The Law and Mr. Jones

The Law and Mr. Jones is a 45-episode half-hour television crime drama starring James Whitmore. The series aired on ABC in two nonconsecutive seasons from October 7, 1960, to September 22, 1961, and again from April 19 to July 5, 1962. The program was created and produced by Sy Gomberg, and was set in New York City.[1][2]

The Law and Mr. Jones
James Whitmore, Janet De Gore and Conlan Carter, 1962.
GenreCrime drama
Created bySy Gomberg
Written byWilliam Bast
Sy Gomberg
Lester Pine
Robert Pirosh
Directed byDavid Alexander
Charles F. Haas
Robert Ellis Miller
StarringJames Whitmore
Janet De Gore
Conlan Carter
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes45
Producer(s)Sy Gomberg
Running time30 mins. (approx)
Production company(s)Four Star Television
Distributor20th Television
Original networkABC
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseOctober 7, 1960 
September 22, 1961


Whitmore starred as idealistic attorney Abraham Lincoln Jones, who had been a star athlete in college. His cases did not usually involve violence but white collar crimes, such as fraud, embezzlement, taxes, and contracts.[3] Janet De Gore co-starred as Jones' secretary, Marsha Spear, and Conlan Carter appeared as his law clerk, C.E. Carruthers.

Sam Jaffe and Harry Townes guest starred twice on the series in the roles of Martin Berger and Fowler, respectively. In a 1961 episode entitled "Lincoln", Martin Landau, later of CBS's Mission: Impossible, and character actor Strother Martin guest starred as Jones defended a client accused of having planted a bomb.

One particular episode attracted an Emmy Award nomination. On March 3, 1961, the episode "Cold Turkey" featured Peter Falk, later of Columbo. He was nominated for "Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role by an Actor or Actress in a Single Program." Others in the cited episode were Leo Penn, father of Sean Penn, and Joyce Van Patten, the sister of Dick Van Patten.

Guest stars

Notable guest stars include:

Production notes

The Law and Mr. Jones was produced by Dick Powell's Four Star Television. Its theme song was derived from the spiritual "When the Saints Go Marching In". The music is attributed to publisher J. M. Black, but it was actually composed by Leonard Rosenman, who released an album of his themes on Dot Records in 1959 that included this theme.[4]

In the first season, the series, sponsored by Procter & Gamble, ran on Friday at the 10:30 Eastern time slot after Robert Taylor's The Detectives. In its abbreviated second season, the series was switched to Thursday (by its sponsor) to fill the slot left by the cancelled 1920s situation comedy Margie starring Cynthia Pepper.[5]

After The Law and Mr. Jones, Janet De Gore joined the revised cast of Walter Brennan's The Real McCoys, renamed The McCoys and switched from ABC to CBS. Conlan Carter took over the role of "Doc" on ABC's Combat! for which he secured an Emmy nomination in 1964.

In 2000, James Whitmore said of the series, "That thing arose out of the American Civil Liberties Union … This was right after the McCarthy thing was so hot in this country, and I thought it was time we did something about the right of people to disagree with one another in a reasonable fashion … That was the predication of that show, and I produced it … It was a wonderful experience." ABC had canceled the series after its first season, but thousands of angry letters from fans convinced them to bring the show back in 1962.[6] Whitmore explained, "We were taken off the air after one year, because I didn't want to do the commercials [for] Gleam Toothpaste. They wanted me as that character, that lawyer, to come on and say, 'You ought to use Gleam toothpaste,' and I didn't think I wanted to do that, so they dropped us. Procter and Gamble were our sponsors. Then, they had an astonishing hundreds of thousands of letters. It was engineered by some newspaper guys to get the show back on, and they brought it back on. I believe, if I'm not mistaken, the only time that had ever happened, with a TV show. I think it's happened since, but not at that point. We were brought back for one year."[7]


  1. Alex McNeil, Total Television, 4th edition, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, p. 471
  2., The Law and Mr. Jones
  3., The Law and Mr. Jones
  4. Classic TV themes, The Law and Mr. Jones
  5. 1960-1961; 1961-1962 American network television schedules
  6. The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present. Ballantine Books. 2003. p. 666. ISBN 0-345-45542-8.
  7. James Whitmore Interview 2000
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