|Index||9 reviews in total|
A lot of actors have played Mickey Spillane's bad boy. Anthony Quinn, Robert Bray, Biff Elliot, Stacey Keetch and Mickey himself. Nobody did it with the convincing style of Darren McGavin. His Mike Hammer was a laid back, class act. A friend of mine said it best. "This guy's the real thing," he said. "When he gets a bad guy down he doesn't hesitate to put feet on him 'til he knows he won't get up. That's real." They filmed 72 episodes of that show. I'd give big bucks to have them on a DVD. I remember watching the show in Texas. A beer company in San Antonio sponsored the show. Each episode opened with the camera moving onto Hammer's office where he sat behind his desk. He would say, "Come on in. I'm always ready for some company." And he would reach behind him to open a filing cabinet drawer and take out two bottles of Lone Star beer. The first time I saw that I said, This is going to work. I was right. McGavin did not like the character Mike Hammer. He thought the whole thing was a spoof and never took in seriously. That relaxed attitude is what made the show great.
If TV had a "film-noir", McGavin's Mike Hammer would be it-the cool
character on the coolest show on black and white TV in my prepubescent
TV world; he seemed so worldly yet down to earth and always had the
lady's eye (there was always some eye candy in the show, even if it was
the 1950's)..guys were still guys..and all detective magazines had the
formula "skirt" in the plot. This show was ahead of its time in some
respects.. You might even arguably boast that he (McGavin) paved the
way and even foreshadowed Mr Bond..a good 6 years before "Dr. No" hit
the drive-in movies in the summer of '62. And then completely switching
character to play the riverboat captain in my father's favorite show a
few years later on "Riverboat".
I hope TVLand can bring him back so my sons can enjoy. (My boys love Gunsmoke and McGyver and Maverick and Sandford (RedFoxx), etc). McGavin is right up there with my other TV idol, Robert Conrad-of "WildWildWest" and "Baa Baa BlackSheep" (Boyington)fame.
If you liked Darren McGavin in Kolchak: The Night Stalker, he is more avant-garde, irreverent, and disrespectful of authority is this series than any other character he has played since. Laced with his constant humor and bungling case solving attempts, the guy is a blast to watch. Considering that there have been 78 episodes should give anyone and indication that this series had great appeal. He gets into more situations than Colombo, Rockford, or that Hawaii 5-0 team put together. Maybe if we are lucky enough this series will be re-released on TV Land channel. Not doubt in my mind that this could up any channel's ratings. This is definitely one of TV-dom's classic efforts.
Actor Darren McGavin plays private detective Mike Hammer. In the space
of 30 minutes, he normally escapes a couple assassination attempts,
beats at least one man to a pulp, flirts with one or more beautiful
women, fires off some 50s tough-guy slang, and solves a perplexing
mystery. The pace is very fast.
The premise of the show is that the world is an evil, violent place, and the strong and upright must be as tough as the bad guys to set things right. But that doesn't mean they can't have a little fun along the way, enjoying broads, booze, or other masculine entertainments as circumstances present themselves.
I do not know that I have ever seen a TV character so quick to use his fists or a gun when trouble arises. And, when Mike Hammer beats you, he does not just knock you down or knock you out. He continues beating you as the blood spurts out and you beg for mercy, then he beats you some more. Even innocent witnesses are pushed around until they give up their information. That he is not imprisoned for his frequent violent assaults is a miracle. He does frequently fall afoul of the police, receiving threats, being questioned, and sometimes being locked up, but only temporarily.
In the world of Mike Hammer, there is no such thing as a flat-chested or overweight woman, except for the occasional wife or grandmother. The show is populated by beautiful, large-breasted women with well-coiffed hair, wearing tight dresses that show off their curves, and push-up bras that are so stiff and lift breasts so high they threaten to poke out your eyes. Mike flirts with and openly leers at these women in a way that would surely make viewers uncomfortable today.
With only 30 minutes to play with, the characters are often one-dimensional. Women, except when evil sluts, are weaklings dominated by men. They are either helpless victims, or madly attracted to Mike, or incidental holders of information he needs, or mere eye-candy populating his world. Sometimes they are the tool of a bad guy, used to lure Mike into a trap, then sent on their way. Men are not treated much better. The line between good and evil is starkly drawn, and the most complex a character (other than Mike) usually gets is when someone thought to be good turns out to be evil.
There are many pluses. A lot happens. The evil plots are often complex and ingenious. The show employs a great deal of humor and tries not to take itself too seriously.
In the final analysis, Mike Hammer is on the right side. He fights against crime, and bravely protects the weak, despite the risk to himself. If you had trouble, and were in the right, there is no one better you could have on your side. He is strong, violent, cynical and testosterone-fueled, the epitome of 50s cool.
Despite the shortcomings of the show, it is entertaining, and the fast pace ensures you will not get bored.
A lot of great actors have played Mickey Spillane's bad boy detective.
