• title card: CRESCENT MOON superimposed on a Central American coastal scene (recreated by Richard McGinlay)

Series 1 - Episode 5
Crescent Moon

by Geoffrey Bellman and John Whitney

Production completed: 4 February 1961. First transmission: 4 February 1961

TV Times summary

The disappearance of a beautiful and wealthy young girl involves John Steed in a trip to a warmer clime

The following episode summary is written from the published synopses and other previously published material as this episode is now lost. The final filmed production may have been different.

John Steed (Patrick Macnee) arrives in the Caribbean island state of Pascala to investigate the kidnapping of Carmelita, the daughter of the pro-Western dictator General Mendoza. General Mendoza himself has also vanished after the kidnapping and is presumed dead. Steed wonders if there is a connection between the two crimes. The General's wife, Señora Mendoza (Patience Collier) tells him her jewellery was stolen when the girl was taken but Steed thinks it's a cover, there seems to be a political motive behind the crime. There is clearly a power struggle going on in the tiny country and the General's supposed death seems very mysterious. Steed also doesn't trust her aide, Vasco (Roger Delgado), who seems ambitious and is on overly friendly terms with the General's wife.

Carlmelita (Bandana das Gupta) meanwhile is in a hideout with Señor Paul (Eric Thompson) and his accomplice. The accomplice wants them to get the girl away as soon as possible. Paul reassures him all will be well and goes to arrange their escape from the island. Unfortunately. Paul he is seen leaving the hideout by one of Vasco's informers. A short time later, Vasco arrives and kills Paul's accomplice and is then seen to bundle the girl into a car rather than liberate her. Steed goes to visit the police chief, Carlos (George Roderick), when he hears about the shooting. While there, he furtively reads the police reports about Vasco's actions on the desk as they talk. He makes his excuses and leaves abruptly, and manages to reach the hideout before the lugubrious officer. He finds a clue to Señor Paul which he pockets before the police arrive. Following another lead, he finds Vasco at the Mendoza mansion and makes him reveal where the girl is hidden. When Steed arrives at the location given by Vasco, Paul leaps out and clubs him, and it all goes black...

Back in rainy London, Dr David Keel (Ian Hendry) receives a phone call asking him to care for a VIP patient - the missing General Mendoza!
Steed comes to and learns that he and Paul are on the same side - Paul is working for the general, who has faked his own death and hidden away his treasures to thwart Vasco and Señora Mendoza, who were plotting to kill him and take over the country. Paul was to spirit Carmelita away to safety but they were delayed when the General became ill and flew to England for treatment. Vasco learned of their plans and intercepted them, killing Paul's sidekick.
Steed weighs things in the balance and asks Carmelita what she wants to do, they are not to decide for her. The beautiful Carmelita smiles broadly at Steed and, taking his arm, confirms she wishes to be reunited with her father.

Back in London, Steed learns that Dr Keel treated the missing general while Steed was abroad, their planes must have passed each other in both directions!

Cast

Legend:CreditedCredited but not listed in TV TimesUncredited
Senora Mendoza ® Patience Collier regularPolice SurgeonJason King
John Steed Patrick Macnee regular007
Bartello ® Harold Kasket regularDangermanThe SaintJason KingPink PantherCarry On..
Carmelita Mendoza ® Bandana Das Gupta
Luis Alvarez ® Nicholas Amer The Professionals
Paul ® Eric Thompson Doctor Who
Fernandez ® Jack Rodney
Vasco ® Roger Delgado regularDoctor WhoDangermanThe SaintRandall and HopkirkJason KingThe Champions
Carlos (policeman) ® George Roderick regularCarry On..The Saint
Dr David Keel Ian Hendry regularDangermanPolice SurgeonThe SaintThe Sweeney
General Mendoza unknown

Images from other sources: Bandana das Gupta from a publicity still, Harold Kasket from "Ghost Squad": "Death from a Distance", Nicholas Amer from a publicity still for "Macbeth in Camera", Eric Thompson from "Play School", Jack Rodney from "The Criminal", Roger Delgado from "The Singer not the Song", George Roderick from "Ghost Squad": "Mr. Five Percent".

