Ellery Queen

Season 1 Episode 5

The Adventure of the Comic Book Crusader

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Oct 02, 1975 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • Frank Flannigan boasts to Inspector Queen that his column is right on the front page of the newspaper--but we had just clearly seen that it was on the third page.

    • Frank Flannigan's column is presented as a series of brief bits of information. The first bit starts off sensibly enough, but in the second line the grammar suddenly skews, and the confusion goes on from there. The second bit is properly written, telling of a taunting letter written by L.A's "Butterfly Killer" to the local police. The third line seems to be political doublespeak that (naturally) makes little sense. The fourth bit is the focus point about Inspector Queen keeping his "family" secrets. The fifth, (and the last visible) bit is taken word for word from the article printed to the right of the column.

  • Quotes

    • Collins: Yeah, what do you want?
      Ellery: I'm Ellery Queen.
      Collins: You can't be Ellery Queen, your chin's all wrong.

    • Armstrong: Mr. Queen, you don't understand the market. Our readers are children. Millions of bloodthirsty little kids, and we give them what they want.

    • Alma: I, I just, I can't believe it!I just can't believe he's dead. I'm sorry. He was such a, such a--
      Inspector: Wonderful person?
      Alma: Louse. Why, just tonight he had this awful fight with his cartoonists. I mean it was just terrible, he treated 'em so rotten.
      Inspector: Velie, get names and addresses.
      Flannagan: Hiya, Inspector, who's the doll?
      Inspector: Flannagan, how'd you get wind of this?
      Flannagan: Murder will out, Inspector, murder will out.
      Inspector: Does it have to out when I'm trying to launch an investigation?
      Alma: Are you Frank Flannagan, the columnist?
      Flannagan: That's right, sweetheart. And if you were Armstrong's secretary, I'd like a Page One photo. Stand up and take a deep breath.

    • Hayes: Inspector, what's all this about a coverup? The Commissioner wants to know.
      Inspector: You tell the Commissioner not to believe everything he reads in the bottom of a birdcage.

    • Flannagan: Hiya, Junior.
      Inspector: Ellery, what are you doing here?
      Ellery: Well, I thought I'd come down and see if you found the murder weapon.
      Inspector: No, not yet. Those your pyjamas?
      Ellery: Pyjamas. My toothbrush, too.
      Hayes: A toothbrush?
      Flannagan: Sure, don't you get it? He's turning himself in. He's asking to be locked up!
      Inspector: You read that piece in the paper and you're trying to get me off the hook.
      Flannagan: Maybe he's here to plead guilty. "Cop's Kid Cops Plea". That's good for an extra.

    • Ellery: Incredible!
      Turnkey: Everything all right in there?
      Ellery: What?
      Turnkey: I thought I heard you say something.
      Ellery: I'm just reading the latest episode of "Captain Cosmo". Three weird scientists predict that the space commander's gonna be Emperor of the Universe.
      Turnkey: Oh. You like that, huh?
      Ellery: I liked it better when it was MacBeth.

    • Ellery: What cab driver?
      Inspector Queen: While you were loafing at the taxpayer's expense, we've been checking out leads.
      Ellery: Trying to find out who put
      the gun in my fish tank?
      Inspector Queen: I see you've been busy too, Flannagan. (Flannagan smiles and shrugs) Velie checked out the cab companies, came up with the driver who dropped off a fare at our house yesterday afternoon.
      Cabbie: Inspector Queen?
      Inspector Queen: Yeah. Thanks for coming in. I want you to look at a picture. Is this the person who rode in your cab yesterday afternoon?
      Cabbie: Yep, that's the one.
      Inspector Queen: You're sure?
      Cabbie: Sure I'm sure. How could you forget a face like that? Not to mention the things that go with it!
      Inspector Queen: Thanks, you can go. (shows Ellery the photograph)
      Ellery: Yeah, Alma.
      Inspector Queen: I'll tell Velie to pick her up. On second thought this is one arrest I want to make myself.
      Flannagan: Banner headline: "Ellery Queen Cleared, Secretary Nabbed". Gimmie a nickel, Junior, I want to phone this in while it's still hot.
      Inspector Queen: Here. This one's on the house.

    • Shannon: You're not going to take me alive! (Snatches a sharp object off the desk and rushes Ellery)
      Ellery: Oh, yeah? That's what you think! (Blocks Shannon's arm and punches him)
      Alma: Bam! Pow! You're terrific!
      Ellery: This place is starting to get to me, Dad, you'd better take me out of here.

    • Freeman: Alma, have you thought it over? Will you stay and work for me? Please, I need you.
      Alma: Well, I know how you feel about violence, but, um...how do you feel about sex?
      Freeman: Shhh. Not in front of the critters.
      Alma: I'll stay.

    • Ellery: The whole idea of me in a comic book is ridiculous. It doesn't even look like me.

    • Inspector Queen: Better get in, son. You were acquainted with the victim.
      Ellery: Was he a friend of mine?
      Inspector Queen: Not exactly.

    • Inspector Queen: Ellery, the clue points to you.
      Ellery: Logically, that makes me the killer.

    • Inspector Queen: Flannigan, how'd you get wind of this?
      Flannigan: Murder will out, Inspector. Murder will out.

    • Flannigan: Had a chance to read the paper yet?
      Inspector Queen: I don't read that paper. I wrap fish in it.

    • Inspector Queen: I'll resign from the force before I'll arrest my son for murder.

    • Inspector Queen: (to Flannigan) Freedom of the press goes just so far. Now there's a payphone out in the hall. Spend a nickel.

    • Vera: A messenger left this package at the front desk.
      Flannigan: Well don't give it to me! Call the bomb squad!

    • Vera: FF, when's the last time you read a book?
      Flannigan: When the guy who ghosted my autobiography sent me a copy.

    • Inspector Queen: Flannigan, I can't tell you what a pleasure it's gonna be to toss you in a cell next to Ellery on a charge of breaking and entering.

    • Ellery: What are you doing here? I'm not allowed visitors in lock-up.
      Flannigan: Flannigan has ways.

  • Notes

    • One of the cartoonists is called Lyle Shannon.

      Dell Shannon was the author of a popular police procedural series, starring Lt. Luis Mendoza, "The Millionaire Cop".

    • Lynda Day George played Alma Van Dyne (or Dine).

      S.S. Van Dine was the author of a series of mysteries featuring the character of Philo Vance. In the earliest Ellery Queen mysteries, the personality of Ellery Queen was molded on Philo Vance.

    • One of the characters is called Bud Armstrong.

      Charlotte Armstrong is a distinguished mystery writer. Her 1957 novel, A Dram of Poison won the Edgar Award.

    • This episode marked the introduction of Ken Swofford as newspaper columnist Frank Flannigan who would be a recurring character throughout the show's run and an armchair detective just like Simon Brimmer. The character of Flannigan was loosely based on Walter Winchell, a gossip columnist and radio host of the era in which Ellery Queen is set.

  • Allusions

    • The solution to the murder in this episode bears a strong resemblance to the one offered in Agatha Christie's classic Murder on the Orient Express.