Recently, I was up in Cleveland visiting my Mom, who had a whole
lot to talk about memories of television shows she used to watch
with my Dad, mostly detective shows. I decided to look up a few
of them, outline and give you the bygone dates of those shows
we were discussing. Hope it will bring back some great memories!
Who can forget the old show, “Dragnet?” I know the remake movie
brought it back and did fairly well with the casting. But that show
with Jack Webb as the “main” cop, lasted from 1951 up to 1959.
Then, a resurgence of attention, rare these days to so much of a
degree occurred. And, lo and behold, it started up again with Jack
Webb, from 1967 until 1970.
A big favorite with my mother were the two shows that starred
Raymond Burr. His portrayal of Perry Mason captured a lot of
attention, his honest and straightforward approach to being a
lawyer was similar to the one that Gregory Peck portrayed in
the classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Taking on numerous cases
to defend the underdog was Atty. Mason’s ‘mode of operandi.’
“Perry Mason” lasted from 1957 until 1966, representing a good
Then from 1967, Raymond Burr, one of the most popular actors
during this time, picked up his next television series, “Ironside.”
This lasted until 1975. I remember how intriguing it was to have
a parapalegic Chief of Detectives. Did you know they are remaking
this and Blair Underwood will be playing the character named,
“Ironsides?” But the trailer indicates he won’t be parapalegic! How
can that be?I think it is one of a small handful of television shows
that featured a character with a disability, then termed “handicapped.”
I have liked Mr. Underwood in past roles so I may still watch the new
“remake” but am wondering how they will explain the title and his
name without the wheelchair to be his ironside?
A long ago series that took on the mob was, “The Untouchables.” Do
you remember this one? It ran from 1959 until 1963. Robert Stack
played the lead actor. I remember liking the fact that the bad guys
who were still pretty rampant in some big cities, collecting their “take”
from the small business owners, were caught and they made sure they
faced their consequences. The real life cop, Eliot Ness, was the role
model for this show.
At the same time Robert T. Ironside was a Chief with a wheelchair, the
handsome Mike Connors played, “Mannix.” I liked this show a lot and
had a crush on the actor for quite some time! The series lasted the
exact same years as the afore mentioned, from 1967 – 1975.
A year after Mike Connors started chasing criminals and investigating
crime, the very popular (and again remade a couple years ago into a
current t.v. series. They lucked out, being given permissiong to use
the iconic music) “Hawaii Five- O” began in 1968.
Jack Lord played “Steve McGarrett” and he coined that phrase, “Book
’em Danno!” talking to his subordinate, James Mac Arthur’s character.
I don’t really like the new series based on this old one, think that it
doesn’t seem to have the same direction as its predecessor.
We are now into the seventies and have a wild list of television shows
that include some of my Mom’s favorites and mine. Sam Mc Cloud,
played by Dennis Weaver, in the series “Mc Cloud.” (1970-1977). Frank
Cannon, played by William Conrad, in “Cannon.” (1971-1976). Buddy
Ebsen, changing his whole demeanor and approach from the silly, but fun,
show, “The Beverly Hillbillies,” became “Barnaby Jones.” (1973-1980).
I think this next one was one of my very favorites, “The Rockford Files,”
starring James Garner. Jim Rockford took a different, wry humored turn
as a detective from 1974 until 1980.
The final one that was of this same kind of show, starring Robert
Urich who played “Spenser for Hire.” This showed was based on Robert
Parker’s books with the character Spenser. He has a sidekick in the
books, along with the television series, named “Hawk.” Robert Parker
passed away in 2013, to my chagrin, because I had become quite attached
to his character, Jesse Stone, portrayed by Tom Selleck. If you have not
picked up and read any Robert Parker books, I would suggest them!
I cannot forget the female lead television roles that made history! I
hope that you will hang on, to read the “grand finale” of leads! Angie
Dickinson played “Police Woman” from 1974 through 1978. Ta Da!
Although there were female pairings, this was the one and only show
that featured a woman who “carried” the show. Her character, Suzanne
“Pepper” Anderson was a one of the badge toting women who could
handle the gun and sometimes, do it in heels! I have to give Stefanie
Powers a listing as a partner to her husband played by Robert Wagner
in “Hart to Hart.” This show was one I cherished since they had money,
solved crimes and wore beautiful clothes, they drove around in a
convertible, too. This show lasted from 1979 – 1984.
“Mod Squad” had what they officially billed, I am not making this up!
“One Black, One White, One Blonde” as Julie, flower child product of a
prostitute, Linc as a rioter arrested during the Watts riot, and Pete who
was a rich kid who chose to walk away from his roots. This was 1968 and
such a strange but compelling show, Aaron Spelling and ABC took on the
era’s rebellious age, along with the relevant social issues. Julie was played
by Peggy Lipton, Linc by Clarence Williams III, and Pete was played by
Another group effort, who could forget “Charlie’s Angels?” The trio of
women were the characters of Jill Munroe, Kelly Garrett and Sabrina
Duncan. (In order, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson.)
I was laughing because these women taught us to use all kinds of hair
products, loved their outfits and definitely set trends with some of their
clothes. While they brought us women who could solve problems and
crimes, they also brought us women who were gorgeous and brothers,
boyfriends, etc. all expected the same kind of well rounded characters!
Ha ha! Also, many a boyfriend had a poster pin-up of one of these women.
I have to mention, although not part of the early nostalgic shows that I
liked, my Mom and Dad enjoyed “Murder She Wrote.” I watch some of
those shows on Hallmark with my mother and am a little bored. Maybe
that is just my feeling that she is a little trite. But Jessica Fletcher, played
by Angela Lansbury, was very popular and cannot fault the television
producers that hired an older (and fine) actress for this mystery novelist
character who solved plenty of murders and mysteries over the years.
My Mom would “shoot me!” if I didn’t include “Matlock” with Andy Griffith
who like Buddy Ebsen, went from a comedy to a great drama show. His
lawyer role incorporated his drawl, his laid back character but his razor
sharp mind did well with each case this lawyer took on!
I am sure you will have a few memories of these characters and maybe,
remember another show that I have missed. I wrote a few notes while
sitting at a picnic table on Sunday with my Mom. My brother, Randy,
the artist, took Lenny down to see the water and watch some people
swimming on Sunday at Huntington Beach.
Oh my! I just thought of the show, “Quincy, M. E. with Jack Klugman.
Shoot! Another one to remember! I have to stop!
Captivating memories, indeed!
coroner role that