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Best of Checkmate: Season 1 (2007)

Checkmate , n , a  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Checkmate
  • Directors: n, a
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Timeless Media Group
  • DVD Release Date: October 30, 2007
  • Run Time: 588 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,205 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Checkmate was one of the best television dramas to come out of the 1960s, combining great scripts, locations and casting. Created by thriller-writer Eric Ambler and filmed on the streets of San Francisco, the series revolves around two investigators, Don Corey (Anthony George) and his young partner Jed Sills (Doug McClure). In their quest to prevent crimes before they happen, Dr. Carl Hyatt (Sebastian Cabot), a university criminologist, joins them. Some of America's most talented actors and actresses joined the sleuths in their weekly tales of intrigue and danger. Some of them include Anne Baxter, Joseph Cotton, Dick Shawn, Mickey Rooney, and in one of his very few TV appearances, Charles Laughton.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Checkmate: TV Excellence December 18, 2007
Verified Purchase
I was very pleased that someone finally released Checkmate on DVD. It is definitely one of my favorite shows of yesteryear.

But why? The premise of the show, dreamed up by its creator, Eric Ambler, is outstanding. The staff of detectives are not in business to investigate crimes already committed, they are in business to prevent crimes from being committed. So far, every story I have seen is quite good. Their firm, Checkmate, Inc., is the only possible agency that would actively try to save a client by driving her would-be killer half-crazy. Great premise. You'd have to see that one to believe it.

Like another reviewer, I have to say that I was young when this series was first on the air--actually, I was 12 when it made its debut in 1960. But there were very strong images from this show that have stayed with me for decades. There was the cool, pulsating, darkly jazzy theme music of John Williams; the swirling mass of paints underneath the credits; and best of all, the mature, thoughtful dramas always leading to twists and turns. It offers its own black and white style of film noir. Checkmate was not necessarily the best show, but I rank it as one of the better ones.

The stars of the series were Anthony George, Doug McClure, and the great Sebastian Cabot. Many remember McClure from The Virginian, and Cabot from Family Affair (he played the butler). George, for whatever reason, seemed to fade from fame after the 1960s. It is a shame. He strongly plays the main character that superbly drives this show. Cabot, is also very, very good. It is too bad he did not live long enough to headline his own series along the lines of a Murder She Wrote or Hercule Poirot. He would have been perfect.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique and Entertaining February 25, 2008
The 70 black and white hour-long episodes of "Checkmate" were originally broadcast from 1960-62 on CBS. Those who only remember Sebastian Cabot as the prissy butler "French" on "Family Affair" will be surprised at his superior acting talent, which was nicely showcased in this series.

"Checkmate Inc." was an unusual organization based in San Francisco, a posh detective agency whose specialty was thwarting crimes "before" they occurred. The plotline for each episode was structured to resemble a chess game, which reflected the series title.

Middle age detective Don Corey (Anthony George) operated the firm out of his elegant Nob Hill apartment. Young Jed Sills (Doug McClure) was the designated hunk of the series. Dr. Carl Hyatt (Cabot) was a trained criminologist who served as the organization's brain trust. The three mostly worked as a team and a lot of the humor came from Cabot's frequent frustration over the dimness of his two associates.

Warner Brothers had hit on a successful formula for the intelligent detective series (insert "Surfside Six", "77 Sunset Strip", etc. here) and Jack Benny's "JaMco Productions" appropriated this and turned into "Checkmate". However at least they eliminated Warner's obligatory weird side-kick/informer and good looking but airheaded singer/girlfriend/etc.

So they basically had a main character targeted at all age levels of the female demographic, with one of which almost any male viewer could identify. And each episode included some attractive young actress's and has-been movie stars in the cast.

