Ironside (1967–1975)
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The Past Is Prologue 

A hard-working carpenter is about to be extradited to the state of New York and executed for a murder he was convicted of committing 19 years earlier. Ironside races against time to prove the man's innocence.


Don Weis


Collier Young (created by), Paul Mason

On Disc

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Episode cast overview:
Raymond Burr ... Robert T. Ironside
Victor Jory ... Wally Stowe
Don Galloway ... Det.Sgt. Ed Brown
Barbara Anderson ... Officer Eve Whitfield
Don Mitchell ... Mark Sanger
Harrison Ford ... Tom Stowe
Jill Donohue Jill Donohue ... Phyllis Chase
Gene Lyons ... Commissioner Dennis Randall
June Vincent ... Mrs. Chase
Jean Inness Jean Inness ... Dee Stowe
John Hoyt ... Malcolm Henderson
John Zaremba ... Dr. Michaels
Bartlett Robinson ... Attorney Whittier
Chester Jones Chester Jones ... Butler
Gail Bonney ... Secretary


A hard-working carpenter is about to be extradited to the state of New York and executed for a murder he was convicted of committing 19 years earlier. Ironside races against time to prove the man's innocence.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery







Release Date:

7 December 1967 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Per the title, "What's past is prologue" is a quote from Shakespeare's play The Tempest meaning that history repeats itself and continually influences the present. See more »


Det.Sgt. Ed Brown: Chief, is it true that you're ruthless?
Robert T. Ironside: Only when I want something.
See more »

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User Reviews

the missing hour
24 June 2013 | by sol-kaySee all my reviews

***SPOILERS*** Raymond Burr as special police consultant Robert T. Ironside goes back to his Perry Mason mode in exonerating upstanding and well respected San Francisco construction manager Walter Stowe, Victor Jory, from a murder conviction that goes back some 19 years. It was then back in New York when Stowe was known as Frank Tomacheck that he was convicted of the 1st degree murder of his employer Richard Chase. Now the long arm of the law has finally caught up with Stowe/Tomacheck and he's to be expedited back to New York's Sing Sing Prison to be executed for his crime. But Stowe's good friend Robert T. Ironside feels that he's innocent and is going to do everything in his power to prove it!

Taking a leaf from both the movie "Northside 777" and the TV series "The Fugitive" this "Ironside" episode has Chief Ironside uncover a load of evidence that the NYPD and NY state troopers overlooked 19 years ago. One major fact is that the late Richaed Chase was dying from a brain tumor at the time of his murder which Ironside feels was in fact a suicide. But the by now defeated and accepting his fate, the electric chair, Walter Stowe isn't any help in him not wanting to even help himself. He's been on the run for 19 years and now with Stowe feeling that there's no way out for him being electrocuted would be more then a relief.

***SPOILERS*** Ironside like Perry Mason finds a number of inconsistencies in Richard Chase's so-called murder that never came out in Walter Stowe's trial. The one thing that stumps him is the missing hour that Stowe can't quite account for that can in the end exonerate and free him. It's by Ironside's assistant the ex-convict Mark Sanger, Don Mitchell,mentioning something about the missing hour that gives Iornside a clue to what really happened and how it can prove that Stowe was in fact innocent. An with the help of the then, in 1967, state of the art photo enhancement it ends up doing the trick for both Ironside as well as Walter Stowe in it without a doubt proving his innocence.

P.S Check out a young Harrison Ford as Walter Stowe's son Tom whom Ironside straighten out from becoming a street hoodlum or worse into graduating top of his calls at Stanford University.

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