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Things I Learned from TV: “Priest Holes” in Lovejoy, Father Brown, and Timeless

by Karen A. Romanko

As a kid, I loved tv shows and movies with secret societies, secret passageways, anything SECRET. Don Diego de la Vega (Guy Williams) had a secret identity and a secret passageway to a stable in Zorro (1957-1959). Johnny Tremain (Hal Stalmaster) was a messenger for a secret society, the Sons of Liberty, who fought against British taxation and tyranny in Johnny Tremain (1957). The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh (1963) depicted the adventures of a secret band of masked smugglers in 18th century Britain, led by a country vicar in scarecrow drag, Dr. Syn (Patrick McGoohan).

When I watched these stories, I was always spellbound, always thrilled. I even got jazzed by an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show called “Obnoxious, Offensive Egomaniac Etc” (1966), where Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke) broke into his boss’s office by means of a hidden passageway behind a bookcase.

Some excitements carry with us into adulthood (if we’re lucky), so I was intrigued to learn later about a specia…

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