Dick Powell Show

Season 1 Episode 4

John J. Diggs

Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Oct 17, 1961 on NBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

John J. Diggs
Having shorn himself of all trappings of respectability, John J. Diggs is cadging handouts from tourists in a Mexican town. One day Diggs approaches widow Margo Haley, who sees through his seedy veneer, and decides he needs more than a handout.

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  • A pilot for an adventure series called "John J. Diggs".

    This episode was the pilot for an adventure series called "John J. Diggs". Dick Powell played Diggs in the pilot. If the series sold, they would have found another actor to play the lead. Dick Powell played Amos Burke in the pilot for "Burke's Law", but Gene Barry took over the role in the series.

    Powell was terrific as John J. Diggs, a down-and-out, hard boiled adventurer. Diggs was sort of in the Philip Marlowe mode that Dick Powell played to perfection in "Murder My Sweet". But Diggs never wore a suit. He worked the fields with itinerant Mexican workers when he had to. Diggs was much closer to the edge than Marlowe.

    The story took place in a Mexican border town.

    Red-headed femme fatale Rhonda Fleming would have been the other regular in a series. Rhonda owned a little bar/hotel where John J. Diggs worked as the bartender between adventures. Fleming really looked sensationally sexy on this show. That figure, that hair, and that face! How could Diggs ever leave that bar to go on adventures with her there!

    The supporting cast included the great Michael Parks in what must have been one of hist first TV roles. Jack Kruschen ("Hong Kong") was also on board.

    Dick Powell and Rhonda Fleming generated a lot of heat as the leads. The characters were probably based on Bogart and Bacall but Powell and Fleming weren't second stringers.

    The "John J. Diggs" pilot was remade twice on "The Dick Powell Show". The next pilot had John Payne and classy, stacked red-head Hazel Court. The third pilot starred Dennis O'Keefe ("T-Men") and classy, stacked blond Dorothy Malone ("The Big Sleep").

    Each of the three pilots was acted to B-movie perfection. Those are my kind of guys and my kind of women. Great stuff. And in beautiful black and white.


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