In the fifties, a few US radio programs made it onto Australian airways as TV arrived to forever diminish local radio drama here. I remember a religious broadcast series using Hollywood talent. There was Marlene Dietrich in a particularly excellent "Anna Karenina" and we got the series "Bold Venture" with Bogart and "Richard Diamond" with Dick Powell scripted by Blake Edwards. While working on the 1957 The Enemy Below, Powell introduced Edwards to Curd Jürgens "This is my friend who's suing me for a million dollars" following a copyright dispute. These tended to show up the familiar local product, incidentally.
Included with them, we heard Alan Ladd in "Box 13."
Well, memories of the phenomenon can be stirred by watching the Busted pilot for a half hour TV detective series spun off the Alan Ladd program, where Ladd again plays author Dan Holiday who, like Richard Boone’s Paladin, advertises his services out of a Post Box, to get ideas for his stories from the cases.
The buddy relationship between Ladd and a clean-shaven Lt. Frank Ferguson is very Peter Gunn & Jacoby.
Whit Bissell calls to take the star to lunch and slips him knock-out drops while he retrieves Tina Carver’s purse from under the table. Ladd passes out and wakes (clock face comes into focus - the piece’s most noir idea) in an all-white room in John Howard’s sanitarium where the couple have dumped him to substitute for her murdered husband, as part of the plot to get the husband’s fortune.
Frank Gerstle as the friendly and menacing tough guy attendant (best performance) is shot and Ladd breaks out trying to raise Ferguson from local phones, ending trapped at a suburban square dance.
Production values are standard series TV with maybe a bit more effort for a pilot ep. The piece involves TV heavyweights producer Aaron Spelling (uncredited script) and M*A*S*H’s Gene Reynolds as a gas pumper. Direction and camera are in the hands of the Frank Tuttle/John F. Seitz team whom Ladd continued working with from his This Gun for Hire breakthrough. Now middle-aged, he uses his trademark winning grin and agile punch ups.
The piece is basic time filler with a certain oddity value. It was originally produced as an episode of the General Electric Theatre anthology series hosted by Ronald Reagan. The You Tube Copy is passable.CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT