Created by Herbert Margolis
Hugh Beaumont, the affably bland fifties actor mostly known as the persistently perplexed dad, Ward Cleaver, on TV classic Leave It to Beaver (1957-63), had an earlier career as a sort of utility player, appearing in numerous films and television series. His resumé included several crime flicks, including roles in The Blue Dahlia, Bury Me Dead and Fallen Sparrow, as well as taking over the role of Brett Halliday’s Mike Shayne in five B-flicks, due to his slight resemblance to Lloyd Nolan, who had originated the role.
So it probably didn’t seem like such a bad idea at the time to cast him as the not-so-mighty MIKE HERCULES, a tough (but not too tough) San Francisco private dick, in an unsuccessful 1956 TV pilot for a potential series.
The one episode, which aired as part of a short-lived, summer replacement anthology series, General Electric Summer Originals, had Mike attempting to rescue a wealthy ex-convict from a gang of kidnappers.
Mike, however, was “more talk than action and not as prone as others in his business to use excessive violence,” according to The Encyclopedia of Television Pilots, 1937-2012; the idea being “to relate Mike’s tamer ways to help people in trouble.”
A nice idea, perhaps, but nobody took the bait. The pilot was the only episode.
But this wasn’t the first dance creator Herbert Margolis has with actor Hugh Beaumont. A few years earlier, Beaumont had starred in three B-films as private eye Dennis O’Brien, which were based on old Johnny Madero, Pier 23 radio scripts that Margolis had co-written with Louis Morheim and Richard L. Breen a few years earlier than that. In fact, O’Brien was essentially Johnny Madero, who was essentially Pat Novak.
But I digress…
- ALIAS MIKE HERCULES
Written by Herbert Margolis
Directed by Budd Boetticher
Starring Hugh Beaumont as MIKE HERCULES
Also starring Reginald Denny, Anne Kimbell, Marie Windsor, Roy Roberts, Don Haggerty, Ellen Corby,
- Not Quite Ready for Primetime
Unsold Television Pilots and Other Flops