A journalist is found dead after reporting on the untimely demise of the Baron. The international stock markets react to this news of the highly esteemed financier’s death. However when the real Baron shows himself to be alive, Inspector Duval must find who would go to such lengths to fake a death and commit a murder.
The International money market is fraught with possible gains and in some cases great loses. In this episode, the world believed it lost one of the great minds of finance but instead fell for the scam that profited from the news of the Barons death. Inspector Duval sets out to find out who thought that the Money Game was worth the crime.
Interpol is following an opium drug trafficking racket in Europe that appears to originate in Turkey. Inspector Duval makes his way to Istanbul to see if the authorities have any leads on the mastermind of these shipments. The lead suspect is a cautious import/export trader who has reason to divert Interpol’s scrutiny from his fleet of street vendors. Duval quickly follows the trail of the crime before it flies away.
“Crime knows no frontiers” is our introduction to the 1959 television series Interpol Calling. We meet Inspector Duval, played by Charles Korvin, from Interpol as he investigates a drug trafficking ring that uses an old, even ancient method in delivering the goods to a hungry European drug market. So far, the international police angle suggests there will be a lot of exotic locations with crimes that cross over borders. Duval’s charisma is still yet to be shown to a full degree but he fits physically in the class of law enforcement. His steady colleague at Interpol is Inspector Mornay, played by Edwin Richfield, is a known ITC character actor who will continue to play in ITC shows for the next few decades. An un-arousing start to the series but the international location footage leaves me hopeful.
The Man of the World was an entirely unknown series before I began working detailing the series. My first awareness of this show came from watching The Sentimental Agent tv series starring Carlos Thompson and while reading about that series I realised that The Sentimental Agent was in fact a spin-off from a specific episode in the Man of the World show. Although my continuity was all skewed I knew I needed to go one step backwards and document this series next.
Lew Grade at ITC Entertainment noticed that his action adventure series such as Danger Man and the Saint were doing so well that he decided to copy that formula with Man of the World. He hired Craig Stevens, an American and reasonably famous tv star, to play the role of Michael Strait. Stories say that Lew Grade believed that a recognisable American actor being casted would help open the US television market for ITC shows, in fact to the contrary, his most popular shows had British lead actors running the show.
The premise of the show was of an internationally known, jet-setting photojournalist named Michael Strait. Finding himself amongst the rich and famous throughout the world in circumstances where often then not his camera made him into a hero. His smooth debonair style easily achieved by Craig Stevens who essentially played the same kind of role as Peter Gunn, a popular tv series from 1959. You might know the Peter Gunn series from its famous theme by Henry Mancini, it was even covered by the Blues Brothers.
Henry Mancini, by the way, is in every episode of this series as the composer of the theme music which gives us pure Mancini-esque orchestral arrangement with swirling strings and his piano following the tune. To my ears, it sounds like a final scene or the credits scrolling musical score, which can be odd when you hear it at the beginning of the episode but this doesn’t take away from its quality.
The series began with two regular characters, naturally the lead Michael Strait and his assistant Maggie Warren played by Tracy Reed. I was disappointed that Tracy’s character appeared in only 8 episodes however this role was not a focus for the series writers and it shows in the episodes she does appear in. I believe this was a missed opportunity by the producers of the show to insert a strong female character in a series that glorifies the suave and self-assured male jet setter. Beyond that, the series does include so big name stars like Anthony Quayle, Donald Stewart and Donald Sutherland but also a huge list of ITC regulars that you definitely see in many of the other shows.
There are a couple of episodes that made an impression on me, some for obvious reasons and others perhaps due to my patronage to ITC shows in general. In the Shadow of the Wall, which was released in 1963, there is a picture of John F. Kennedy on the wall in the the US embassy, knowing what would befall him in late November of the same year. In the show In the Picture, Strait is hosting a photo exhibit which funny enough are still shots from previous Man of the World episodes, displayed as an homage to the series and its rich list of characters. The Sentimental Agent episode introduces us to Carlos Thompson who will shortly after be the star of a spin off of the same name.
While watching this series, I did crave a more relaxed but adventurous lead character, Craig Stevens is no doubt a good actor but lacks a charisma that one would expect from a roving pseudo hero who is familiar with all parts of the world and fits in enough anywhere to be persuasive. Nonetheless, I recall this journey through the lens of Michael Strait, being one with a smart run of mystery and adventure during the early 1960s. The episodes were topical for the time period and would certainly pass as entertainment.
An uprising is full blown in the country of Loscha. Mobs and police are waging an all out war in the streets. An unsettled revolution is failing, the only hope is to reinstate the previous monarchy system but the King was killed during the revolution. Strait is asked to help verify the identity of the young prince who is believed to be the sole survivor from the royal family but this seems to be a more arduous task than expected. What the country needs mostly is peace and Strait is there to help.
We follow the story of a country in dire need and the USA finding itself in a very sticky political situation. Restoring the King to the throne of Loscha would bring peace but how to know for sure that the so called “prince” is the real prince. Allowing an imposter to take the throne would be viewed as political wrangling and cause even greater instability in the region. Strait naturally is crucial to solving the identity mystery and of course is instrumental in finding those who benefit from the unrest. The Prince is the last episode for this series “Man of the World” and is a soft send off for a series that perhaps had greater hopes.
In a land with strong traditions and concepts of heritage, Luiz has his fathers bullfighting legacy on his shoulders. Straight is there to watch this bullfighter as he is promoted higher into a “Matador” status but there are some concerns as to whether he is ready. The glorification of the senior matador is understandable after his untimely death but opens up questions in Strait’s mind as to the secret dealings behind the scenes in Luiz’s life. With Straits inquisitive nature comes a discovery that would change the Rivera family forever.
Bullfighting is often a theme in ITC shows likely due to its long exotic tradition and the realities of imminent danger for the bullfighters. This episode shows us Luiz in his attempt at reaching his fathers legacy by putting himself in this dangerous position.
With events that bring awareness to an unspoken secret, Strait is once again in the thick of solving a mystery that has haunted the lives of the Rivera family.