From the list of Hollywood heavyweights from Anthony Quinn to Robert
Bray,Biff Elliott,Ralph Meeker,Robert Mitchum,Stacey Keach and even
Mickey Spillane himself. Perhaps from the range of actors that were
convincing,nobody did it better with style and class better than Darren
McGavin. His portrayal of gumshoe tough guy Mike Hammer was not only
laid back but was a class act. Mickey Spillane's character was
basically the first title used for two syndicated television series
that followed the adventures of fictional private investigator Mike
Hammer. This was the first of the two television series featuring the
gritty,crime fighting detective. The first from the mid-1950's starred
Darren McGavin while the other from the early-1980's starred Stacey
"Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer",with Darren McGavin in the title role,was the first syndicated television series based on Spillane's title character,the adventures of a tough gumshoe hard-boiled private detective. The series was itself one extremely violent,sexist series that was one of the coolest detective shows of its day. The series produced 78 episodes and it ran two seasons in syndication from 1956 to 1959. The series was produced by Revue Productions/MCA-TV Universal Studios. Filmed in Hollywood of course,with the opening and closing credits of the show using that scenery of New York as its theme. The black and white filming of the series enhances the film noir atmosphere. The entire premise of the show is that the world is an evil and violent place(the setting is New York),and the strong and upright must be as tough and quick as the baddies to set things right.
In the space of a half-hour,Darren McGavin normally escapes assassination attempts on his life,beats at least one man to a bloody pulp while continuously flirts with one or more beautiful women,fires of some 50's tough guy slang while solving a murder and a mystery. The pace of this show is very fast and once you watch it you may want to keep up with what happens next. Darren McGavin's character of Mike Hammer was a tough gumshoe private eye while regularly played judge,jury and executioner to an assortment of bad guys and crooked lowlifes each week. All within a 30 minute time slot. In the final analysis when Hammer solves the mysteries and brings the baddies to justice he may have to go beyond or stoop down to the level to take a case ,but you knew he was on the right side. His crusade against crime,while bravely protects the weak,despite taking a regular share of abuse in just about every episode,takes risk to himself by going great lengths to protect his clients' innocent. He is strong,cynical and have to be extremely violent to do what he has to do. Mike Hammer was the epitome of 50's cool and Darren McGavin was a brilliant to watch here.
Darren McGavin,after Mike Hammer was canceled in 1959 McGavin switched gears starring in the short-lived western series "Riverboat"(which was also produced by Revue Studios), and would return to played another hardboiled detective in the short-lived 1965 series called "The Outsider",and later on would go on to greater fame as Carl Kolchak in the classic supernatural-detective show of the early 1970's "Kolchak:The Night Stalker" Bart Burns played the role of Hammer's trustworthy ally in the police department Captain Pat Chambers. Burns who go on to guest star in several television series including "Dragnet","Columbo","Ironside",and "The Rockford Files".
Speaking of the guest star roster for this classic series from the 1950's,you had stars that were coming up,but made a name for themselves during this time....from Barbara Bain,Robert Vaughn,John Forsythe,to Loren Greene,and even Carl Betz...the list goes on and on. What a show!
Darren McGavin was the quintessential Mike Hammer. Others paled by comparison. He played him with toughness, irreverence and humor. Back in the 50's, when TV censorship was at its strictest, he went as far as you could go. He'd call women "Chickie" and had no qualms at roughing them up to get to the truth. I especially liked his scenes with Nita Talbot, who took everything he dished out. In another review, revtg001 claimed that Anthony Quinn played Mike Hammer. Although, Mr.Quinn appeared in a movie of a Mickey Spillane novel, "The Long Wait",the character he played was JOHNNY McBRIDE. In my opinion, the second best Mike Hammer was Ralph Meeker in "Kiss Me Deadly".
I really like the show and the virile "manliness" and cool humor exhibited by Darren Gavin. I'm sorry he has passed on. Some feminists might find the humor demeaning, but we have to remember it was mid-60s. My only criticism is that it was mainly filmed in Hollywood except for a very few exterior shots of New York. It is very Californiaish, particularly in some outdoors shots which are definitely not New York countryside. That's a failing if you really want authenticity about a New York detective, particularly when you compare it to "Naked City" which was filmed on the streets of the city. Luckily some of the episodes are now on DVD. (I wish there would be more of these classic series on TV.)
This series ran from 1956 to 1949; which means I was age 9 through 12 at the time. Yet, despite this, I remember it as one of the most impressive Private Dectective series ever. A much younger Darrin Mcgavin took part in a great many " physical " encounters with the bad guys. Unlike the stereotype " good guy ", with Mike Hammer, anything goes. I mean chairs, tables anything. Those stunt guys had their work cut out for them. So it was truly a joy to see that this actors' career continued successfully. In fact, Jerry Lewis" first movie after his split with Dean Martin, " Delicate Delinquint " starred Mr. McGavin. When he showed that he could comedy as well ( " Christmas Story " ), it was great. Of course most people will remember him as " Kojak " - and I truly enjoyed that series. But for me, he will always be the very feisty Mike Hammer.
I am 52 and also enjoyed the series as a child. I also enjoyed him in Night Stalker, although it became a little campy. My question is, does anyone know the name of the theme song from the original show. I am only able to find the name from the Stacey Keach version, called Harlem Nocturne which I did not embrace. Thanks I am 52 and also enjoyed the series as a child. I also enjoyed him in Night Stalker, although it became a little campy. My question is, does anyone know the name of the theme song from the original show. I am only able to find the name from the Stacey Keach version, called Harlem Nocturne which I did not embrace. Thanks I am 52 and also enjoyed the series as a child. I also enjoyed him in Night Stalker, although it became a little campy. My question is, does anyone know the name of the theme song from the original show. I am only able to find the name from the Stacey Keach version, called Harlem Nocturne which I did not embrace. Thanks
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