Naked City (TV Series 1958–1963) Poster

(1958–1963)

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10/10
As If Breakfast at Tiffany's Were a TV Series
Mister_D_Loomis23 March 2017
You know if you watch "Breakfast at Tiffany's" you get to see New York at street level, alley level all kinds of levels. Naked City takes you inside all of those nooks and crannies you might wonder about as you watch Holly Golightly race down the streets and alleys after her cat.

Naked City not only excels in its cinematography of this great city but consistently includes captivating, colorful stories "one of the 8 million" as well as characters with dimension and growth throughout the original 4 seasons. The show exists in an era where our modern age is in its infancy. We see modern air travel mixed with ancient cold water flats and old- timer police detectives physically beating out confessions in contrast to newer psychological techniques used to help the citizens and the police understand each other. The changes in automobiles and communications technologies, the dimensions of the professional detective and the tolls the job can take on their personal lives.

The creators of this show were not caught up on "solving" every case neatly. They left room for the collateral damage of true tragedy and unfair justice to bleed through the scripts, demonstrating a very human quality and realism in its raw glory.

Before attempting to review this masterpiece I was sure to watch each and every episode thanks to RETROTV and DECADESTV. Before 2014 I had never heard of this show but have always appreciated great writing and colorful character development, Naked City has all that. It's also worth noting how many actors have sprung from this series into critically acclaimed and solid performers still going today. In many cases Naked City was their first television debut or close to it.

Finally Paul Burke, Horace McMahon, Harry Bellaver and Nancy Malone deserve a place highlighting their fantastic chemistry and ensemble performances in television history. After watching every episode at least once, I can't believe we didn't see more from Paul Burke and Nancy Malone as well as Bellaver even though it's noted that Horace McMahon died just a few years after the series concluded, one of his last performances in Family Affair.
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'The Naked City' / 'Naked City'
biffot17 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
'The Naked City' (1958-59): - Season one consisted of 30 minute episodes very much based on the same style as Jules Dassien's classic 1948 Movie with John McIntire (later of 'Wagon Train' & 'The Virginian') starring as a more 'Americanised' version of Barry Fitzgerald's film Lt. Dan Muldoon Irish/American cop, a more experienced, more accessible, if 'world weary' upstanding version of the diminutive figure of Muldoon than the film version.

James Franciscus (later star of 'Longstreet') plays young Detective Jimmy Halloran well, with Suzanne Storrs as his wife Janet.

The Muldoon/Halloran partnership of veteran Det. & young partner set against a famous city backdrop of location filming no doubt inspired the similar Karl Malden/Mike Douglas team later in 'The Streets of San Francisco'

Harry Bellaver was supporting character Det. Frank Acaro from episode two and is the main continuity link for the show remaining throughout, The team were based at the 65th precinct

Horace MacMahon appears early on in episode; 'Stakeout' billed as 'Chief', later he is crusty Lt. Mike Parker, whose 'bark' was worse than his 'bite', replacing McIntire's character (killed off in episode 25 'The Bumper' at the actor's request) the first season almost divides into two versions with Det. Halloran, Lt. Parker & Det. Acaro the team for the initial season latter episodes.

The 30 minute episodes featured more action based tales than what followed.

'Naked City' (1960-63): - The show had ended in 1959 but returned as just; 'Naked City' in 1960, for seasons two to four with an expanded and revised format still set on the 65th precinct. These were hour long episodes starring Paul Burke (who rather resembled Franciscus) as the idealistic sharp young Det.Adam Flint, with his supportive aspiring actress fiancé Libby (Nancy Malone) plus Parker & Acaro continued in their established roles.

This team investigated the deeper 'human drama' episodes, with famous guest stars, some just starting out on their acting careers (young actors such as; Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Christopher Walken, etc appeared in supporting roles) plus a few lighter comedic episodes were included and some very complex/intense 'character driven' tales which featured many strong compelling acting performances often in rather 'offbeat' stories.

The show stands as the template for many TV Cop shows and dramas that followed with the city of New York itself being very much a featured 'star' of the show.
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9/10
One of the best cop shows of the genre from the golden age of television...the Emmy award winning "Naked City"
rcj536520 December 2013
Few shows in television history have sustained a high level of directing as well as acting,production and writing. The anthology series "Naked City" was one example of just how fine a great television series was during that time. "Naked City" produced by Sterling Silliphant and Herbert B. Leonard under his production company Shelle Productions for Screen Gems Television/ABC-TV ran for four seasons on the air with the exception of it's first season which lasted one season and 39 episodes that aired from its premiere on September 30,1958 until June 23,1959. It was the first series to be filmed on location within New York City and was in classic black and white with locations filmed at the Biograph Studios and in sections of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and other areas. During the 1958-1959 season the two principal players was James Franciscus and John McIntyre. This half-hour version of "Naked City" was canceled by ABC after one season. Then on October 12,1960,an hour long version of "Naked City" premiered with Paul Burke and Horace McMahon replacing James Franciscus and John McIntyre. This hour long version lasted three seasons producing 99 episodes,all in classic black and white that aired from October 12,1960 until May 29,1963. In all,a total of 138 episodes were produced for ABC.

During the show's fantastic run,it included some of the best writers and best actors in television history and it shows in the Four Prime-Time Emmys it won for Best Drama Series (1959,1961,1962,1963),and was nominated for three Golden Globes as Best Prime-Time Drama Series in 1962.

The best writers for this series came from Frank R. Pierson to Barry Trivers, Howard Rodman, Richard Levinson, Ivan Goff, Ben Roberts, to Sy Salkowitz, Stanley Kallis, Sterling Silliphant, Charles Beaumont, Alvin Sargent, Ken Kolb among others who contribute to some of the great episodes.

