archives

TV PI

This tag is associated with 9 posts

The Wire 

As recounted here in previous episodes, I LIKE movies and TV.

Also recounted, I don’t always access current stuff, i.e I didn’t watch Star Trek (TOS) in prime time; the mini-series John Adams until years after the fact.

So it was with The Wire. Dave (the mechanic) recommended it highly.  I don’t think I had HBO when it was first broadcast…

We found ourselves ‘between seasons’ on regular, commercial television.  And had been re-running shows we liked (ranging from Friends to Person-of-Interest) until we started mumbling the dialog under our breath.

Thank God for ‘The Hopper™’!

It was time for something new, to us at least.

And we remembered The Wire

Five years, sixty episodes. Gritty inner city drama about the workings of the police, unions, organized crime and politics.

Sax and violins galore.

With no censor (it was HBO, after all)!

If I had $1 for every time I heard the word M…..F…..

Well, you get the idea.

Well cast and acted. A tight script which kept you guessing.  Some good guys who were bad – some misguided.  Some bad guys trying to be good. Others just evil.

The Internet tells us many of the background cast we actual people from the street.  I’m certain this lowered production costs, but also added to the realism.

I recommend it.  But make certain the children are asleep in their beds.

In another State.

Lest they listen and start repeating M…..F……

Or the ubiquitous ‘N’ word!

Powers Boothe, RIP

You guys know how much I love character actors.

Sadly, another one has passed on – Powers Boothe.  Yesterday, of natural causes.

He’s one of those guys whom I had difficulty remembering his name, but loved his work.

Most of you probably remember him as ‘Curly’ Bill Brocius from the epic film Tombstone.

But he was so much more.

Jim Jones, Sin City, The Avengers, Deadwood, Agents of Shield, Nashville, Red Dawn, and 24 among many others.  He did the voice-over for Con Air.

I’ll always have a fondness for Philip Marlowe-Private Eye and Rapid Fire (wherein he played opposite Brandon Lee).

You will indeed be missed.

 

Mike Connors R.I.P.

 Death, obviously knows no change in calendars…
mike-connors

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mike Connors, who starred as a hard-hitting private eye on the long-running television series “Mannix,” has died. He was 91.

The actor died surrounded by family Thursday afternoon at a Los Angeles hospital from complications of leukemia that had been diagnosed a week earlier, said his son-in-law, Mike Condon.

“Mannix” ran for eight years on CBS beginning in 1967. Viewers were intrigued by the tall, smartly dressed, well-spoken detective who could mix it up with the burliest of thugs and leap on the hood of a racing car to prevent an escape. Episodes normally climaxed with a brawl that left the culprits bruised and beaten.

“Up until Mannix, most private investigators were hard-nosed, cynical guys who lived in a seedy area and had no emotions,” Connors theorized in 1997. “Mannix got emotionally involved. He was not above being taken advantage of.”

In the first season, Joe Mannix was a self-employed Los Angeles private investigator hired by a firm that used computers and high-tech equipment to uncover crime. The ratings were lukewarm. Connors feared the series would be canceled but it was produced by Lucille Ball’s Desilu studio, and CBS was reluctant to antagonize its biggest star.

In the second season, Mannix opened his own office and combatted low-lifes by himself. The ratings zoomed.

When “Mannix” was revised the office acquired a secretary, played by African-American actress Gail Fisher.

The network was concerned that affiliates in the South might object to her character but “there wasn’t any kind of backlash,” Connors recalled.

Another highlight was the theme music by legendary screen composer Lalo Schifrin.

Connors also starred in the TV series “Tightrope!” and “Today’s FBI.” Each lasted one season.

His movie and TV career stretched from the 1950s to 2007, when he had a guest role on “Two and a Half Men.”

Connors made his film debut in 1952’s “Sudden Fear,” which starred Joan Crawford. Other films included “Island in the Sky,” ”The Ten Commandments,” and a remake of “Stagecoach.”

Connors, born Krekor Ohanian in 1925, was from an Armenian community in Fresno. He served in the Air Force during World War II and played basketball at the University of California, Los Angeles.

After graduation he studied law for two years but his good looks and imposing presence attracted him to acting. In an era when film actors were given names like Tab and Rock, he appeared as Touch Connors — “Touch” being his basketball nickname. He later changed it to Michael and finally, Mike.

