Behind Closed Doors (1958 TV series)

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Behind Closed Doors
Genre Anthology series
Written by Robert Leslie Bellem
Charles Bennett
Martin Berkeley
Alan Caillou
Robert C. Dennis
Fenton Earnshaw
Arthur Fitz-Richard
Richard Grey
John Hawkins
Jacqueline Hazard
Paul Monash
Stanley Niss
Donn Mullally
Stanley H. Silverman
Herbert Abbott Spiro
Richard Tregaskis
Irving Wallace
Jon Manchip White
Directed by John English
Samuel Gallu
Gerd Oswald
John Peyser
Boris Sagal
Mark Sandrich, Jr.
Paul Wendkos
Presented by Bruce Gordon
Starring Bruce Gordon
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 26
Executive producer(s) Samuel Gallu
Producer(s) Samuel Gallu
Sidney Marshall
Running time 24–26 minutes
Production company(s) Jane Gallu Productions Inc.
Screen Gems
Distributor Columbia TriStar Domestic Television (2001)
Sony Pictures Television
Original network NBC
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original release October 2, 1958 (1958-10-02) – April 9, 1959 (1959-04-09)

Behind Closed Doors is an American dramatic anthology series set during the Cold War hosted by and occasionally starring Bruce Gordon in the role of Commander Matson. The series, which aired on NBC from October 2, 1958, to April 9, 1959, focuses, among other themes, on how the former Soviet Union stole American missile secrets and proposes steps to prevent further espionage. Behind Closed Doors is based on the files and experiences of Rear Admiral Ellis M. Zacharias, who offers comments at the end of each segment.[1]

Behind Closed Doors, a Screen Gems production, replaced Jackie Cooper's sitcom The People's Choice, followed the NBC quiz show, Twenty-One, and preceded The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show. Its competition was The Pat Boone Chevy Show on ABC and Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater western anthology series on CBS.[2]



