Sunday, May 17, 2020

Remembering Mystery Hall from 1967

One of the oddities of belonging to my generation is that you have memories of television programmes that no longer exist.

There is the episode of All Gas and Gaiters where the authorities discover a parish hidden in the fold of a map and work out that it has never received an episcopal visit.

So they go there - and discover that its inhabitants are still living in the Middle Ages.

That sounds like The Bishop Pays a Visit, first broadcast in January 1969 and since wiped.

I also have memories of a children's serial that featured a secret pasasge, which the young hero was warned against entering in case he became stuck.

And there was an adult character you thought was on the boy's side who turned out not to be. An effective plot twist that - I am surprised it is not used more often.

After much searching, I have decided that this is probably the Southern Television serial Mystery Hall, which was broadcast in 1967 and is now believed lost.

Which means the young hero was played by Mark Colleano, son of the American actor Bonar Colleano and the British actress Susan Shaw.

It was set in a hotel on the South coast, but my memory (which may well be fallible) is that the secret passage began behind a dresser in the kitchen and that the kitchen was like that of a Yorkshire farmhouse.

Still, it may well have been Mystery Hall I watched - I have illustrated this post with a couple of relics of it that I found online.

Southern made some interesting children's television in those days, but much of it is lost. This includes an adaptation of T.H. White's The Master.


Frank Little said...

Alan Wheatley presumably played the untrustworthy adult. He was more often than not the villain when he appeared on TV, most notably as the Sheriff of Nottingham in the Adventures of Robin Hood in which Richard Greene donned the tights.

Unknown said...

It was MYSTERY HALL, transmitted in September / October, 1967, when I was 20 and a half and networked by Southern ITV. I remember watching it every week. Mark Colleano was 12 years old at the time and played Jimmy Brent, a name not far removed from Johnny Brent, the character 11 years old William Fox played in the 1950 Ealing classic “The Magnet”. MYSTERY HALL was shot on video tape with inserted film clips shot on location. These film inserts may still exist somewhere. David Rayner, Stoke on Trent.