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Remind Me

Mr. and Mrs. North

Magazine writer Richard Lockridge had no clue whatsoever that his fictional Manhattan marrieds, Mr. and Mrs. North, would one day wind up amateur detectives. Lockridge had created the characters as the focus of a string of humorous domestic stories published in The New York Sun and The New Yorker; it was only when his mystery writer wife, Frances, was struggling with a whodunit in-progress that the pair decided to fold into the narrative Mr. and Mrs. North, who by then were enjoying a significant following. Published in 1940, The Norths Meet Murder led to brisk sales and a double-digit series of mystery novels, followed by a Broadway play and spin-offs for the big screen, radio, and television. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Mr. and Mrs. North (1942) was an adaptation of the Owen Davis play, and featured William Post, Jr. and Gracie Allen as publisher Gerald P. North and his scatterbrained (and yet oddly deductive) wife Pamela, whose amateur sleuthing nettles cop on the case Paul Kelly. Radio star Allen had been the crimebusting star of Paramount's The Gracie Allen Murder Case (1939), helping Warren William's Philo Vance to bring a killer to justice, but additional whodunits were not to be. With Allen retiring from films after 1942, there were no more Mr. and Mrs. North movies - though their adventures continued on the radio and on television, most notably in the 1952-1954 TV series starring Richard Denning and Barbara Britton.

By Richard Harland Smith



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