Casting was a key element in this expensive show, the producers cleverly adding to the lovingly-recreated 1940s atmosphere by using actors who were actually around in that era, or else soon afterwards in the 1950s. The other gimmick was the use of phenomena with which 1970s audiences were well familiar, but which were new in the 40s. Here, the whole concept of "automation", a word which baffles the police, is at the heart of the clever plot, and is the essence of the solution. Dashiell Hammett once cheekily asked Messrs Dannay and Lee about Ellery's sex-life, or, rather, the lack of it - the ending of this episode, however, hints that the TV Ellery might be more active in that area than his literary counterpart.
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