The Adventures of Hiram Holiday

1956 | United States

The Adventures of Hiram Holliday appeared on British television screens in 1960, three years after it had been cancelled by the US network NBC. 

Starring Wally Cox in the title role, the sitcom was based on the 1939 novel of the same name by Paul Gallico (author of The Poseidon Adventure) and focused on the adventures of a newspaper proof-reader who saved his New York based publisher a small fortune when he inserted a comma in a news story. As a reward his bosses give him $8,000 and send him on a month's long all-expenses paid vacation. Through years of secret practice it appeared that the inoffensive, bespectacled Holliday was in fact something of a James Bond type character-developing skills in physical combat, shooting, piloting and in activities as diverse as rock climbing and scuba diving. During his trip around the world, Holliday solved crimes and thwarted foreign spies in every port of call he visited. His adventures got back to his bosses and they quickly dispatched reporter Joel Smith to accompany Holliday on his improbable escapades. 

Wally Cox, who was already established on US television having appeared in Mr. Peepers (1952-1955), was often cast as a meek and timid character on television and in films, but in reality Cox was a military veteran and athlete with great physical strength. NBC cancelled the series in early 1957 after twenty of the twenty-three episodes produced had been aired. The entire series later ran on the BBC from 1960 to 1961 and, as a later repeat during which it filled in for the Tonight programme, was the first US TV series in Britain to be shown on consecutive nights in the same time-slot. 

Published on November 26th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.