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Nero Wolfe

Bobbi B.

New in Town
Messages
37
Location
Indianapolis
Did anyone here catch the (unfortunately short-lived) A&E series, "Nero Wolfe?" Hubby and I thought it was grand! Biography Channel still airs reruns on weekends.

Sometimes it takes a scene or two to place the time; Nero, Archie and the rest were solving mysteries from the late '30s through at least the 50s. There are occasional anachronisms. But all in all, it seemed to have been costumed and shot with a lot of attention to, and delight in, the proper look and feel of an age when auto seats sat three across comfortably, telephones did not fit gentlemen's breast pockets and no woman with a modicum of pride would venture out on the town without gloves.

What did you think, if you looked at the series?
 

The Wolf

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,153
Location
Santa Rosa, Calif
I had seen a couple of episodes. I thought it was well cast and looked swell. Unfortunately, I was somewhat thrown off by it looking 40s one episode and 50s another. I eschew the 1950s but I'll save that for another post.
 

Bobbi B.

New in Town
Messages
37
Location
Indianapolis
The clock does tick on, Wolf! Rex Stout (a local product, I mention with pride) did set Nero's adventures and orchid-growing in times roughly contemporary to when he wrote of them; so stories written in the '50s are set in the '50s and the televison production stuck with the originals. ...But if tailfins jar you, I can see where that'd be an issue.

There's a point in the 50s where I start to lose interest, but it varies with my mood and the topic under the discussion. ...Even the '60s had some things to offer. (Travis McGee, for fans of detective novels). If you were there at the time, there weren't very many occasions when the culture went "ker-chunk!" and clicked over to a new way of looking and acting; the changes seem to flow one from another. (Cars right before tailfins, for instance: wow!). In hindsight, it seems to sort out into neatly divided segments.

My husband, who is just that far from becoming a Baker Street Irregular, maintains Nero must be Sherlock Holmes' child. I think Mycroft is likelier!

BB
 

Mycroft

One Too Many
Messages
1,993
Location
Florida, U.S.A. for now
I would also like to add that Nero Wolf is similar to both Mycroft Holmes and also his brother Shelock. See list bellow:

Mycroft
-Overweight
-Never leaves the house
-has a butler that serves and cooks him food (the Mycroft Holmes books only, I think)
-loves food
-relcluive
-does not like women and unmarried


Sherlock
-reclusive
-has a assistent that records his cases (Watson and Arche)
-friends in the police
-does not like women and unmarried
 

Michael Mallory

One of the Regulars
Messages
283
Location
Glendale, California
I'm among those who postulate that Mycroft Holmes was Nero Wolfe's father. But as for the series, I didn't care for it at all. I've had to hold my tongue because a couple of my friends produced and wrote for it at various times, but it just didn't work for me on any level. Maury Chaikin has the native charm of an iguana (and the actor has to provide SOME measure of charm in order to sell a basically unlikeable character), Vancouver, where it was shot, looks as much like New York as Havana does, and the costumes, cars and hairstyles were all over the map. And while I thought the rep company idea for the supporting cast was intriguing, it just didn't work. I liked the old (70s) "Ellery Queen" series a lot better, even though it had the historical accuracy of a high school play.
 

Mycroft

One Too Many
Messages
1,993
Location
Florida, U.S.A. for now
I do not beleve that Nero Wolfe was the son of Sherlock or Mycroft (yes that where my Fedora Lounge Name COmes from), I beleve that the Holmes Brothers had a sister (who is written about in several Shelockian Texts) who had a son, because the Holmes Brothers were not found or liked women very much.
 

Johnnysan

One Too Many
Messages
1,171
Location
Central Illinois
Have both seasons on CD...

My wife and I really enjoy these and our three year-old seems to enjoy watching an adult (Nero) throwing tantrums! I too regret that the series was cut short after only two seasons. I understand that Rex Stout was a prolific author and penned some sixty-plus titles...still lots of good material out there for someone to put on the screen.

As an aside, I'd love to be in tight with the folks who did wardrobe for this show. The suits, ties and hats were all magnificent! Let's hope that A&E brings this one back! ;)

16_sparrows said:
Just thought you may be interested in listening to some of the Nero Wolfe radio casts. Soapdetectives.com has a good archive of his tales: http://www.soapdetectives.com/archives/2005/10/

Great link, Sparrow...thanks!
 

Flash Gordon

Familiar Face
Messages
66
Location
New York
I had the opportunity to visit the set of the Nero Wolfe series in Toronto during the filming of the last season and spent the day with Maury Chaykin (Wolfe), Tim Hutton (Archie) and Bill Smitrovich (Cramer). It was the last day of shooting for "The Silent Speaker". Colin Fox (Fritz) even brushed some lint off my lapel. I have photos which I'll try to figure out how to post.

It was wonderful to walk through Wolfe's brownstone, sit in the red leather chair and try on Archie's fedoras in the wardrobe department.

I'll really miss that show, but there are always Rex Stout's books which are still in print in paperback, and of course the very-much-active Nero Wolfe society "The Wolfe Pack". www.nerowolfe.org.
 

