Saturday, November 10, 2012



'How To Steal The Eiffel Tower'

"The Nick Velvet Stories"

Edward D. Hoch

Philippe Nicaud

Earth Prime-Time, France

From Wikipedia:
'Nick Verlaine or How to steal the Eiffel Tower' is a series of six episodes in French sixty minutes, It aired from July to August 1976 on TF1. The last of the six episodes never aired. 

Directed by Claude Boissol , it tells the story of a thief, Nick Verlaine, sort of a modern Arsène Lupin, who generates larcenies more zany and daring, like stealing the Garonne, a sleeper, a cassette that is in the cage of a tiger, the Loch Ness monster, and of course the Eiffel Tower, hence the title of the series. 

List of episodes: 
1- "Nick Verlaine takes the road," with Jean Rougerie (Poilvert), Virginie Vignon (Sylvette), Arch TAYLOR (Swedish), Jeanne HARDEYN (the Hungarian), Raymond BAECKER (Colonel), Claude Brovelli (TV presenter) 

2- "Be kind to animals," with André Weber (Berutti), Jean Rougerie (Poilvert), Georges BEAUVILLIERS (Jo), Virginie Vignon (Sylvette), Achille ZAVATTA (Hagenfield) 

3- "The daughter of the air" with Sandra MONTAIGU (Sirius), Carlo NEIL (the head nurse), Paul BISCIGLIA (the Commissioner), Claude Brovelli (TV presenter), Jean-Michel FARCY, François GUEDON 

4- "In the water of a pool," with Jean Rougerie (Poilvert) SAND Michèle (Sylvie), Mony DALMES (Lydia Babcock), Alain ADAIR (Melville) 

5- "The monster," with Edward MEEKS (Swift), Georges ATLAS (Tremolat), Billy Kearns (Crowder), Maryse MARTIN (Ms. Aubrac), Jean-Marie BON (the doctor), André Dumas. 

6- This episode in which Nick VERLAINE stole the Garonne was never released. 

Nick is a thief who works more to make impossible shots for profit. Philippe NICAUD who enjoyed success in the 60s with INSPECTOR Leclerc plays the role.  Note the amazing musical theme due to SHUMAN. 

To our knowledge, the series is available on the website of the INA. 

During his long tenure with Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, the prolific Edward D. Hoch entertained his fans with long-running series about several characters - the Gypsy King, Rand the Spymaster, and Dr. Sam Hawthorne of 1920's New England.  My favorite was gentleman thief Nick Velvet, who hired himself out to steal only items of no value - a used teabag, a comb used by a bald man....

When Mr. Hoch passed away, I advocated a TV series based on Nick Velvet for American TV.

And a few months later, after reading a collection of Hoch's stories about Nick Velvet, I posted my own thoughts about casting such a series.

And I think the subject matter and main character would be perfect for reviving the half-hour mystery format of shows like 'Peter Gunn'.

Even if you don't speak or read French, you can see from the credits that in this TF1 series Nick Verlaine is based on Nick Velvet.  But because his last name was changed, should Nick Velvet ever be portrayed on TV here in America, then both characters could comfortably exist in the same plane of "reality", Earth Prime-Time.

Had Philippe Nicaud portrayed Nick Velvet, then I might have no other choice but to ship the character off to the French Toobworld.

In the meantime, can't we get some Hollywood hotshot interested in bringing Nick Velvet to TV?


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