Mr. & Mrs. North

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CBS (ended 1954)

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Mr. & Mrs. North

Show Summary

Carried over from the popular radio program, Mr. & Mrs. North was a mystery/suspense show played with light humor. It featured Jerry North as a book publisher, happily married to his charming housewife, Pamela. Each half-hour episode concerned itself with a mysterious crime, frequently involving a murder that the Norths stumbled upon and solved before show's end. The Norths live in New York City's Greenwich Village and often call upon their friend for assistance, Lieutenant Bill Weigand, a homicide detective with the city's police department. Jerry is considered an intelligent, worldly, capable man whose familiarity with mystery stories should leave him a worthy amateur detective. Pamela is characterized as a simple-minded, naive wife, like so many other women on TV in the '50s. She is presented as reasoning illogically, as well as acting plain foolishly. Sometimes she just doesn't grasp her husband's reasoning or is dismissed for following her own women's intuition. But much like George Burns' character to Gracie, Jerry loves Pam and her notions even if they are beyond his understanding. What makes this show interesting however, is that it is Pam who most often solves the crimes and identifies the guilty persons in each week's episode! It is Pam with her particular perspective that sees what the other's don't. Never at the expense of her husband's pride nor played for humor, Pam solves these crimes doing what her husband and police Lt. Weigand don't do. It is not that they couldn't solve the crimes, but it is Pam who usually does it first. Pam is able to determine what is evidence, listen to testimony, and put the pieces of the crime together by using her particular skills. These same skills often irritate and annoy Jerry in other circumstances and sometimes appear illogical to him. For example, she pays attention to the smallest of details, she's aware of facial expressions and gestures as people talk, she listens to how people talk and hears more than just facts, as other's speak. She is sensitive to how people relate to each other and can feel people's emotions and passions. It is these particular qualities, arguably referred to as feminine skills that give Pam the advantage over the others in crime solving. As a housewife, Pam finds excitement and adventure in the mysteries that they become involved in. She often mulls over clues and evidence while her husband Jerry tries to focus on his publishing business or goes to sleep at night. Also, she is willing to go to dangerous lengths to find more evidence or pursue her latest theory. Jerry often warns her with reasons why she shouldn't take so many risks or tries to convince her that what she does is too dangerous for her. But she can't be held back, often resulting in Jerry and Lt. Weigand's participation in her sometimes outlandish plots to catch a culprit. Her actions are usually overlooked by the police, she's an unthreatening presence and calls no attention to herself. They are frequently too concerned with their own procedures and methods to mind what she is doing. But it is Pam who most often points out and provokes a confession from the perpetrator. More than one captured criminal admits that they underestimated Pam's abilities. Perhaps this is typical of the expectations for womanhood in general, at that time. Mr. & Mrs. North may be an insignificant program when considering the history of television but it was present none-the-less, although for only 2 short years. At the least, it provided an image of a capable woman contributing significantly to society's betterment, even if she is under appreciated. It would be another decade before television would see its first female private detective in Honey West which lasted just one season. And, it would be the '70s before TV viewers would become more familiar with seeing women in crime-solving roles such as Police Woman and Charlie's Angels. This show's influence can be seen in later crime-solving, husband/wife programs, most notably The Thin Man, McMillan and Wife, and Hart to Hart. Actress Barbara Britton later appeared in the pilot show, Head of the Family opposite Carl Reiner, that was eventually developed into The Dick Van Dyke Show. And, actor Richard Denning is well remembered for his role as Governor Philip Grey on the long-running, Hawaii Five-O. This black-&-white classic ran on CBS, Friday nights at 10pm from October 1952-September 1953. Then on NBC, Tuesday nights at 10:30pm from January-July 1954. This show was based on original characters created by Richard and Frances Lockridge for a series of stories that ran in The New Yorker magazine. In addition to being a radio program, it was also produced as a Broadway play and a film. June 2005: Episode information is currently being added as more of this series is being released on DVD. Episodes can be found on dollar DVDs and classic TV box sets. Check below for further details.moreless
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