Remembering actor Mike Connors and TV series MANNIX

LANTERN TIMEGLASS JOURNAL

Jim Lantern

Entertainment – TV & Celebrity Article

4:30pm CT Wednesday 15 September 2016

Remembering actor Mike Connors and TV series MANNIX

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I should have written this a month ago on August 15, his 91st birthday – born in 1925, and he is still listed as being active today!

Mike Connors Wikipedia article.

I’m not sure what made me think of him to write this now.

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Excerpted from Mannix Wikipedia article…

  • Mannix is an American television detective series that ran from 1967 to 1975 on CBS.
  • During the first season of the series, Joe Mannix worked for a large Los Angeles detective agency called Intertect, which was the planned original title of the show. His superior was Lew Wickersham, played by Joseph Campanella, with the agency featuring the use of computers to help solve crimes. As opposed to the other employees who must wear dark suits and sit in rows of desks with only one piece of paper allowed to be on their desks at one time, Mannix belongs to the classic American detective archetype, thus usually ignores the computers’ solutions, disobeys his boss’s orders, and sets out to do things his own way. He wears plaid sport coats and has his own office that he keeps sloppy between his assignments. Lew has cameras in all the rooms of Intertect monitoring the performance of his employees and providing instant feedback through intercoms in the room. Unlike the other Intertect operatives, Mannix attempts to block the camera with a coat rack and insults Lew, comparing him to Big Brother.
  • To improve the ratings of the show, Desilu head Lucille Ball and the producer Bruce Geller brought in some changes, making the show similar to other private-eye shows. Ball thought the computers were too high-tech and beyond comprehension for the average viewer of the time and had them removed.
  • From the second season on, Mannix worked on his own with the assistance of his loyal secretary Peggy Fair, a police officer’s widow played by Gail Fisher – one of the first African American actresses to have a regular series role. He also has assistance from the L.A. police department, the two most prominent officers being Lieutenant Art Malcolm (portrayed by Ward Wood) and Lieutenant Adam Tobias (portrayed by Robert Reed). Other police contacts were Lieutenant George Kramer (Larry Linville), who had been the partner of Peggy’s late husband, and Lieutenant Dan Ives (Jack Ging).
  • While Mannix was not generally known as a show that explored socially relevant topics, several episodes had topical themes, starting in season two, which had episodes featuring compulsive gambling, deaf and blind characters who were instrumental in solving cases in spite of their physical limitations, and episodes that focused on racism against Blacks and Hispanics. Season six had an episode focusing on the effects the Vietnam War had on returning veterans, including the effects of PTSD.

I was age 11 in 1967 when the show began. It was one of my favorites back then.

I was also a fan of TV show themes – songs – opening and ending music. Mannix had a good one…

Bruce Geller [1930-1978], who gave us Mannix, also back then gave us Mission: Impossible

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Categories: Entertainment, TV | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Remembering actor Mike Connors and TV series MANNIX

  1. Loved this…enjoyed the theme music of those old shows. There’s not as many memorable theme songs nowadays.

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    • I don’t recall the date, but at a point in TV history, it was put to producers of TV shows: There will be more commercial time, so do you want to cut out the opening music or acting time for story? Most chose loss of the opening music, which also saved a few dollars. I miss the opening music. Some should have it. A few really don’t need it. Commercial time continues to increase. And volume is louder during commercials again or lower during shows. FCC no longer cares, no longer serves a useful purpose. I had the Television Greatest Hits music cassettes many years ago, and they can be found at YouTube – here’s a link to the first in the series… https://youtu.be/KBdMyrJtrbk

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      • Oh, thanks so much. I agree with all you say, commercial time is out of control, and we often have to put the volume down when they come on.

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