Roy Markham (Markham)

Created by Sterling Silliphant and Robert C. Dennis

This short-lived American TV series, intended as a summer replacement, tried to cash in on the success of Perry Mason and Peter Gunn (and preceded Burke’s Law), consummate pro Ray Milland starred as suave, wealthy, educated, ex-patriate Brit ROY MARKHAM, a successful, but rather bored criminal attorney who decides to take a more hands-on approach to criminal law, becoming a private investigator.

The show was developed from an episode of the anthology show Suspicion entitled “Eye To Eye,”  based on the novel by Leigh Brackett, which served as a pilot. In it, he had a suite of offices, and a secretary, Jean, but in the subsequent series he worked out of his swank apartment, and used an answering machine. At first he had an occasional asisstant, John Riggs (played by Simon Scott), to do most of the legwork, but that only lasted a few shows. For the most part, Roy worked alone. Although many of the best episodes took places in the Brash New World of 1960 New York City, his cases, ranging from corporate fraud to blackmail and murder, took him all over the world, and were far less convincing.

Part of the problem was that they didn’t go all over the world to shoot those episodes — and it showed. Mozambique, Paris, Venice and Salzburg all looked like they were shot on the same set, and most likely were.

Still, Markham, ever the distinguished gent, always looked the part. He favoured tweeds, a display handkerchief, scotch and soda, and those most elegant of early sixties props, cigarettes.  The show never really caught on, however, despite consistently convincing performances by Milland.  Suave and charming? Yes, but he could turn on the menace and toughness when he had to. Unfortunately, the plots were all over the place, ranging from the ridiculous to some truly amazing — and surprisingly dark–stuff (“A Cry from the Penthouse”).

“This is run-of-the-mill private eyeball stuff,” ventured one critic, “The plots come out of a meatgrinder.”

Co-creator Sterling Silliphant was probably best known  for his screenplay for In the Heat of the Night, which won the Academy Award in 1967, and for creating the television series Naked City and Route 66. His film credits include MarloweThe Towering Inferno, CharlyThe Poseidon Adventure, Shaft in Africa, and his TV credits stretch from The Mickey Mouse Club to the Travis McGee made-for-TV flick to The Man From Black Hawk, Rawhide, Longstreet, Checkmate, and Mr. Lucky.

TELEVISION

  • SUSPICION
    • “Eye for Eye” (June 23, 1958)
      Based on the novel An Eye for an Eye (1957) by Leigh Brackett
      Teleplay by Jameson Brewer and John Kneubuhl
      Directed by Jules Bricken
      Starring Ray Milland as ROY MARKHAM
      Also starring Macdonald Carey, Kathleen Crowley. Andrew Duggan, Dorothy Green, Peter Hansen
  • MARKHAM
    (1959-60, CBS)
    30-minute episodes
    First telecast: May 2, 1959
    Last telecast: September 22, 1960
    Writers: Sterling Silliphant, Robert C. Dennis, Jonathan Latimer, Henry Slesar, Douglas Heyes, Ed Lacy, Richard Matheson, Jo Swerling
    Directed by Richard H. Bartlett
    Music by Esquivel, John Williams, Nathan Scott
    Produced by Joseph Sistrom and Warren Duff
    A Miranda-Revere Production
    Sponsor: Schlitz Beer
    Starring Ray Milland as ROY MARKHAM
    Also starring Simon Scott as John Riggs (1959)

    • SEASON ONE
    • “A Princely Sum Original Air” (May 2, 1959)
    • “Woman of Arles” (May 9, 1959)
    • Paris Encounter” (May 16, 16, 1959)
    • “The Marble Face” (May 23, 1959)
    • “The Human Factor” (May 30, 1959)
    • “The Seamark” (June 6, 1959)
    • “Three Steps to Murder” (June 13, 1959)
    • “The Glass Diamond” (June 20, 1959)
    • “Vendetta in Venice” (June 27, 1959)
    • “The Last Bullet” (July 1959, 1959)
    • “Forty-Two on a Rope” (July 11, 1959)
    • “The Duelists” (July 18, 1959)
    • “The Counterfeit Stamps” (July 27, 1959)
    • “We Are All Suspect” (August 1, 1959)
    • “The Bay of the Dead” (August 8, 1959)
    • “The Other Side of the Wall” (August 17, 1959)
    • “Deadline Date” (August 22, 1959)
    • “Girl on the Rocks” (August 29, 1959)
    • “Grave and Present Danger” (September 19, 1959)
    • “Double Negative” (September 26, 1959)
    • “The Nephews” (October 3, 1959)
    • “The Long Hau” (October 10, 1959)
    • “Mutation” (October 17, 1959)
    • “The Father” (October 31, 1959)
    • “Incident in Bel Air” (November 7, 1959)
    • “Roundtrip to Mozambique” (November 14, 1959)
    • “Strange Visitor” (November 21, 1959)
    • “The Altar” (December 5, 1959)
    • “No Flies on Friday” (December 19, 1959)
    • “Candy Store Jungle” (January 9, 1960)
    • “Sing a Song of Murder” (January 16, 1960)
    • “The Ambitious Wife” (January 23, 1960)
    • “Events Leading Up to the Crime” (January 28, 1960)
    • “A Coffin for Cinderella” (February 4, 1960)
    • “Deadly Promise” (February 11, 1960)
    • “One for the Money” (February 25, 1960)
    • “Image of Love” (March 3, 1960)
    • “The Long Search” (March 10, 1960)
    • “The Shape of Evil” (March 1960
    • “The Searing Flame” (April 1960
    • “Fateful Reunion” (April 14, 1960)
    • “The Last Oasis” (April 21, 1960)
    • “Anxious Angel” (April 28, 1960)
    • “The Sitting Duck” (May 5, 1960)
    • “The Snarled Web” (May 12, 1960)
    • “Coercion” (May 26, 1960)
    • “The Man from Salzburg” (June 2, 1960)
    • “The Silken Cord” (June 9, 1960)
    • “Escorts a La Carte” (June 16, 1960)
    • “The Cruelest Thief” (June 30, 1960)
    • “13 Avenida Muerte” (July 7, 1960)
    • “A Cry from the Penthouse” (July 21, 1960)
    • “The Young Conspirator” (August 4, 1960)
    • “The Country Mouse” (August 11, 1960)
    • “Crash in the Desert” (August 18, 1960)
    • “Counterpoint” (August 25, 1960)
    • “The Snowman” (September 1, 1960)
    • “The Bad Spell” (September 8, 1960)
    • “A Matter of Identity” (September 15, 1960)

NOVELS

  • The Case of the Pornographic Photos (1961, by Lawrence Block, aka “You Could Call It Murder”) | Buy this book
    Lawrence Block assured me that this wasn’t a novelization, but an original story using characters from the show. According to fellow Rara-Avian Mario Taboada, “At the tender age of 22 or 23, Block was already in command of the full arsenal. Parts of this book are dynamite. And I note with pleasure that Block was *not* imitating Chandler.”
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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