Five Fingers (TV series)
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|Written by||Richard Berg (teleplay)|
Ludwig Carl Moyzisch (nonfiction book, ''Operation Cicero'')
|Directed by||Andrew McCullough|
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of seasons||One-half|
|No. of episodes||16|
Herbert Bayard Swope, Jr.
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original release||October 3, 1959 – |
January 8, 1960
Five Fingers is an NBC adventure/drama series set in Europe during the Cold War loosely based on the 1952 film 5 Fingers, starring James Mason and Danielle Darrieux. It ran from October 3, 1959, to January 9, 1960.
David Hedison starred as Victor Sebastian, an American counterintelligence officer with the code name "Five Fingers". Luciana Paluzzi played Simone Genet, Sebastian's singer client and romantic interest. Paul Burke played Robertson, Sebastian's contact man.
Five Fingers itself was based on the book Operation Cicero (1950) by Ludwig Carl Moyzisch and on the memoirs of Elyesa Bazna (I Was Cicero, 1962). Bazna was something of an antihero in real life (as was his counterpart, Ulysses Diello, in the Hollywood film); the television series transformed the character from a World War II-era mercenary Albanian into a Cold War era heroic American. Sebastian posed as a Communist to gain information on party activities. His public cover was that of a theatrical booking agent for clubs and cafes throughout Europe.
Episodes and guest stars
Episodes and notable guest stars include:
- "Station Break" (Eva Gabor and Tyler McVey) - October 3, 1959
- "Dossier" (Edgar Bergen) - October 10, 1959
- "The Moment of Truth" (Nehemiah Persoff and Jack Warden) - October 17, 1959
- "The Unknown Town" (Michael J. Pollard) - October 24, 1959
- "The Men with Triangle Heads" - (Alfred Ryder) October 31, 1959
- "The Assassin" (John McGiver) - November 7, 1959
- "The Man Who Got Away" (Arlene Francis) - November 14, 1959
- "The Emerald Curtain" - November 21, 1959
- "The Temple of the Swinging Doll" (Viveca Lindfors, Clu Gulager, Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr., and Sterling Holloway) - November 28, 1959
- "The Final Dream" (Cesare Danova and John Banner) - December 5, 1959
- "Thin Ice" (Peter Lorre, Brett Halsey, and Alan Young) - December 19, 1959
- "Operation Ramrod" (Ray Anthony) - December 26, 1959
- "The Judas Goat" (Frank Dekova) - January 2, 1960
- "The Search for Edvard Stoyan" (Martin Balsam) - January 9, 1960
Hedison recalls on his website that he was preparing to come to work for the seventeenth episode of the series when he was notified that the program had been cancelled without warning. Five Fingers was particularly popular in Australia, but was not on the air long enough in the United States to attract a sufficient following to survive even a full season. The series did have a brief syndicated run on local stations in the United States (like KGMB/Honolulu) despite the short number of episodes
Manulis produced Five Fingers in association with 20th Century Fox Television. He also produced the CBS sitcom, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1959–1963) starring Dwayne Hickman. Five Fingers aired at 9:30 Eastern on Saturdays opposite two half-hour western series, Richard Boone's Have Gun - Will Travel and James Arness's Gunsmoke on CBS and the second half of ABC's The Lawrence Welk Show.
UK theatrical runs
In 1961 in the UK, 20th Century Fox used eight episodes as supporting films for circuit releases of their main features:-
- "Counterfeit" (BBFC "U" cert Nov. 14 1960) Supporting North to Alaska, National circuit release Jan. 1st 1961.
- "The Moment of Truth" (BBFC "U" cert Feb. 23rd 1961). Supporting Five Golden Hours, National circuit release Mar. 12 1961.
- "The Emerald Curtain" (BBFC "U" cert Mar. 20 1961). Supporting All Hands on Deck, National circuit release May 7 1961.
- "Shot in the Dark" (BBFC "U" cert May 29 1961). Supporting Return to Peyton Place, Rank circuit release June 26 1961.
- "Thin Ice" (BBFC "U" cert Jun. 1 1961). Supporting Wild in the Country, Rank circuit release Jul. 30 1961.
- "Dossier" (BBFC "U" cert Jul. 25 1961). Supporting Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, National circuit release Aug. 28 1961.
- "The Judas Goat" (BBFC "U" cert Oct. 3 1961). Supporting The Queen's Guards, Rank circuit release Oct. 22 1961.
- "Temple of the Swinging Doll" (BBFC "U" cert Nov. 13 1961), Supporting Francis of Assisi, Rank circuit release Dec. 3 1961.
The Rank release played at the prime Odeon and Gaumont cinemas. The National release played at Rank's secondary outlets, although at this time it still was allocated the odd decent booking.
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, Inc., 1996, 4th ed., p. 288
- "Five Fingers:Summary". TV.com. Retrieved March 2, 2009.
- "Episode List of Five Fingers". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved March 2, 2009.
- "Five Fingers". Classic Television Archive. Retrieved March 2, 2009.
- "Five Fingers with David Hedison". DavidHedison.com. Retrieved March 2, 2009.
- Honolulu, Hawaii (July 2-6, 1962) from Radio-Info Messageboard
- McNeil, Total Television, appendix