A Nero Wolfe Mystery

Wolfe_PictureSometimes, I’m not exactly “with it. I did not discover Nero Wolfe for quite a while. In fact, it was after I had seen a couple episodes of the A&E television show that I decided to buy one of the books and check him out.

One of the best decisions I ever made, as the Wolfe Corpus is now my favorite mystery series of them all, ahead of even Solar Pons and Sherlock Holmes. So, this week over at BlackGate.com, I wrote up a post about that sadly short-lived series at A&E. It’s a really, really good show. Head on over and check it out.


18 thoughts on “A Nero Wolfe Mystery

    1. Bob Byrne Post author

      Hi Jennifer. This A&E series is absolutely worth a look. Extremely well done. William Conrad was Wolfe (with Lee Horsely as Archie) for one season in the seventies. It has its moments, but it was only fair. There had been a pilot for the project with David Thayer as Wolfe, but he died unexpectedly after and the project got hung up for a couple years and resurfaced with Conrad in the role. That one is on Youtube, I think.

      This is from another post I did about Wolfe at Black Gate: “There had also been a pair of big screen movies in 1936 and 1937 that Rex Stout so disliked, he never let Hollywood touch Wolfe again during his lifetime!”

      I’ve not seen them, but I hear they didn’t resemble the books too much.

      There was an Italian tv series I’ve heard good things about, but I haven’t seen that one, either. Of course, I’d need subtitles!

      1. Jennifer Berg, mystery writer

        Okay, you’re quite the Nero Wolfe historical buff! I’ve read several of the books (as many as I can get my hands on) but I know next to nothing about Rex Stout and the behind the scenes workings. I’ll try to get a hold of the TV series. Thanks for the info!

      2. Bob Byrne Post author

        I’m fortunate that I can put on headphones and listen to things while I work. And amazingly, still concentrate! There was a Canadian Nero Wolfe radio series in the eighties (I think) starring Mayer Moore. They are very well done (better than the Sidney Greenstreet shows) and pretty faithful to the original stories. IF you get a chance, check them out. Especially for the ones where you haven’t been able to run down the books yet.


  1. talkchatter

    Like you, I stumbled across the A&E series first and then followed up with the books. Both the series and the books are brilliant in my opinion.

    1. Bob Byrne Post author

      Have you seen any of the William Conrad series? If so, what do you think of them? I quite like Lee Horsley as Archie, and they’re fun enough to watch, but overall, they quite pale in comparison to the A&E series.

      1. talkchatter

        I have seen a couple. I quite liked Conrad as Wolfe but was not keen on Horsely as Archie.

      2. Bob Byrne Post author

        I go the other way. I thought Wolfe was too nice and likeable. Horsley was a better Archie for me than Hutton. This series had Horstmann, which makes it different. I wasn’t crazy about Cramer at all. But I think A&E spoiled me.

    2. Bob Byrne Post author

      My screen looks wonky, so I’m not sure this is showing up below the correct post. But I LOVE Bill Smitrovich as Cramer. He’s who I picture when I write Cramer scenes. I really like his interactions with Wolfe and Archie and I think Smitrovich does it just about perfectly.

      1. talkchatter

        I think he is spot on too. What did you think about the role swap between Saul Panzer and Lon Cohen after the pilot?

      2. Bob Byrne Post author

        I wrote this in the Black Gate essay: ‘Rubinek played Saul Panzer in The Golden Spiders but switched to Lon Cohen for the rest of the series, to good effect.’

        I’m a Saul Rubinek fan (loved him in the Jesse Stone movies), but I think he was better suited to Lon than Saul. I think that Conrad Dunn was fine as Saul, but I don’t think he was great. Possibly because he didn’t get to talk much at all. I don’t know that anybody else would have been better, so he works for me. I do like him more than the Saul from the Conrad series.

        Fred and Orrie were cast quite well. I looked up the guy who plays Orrie on IMDB and he’s done almost no other films and tv. Though I remember seeing him in a Hallmark Christmas movie, The National Tree (?). Kari Matchett was the lead and he had a minor part in the beginning.

  2. Joe Allegretti

    Loved your article, Bob. Nero and Archie are my all-time favorites too. The only thing I didn’t like about the A&E show was something you mentioned–Archie’s NY accent.

    1. Bob Byrne Post author

      Thanks Joe. Archie’s accent isn’t a big thing for me, but it doesn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason. Kinda random and illogical. But I like his mannerisms and whatnot. But overall, it’s just such a good show.

  3. Bob Byrne Post author

    Rubinek was in the pilot of Hutton’s Leverage (and a few episodes near the end), which I thought was cool. And Matchett appeared in some later.

    I really liked Leverage. I thought it was a good show with a strong cast and neat ‘Mission Impossible’ style plots. Hutton did well landing that gig.


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