The King of Champagne – Episode Review

By Episode Review, Season 2


Airdates: May 25th and September 14th, 1961
Written by David Z. Goodman
Directed by Walter E. Grauman
Produced by Lloyd Richards
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Co-starring Robert Middleton, Michael Constantine, Barry Morse. Featuring George Kennedy, Jason Wingreen, Grant Richards, Jack Anthony, Jean Harvey, Ben Wright.

”During the third week in November, 1932, Eliot Ness and his Untouchables, acting on the information imparted by an anonymous tip, raided a warehouse on Lorry street on Chicago’s South Side.”

A wealthy restaurateur is talked into entering the lucrative Champagne trade by his brother-in-law, who has long made bottles for the illegal whiskey business.

”Four hours later, the new year of 1933 was ushered in. But for a large portion of Chicago’s Champagne drinking population, it was ushered in dry.”


Portions of this workaday story are rather interesting, and certainly Champagne is a new angle. George Kennedy makes a highly remarkable appearance as Birdie, a deaf-mute in the sympathetic employ of the Edmund Wald bottle plant. In that he lives quietly in Wald’s basement and goes about strangling people upon request, he makes himself rather useful. He even tries to strangle Eliot Ness a couple of times.

Barry Morse, the chap who would earn his living chasing David Janssen all over the country a couple of years later in Quinn Martin’s Fugitive, makes for a colorfully malevolent Frenchman with a good accent, even if it borders on an early Inspector Clouseau. Of the wares imported from the Champagne region of northern Indiana, he remarks, “Nawht bahd … a leetle flaht dew tew theh poohr corhking…”


• The second episode to take place on New Years Eve.


The Seventh Vote – Episode Review

By Episode Review, Season 2


Airdates: May 18th and September 21st, 1961
Written by Richard Collins
Directed by Stuart Rosenberg
Produced by Alan A. Armer
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Co-starring Bruce Gordon, Joseph Ruskin
Special Guest Star Nehemiah Persoff
Featuring George N. Neise and Allen Jaffe

”April 25th, 1932. While Al Capone was in Cook County Jail awaiting transfer to the Atlanta federal penitentiary to serve the remainder of an eleven-year sentence for income tax evasion, his lieutenants were gathered in the office above the cafe Montmartre. The meeting had been called by the heirs apparent to Capone’s underworld throne: Jake ‘Greasy Thumb’ Guzik, bookkeeper for the syndicate’s far-flung criminal empire and Frank ‘the Enforcer’ Nitti whose job it had been to see that Capone’s edicts were carried out. Their purpose: to resolve the chaos created by Capone’s empty chair.

Nevertheless, in the weeks that followed, the empire suffered a succession of savage and unexpected blows. For the first time since the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Chicago was rocked by gangland wars. With increasing regularity, Capone’s speakeasies were raided, his trucks hijacked and his breweries, which represented an investment of $100,000 each, smashed.”

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The Nero Rankin Story – Episode Review

By Episode Review, Season 2


Airdate: May 11th, 1961
Written by Leonard Kantor
Directed by Stuart Rosenberg
Produced by Lloyd Richards
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Special Guest Star Joanna Moore
Co-starring Will Kaluva, John Dehner
Featuring John Duke, Jean Carson, Richard Karlan, Barry Kelly, Brook Byron, Murvyn Vye, Wolfe Barzell

“September 1933. Although Eliot Ness had successfully destroyed the Underground Court, he had not been able to smash its parent organization, the Big Syndicate, then in control of over fifty percent of the nation’s crime. With the death of Judge Foley, chief of the court and chairman of the Syndicate, it was expected that the power of the Syndicate would wane. But, on September the 16th, at a roadhouse on the outskirts of Chicago, top-ranking members of the national organization had congregated to vote on the man whom Foley had designated as his successor months before he died.

“The heir apparent was an elder chieftain of crime named Nero Rankin, Foley’s teacher, in infamy, and at present, proprietor of Chicago’s most popular roadhouse, the Club Debutante. But before Rankin could assume his role as head of the Syndicate, he had to win a vote of approval by the Syndicate big wigs: Maury Brigger, who controlled the Southwest; Lou Hyndorf, boss of the East Coast from Canada to the Florida Keyes; Hooey Barker, who had been able to dominate the underworld of the Midwest without stepping on Al Capone’s toes; Patty Polofsky of Detroit, who headed the gunman squad, and Cy Brenner of New Orleans, bookkeeper for the Syndicate. Others present were top-ranking subordinates of the Syndicate who had no voting privileges.” Read More

Stranglehold – Episode Review

By Episode Review, Season 2


Airdate: May 4th, 1961
Written by Harry Kronman
Directed by Paul Wendkos
Produced by Alan Armer
Director of Photography Charles Straumer
Special Guest Star Ricardo Montalban.
Co-starring Philip Pine, Kevin Hagen.
Featuring Trevor Bardette, Robert J. Wilke, Oscar Beregi, Burt Miller,
Adrienne Marden, Gene Roth, Frank Puglia.

“The Prohibition years wrote a dark page in our history. Americans who had once defied a king, refusing to pay a tax on tea, now paid a tax to the underworld on everything they drank or ate. From booze to bacon, from medicine to milk, racketeers poked their greedy fingers into every corner of the nation’s business. One little pig was going to market: The Fulton Fish Market in New York. A wholesale market, serving the entire east, shipping as far as Mississippi; a business of fantastic totals turning over $200 million a year, weighing out 700 million pounds of fish and one man’s thumb resting heavy on the scale.” Read More