Lee Gordon (The Lonely Profession)

Created by Douglas Heyes
Pseudonyms include Matthew Howard

Early P.I. renaissance man Douglas Heyes (cartoonist, actor, writer, director, producer and musician) created private eye LEE GORDON who gets drawn into a complicated mess in The Twelfth of Never (1963). The case involves suicide (or is it?), an insurance scam (or is it?), a terminally ill doctor (or is he?), swapped identities, old girlfriends, a private eye trying to sort it out, and more.  Despite the convoluted plot, however, it was an attempt to depict a no-nonsense view of real-life P.I. work.

The novel, The Twelfth of Never (1963), was eventually adapted for television, by Heyes himself, and released as The Lonely Profession, as a two-hour pilot. Despite a pretty impressive cast for a TV movie, full of, at the time, pretty big names, and generally favorable reviews, a series never materialized. Go figure…


Initially a private in the 618th Field Artillery Observation Battalion, a cartoonist for Disney, a comic strip artist and a greeting card art director, Heyes has been involved in all sorts of P.I. things over the years, from books to radio, film and television, writing, directing, acting and Lord knows what else. He created P.I’s Steve Mallory and Ray Ripley, and was involved in directing and/or writing some other great crime P.I. (and P.I.-adjacent) tales on television and film, including the 1974 pilo, The Underground Man, for a proposed series based on Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer, plus episodes of Maverick, 77 Sunset Strip, City of AngelsThriller, Magnum P.I., Checkmate, Bearcats! and other series from 1950s through the 1970s, and had a long working association with Roy Huggins, that went far beyind The Lonely Profession. His work was always good and always entertaining.


  • “Heyes is an incisive, ironic writer and he handles this uneasy menage a trois so that the only certainty is death-but whose? and the reader will read on, ineluctably.”
    — Kirkus Reviews on the novel
    “There’s the usual paraphenalia … of such yarns. Nevertheless, the whole thing is quite believable, because Heyes is an excellent writer.”
    –February 1964, All Hands
  • ” a fine private-eye teleflick”
    — Ric Mayers in TV Detectives
  • Good results by any medium’s standards. Above average.”
    Leonard Maltin on the movie (TV Movies and Video Guide)



    (Working title: The Savarona Syndrome)
    (1969, Universal)
    Original broadcast October 21, 1969)
    96 minutes
    Written by Douglas Heyes, based on his novel The Twelfth of Never
    Directed by Douglas Heyes
    Producer: Jo Swerling, Jr.
    Executive Producer: Roy Huggins
    Original music by Pete Rugolo
    Starring Harry Guardino as LEE GORDON
    Also starring Ina Balin, Jack Carter, Joseph Cotten, Troy Donahue, Dean Jagger, Fernando Lamas, Barbara McNair, Stephen McNally, Dina Merrill
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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