Dick Powell Show

Season 1 Episode 28

The Boston Terrier

Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Apr 10, 1962 on NBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

The Boston Terrier
A con-artist develops the perfect scheme to help him reach his financial security.

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  • A pilot for a private eye series with Robert Vaughn.

    Blake Edwards created private eye "Richard Diamond" for radio. Dick Powell played Richard Diamond on radio and newcomer David Janssen got the role on TV (although Blake Edwards didn't produce the TV series version of "Richard Diamond"). Blake Edwards created and produced the great "Peter Gunn" (1958-1961)and produced the arguably even greater "Mr. Lucky" (1959-1960). Blake Edwards had the golden touch with private eye heros (or in Mr. Lucky's case, quasi-private eyes). Blake Edwards seemed to model the way his detectives acted and dressed on himself, and he seemed to model himself on Cary Grant.

    In 1960 Blake Edwards chose 27-year old Robert Vaughn to be the lead in a new private eye show called "The Boston Terrier". Vaughn had been magnificent in "The Magnificent Seven" and received an Oscar nomination for "The Young Philadelphians". Vaughn was often dazzling in TV guest star performances. He was handsome, intelligent, smooth, and a fine actor. Robert Vaughn had the potential to be a great series lead in the Cary Grant mold. He could clearly follow in the fine footsteps of David Janssen ("Richard Diamond"), Craig Stevens ("Peter Gunn") and John Vivyan ("Mr. Lucky").

    Robert Vaughn played A. Dunster Lowell, aka "The Boston Terrier". Lowell was the scion of one of Boston's finest families. He had breeding and class. Dunster was a Phi Betta Kappa graduate of Harvard. He drove around in a spiffy, foreign, convertible coupe sports car. He had a Boston terrier dog who went everywhere with him.

    Dunster had a cranky friend on the force (Robert Wilke). A former professor of Dunster's served as his scientific consultant (John McGiver). The professor had a sexy, apparently underage daughter who kept making the moves on Dunster, who, as a true gentleman, gently refused them.

    Lovely Diana Millay was the girl in the case.

    I was a giant fan of Blake Edwards and Robert Vaughn before seeing this pilot, so I couldn't wait. The result, unfortuneatly was only average. The pilot didn't have the great photography, music, humor, and sex appeal of "Peter Gunn" and "Mr. Lucky". The episode ended awkwardly. I suspect director Blake Edwards walked off the project or was fired. The whole episode just didn't have the great Blake Edwards stamp. Dick Powell's introduction to the episode didn't boost Blake Edwards or Robert Vaughn but focused on the on-location shooting in Boston (which was apparently minimal). Perhaps the project left a bad taste in everybody's mouth.

    Blake Edwards and Robert Vaughn didn't give up. They made another pilot for "The Boston Terrier", this one 30-minutes instead of 60-minutes. Elizabeth Montgomery guest starred, and she always added sex appeal, energy, and a convincing performance to anything she was in. The 30-minute version was much better. It looked and sounded a lot more like the great "Peter Gunn" and "Mr. Lucky". There seemed to be more on-location shooting. Blake Edwards clearly had much more control over the second pilot. But the series still didn't sell. Private eyes were out and doctors were in.

    Blake Edwards and Robert Vaughn would work together again many years later in "SOB" (1981). I wonder if Blake Edwards' sour take on Hollywood in that movie had anything to do with his experiences on the first pilot of "The Boston Terrier".

John McGiver

John McGiver

Professor Mumford

Guest Star

Robert J. Wilke

Robert J. Wilke

Lt. Duffy Cardoza

Guest Star

John Marley

John Marley

Artie Pafko

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions