Edward J Danziger and his brother Harry Lee Danziger
were pioneer independent TV producers famed for their "indifferent quality and low budgeting." So wrote Margaret Cowan, whilst conceding that they "remain a fantastic phenomenon." The pair rented space at the Riverside Studios, Hammersmith and then at Nettlefold Studios. Success enabled them to purchase their own headquarters, The New Elstree Studios in 1955. By December 1961, when production ceased, I calculate they had made 351 TV shorts as well at least 55 British cinema second features. Interestingly as the studios closed Harry prophesied: "we are not saying goodbye for all time to films and television, but it will be a long au revoir until conditions alter in favour of the independent producer." Indeed it was a very long wait, but in 2003 Harry Danziger made one final return when thru his nephew he reissued part of his final series, Richard the Lionheart. This has now been released almost in its entirety along with some Danziger feature films, and some of the Danziger tv output also resurfaced thru the late Jeffrey Kruger.
Do you know Joseph Losey worked as an early script editor? Brian Clemens was chief script writer and Richard Lester directed a few stories and Michael Winner a second unit director. It's high time for a kinder reappraisal of their output, that's what I'm doing on these Danziger pages.
The Danzigers have suffered from ill-informed criticism for too long, for example with complaints about poor acting, yet I have seen only a few examples of this, and considering two half hour tv programmes were often produced each week in the era 1955 to 1958, the standard of production was impressively high. Certainly there are few big name stars*, but this does not mean their output should be rejected. Indeed quite the opposite, the Danzigers pioneered independent tv production in this country and were sadly squeezed out by the big boys. The climate in the 21st century has changed and today the brothers would have been in their element, though I do worry just what type of shows they would be producing!

Calling Scotland Yard (1953) - 13 short films made for US tv, never shown on British screens. Some were made into cinema compilations. (Pictured: #12 The Final Twist)
The Vise (1954/5) - made for US again, but some of this series later showed up in Britain renamed 'Tension' (65 twenty five minute films)
Mark Saber (1955-59) - later as Saber of London, the Danzigers' biggest success (65 Mark Saber, 91 Saber of London, total 156)
Man from Interpol (1959/60) - though this series of 39 stories amazingly received network status in America, that soon changed
The Cheaters (1960/1) - to my mind the Danzigers' most accomplished series (39 stories)
Richard the Lionheart (1961) - a last tv series of 39 stories, different to any of the preceding, one that deserved a better fate
Abortive series: Ali Baba, and The World is My Beat
New Elstree Feature Films

*Note- Some interesting early acting roles include Michael Caine, Patrick McGoohan, and Leslie Phillips. Petula Clark has somehow also been placed in this category on some sites, but this is nonsense.
TV Menu

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CALLING SCOTLAND YARD
A series of 13 individual films made 1953 and transmitted on NBC Summer 1956 under the title "Detectives Diary." Six were made into two compilations and shown as second cinema features.
An article in Film Review 1953-4 states "a dozen short thrillers have already been made" mentioning that "the first three films" were Ladies of Leisure, Falstaff's Fur Coat, The Thief of London. It states they were made in association with Paramount with George Routledge as the producer. Script editor is famous Hollywood director Joseph Losey." However they are definitely the first TV series made by Edward and Harry Lee Danziger.

13 stories made, listed in order of NBC transmission in 1956. I have never seen any of them. Where original Danzigers synopses are available, please click title.

1 Thirty Days to Die (Death) - with Hubert Gregg, Jenny Laird and Laurence Naismith. Arthur Lowe has a small part
2
The Javanese Dagger - with Anthony Nicholls, Yvonne Furneaux, Alan Wheatley and Vanda Godsell
3 The Corpse of Pleasant Avenue
4 The Wilful Widow - cast included Derek Blomfield George Baker, and Noel Dyson
5 The Thief Of London - starring Jack Watling, Helene Cordet and Gene Anderson, with Peter Gawthorne
6 The Ripper Strikes (possibly aka The Marriage Trap) - cast included Maurice Denham
7 The Sable Scarf - with High Latimer, Judy Campbell, John Laurie and Andrew Crawford
8 The Stranger on the Sea - starring Paul Carpenter and Hugh Latimer. Stephen Murray and Leslie Phillips are also credited
9 Falstaff's Fur Coat - with Howard Marion Crawford, Robert Adair, Peter Bathurst, Wilfrid Caithness, Harold Jamieson and Andreas Malandrinos
10 The Wedding Gift - (a.k.a. Present For A Bride) starring Hazel Court, Derek Bond with David Horne
11 The Missing Passenger - (probably also known as Ladies of Leisure) starring Patrick Barr, Kay Walsh and Betty Ann Davies
12 The Final Twist - with Karel Stepanek, Catherine Finn, Patricia Owens and Robert Perceval
13 The Man who stayed Alive
To Danziger main menu

