Ellery Queen

Season 1 Episode 9

The Adventure of the Mad Tea Party

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Oct 30, 1975 on NBC



  • Trivia

  • Quotes

    • Inspector Queen: You want me to put out a three-state alarm for a man wearing a gray top hat, a green frock coat, and... Ellery, is he armed and dangerous, too?

    • Laura: Isn't that the usual thing you're told in these cases, don't call the police?
      Ellery: There is the distinct possibility that it might endanger Spencer's life.
      Letitia: Then by all means, let's call the police immediately, Mr. Queen.
      Laura: Mother!

    • Lt. Carr: It seems like we're dealing with some sort of lunatic.
      Inspector Queen: Oh, I'm used to that.
      Lt. Carr: Huh? Oh, no, sir, I didn't mean your son.

    • Ellery: 10:20. I could be home now soaking in a hot tub.
      Biggers: Welcome to show biz, El.

    • Ellery: How do you do?
      Letitia: I do exceedingly well, much to my son-in-law's relief., Mr. Queen.

    • Letitia: (about the house) You see here a monument of Mr. Gardner's ability to turn mighty oak trees into toothpicks.

    • Johnny (about Lockridge): You think he got snatched?
      Ellery: I don't know. I just got out of bed.

    • Johnny: (to Ellery) For a detective, you're not very smart.

    • Doyle: They couldn't start rehearsal until the boy was up in the bed. Mr. Gardner couldn't find his ears.
      Ellery: Ears?
      Howard: He's a rabbit.

    • Ellery: Look, Mr. Biggers...
      Howard: Howard.
      Ellery: If Mr. Lockridge is so interested in turning my book into a Broadway stage play, why is he changing it?
      Howard: Well, you have to change it, it's part of the creative process.

    • Ellery: Dad, come on. You trust me, don't you?
      Inspector Queen: No.

  • Notes

    • Many of the characters are named after detective authors:
      Mary Roberts Rinehart ("The American Agatha Christie") wrote her first book The Circular Staircase in 1907.
      Richard and Frances Lockridge collaborated on a series of mysteries starring "Mr. and Mrs. North" beginning in 1940.
      Earl Derr Biggers is the creator of Charlie Chan.
      The Gardners are named after Erle Stanley Gardner, creator of Perry Mason.
      Mrs. Allingham is named after Margery Allingham, author of the Albert Campion stories.
      The butler is Doyle for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

    • The book Ellery gets from the library when he can't sleep is Kathleen Winsor's "Forever Amber", a major best-seller of the 1940s and a very controversial book because of its sexual content. The book was actually published in 1944; 1947, when this episode is set, saw the popular movie version.

    • Aside from the pilot movie, this is the only episode based on an actual Ellery Queen story. "The Adventure of the Mad Tea Party" can be found in the short story collection, The Adventures of Ellery Queen.

    • Emmy Rhinehart reveals that she turned down the lead role in the classic film Johnny Belinda. Bad career move because Jane Wyman won an Academy Award for Best Actress in the role.

    • According to the production code, this was the first episode of the regular series to be filmed.

    • In this episode Sgt. Velie plays a pivotal role in the solution of the mystery instead of merely "putting the cuffs" on the culprit once Ellery announces the solution.

  • Allusions