The Thin Man

TV classics: The Thin Man

USA 1957-59, 2 seasons,  72 episodes, approximately 25 minutes each, NBC, black & white. Produced by: MGM Television, Based on the mystery novel by Dashiell Hammett. Cast: Peter Lawford, Phyllis Kirk, Also starring: Jack Albertson, Patricia Donahue, Nita Talbot

Plot summary: After resigning from being a P.I., Nick Charles keeps stumbling upon cases that ask for his expertise and a little to massive amount of help from his socialite wife Nora.

Review: For fans of The Thin Man movies (produced between 1934 and 1947), this show takes some getting used to. The late 1950s show does not feature Myrna Loy and William Powell as fabulous Nick and Nora Charles with their incomparable on-screen chemistry and charm, instead it introduces a different yet equally sophisticated duo of actors: Phyllis Kirk and Peter Lawford. Their portrayal differs largely from Loy’s poise and Powell’s wit, but they are definitely entertaining and endearing in their own way.

Attempting to follow the success of The Thin Man movies, the TV show is also beautifully written and equipped with elegant robes for Phyllis Kirk and dashing suits for Peter Lawford. Unfortunately, the show’s irony and often sharp sarcasm did not last longer than two full seasons. It was MGM’s failed experiment at producing a show after dismissing television and thus failing to keep up with the changes of time.

Today, the show is not yet available on DVD although it is a worthwhile treat to watch Nick and Nora getting in and out of trouble with recurring guest stars like Patricia Donahue, Nita Taylor or Jack Albertson. Selected episodes are available online and a sample episode was even included on “The Complete Thin Man Collection“. So take your pick and lean back to enjoy this show, I sure didn’t regret coming across it and I keep my fingers crossed for more episodes to be available anytime soon.

The Thin Man sample episode


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