Hand of Evil
  33. The Disappearance of Amanda Hale
  34. Mr. Runyon of Broadway
  35. The Man Who Stole the Bible
  36. A Taste for Crime
  37. The Trial of Captain Wirtz
  38. False Witness
  39. Payment for Judas
  40. Walk a Tightrope
  41. The High Jungle
  42. The Giant Killer
  43. Trail of Terror
  44. Murder is a Witch
  45. The Stranger Within
  46. Deadly Climate
  47. Trial By Fire
  48. The Secret of the Red Room
  49. Necessary Evil
  50. Along Came a Spider

Season 4Edit

  1. Jacob and the Angels
  2. Mask For The Devil
  3. The Largest City in Captivity
  4. Tunnel of Fear
  5. Keep Me In Mind
  6. Two Tests on Tuesday
  7. A Matter of Life and Death
  8. Murder Has a Deadline
  9. The Devil's Brood
  10. Hurricane Diane
  11. To Walk the Night
  12. Shadow of a Memory
  13. Scream in Silence
  14. Thieves of Tokyo
  15. Sound of the Moon
  16. Burst of Fire
  17. Four Hours in White
  18. The Secret Love of Johnny Spain
  19. Albert Anastasia, His Life and Death
  20. The Thief With the Big Blue Eyes
  21. So Deadly My Love
  22. The Great World and Timothy Colt
  23. On the Take
  24. The Volcano Seat
  25. Shooting for the Moon
  26. The Deadly Tattoo
  27. The Big Success
  28. The Disappearance of Daphne
  29. Time of the Hanging
  30. The Push-Button Giant
  31. Spider Web
  32. House of Doubt
  33. Cabin B-13

Guest starsEdit


  1. ^ " TV Ratings". 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