Back in April I was interviewed by the people who produce the TV series Mysteries at the Museum, the show that travels to museums and tells the stories behind strange and historic objects in the collections. The location was the Burlington County Prison Museum in Mt Holley, NJ, and the subject was detective Ellis Parker and his part in the Lindbergh kidnapping investigation. While the state police were conducting the official investigation, Ellis Parker was doing his own detective work and, just before the scheduled execution of the man convicted of the crime, produced a signed confession from someone else! The convicted man, Bruno Hauptmann got a stay of execution and a media frenzy ensued. It’s a fascinating story; just made for a TV treatment.
As the author of a book on the subject, Master Detective, I was the “talking head” of the Mysteries at the Museum segment. The picture above is of a monitor during the shooting. Notice how the stark one side lighting achieves a look somewhere between sinister and “deer in the headlights”.
Well, the show aired last night on the Travel Channel and they did a great job. It isn’t easy to do a self contained concise segment in only around ten minutes, but MAM is good at it. The combination of narration, archive footage, a talking head/expert, and dramatized segments is absorbing and compelling. The actors portraying Ellis Parker and his suspect Paul Wendel were very good, although the Ellis Parker actor was a bit on the trim side compared to the original. All in all, a sound effort to tell a fascinating story.
If by chance you missed it and would like another crack at it, the show will be occasionally repeated.