Connors and his wife, Mary Lou, were married in 1949 and had two children: a son, Matthew, and a daughter, Dana. Their son, beset by hallucinations starting in his teens, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and before his death lived in a small residential care facility. Connors and his wife championed efforts to erase the stigma of mental illness.

In addition to his wife, daughter and son-in-law, Connors is survived by a granddaughter, Cooper Wills.

___

The late Associated Press writer Bob Thomas contributed biographical material to this report.

We humans always seem to make the passing of time with a New Year, with the hope that Death will do the same.

But, he never stops.

There have been others, Mary Tyler Moore being the most notable.

But my high school TV years were filled with shows like Mission Impossible.

And Mannix.

For me, Mannix filled the generational gap between 77 Sunset Strip and Magnum.

This was Mike Connors image, even though he did other things.

He even did a show where he was named Ohanian – his real Armenian name – but it didn’t take.

He once quipped as Mannix he was hit on the head something like 57 times, but always came back.  Maybe PIs should be issued safety helmets?

Godspeed, Mike.  R.I.P.

Taking Out A Sentry

So, a guy walks up to a sentry and asks, “Hi, sentry, new in town?”

Back-in-the-day, when I was young and foolish (I’m not so young, anymore) I used to read Soldier Of Fortune magazine.  (In addition to Shotgun News, Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Guns Magazine and pretty much every firearms periodical I could find!)  This was before they were sued for facilitating a hitman in their classifieds, and LTC Robert Brown (founder and publisher – U.S.Army-Retired) reportedly discharged a 1911 underwater at a Scottsdale resort pool.  Just to see if it would function.  Rumor was some alcohol was involved.

For me, being unable to get into the military, I was, as Brown described it, truly an armchair adventurer.

And, unlike Playboy’s centerfold (that used to be nude women – sigh), SOF had a centerfold with a different focus.  Sentry removal.

I’m certain Michael Echanis, premier martial arts editor, had something to do with the content.

It would illustrate techniques like the Turkish twist, and judiciously-lethal dagger placement, as though all the readership had been to the CIA’s ‘Farm’ or Ranger School.

Like we were all spec-ops assassins just aching to ‘take out a sentry’, silently.

Of course, we weren’t, but enjoyed reading such macho fodder, nevertheless.

And we’d do the joke about ‘taking out’ sentries whenever a new issue arrived on the newsstand.

And absorb tales of mercenaries world-wide, new gun reviews, read about the latest in electronic surveillance gear, U.S. and foreign military actions and macho TV and movies.

Mike Echanis died in a plane crash en route training in Central America.  And more lawsuits continued.

April 2016 was the last paper edition of SOF.  It continues to be available online.

I’ve not read it regularly for some years.  For me, just getting out of the armchair requires effort enough.  Forget adventure or sentries.sof

FTC – I bought my own.  Get your own!

 

Spoiled

The brilliant and beautiful Tamara posted recently the dearth of correct tactics and technique with regard to television shows and weapon technique.

She, of course, is correct.

I’ve posted in these pages regarding the same stuff – the guy in the show 24, for example.  Cup-and-saucer does not Weaver or Isosceles make…

But these martial faux pas go back decades.

jbThe Untouchables, M Squad, The Detectives, The FBI (in color!)  And don’t even bring up the spy genre – The Man From UNCLE (for example).  And the movies!  James Bond to Dirty Harry…

And thousands of other TV shows and films.

Weapon technique is terrible!  Cup-and-saucer.  Or worse yet, grabbing one’s wrist with the off hand.  Or supporting the shooting arm with the other under the forearm!

Shooting rifles and submachine guns from the hip!  Because it looks cool…

And the gun hand up next to the face.  Because it frames our hero with a gun next to their face, NOT because it’s a good idea!

And the ubiquitous fingers on triggers!

And many of us (mostly male) took their initial learning ques from these ‘techniques’.  This is why women are generally better students.  They don’t have to unlearn as much.

We do need to be reminded that these media are for entertainment, and are not documentaries or training aids, however.

But sometimes some of these Hollywood presentations are just too ludicrous to be able to suspend disbelief and enjoy.  Remember T.J. Hooker?

Having been a semi-professional magician in my youth, I’ve had much the same reaction to watching magicians on television.  Either I know the secret (or know something) and the performance loses it’s entertainment value.

Spoiled?  Sometimes.

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. R.I.P.