No. Title Air date
1 "The Cape Canaveral Story" October 2, 1958
Florida fisherman Wayne Hollister (played by Joe Maross) is approached by a Mr. Meyers (Jacques Aubuchon) who rents his boat for one day and demands to be taken to Cape Canaveral to observe the launch of a rocket. Also starring Virginia Christine as Julie, Peter Whitney as Edwin Getty, and Bruce Gordon as Matson.
2 "Flight To Freedom" October 9, 1958
3 "Double Jeopardy" October 16, 1958
A Russian language professor working for the British secret service poses as a custodian in the Soviet embassy in an effort to uncover the whereabouts of Soviet nuclear weapons. British and American intelligence agents learn that the Soviet ambassador to the United Nations (Alexander Akimoff) is scheduled to arrive in London and to reveal the new tactics to his embassy there. The Allies then attempt to install a recording device in the embassy.
4 "M.I.G. 9" October 23, 1958
5 "Trouble In Test Cell #19" (aka "Trouble In Test Cell #10)" November 2, 1958
Sabotage is determined to have caused a new jet engine to explode on its final test, as American intelligence agents seek to find the culprit.
6 "Man In the Moon" November 6, 1958
A lonely widow named Clara Keller (Judith Evelyn) falls prey to foreign agents. She joins a friendship club, unaware that the group is a communist front. Guest star Denver Pyle.
7 "The Nike Story" November 13, 1958
Captain John Benson (John Doucette) investigates the murder of a fellow officer who had been trying to entrap an enemy agent on a missile base. Benson holds an open house at the base to capture the entire ring of spies there. The plot further concerns the proposed establishment of a Nike Hercules missile site which draws the opposition of a citizens’ group that is soon infiltrated by enemy agents.
8 "It Was Learned On High Authority" November 27, 1958
Enemy agent Fred Lang (Robert Knapp) is ordered to place a bomb on a plane carrying a group of scientists to Cape Canaveral.
9 "The Enemy On the Flank" December 4, 1958
American intelligence learns that a Soviet submarine operating from a base in Albania plans to interfere with maneuvers of the United States Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. Two agents are assigned to probe the situation. Guest stars include James Best as Webb, Francis De Sales, Myron Healey as Lister, and Olan Soule.
10 "A Cover Of Art" December 11, 1958
Commander Matson enters Czechoslovakia in disguise as an art dealer with the hope of rescuing atomic scientist Andrew Fleming (Keith Richards). As he bails out of a crashing airplane, communists captured Fleming and held him prisoner behind the Iron Curtain. As Fleming's trial approaches, Matson asks Czech resistance fighters for help. At close of show, Admiral Zacharias maintains that the Fleming case demonstrates that the United States will use its resources to free its captured citizens.
11 "The Middle East Story" December 18, 1958
Israeli agent Jessica Tabor overhears a plot to assassinate King Hussein of Jordan and turns to secret agents James Foster (Richard Webb) and Harry Shaw (John Sutton) to relate the information to the Jordanians. The story takes place in Iraq, which is depicted as undergoing a revolution.
12 "The Brioni Story" December 25, 1958
A plot is unveiled to murder Marshal Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, who is placed under protective watch of General Raca. The only outsider allowed to see Tito is a sculptor, Sarah Fletcher.
13 "The Obelisk" January 1, 1959
A British atomic scientist steals important papers and heads for the moors, where he plans to meet a Soviet helicopter.
14 "Message From Mardenburg" (a.k.a. "The Germany Story") January 8, 1959
Dr. Haas (Carl Esmond) heads a German fencing society as a front for his subversive plans.
15 "The Alkaloid Angle" January 22, 1959
Communists smuggle hashish into Lebanon. After an American agent is killed, retired agent Robert Hatfield (Buff Elliot) is called upon to investigate. He learns that a traitor has joined the communists. Hashish is portrayed in the episode as the "drug of the assassin; a drug that turns a man into a mindless, murdering animal."
16 "Crypto 40" January 29, 1959
Scientist David Sparrow (William Bishop), the inventor of a code-breaking machine, is captured and held behind the Iron Curtain. Americans race to free Sparrow before he can be compelled to make a similar machine for the Soviets.
17 "The Alaskan Story" February 5, 1959
Captain Jim Rand (Brad Dexter) enters a penitentiary in Alaska to befriend a communist agent, with the expectation that if can help the man escape, he will lead Rand to other members of the ring. Don Haggerty guest stars as "Mitchell".
18 "The Quemoy Story" February 12, 1959
Anna Sung (Roberta Haynes), an American agent on the Asian island of Macao is kidnapped by communists. Commander Ralph Bennett (Ralph Richards) and Mike Perrera, a local police detective (Paul Picerni), find a plan to capture the island of Quemoy.
19 "The Vicec Story" February 19, 1959
Imre Vicec photographs teachers and pupils in a communist training school in Bulgaria. Vicec is killed in an escape attempt, and American agent David J. Thatcher (Dean Harens) is ordered to locate the pictures.
20 "The Geneva Story" February 26, 1959
U.S. agent Nick Blake (Dennis Patrick) is ordered to learn why the Soviets hired an American assassin to kill one of their own officials as he attends a nuclear arms conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
21 "The Meeting" March 5, 1959
American agent Ralph Drake (Ray Danton) goes to neutral Austria to meet with western agents from six Iron Curtain countries after it is revealed that the Soviets have named a new head of the secret police. Virginia Gregg guest stars as Zina.
22 "Mightier Than the Sword" March 12, 1959
U.S. agent Douglas Kincaid (Simon Scott) joins the Communist Party and learns that Feodor Mashay (Robert Carricart), a former Kremlin official, wants to defect. The story opens in an apartment in San Francisco, California, where a communist cell meeting is underway, and Kincaid is arrested. Kincaid is sent to Yalta to assist in Mashay's defection.
23 "The Gamble" March 19, 1959
Statesmen meet in Huế in South Vietnam to discuss how to block communist infiltration from North Vietnam. A prince and his wife defect after communists try to force him to denounce the West in a speech. Guest stars Jeff Richards and Carol Thurston. This episode aired six years before U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson unveiled in February 1965 the massive American buildup in the former South Vietnam, well before most Americans had an acquaintance with the former French Indochina.[3]
24 "Double Agent" March 26, 1959
A spy working for both the communists and the British is uncovered shipping arms to anti-communists behind the Iron Curtain.
25 "The Antidote" April 2, 1959
Guest stars Richard Bull, Lawrence Dobkin, John Lupton, and Nan Leslie
26 "Assignment Prague" April 9, 1959
Soviet agents filming an anti-American propaganda film at a studio in Warsaw, Poland. The head of the film project moves against American sympathizers in her ranks. Warren Stevens guest stars as John William Carpenter.


  1. ^ Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows, 1946-Present, New York: Ballantine Press, 1992, p. 79
  2. ^ Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York, 1997, television schedule in appendix
  3. ^ "The War in Vietnam, 1965-1968: Americanizing the War". Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Archived from the original on 31 July 2009. Retrieved September 3, 2009. 

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