The Checkmate TV show was a 60 minute crime, drama series on CBS about three men who worked together in order to stop crimes before they happened. Most of the episodes centered around people whose lives had been threatened or those who felt that, for some reason, they were likely targets for murder.
Anthony George .... Don Corey
Doug McClure .... Jed Sills
Sebastian Cabot .... Dr. Carl Hyatt
Ken Lynch .... Lieutenant Thomas Brand
Jack Betts .... Chris Devlin
The series got its title from the fact that Don Corey (played by Anthony George) and Jed Sills (played by Doug McClure) had an actual corporation called, "Checkmate, Incorporated" that they operated out of San Francisco, California. Don Corey was the head of the firm and Jed Sills was his assistant. Dr. Carl Hyatt (played by Sebastian Cabot) was a Professor of Criminology who consulted with them on their cases.
Checkmate attracted some of the biggest stars in its day to appear as guest stars on the show. They included, Lee Marvin ("M-Squad"), Angie Dickinson ("Police Woman"), David Janssen ("The Fugitive"), Jack Lord ("Hawaii Five-0"), Lloyd Bridges ("Sea Hunt"), Robert Lansing ("12 O'Clock High"), Dorothy Malone ("Peyton Place"), and Elizabeth Montgomery ("Bewitched"), to name just a few!
During season one, "Checkmate Incorporated" operated from Don Corey's chic apartment on Nob Hill with a fantastic view of San Francisco. In season two, they moved to a plush office suite.
The role of Jed Sills (played by Doug McClure) was almost rewritten for a female detective and given to sexy actress Joan O'Brien who once dated Elvis Presley and played the hot, full-figured nurse in the 1959 film, "Operation Petticoat". If Joan had gotten the role, it would have been highly unusual for a female to play such a tough role in the early 1960s.
Checkmate had a big advantage when it premiered as it came on right after a hit legal drama series titled, "Perry Mason". Then, after Checkmate were two of the most popular westerns of that time, "Have Gun, Will Travel" and "Gunsmoke".
Checkmate won an Emmy Award in 1961 for "Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction and Scenic Design" by art director, "John J. Lloyd". In 1962, Checkmate was nominated for a Grammy for "Best Soundtrack Album or Recording or Score from Motion Picture or Television" for music composed by, "John Williams". Henry Mancini won that award, however, for composing the score for the 1961 film, "Breakfast at Tiffany's".
While Doug McClure had many other starring roles on TV and in films, he's probably best known for his role as "Trampas" on the series, "The Virginian". He went straight from working on "Checkmate" to his role on "The Virginian". No unemployment checks for Doug!
Sebastian Cabot also had a very busy career with more than 100 acting credits! He's probably best known for his role as "Giles French", the "Gentleman's Gentleman" on the series, "Family Affair". Mr. Cabot's most recent starring role on TV was as "Winston Essex", the host of the series, "Ghost Story".
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