|The Naked City||Jun 11 2015|
This issue of True Detective from June 1952 has cover art from Ozni Brown, along with all the standard crime magazine elements inside, but today we’re interested in its unusual solve-it-yourself murder feature. This is the first of these we’ve seen. A fictitious crime scene photo is published along with a short written scenario, and readers are invited to determine how the killing was committed and by which suspect. This particular puzzle is a television tie-in written by Darren McGavin, who at the time was starring in a CBS series called Crime Photographer. The show revolved around a world-weary crime tabloid photog narrating his latest adventures to his local bartender. The series lasted only forty-seven episodes, but McGavin would go on to star in other shows, including the beloved but also short-lived Nightstalker. If you want to take a crack at solving True Detective’s murder we’ve enlarged the relevant bits at the bottom of this post.
In order to make the whodunnit photo detailed enough we had to split it in half. It appears below along with the enlarged text.
And below is the solution.
|Intl. Notebook||Feb 25 2010|
Above is a publicity still of Darren McGavin, star of the short-lived American television show The Night Stalker. The series ran in 1974, and featured the character of Carl Kolchak as a world weary newspaperman investigating macabre and supernatural doings in Chicago. Over the course of twenty episodes Kolchak tangled with a vampire, a mummy, a werewolf, and even a killer android. It comes across a bit clunky now, but at the time the series was acclaimed for its deft writing and humor. Despite the good reviews, the American public didn’t get it, and the show suffered from poor ratings that only got worse with each week. McGavin, feeling constrained by the character and format of the series, eventually asked to be released from his contract and the network granted his wish. But some creations are simply ahead of their time and The Night Stalker, which should have been forgotten forever, continued to attract fans and today has a fierce cult. Even X-Files creator Chris Carter admits the show was a direct influence. He asked McGavin to reprise Kolchak on The X-Files as a running character—a turn that would have been momentous for fans of the macabre—but McGavin declined and the dream team of Kolchak and Mulder never materialized. Darren McGavin, forever to be remembered as Carl Kolchak, died today in 2006.