The Law and Mr. Jones
|The Law and Mr. Jones|
James Whitmore, Janet De Gore and Conlan Carter, 1962.
|Created by||Sy Gomberg|
|Written by||William Bast
|Directed by||David Alexander
Charles F. Haas
Robert Ellis Miller
Janet De Gore
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||45|
|Running time||30 mins. (approx)|
|Production company(s)||Four Star Television|
|Original release||October 7, 1960 – September 22, 1961|
The Law and Mr. Jones is a 45-episode half-hour television crime drama starring James Whitmore. The series aired on ABC in two nonconsecutive seasons from October 7, 1960, to September 22, 1961, and again from April 19 to July 5, 1962. The program was created and produced by Sy Gomberg, and was set in New York City.
Whitmore starred as idealistic attorney Abraham Lincoln Jones, who had been a star athlete in college. His cases did not usually involve violence but white collar crimes, such as fraud, embezzlement, taxes, and contracts. Janet De Gore co-starred as Jones' secretary, Marsha Spear, and Conlan Carter appeared as his law clerk, C.E. Carruthers.
Sam Jaffe and Harry Townes guest starred twice on the series in the roles of Martin Berger and Fowler, respectively. In a 1961 episode entitled "Lincoln", Martin Landau, later of CBS's Mission: Impossible, and character actor Strother Martin guest starred as Jones defended a client accused of having planted a bomb.
One particular episode attracted an Emmy Award nomination. On March 3, 1961, the episode "Cold Turkey" featured Peter Falk, later of Columbo. He was nominated for "Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role by an Actor or Actress in a Single Program." Others in the cited episode were Leo Penn, father of Sean Penn, and Joyce Van Patten, the sister of Dick Van Patten.
Notable guest stars include:
- J. Pat O'Malley, a character actor, in "What's in a Name?" on October 7, 1960, the premiere
- Frank Silvera as Garcia in "Music to Hurt By" on October 14
- Parley Baer, noted character actor, in "Drivel" on November 4
- Beverly Washburn, who starred with Loretta Young and in the 1957 western film Old Yeller, as Sue in "A Question of Guilt" on December 16
- Barbara Bain, later of Mission: Impossible, as D.J. in "Christmas Is a Legal Holiday" on December 23
- Nancy Marchand, later the publisher on Lou Grant, as Dorothy in "The Long Echo" on December 30
- William Fawcett in "The Great Gambling Raid" on January 6, 1961
- Norman Fell, also on 87th Precinct, as Fred Cook in the episode "Lethal Weapons" on February 17
- Eduard Franz as Gustave Helmer and Jack Mullaney in "The Concert" on March 10
- Dick Powell as Colonel Drayton in "Everybody Versus Timmy Drayton", March 17
- Vic Morrow as Dr. Bigelow in "A Very Special Citizen", March 24
- Robert Middleton in "Accidental Tourist" on March 31
- Whit Bissell as Howard Barron and Otto Kruger as Franklyn Malleson Ghentin in "A Fool for a Client" on April 21
- Ross Martin, later on The Wild Wild West, as Frank Brody and Harry Dean Stanton as Harry Walker in "The Enemy" on April 28
- Michael Parks, later of Then Came Bronson, in "One by One" on May 5
- Roger Mobley, a Disney child actor, as Tommy Pierce in "The Boy Who Said No" on April 28, 1962
- Eve McVeagh, film and television actress and Hitchcock favorite in episode "The Boy Who Said No" original air date: April 26, 1962.
- John Larch as Richard Walker in "The Reunion" on May 3
- Tom Bosley, later of Happy Days, as Assistant District Attorney Ryan in "The Man Who Wanted to Die" on May 31
- Brenda Scott as Mary in "My Worthy Colleague", the series finale on July 5.
- Jack Albertson (Played Grandpa Joe in the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, 1971) as Karl Hansen in "Accidental Tourist" first aired on 31 March 1961.
The Law and Mr. Jones was produced by Dick Powell's Four Star Television. Its theme song was derived from the 1890s Negro spiritual entitled "When the Saints Go Marching In". The music is attributed to publisher J. M. Black, but it was actually composed by Leonard Rosenman, who released an album of his themes on Dot Records in 1959 that included this theme.
In the first season, the series, sponsored by Procter & Gamble, ran on Friday at the 10:30 Eastern time slot after Robert Taylor's The Detectives. In its abbreviated second season, the series was switched to Thursday (by its sponsor) to fill the slot left by the cancelled 1920s situation comedy Margie starring Cynthia Pepper.
After The Law and Mr. Jones, Janet De Gore joined the revised cast of Walter Brennan's The Real McCoys, renamed The McCoys and switched from ABC to CBS. Conlan Carter took over the role of "Doc" on ABC's Combat! for which he secured an Emmy nomination in 1964.
In 2000, James Whitmore said of the series, "That thing arose out of the American Civil Liberties Union … This was right after the McCarthy thing was so hot in this country, and I thought it was time we did something about the right of people to disagree with one another in a reasonable fashion … That was the predication of that show, and I produced it … It was a wonderful experience." ABC had canceled the series after its first season, but thousands of angry letters from fans convinced them to bring the show back in 1962. Whitmore explained, "We were taken off the air after one year, because I didn't want to do the commercials [for] Gleam Toothpaste. They wanted me as that character, that lawyer, to come on and say, 'You ought to use Gleam toothpaste,' and I didn't think I wanted to do that, so they dropped us. Procter and Gamble were our sponsors. Then, they had an astonishing hundreds of thousands of letters. It was engineered by some newspaper guys to get the show back on, and they brought it back on. I believe, if I'm not mistaken, the only time that had ever happened, with a TV show. I think it's happened since, but not at that point. We were brought back for one year."
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, 4th edition, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, p. 471
- Film.com, The Law and Mr. Jones
- Tvofyourlife.com, The Law and Mr. Jones
- Classic TV themes, The Law and Mr. Jones
- 1960-1961; 1961-1962 American network television schedules
- The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present. Ballantine Books. 2003. p. 666. ISBN 0-345-45542-8.
- James Whitmore Interview 2000