Monday, September 15, 2008

The Dame and Darrow

There’s much being made today of what would have been Agatha Christie’s 118 birthday (she died in 1976). The New York Times and The Daily Telegraph both carry reports about a newly unearthed trove of audio tapes from the 1960s in which Dame Agatha explains that she based spinster sleuth Jane Marple in part on her own grandmother, that Marple was not intended to be a series character, and that “she thought the fastidious Hercule Poirot and the indomitable Miss Marple should never meet.” More on the discovery of these tapes can be found here. (Hat tip to Sarah Weinman.)

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Foxwell has news about BBC Radio 7’s plans this week to broadcast several installments of writer Andrew Eames recalling how he retraced Christie’s 1928 journey to the Middle East, a trip about which he wrote in The 8:55 to Baghdad: From London to Iraq on the Trail of Agatha Christie (2005). BBC will also broadcast an adaptation of Christie’s 1940 novel, One, Two, Buckle My Shoe in five parts, beginning today. Click here to listen live or catch up on archived shows for a limited time.

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And let’s not forget another birthday today, that of actor Henry Darrow, who turns 75 years old.

Born in New York City but reared in Puerto Rico, Darrow (né Enrique Tomas Delgado, Jr.) later moved to Los Angeles to become an actor. After taking small parts in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Wild, Wild West, and Mission: Impossible, Darrow became a regular on the 1967-1971 western series The High Chaparral. In 1973, he starred in a Richard Donner-directed TV pilot called Hernandez, playing Juan Hernandez, a Mexican-American detective from Chicago, who transfers to the police force in Houston, Texas. (The series, had it been sold, was to be called Hernandez: Houston P.D. In its synopsis, the Internet Movie Database says that Darrow’s character “can handle anything criminals and bureaucrats throw at him, but can’t manage his mother at home.”) A year later, Darrow took a co-starring role as Lieutenant Manuel “Manny” Quinlan in the great David Janssen private-eye series Harry O. Unfortunately, when that series’ location was moved from San Diego, California, to L.A. partway through its first season, the writers had Quinlan gunned down and substituted Anthony Zerbe as Harry Orwell’s cop adversary/friend.

Since Harry O, Darrow has appeared in McMillan & Wife, Hawaii Five-O, Quincy, M.E., Magnum, P.I., and Diagnosis: Murder, as well as a variety of non-crime series, notably two of the Star Trek shows.

READ MORE:Dame Agatha Speaks,” by Jeri Westerson
(Getting Medieval).

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