Crawford Mystery Theatre

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Crawford Mystery Theatre
Created by Jerry Fairbanks
Starring Warren Hull (host)
Bob Sheppard (announcer)
John Howard
Anne Gwynne
Walter Sande
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 26
Running time 30 minutes (1951–1952)
Production company(s) Jerry Fairbanks Productions
Original network DuMont
Original release September 6 – September 27, 1951 (network)
28 February 1952 (local)

Crawford Mystery Theatre (also known as Public Prosecutor) is an American television program broadcast on the DuMont Television Network Thursdays at 9:30pm ET beginning on September 6, 1951. The series was also seen in first-run syndication. The series ran from 1951 to 1952.[1]

Broadcast history[edit]

Originally filmed in 1947-48 by Jerry Fairbanks Productions and titled Public Prosecutor, the program starred John Howard, Walter Sande, and Anne Gwynne in a typical murder-mystery setting.

The series is most notable for being television's first filmed series (although not the first filmed series broadcast),[2] paving the way for later filmed TV series such as I Love Lucy four years later.[1]

After running in syndication earlier that year as Public Prosecutor, the program aired on DuMont from 6 September 1951 to 27 September 1951. Retitled Crawford Mystery Theatre, after sponsor Crawford Clothes, the series was padded out to thirty minutes with the addition of a panel show segment. Before the guilty party was revealed, three studio panelists would attempt to guess his or her identity. This version of the show was hosted by Warren Hull.

After the network cancellation, the program continued to air locally on DuMont's flagship station, WABD in New York City. The final program aired on February 28, 1952.[1]

Episode status[edit]

An episode of Crawford Mystery Theatre survives at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. Internet Archive has two episodes, "The Case of the Comic-Strip Murder" (September 20, 1951) and "The Case of the Man Who Wasn't There" (January 17, 1952). Public Prosecutor has over 20 surviving episodes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c McNeil, Alex. Total Television. Fourth edition, p 677. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-024916-8.
  2. ^ The NBC anthology series Your Show Time became American television's first filmed dramatic series to be broadcast, in January 1949. Stanley Rubin, "A (Very) Personal History of the First Sponsored Film Series on National Television", E-Media Studies, vol. 1, issue 1 (2008).


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