Mike in Seattle

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,027
Location
Renton (Seattle), WA
DVD Megaset

While the series was on A&E and in reruns, I only caught a couple of episodes - and seemed like the time I would specifically sit down to watch it, I would catch the same episodes I'd seen before over and over again. So out of 24 stories, I'd only caught maybe 3 or so.

I'd mentioned that to a friend who really enjoyed the series and he tipped me off that the complete series was being released to DVD in a "megaset" earlier this week, so I pre-ordered it a few weeks ago. I know - there's been a set of season 1 and a set of season 2 for a couple of years, but the price of the megaset (all episodes, the original movie and other add-ons) is $59 - or you can order season 1 for $59 and season 2 for $89 and miss out on some of the add-ons. Or you can order the megaset from A&E for $99 and get a T-shirt. I decided I would not sucumb if I didn't get a $40 Nero Wolfe T-shirt to wear while watching the show.

It arrived yesterday and I'm glad I bought the set. I found the "Making of" segment very interesting - and they had a shot of the walk-in closet holding all of Archie's hats which was eye-popping to say the least. One of the directors mentioned the "fabulous hats" more than once - mens and womens. The wardrobe I've seen for most is pretty amazing as well, except for Wolfe. Wolfe's? Eh. Pretty bland from what I've seen. One horrid acid yellow shirt with matching pocket square worn with a brownish-olivish suit Wolfe wore still has me shaking my head. But Archie's wardrobe is pretty snazzy to put it mildly.

Perhaps some of the clothes or cars aren't exactly in the correct period - it's still entertaining, and part of watching movies involves the "willfull suspension of disbelief" at times. It's done as entertainment and not as a 100% historically-accurate docu-drama. And I for one am finding it very entertaining and enjoyable.

As mentioned above, A&E runs episodes on Saturday afternoons in most timezones. Give it a look sometime.
 

RetroMom

One of the Regulars
Messages
251
Location
Connecticut
I also enjoyed the Nero Wolfe series when it ran on A&E.

I'm on the east coast and reruns can be seen on Saturday nights at 8:00 on the Biography channel.
 

Bart

Familiar Face
Messages
70
Location
East Coast
Yes, it is a good series and I, like Mike in Seattle, caught only a few. But the clothes were something and very 30's - 40's. Nice entertainment. Wished it could be put into a 2 hour series. Couldn't get enough in 1 hour.
 

TheRetropolitan

New in Town
Messages
43
Location
New York City
Man, Nero Wolfe was one of my favorite shows of all time. Even my girlfriend shared my love for it. Somehow, I managed to start up a very brief email correspondence with the illustrator that did the opening title art for each episode -- who also happened to be Timothy Hutton's wife. It was a long time ago, and I don't remember what was said, but she was very nice.
 

Peter Truett

New in Town
Messages
4
Location
East Coast
Nero Wolfe Megaset

Mike in Seattle said:
I'd mentioned that to a friend who really enjoyed the series and he tipped me off that the complete series was being released to DVD in a "megaset" earlier this week, so I pre-ordered it a few weeks ago.

Last week Adam Tyner, DVD Talk, posted a great review of "Nero Wolfe - The Complete Classic Whodunit Series (aka The Megaset): http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=21386

The "megaset" is terrific and quite a bargain compared to purchasing the two seasons separately,but categorizing it as "complete" is misleading. As Adam points out in his review missing from the "complete" set are any European versions of the episodes (some were twice as long as those shown in the U.S.) widescreen versions (except for the "extra" version of "The Silent Speaker"), and substantial "extras" such as retrospective interviews and outtakes.

"Nero Wolfe" was a gem. With all the material available - Stout wrote 73 Nero Wolfe stories - it was too bad the nincompoops at A&E canceled it.
 

ortega76

Practically Family
Messages
804
Location
South Suburbs, Chicago
I'm a little annoyed. The price of the mega-set has dropped to $99. I have the first season on DVD but not the second. Maybe I'll just order the mega-set and keep the extra first season discs at my parents' or something.

I enjoyed the rep cast. One of the members, Kari Matchett, has gone on to appear in the series Invasion. The femme fatales were gorgeous! I recommend this series as one to pick up. Even if you just pop in a disc to kill a rainy afternoon, it's entertaining and the costumes are to die for. I've started reading the novels again after all these years.
 

Mike in Seattle

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,027
Location
Renton (Seattle), WA
Should've ordered about a month ago - the megaset was $59 - the same or less than each individual season. But you could always see what your first season DVD set would fetch on Ebay.
 

Peter Truett

New in Town
Messages
4
Location
East Coast
ortega76 said:
I'm a little annoyed. The price of the mega-set has dropped to $99. I have the first season on DVD but not the second. Maybe I'll just order the mega-set and keep the extra first season discs at my parents' or something.


Currently on Amazon the mega-set is considerably less expensive than Season Two at $52.97. (Season Two is $89.99 and Season One is $53.99) And besides, your parents will enjoy watching Season One. You can loan them the Season Two discs from the Mega-Set after you've watched them.:)

If you want to see more about "Nero Wolfe" and/or Nero Wolfe visit The Wolfe Pack website, www.nerowolfe.org, which Flash Gordon mentioned back in April. For a Sneak Peak at the new TV Show Pages visit http://www.nerowolfe.org/htm/AE/tv_series.htm

And stay tuned - there's lots more on the show to come.
 

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