A VERY MISSING PERSON (1972) – This made for tv movie was the pilot for an unsold series that was meant as another rotating slot in the ______Night Mystery Movie offerings from the networks back then.
Eve Arden starred as Hildegarde Withers, the now-retired schoolteacher turned amateur sleuth in a series of novels and short stories by American author Stuart Palmer. Hildegarde first appeared in Palmer’s 1931 novel The Penguin Pool Murder and was obviously inspired by Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple.
The last Withers mystery completed by Stuart Palmer during his lifetime was published in 1954, but he left behind an unfinished novel titled Hildegarde Withers Makes the Scene. Fletcher Flora used Palmer’s notes to finish the novel, which finally saw print in 1969.
Six movies had been made in the 1930s featuring the supposedly aged Miss Withers. (To show how standards change, in the 1931 novel a third party describes Hildegarde as a “spinster … age thirty-nine years old.”) The many, many other Hildegarde novels and short stories were ignored for this telefilm, which jumped straight to the 1969 work. Continue reading