Saturday, August 30, 2014

It Should've Been on a Saturday: Encyclopedia Brown (1989)

As a kid, I read Donald J. Sobel's Encyclopedia Brown series of paperbacks, usually on loan from the public library. Just couldn't get enough of the brilliant pre-teen son of a suburban police chief who, much like Sherlock Holmes, didn't need too many clues to solve cases.

So imagine my surprise when I'd read in the late 80's that the series was being adapted for television. That was the good news. The bad news was that it was being produced for HBO instead of the broadcast networks.


How could the broadcast networks pass on this? Here was a kid who was on a par with the inestimable Holmes as a crime solver par excellence, and his adventures are airing on H-freakin'-BO? Sad to say, after the series ran its course, it simply faded away. Virtually the entire series was released on VHS, but hasn't seen a DVD release, and the 25th anniversary of the series is next year.

Series director "Savage" Steve Holland had previously worked on Fox's New Adventures of Beans Baxter (see, I knew he'd done something for primetime), and would later develop Eek! The Cat for the network (previously reviewed). He's worked with Nickelodeon on some of their current series in recent years, but it's been a while since he's actually done anything that's really gotten any buzz.

To give you some idea, let's visit the fictional city of Idaville for "The Case of the Burgled Baseball Cards", with guest stars Edy Williams & G. Gordon Liddy.

Today, the books are still being published, even though Sobel passed away some years back. Personally, I'd let Encyclopedia and his partner-in-peril, Sally Kimball, grow up and fall in love, and.......!

No rating, obviously.


magicdog said...

I used to read the Encyclopedia Brown comic strip that was published in our Sunday paper. It was a mystery solved in 2-3 panels, with the answer written at the bottom upside down for those who didn't figure it out.

Weird that the show ended up on HBO when it would have made more sense to air it on Nick or perhaps Saturday mornings on the networks.

Beans Baxter! There's a name I haven't heard in forever!

hobbyfan said...

I read the strip, too. Ran 7 days a week in the NY Daily News, and drawn by the underrated Frank Bolle. Awesome stuff. HBO bought the series, but it just didn't fit there, and today, they have a kids channel. Go figure.