NERO WOLFE (TV) (1979 USA)
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Rex Stout's corpulent, orchid-loving detective Nero Wolfe would eventually headline his own 1980s TV series, courtesy of star William Conrad. This earlier unsold TV pilot stars Thayer David, whom some Stout devotees consider the best of the many media Wolfes (which included Walter Connolly and Sidney Greenstreet). Frank D. Gilroy wrote and directed this adaptation of the Stout novel The Doorbell Rang, in which Wolfe protects his client (Anne Baxter) by taking on "the whole damned federal government". As always, Wolfe remains in his easy chair to do the brainwork, while his faithful assistant Archie Goodwin (Tom Mason) handles the rough stuff. Nero Wolfe tested well in the ratings, and might well have gone on immediately to a regular weekly series, but the sudden death of star Thayer David put the whole project in mothballs--until Bill Conrad was available.