Crew

Legend:CreditedCredited but not listed in TV TimesUncredited
Teleplay by Geoffrey Bellman regular
and John Whitney regular
based on a story by Patrick Brawn regular
"The Avengers" Theme composed and played by Johnny Dankworth regular
Designed by Alpho O'Reilly regularPolice Surgeon
Producer Leonard White regularCallanPolice Surgeon
Directed by John Knight regularPolice Surgeon
Story Editor Patrick Brawn regular
the AVENGERS NEXT WEEK GIRL ON THE TRAPEZE
An ABC Network Production

Production and transmission details

Studio details: Teddington Two
Production No. 3369
Tape No. VTR/ABC/1113 (recorded off TX.)
Transmission: 4th February 1961, 10.00-11.00 p.m.

Schedule

Camera rehearsal would have taken place on 3rd February and 4th February, 1961 in a schedule similar to the other episodes of this time.

TV Times listing

TV times listing for February 4 1961, showing The Avengers in the 10pm timeslot (January 27 1961 Northern edition)

10.0 THE AVENGERS
starring
IAN HENDRY
in
CRESCENT MOON
Teleplay by
Geoffrey Bellman and John Whitney
Also starring
PATRICK MACNEE

Cast in order of appearance:

Senora Mendoza Patience Collier
John Steed Patrick Macnee
Bartello Harold Kasket
Carmelita Mendoza Bandana Das Gupta
Luis Alvarez Nicholas Amer
Paul Eric Thompson
Fernandez Jack Rodney
Vasco Roger Delgado
Carlos (policeman) George Roderick
Dr David Keel Ian Hendry

“The Avengers” theme composed and
played by Johnny Dankworth
Designed by Alpho O’Reilly
Produced by LEONARD WHITE
Directed by JOHN KNIGHT

The disappearance of a beautiful and
wealthy young girl involves John Steed in
a trip to a warmer clime

Regional broadcasts

ITV BroadcasterDateTime
ABC Midlands4/02/196110.00pm
ABC North4/02/196110.00pm
Anglia Television--
ATV--
Southern Television--
Tyne Tees Television--
Television Wales & West--
Ulster Television--
Westward Television--
Scottish Television--
Border Television--
Grampian Television--

Episode availability

  • Video - none
  • Audio - reconstruction in The Lost Episodes vol. 5, by Big Finish
  • Script - none
  • Publicity Stills - none
  • Tele-Snaps - none

Minutiæ

  1. This episode is entirely lost - no scripts, no publicity stills, and no film. The scant information we have is taken from newspaper articles and the TV Times listings of the day, and from Dave Rogers' researches in the 1980s and 1990s, which seem to have been based on original paperwork from the show which is now missing.
  2. Max North's Telereview for 4 February 1961 (Manchester Evening News, p. 7) reads:
    ‘In tonight's episode of "The Avengers", Ian Hendry and his comrades-in-arms against lawlessness go abroad for the first time - to the Caribbean Island of Pascala, where a politician's beautiful daughter has been kidnapped.’
    I have accordingly replaced "Central American" with "Caribbean" in the synopsis above.
  3. As the script is lost it can't be confirmed whether General Mendoza was a non-speaking walk-on part or if the character never appeared on screen at all.
  4. Many of the parts in the plot are not attributed to character names, so I have avoided referring to Fernandez, Alvarez and Bartello in my summary. Giving their placing in the TV Times listing, which tended to list actors in order of appearance, they could be either Vasco's or Paul's lackeys.
  5. I had initially chosen to represent Vasco as one of the general officer's wanting to take control for himself and his lover, Señora Mendoza, rather than simply taking him wealth. This seems a more likely plot as it is in line with plots for other shows of the era but I have reverted to the "family retainer" wording that seems to be used in every anecdote about the episode.
  6. A memo dated 30 March 1962 proposed a replay season for the nine episodes not broadcast by ATV and Anglia and also the first two episodes, which had been seen on ATV but not Anglia. This proves that all live episodes had been recorded any may yet be out there somewhere.
    This episode was proposed to be run third so must have been highly regarded by the producers despite being in the second category of viewer ratings when first broadcast.
  7. Producer Leonard White originally allocated Don Leaver to direct this episode, planned to be the sixth episode. Delays with Patrick Brawn's adaptation of Fred Edge's Canadian TV script for The Radioactive Man saw this episode moved up to the fifth spot and John Knight replaced Don Leaver, who was unavailable. Don Leaver instead directed what became the sixth episode, Girl on the Trapeze.
  8. Ingrid Hafner doesn't appear in this episode, one of six throughout the first series:
    Hot Snow (obviously, as her character had not yet been introduced), Crescent Moon, Death on the Slipway, Toy Trap, The Far Distant Dead, and Dragonsfield

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