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David Janssen, before The Fugitive, starred as Diamond, a former officer of the New York Police Department and a hard-boiled private detective in the film noir tradition. Don Taylor played the title role in a 1956 television pilot, broadcast as an episode of the anthology series Chevron Hall of Stars. The first two television seasons followed radio’s characterization the most closely (several episodes were adapted from the radio series). Diamond, known for his charm and wisecracks as much as his virility, was still based in New York, though Janssen never sat at a piano and sang, as Powell had typically ended most of the radio episodes. In the noirish opening sequence, clad in hat, suit, and tie, he walks down a dimly lit street toward the camera and lights up a cigarette, the light revealing his face. After the first season when the sponsor was Maxwell House, the show was sponsored by Kent cigarettes, and Frank DeVol’s playfully mysterious theme was heard underneath an announcer hawking either "Maxwell House – Good to the Last Drop" or “Kent with the Micronite filter.” In syndicated rebroadcasts of the series, the revised title, Call Mr. D., flashes on the screen, and DeVol’s music is replaced by Pete Rugolo’s far more recognizable theme—although that did not appear until Season 3.

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