In 1939, the final Tod Browning feature film Miracles For Sale was released in the United States. Browning, of course, was the director behind horror movie classics Dracula (with Bela Lugosi) and Freaks but his final film was a mystery. Based on Clayton Rawson’s Great Merlini novel “Death From A Top Hat,” the film follows The Amazing Morgan, played by Robert Young (Marcus Welby, MD, Father Knows Best), as he tries to solve the murders of fellow magicians while avoiding being the next victim. Paul Le Paul reportedly acted as the film’s magic advisor, although some sources state Browning himself had toured the vaudeville circuits as a magician before beginning his film career as an actor.

Another Great Merlini novel would be turned into film (The Man Who Wouldn’t Die), although Merlini would be replaced by popular magazine detective Michael Shayne. Merlini would be portrayed twice on television, though. Once by Jerome Thor is an unsuccessful pilot and once by Chester Morris in an episode of NBC’s Cameo Theater.

Miracles For Sale will air this Saturday night on TCM… Check your local listings.