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The Javanese Dagger
Blackmail and death figure in this account of a once beautiful woman's lust for revenge. Vanessa Tressall (Yvonne Furneaux) is very much in love with her husband Lord Tressall (Anthony Nicholls), an amateur painter. He was once married to his model Wanda (Vanda Godsell), but she had run away with airline pilot Victor (Alan Wheatley), and both were believed drowned when their plane crashed at sea.
Vanessa however, believes her husband is still in love with his first wife when she finds him painting her from memory. In a fit of rage, she grabs a dagger in the studio and slashes his painting. Then a series of anonymous letter arrive for Vanessa, informing her that she is not legally married. She says nothing to her husband about these letters, but after she obeys the instructions in the latest one, she meets Wanda, who is now a slatternly bitter woman, still living with Victor. He is acting as a pilot-messenger for a crime syndicate and had faked the accident in which he and Wanda were supposed to have been killed.
When Wanda learns that her husband has remarried, she makes plans for her disappearance to pay off. Victor overhears Wanda threaten to kill the terrified Vanessa if she doesn't obey her orders. He grabs the Javanese dagger she is holding to the young woman's throat. In the ensuing tussle Wanda falls on the dagger. Victor disappears. Before Wanda dies, she screams for help and accuses Vanessa of stabbing her.
Vanessa goes on trial for murder. Tressall lets her down stating that this dagger is the only one of its type in existence. Since that dagger had gone from his studio, and since Victor cannot be found, Vanessa is convicted of murder. In fact Victor has been prevented from speaking by the head of the crime syndicate who is afraid of any investigation. But Victor manages to tell Tressall. As they fight, they accidentally come upon the dagger. When Victor leaves Tressall, he is stabbed by the boss' henchman, but recovers sufficiently to tell his story to the police.
Vanessa is released, and forgives her husband, realising that now they really understand each other for the first time
Calling Scotland Yard

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The Sable Scarf
Greed and treachery walk hand in hand when exotic brunette Mara (Judy Campbell) preys on the gullibility of people who come to her shabby flat for her to read their future in her magic crystal ball. She is having a love affair with good looking but elusive Dick (Andrew Crawford), a truck driver who refuses her plea that he become her partner. Suddenly her husband, whom she had believed killed in the war, turns up. She is none too pleased to meet David (Hugh Latimer) until she learns that he was the last man left alive in his army outfit, an outfit that included the son of her rich landlord Hennessey (John Laurie).
She induces David to join her in duping Hennessey, who has desperately sought news of his missing son, the location of whose grave David knows to be in New Guinea. They trick Hennessey into believing that the spirit of his son has sent a message through Mara. Hennessey accepts this message, and travels to New Guinea and finds the grave. From the moment he returns and spreads the word about Mara's infallibility, her fortune is assured. David cooperates with her by giving her information concerning the other men in his outfit, which she sells using her crystal ball.
The time comes when David realises there is another man in Mara's life. He demands she put a stop to this, and to her business, which he has hated from the start. She agrees, but that night follows him to his rented room, and stabs him to death.
The only clue police find is a sable scarf, which is traced to Mara. She produces half a dozen such scarves in her drawer, and suggests that any of her clients might have taken one of them.
In a last desperate effort, police round up key people to identify David's body. Among them is Hennessey, who recognises him as Mara's husband. That proves the end for Mara and for her business of trading on the hopes and fears of foolish people

Calling Scotland Yard

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Falstaff's Fur Coat

Pompous vain actor Horatio Plunkett (Howard Marion Crawford) comes into a little inheritance, enabling him to fulfil one of his dreams- to own a fur trimmed, elegant coat that will be the envy of his fellow actors.
Tailor Kitteridge (Andreas Malandrinos) refuses to make for him the model he selects, but this refusal only makes Plunkett more determined. He offers the tailor so much money that Kitteridge agrees to make the coat.
No sooner does Plunkett appear in public wearing it, than he discovers mysterious things are happening to him. One day he is shocked to find in his pocket two expensive gold watches, which he promptly turns over to the police. Then he discovers in his coat pocket a pearl necklace of inestimable value, another time a diamond necklace, all of which he takes to the police.
Kitteridge had broken his word to the boss of a crime syndicate not to make more than six such coats, when he made this seventh for Plunkett. He is found murdered in his shop. Police add his murder to the fact that Plunkett had been used as a plant for the stolen jewellery. His fur trimmed coat is the same as used by the crime couriers to carry stolen jewels to a fence.
Police get Plunkett to cooperate in smoking out the murderers. The actor becomes their target and while he is giving his acclaimed performance as Falstaff, the murderers attack, wounding their victim in a scuffle. But police arrest them

