Thursday, April 28, 2016
Wolfe and Archie
Look, I've been a Nero Wolfe fan since I was 14. My grandfather and I used to watch the William Conrad-Lee Horsley adaptation, and that led me to the novels. And, after reading all of them, many more than once, I left Wolfe behind.
And then the great A & E series came on, and Maury Chaykin and Timothy Hutton became Wolfe and Archie. And, I have to admit, when a couple years back I went thorough the novels again, my reading of the characters was influenced by Chaykin and Hutton.
Not to mention Bill Smitrovich, superb as Inspector Cramer:
The A & E series was especially fun in its use of a small ensemble to appear in various roles. On occasion, they'd have to double up, which led to the surreal spectacle of Kari Matchett appearing in the same episode both as Lily Rowan (the closest thing Archie has to a significant other) and as Julie Jacquette, the boho swinging songstress (I'm quoting from the jacket flap of the first edition, so ease up, Tiger) who is the key to the mystery. What's great is that Matchett is great in both parts, with different, but palpable, chemistry between her and Hutton depending on which role she's playing.
(Other fun fact: Matchett later appeared on Leverage as the ex-wife of Hutton's character. It was like Archie and Lily had split.)