The early John Williams' theme music was a memorable jazz instrumental for which he received a Grammy nomination.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprise, surprise November 23, 2007
I bought this series because of a feeling of something special glimpsed on TV as a small child. Why Checkmate should have lingered on in my memory I had no idea until I received the DVD and started watching. What a surprise. This show is absolutely excellent and holds up amazingly well over the intervening five decades since its original airing.The stories are unusual and creative with some surprisingly modern ambiguity and blurry edges in the scripts. The parade of guest stars is Hollywood at it's best and its nice to see some forgotten faces in smaller parts as well.
I thoroughly recommend this box set, even though the quality of the picture and sound is uneven and spotty.Just feel the quality of the stories and enjoy on that basis.
Hope there is more of this to come, with sharper picture and sound. If I'm giving this five stars, imagine what a digitally remastered box set
could achieve! How about a box set "best of " 77 Sunset Strip while we wait?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Checkout Checkmate February 8, 2008
Verified Purchase
They don't make 'um like this anymore. Crisp writing and logical story flow keep you guessing until the end of the show. I used to watch this show in my very early youth and still remembered the swirling opening credits and the presence of two of my favorite stars from that period, Sebastian Cabot and Doug McClure. My only complaints are the lack of effective control over the menu screen (it keeps defaulting to play all episodes) and the limited number of episodes (15) in the somewhat misleading Season One title. I strongly suggest they restore the rest of the series and offer it as well.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad disc
DVD crapped out after the first two episodes.
Published 2 months ago by S. Carter
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good series!
this is a very good, vintage series, i was a child when it came, but it had a profound impression on me, like twilight zone, outer limits and other series of that era.
Published 15 months ago by Joseph
4.0 out of 5 stars Preventing Crime Is Their Game
Checkmate was truly a classic mystery crime drana show that came out of the early 1960s. Two detectives and a retired criminologist did their best to prevent their clients from... Read more
Published on August 16, 2011 by James M. Beer
5.0 out of 5 stars Checkmate, Best of Season One....
For those of us who lived during this period of Black and white television we are extremely thankful for the COLOR we get now.... Read more
Published on September 9, 2009 by ....Color Rojo....
5.0 out of 5 stars One of My All-time Favorites
Checkmate ran from 1960-1962 on CBS. I was 10 when it went on and 12 when it went off. It was my favorite show at the time. Read more
Published on April 11, 2009 by Gary P. Cohen
4.0 out of 5 stars Checkmate Revie
This show was forgotten by me, but saw it on-line and bought it out of curiosity. The first episode was weak, but the ensuing ones get better as the cast gets into the show. Read more
Published on March 5, 2009 by Team Robins
5.0 out of 5 stars checkmate
Published on October 21, 2008 by Andrew D. Hatcher
5.0 out of 5 stars ? closed captioning
I loved this show but will not be buying it until I determine whether it has subtitles. I have been stung too many times. I can't give a review of the DVD only of the show 5+.
Published on May 2, 2008 by Angela
4.0 out of 5 stars Checkmate in two moves
As a nine-eleven year old kid I loved this series and have waited for years for this to finally get to DVD. Read more
Published on March 20, 2008 by C. A. Luster
5.0 out of 5 stars A Trip Down Memory Lane
I wondered if this series would still seem good to me as it most certainly did when I was a kid. I was not disappointed! Read more
Published on February 22, 2008 by Linda Sherlock
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Topic From this Discussion
Are there any profanities or obscenities in this show?
Absotively posolutely not. This series was made for 2 years in the early 60s, before "modern language" was allowed on network tv
Jul 11, 2009 by Eric Pregosin |  See all 3 posts
Can someone tell me WHICH EPISODES are in this Set????
* Death Runs Wild
* Lady On The Brink
* Face In The Window
* Terror From The East
* Laugh Till I Die
* The Paper Killer
* Hot Wind, Cold Town
* Voyage Into Fear
* Matter Of Conscience
* Deadly Shadow
* Cyanide Touch
* Tight As A Drum
Dec 16, 2008 by Robert Huggins |  See all 4 posts
Subtitles or CC
Neither sorry to say
Jul 11, 2009 by Eric Pregosin |  See all 2 posts
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