Matt Helm (TV series)

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Matt Helm
Tony Franciosa and Laraine Stephens - Matt Helm 1975.jpg
Franciosa as Matt Helm and Laraine Stephens as Claire Kronski.
Format Detective drama
Created by Donald Hamilton
Starring Anthony Franciosa
Country of origin USA
No. of episodes 13
Production
Running time 60
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Original run September 20, 1975 – January 3, 1976

Matt Helm is an American mystery television series which aired on the ABC Network during the 1975-1976 season. The title character was played by Anthony Franciosa.

Overview[edit]

The series was loosely based upon the literary character Matt Helm, who had been created and introduced by Donald Hamilton in his 1960 novel, Death of a Citizen; he had also been played by Dean Martin in a series of spy comedy films in the late 1960s. This series resembled neither the books—in which Helm was a terse assassin for a secret government agency—nor the films—in which Helm was a womanizing, wisecracking secret agent.

The concept of the series sees Matt Helm, a retired spy, opening a private detective business. Thus, most of the plot lines were standard detective stories of the day, such as one episode in which Helm investigates the disappearance of a race horse. Laraine Stephens co-starred as Claire Kronski, Helm's assistant.

A pilot TV movie aired on May 7, 1975 and was popular enough for ABC to commission a series, which debuted on September 20 of the same year. Ratings were not strong enough for the series to continue past its initial 13 episodes, and the final episode aired on January 3, 1976.

Many notable guest stars appeared on the series during its short run, including Lynda Carter, who appeared in the penultimate episode, "Panic", playing a singer. Her appearance coincided with her rise to fame as Wonder Woman.

Other guests included: Jack Cassidy, Gretchen Corbett, Burt Convy, Pat Crowley, Susan Dey, Howard Duff, Shelley Fabares, Farley Granger, Sherry Jackson, L.Q. Jones, Patrick Macnee, Juliet Mills, Ian McShane, Ann Turkel and John Vernon.

To date, the Matt Helm TV series marks the most recent attempt to adapt Donald Hamilton's creation, although there were reports in 2006 that a film studio had optioned the rights to the character.

Episodes[edit]

Title Directed by: Written by: Original air date
0 "Matt Helm" Buzz Kulik Sam Rolfe 7 May 1975 (1975-05-07)
TV-movie pilot: A former secret agent, now a private investigator, is hired to protect a beautiful film star and gets involved with gun runners.
1 "Dead Men Talk" Richard Benedict Michael Fisher 20 September 1975 (1975-09-20)
Helm sets out to find an air freight company executive who disappeared after deciding to terminate his involvement with a drug-smuggling ring.
2 "Now I Lay Me Down to Die" * Gerry Day,
Bethel Leslie
27 September 1975 (1975-09-27)
Helm is hired by a charming socialite with a dual personality to investigate a murder that she may have been committed while acting as her other self.
3 "Scavenger's Paradise" * Gerry Day,
Bethel Leslie
11 October 1975 (1975-10-11)
After the lawyer who was helping her find her natural parents is murdered, an adopted woman turns to Helm for help.
4 "The Game of the Century" * * 18 October 1975 (1975-10-18)
Helm investigates the death of a tycoon who was going to be a player in the high-stakes poker game of all time.
5 "Murder on Ice" Don Balluck 25 October 1975 (1975-10-25)
Helm agrees to help an old friend find his business partners, unaware that they had been involved in diamond smuggling.
6 "Squeeze Play" * Mann Rubin,
James Schmerer
1 November 1975 (1975-11-01)
An old associate of Helm's becomes a hit man's target for no apparent reason.
7 "Deadly Breed" * * 8 November 1975 (1975-11-08)
Helm investigates the kidnapping of a prized stud horse and the murders of the three men who had been watching the horse.
8 "Death Rods" * Carey Wilber 15 November 1975 (1975-11-15)
Helm discovers a seriously wounded woman on the beach, only to find her gone when he returns with help.
9 "Double Jeopardy" * Michael Fisher,
Stanley Roberts
22 November 1975 (1975-11-22)
After clearing a businessman of murder charges, Helm discovers some new evidence that points to the man's guilt.
10 "Think Murder" John Newland Larry Alexander 6 December 1975 (1975-12-06)
Matt investigates the death of a research scientist who was found frozen to death after an apparent skiing accident.
11 "Murder on the Run" * James Schmerer 13 December 1975 (1975-12-13)
While searching for a woman who was involved with a $250,000 robbery, Helm finds himself being trailed by her cohorts who are hoping he will lead them to the loot.
12 "Panic" * Martin Roth 27 December 1975 (1975-12-27)
Record pirates murder a detective friend of Helm's who had been hired to investigate possible piracy by a suspicious musician.
13 "Die Once, Die Twice" John Newland Ken Pettus,
James Schmerer
3 January 1976 (1976-01-03)
With Helm out of the country, Kronski must work alone to uncover evidence to prove that her client did not murder her husband.

* Unknown

External links[edit]