As Broderick Crawford represented the Highway Patrol, and Lee Marvin the M Squad (Homicide), Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. WAS the FBI in the FBI TV Series.

During Hoover’s last years, when we had Cointelpro, Mr. Zimbalist played the G-Man to a T, the ideal J. Edgar only dreamt of.  He was even gifted by the Director with retired FBI Agent credentials!

Efrem_Zimbalist_JrOf course, he was also the head PI @ 77 Sunset Strip, first!

Mr. Zimbalist was 95(!)

We’ll miss you Lewis Erskine and Stu Bailey.  Remember to stay low and keep your powder dry!

 

 

The BEST PI? Answers…

(the informal poll results)
Jim Rockford  42.42%

 

Other:  21.21%    (Laura Holt, Columbo  were mentioned)

 

Phillip Marlowe  18.18%   

 

Sam Spade  9.09%   

 

Harry Orwell  6.06%   

 

Spenser  3.03% 
Of course, there is no right answer.  Everyone has a different opinion.
Personally, I vote for Sam Spade, because he could take a kick to the head and still function.  A tough guy in a trench coat.
And he disarmed ‘the gunsel’ of TWO 1911s, which put him in solid with his boss!
I am surprised no one mentioned Mike Hammer?
mike hammer
 

 

Who Was The BEST TV/Movie P.I. ?

sherlockIf you’ve read this blog for more that a couple of days, you probably remember one of the many ‘careers’ I had was that of Private Investigator.  Both working for others and myself.  I’ve written about some of my ‘adventures’ in these pages.

And, it got me to thinking.  Obviously, I wouldn’t have become a PI, had they not existed in literature, movies and television.  I was disabled, and didn’t make the cut as a cop, so I went to something related.  Using my college-learned investigative skills.

Sometimes…

I grew up with numerous Hollywood PI influences:  Sam Spade, Phillip Marlowe, Richard Diamond, Mike Hammer, Sherlock Holmes, Peter Gunn, Stu Bailey, Spenser, Jim Rockford, Harry Orwell, John Shaft, V.I. Warshawski, Lew Archer, Dirk Gently…

But, who was the BEST?  However you define best – most realistic representation, most clever, most cutting edge.

I have my answer, but I won’t post it until you vote.  And feel free to comment further, if you like.

Joe Mannix wouldn’t have it any other way.

Muskrat Love, PI?

When I was working for Bob H. at Tom Ezell & Associates, one just never knew what would come in or on the telephone (in the way of a case).  Or a whack-job.

Tom was famous locally in his political party (he even ran for sheriff – being a retired Phoenix Police detective, and all) and many of his customers were people with party affiliations.  One such woman was Pepsi Muskrat (a comedic play on her real name-to protect the barfly).  She was an older woman (60?) who appeared much older due to her long-time affection for alcohol.

Ms. Muskrat called Tom one day to explain some items had been burgled from her home, and she thought she knew who was responsible.  She had reported the matter to the police, but, they didn’t take her lead seriously, and did nothing save take a report.  You see, she had given a key to a local teen thug misguided youth (contracted to do odd jobs), and subsequently the items went missing.  Items that might easily be converted to cash.  And the teen was known in the neighborhood to have an affinity for glue and paint, much as our client did for the bottle.

So our work was cut out for us.  I was sent, partnered up with Jack W., our office manager, whom I had known previously as a manager for B*****.  He had been a top sales guy for L***** armored car company, and a hell-of-an-investigator.

We canvassed the house, yard and alley, looking for stashed loot left for later pickup, and questioned Ms. Muskrat.  She didn’t want us talking to the neighbors.  Sigh.

The task of interviewing this minor scumbag person-of-interest fell to me.  I spoke with his mother on the telephone, and she agreed I could come over in the evening to interview her son.

I arrived on time, trusty tape recorder and legal pad in hand.  Mother and Father were present with their son.  At least some of the time.  They kept leaving the room to watch television.  Stellar parenting.

The interview was non-productive.  The subject was non-committal about virtually everything:  times, dates places, work done.  He did say he didn’t steal anything.  I was able to retrieve the house key from him.

So there we were.  Ms. Muskrat was unhappy.  I truly think she thought we were going to sequester the young lad under a hot light and sweat him until he gave up the swag.  No such luck.

We did check some of the local pawn shops, just in case.  Nothing.

Such was sometimes the less-than-exciting life of a hapless PI.

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…