Calling Scotland Yard

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Present for a Bride

A cold blooded carefully organised programme of systematic robbery that traps its author into committing murder. Wealthy diamond merchant Hines (David Horne) has never married because, as his friend Max (Derek Bond) so aptly puts it, he has never found a girl perfect enough to equal his precious stones. Max says that he knows just such a girl, a beautiful Austrian countess, who is the last remaining member of her family, the owner of a vast estate.
The girl is actually Trudi (Hazel Court), an unscrupulous dress model who has worked with Max on many shady deals. She agrees that after she lands Hines, she will split with Max all the jewellery and money her husband will undoubtedly lavish on her.
Trudi and Hines are married soon after they meet, and as Max had foreseen, the happy bridegroom is extremely generous. Trudi tries unsuccessfully to doublecross Max. Hines stumbles on the truth about his bride, when he visits her estate while on a business trip. He meets the real countess. Bitterly disappointed, he accuses Trudi in Max's presence of cheating them both.
In a fit of temper, Trudi blurts out that Max is the one to blame, not she, and that he, Hines, loved her enough to give her the combination of his precious safe. When Max hears this, he seizes a poker, and bludgeons Hines to death. Then he forces Trudi to open the safe, then go to bed, after arranging a place to meet her the next day. A repair man comes to make a periodic check on the safe, and when he opens it, Hines' corpse falls out. Hysterically Trudi screams that it was Max who murdered him. Max, and the jewels, are by this time miles away from the place where he was to meet up with Trudi, but police pick him up

Calling Scotland Yard

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The Missing Passenger
Richard, a successful South African farmer (Patrick Barr), visits his native England, calling on two spinster sisters he had courted years before, Priscilla (Kay Walsh) and Selina (Betty Ann Davies), who live alone in a quiet neighbourhood. Each dream of what might have been had Richard married her.
The sisters, overjoyed at seeing him again, believing he must have come back for one of them, are shocked to learn that he is merely paying a quick visit and is returning to South Africa the next day. Priscilla has no intention of letting him go. She has a way to make him pay for the six years of courtship that ended so disappointingly.
She slips a sleeping powder into his wine, then gets him to climb with her and Selina to the tower room of their house to choose a box of butterflies from their collection, as a farewell gift. Sleep overcomes him as he remarks on the strangeness of the room with its barred windows. Priscilla locks the steel door on him, telling the timid frightened Selina that never again will Richard leave them.
It isn't long before the enormity of what is happening dawns on Richard. His cries for help, his attempts at escape all come to nothing because Priscilla's maniacal mind has found ways of circumventing them. Food is passed to him through a little hole in the wall. As the years pass, Richard gives up trying to get out. But the day that Priscilla dies, Selina brings him his food. He grabs hold of her arm and forces her to unlock the door. Then in terror she flees from the bearded, wild eyed man. But before he can touch her, she drops dead, a victim of her own fears. Richard, freed of implication in her death, goes on his way at last.

Calling Scotland Yard

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The Final Twist
Dishonesty and deception snowball into murder of stolen jewellery and insurance fraud. Mr Dyckmann (Karel Stepanek) and his wife (Catherine Finn) are overheard quarrelling over the programme of music to be played at their tenth anniversary party. While this party is in progress, a policeman arrives to inform Dyckmann that his jewellery shop has been robbed, and his bookkeeper murdered. The police have no success apprehending the criminal, but the insurance investigator makes no secret of the fact that he believes it is Dyckmann himself. Dyckmann sues him for slander.
During the trial, it transpires that Dyckmann had insured his jewellery stock for three times its value just a few weeks before the crime was committed. But since a neighbour testifies he heard the couple quarrelling at the very time the crime was committed, the verdict is returned in Dyckmann's favour.
Several years pass, then Mrs Dyckmann surprises her husband and her pretty cousin Mary (Patricia Owens) who are together in an Amsterdam hotel room. Upon her return to London, Mrs Dyckmann communicates with Police Inspector Clarke (Robert Percival), demanding he arrest her as one of the culprits in a case that the Yard inspector believed would forever remain unsolved.
Mrs Dyckmann claims her husband had been receiver for stolen jewellery, and therefore when his shop was robbed, he could not report the robbery to his insurance company. In order to make up for the loss, he insured his new stock for three times its value and then stole it himself. To give himself an alibi, he had a record made of himself quarrelling with his wife, which she played while he was looting his shop. However his plans had gone awry when his bookkeeper walked in and found the cupboard bare of jewels. When the man had tried to phone the police, her husband had picked up a poker and killed him.
So great is Mrs Dyckmann's desire for revenge, that she is willing to go to jail herself in order to punish her husband and Mary

Calling Scotland Yard