Some of the best top-notch directors ranging from newcomers like Sydney Pollack to Richard Donner and future Hollywood director Arthur Hiller to such greats as David Lowell Rich, Jack Smight, William Conrad, Paul Wendkos, Bernard McEveety, Robert Gist, Paul Stanley, James Sheldon, Boris Segal, Irvin Kershner, Ralph Senensky, Harry Harris, Vincent McEveety, to Lawrence Dobkin and Marc Daniels among others. But what made the show stand out was the acting were some episodes were nothing short of breathtaking but were absolutely incredible.

This series was a showcase for up and coming actors who made their debuts here ranging from Gene Hackman, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Brock Peters, Dabney Coleman, Jessica Walter, Eli Wallach, Peter Falk, Dennis Hopper, Bruce Dern, Roddy McDowell, Martin Sheen, Diane Ladd, Christopher Walken, to Jon Voight, Robert Duvall, William Shatner, James MacArthur, Burt Reynolds, Telly Savalas, Susan Oliver, Leonard Nimoy to future up and coming actors like Sandy Dennis, James Caan, George Segal to Robert Blake, Valerie Harper, Brenda Vaccaro, Greg Morris, to Ivan Dixon and Vic Morrow. Others were Suzanne Pleshette, Felicia Farr, Jack Klugman, Burgess Meredith, Godfrey Cambridge, Jack Lord, Leslie Nielsen, to Gilbert Roland, Carroll O' Connor, David Janssen, Cicely Tyson, Hari Rhodes, Ricardo Montalban to others like Barry Morse, Jan Sterling, Janice Rule, Piper Laurie, Diahann Carroll, to guest stars Jo Van Fleet, Edward Asner, Jack Lord, Constance Ford, to others like Herschel Bernardi, Eileen Heckhart, James Coburn, Dick York, Maureen Stapleton, Robert Culp, Cliff Robertson, Robert Vaughn to Lee Grant, Charles Bronson, Lois Nettleton, Walter Matthau, Sylvia Sidney, to George Maharis, Martin Milner, Mark Goddard, Glenn Corbett, Barbara Eden, George C. Scott, and a rare appearance by the famed acting teacher Sanford Meisner and one episode had a rare guest star appearance featuring Dorothy Dandridge. The show also had the rare occasion for actors who were just starting out and one episode had future television actor Conrad Bain in a small role along with future Oscar winning actress Faye Dunaway in bit parts.

"Naked City" was a series that featured a "ethnicity" of fine acting in various roles and for an anthology drama it did not stray away from several subject matters even though this was one of the great cop shows ever produced from television's golden age.
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10/10
A Great Show From a Different Time...
SamHardy29 November 2013
Not every great actor gets to be recognized for great work. Most of the good actors working today have names most of us will never know. But there was a time when TV was THE place to showcase you talents as an actor. The 1950's and 1960's provided tons of actors chances to show what they could do, and many went on to become well known names. But most of them , for reasons that were not their fault, practiced their art in relative obscurity.

That's why I love watching shows like The Naked City. Yes Virginia, there was a golden time when great writing and really fine acting made TV such a pleasure to watch.

Back then producers had much more time to develop characters and situations because an hour show like The Naked City had far fewer interruptions for commercials. An hour show really was pretty close to an hour.

Every time I watch an episode of this fine program I am reminded of just how much change has not been kind to TV. Now a days it's really hard to find good writing and good acting on prime time TV. Constant interruptions for commercials and flashy graphics have distracted us from developing plot lines that people can relate to. The stories in The Naked City were about real people in situations that almost anyone could relate to.

I Just finished watching a fine episode that featured Jack Warden and Carol O'Connor. O'Connor would go on to star in All In The Family but he was doing fine dramatic work in TV and movies long before that. And sadly, Jack Warden is still a name most people draw a blank on.

I love those dramatic shows from the 50s and 60s. You just don't see those kind of lovingly crafted shows anymore. Too bad....
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10/10
Born a few years after this ended, this show is history.
jeremy37 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
A couple years ago, this television show started airing on Me-TV. I had never seen it before. I love the show. I was not around in the late 50s and early 60s, and the only television images I have are the more romantic and fantasia ones. This show really shows what life was back like then. Surprisingly, not everyone was going to sock hops and living out in Leave It To Beaverland. Life was different then, but it was also very rough. There was poverty, crime, despair - all the things that we learn are today's ills. The "good ole days" were not really so "good", nor so "bad".

I even laugh at shows like That 70s Show, because the main character that rings true is the Dad. I remember Dads like that when I was a kid. Freaks And Geeks was the best show about "ago" - the early 80s. I remember those days. This show is great, because it really shows the life of cops and people in NYC back then. There were great episodes, like when the cops were forced to work long shifts and sleep in cots at the station. You never hear about this reality when people talk about back then.

The cops are not flashy. They are down to Earth. The younger cop is more idealistic, but the older cops have seen too much of life in their careers. The actors who appear in this show, really are the show, though. I, for one, never knew that Dustin Hoffman appeared in anything before 1967. Here, I am ready to faint, because there is Dustin Hoffman in the late 50s. Wow! The number of future actors and present time actors that appeared in this TV show is unparalleled. Here are some of them: James Caan, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Vic Morrow, Robert Walker, Jr., George Segal, and Jon Voigt. It is very interesting seeing Jon Voigt as a teenager, years before he became famous. The acting is first rate. Already, one sees the great talent who was willingly to try a hand on the show. It was James Caan's very first role on camera!
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8/10
Terrific show has lots to offer!
jolem533 May 2012
I've watched a dozen or so episodes and I am very much impressed. The episodes I've seen are the hour-long ones, so they are from the second season or later. For starters, this is a real 'who's who' of guest stars. I just watched an episode from 1962 starring a young William Shatner playing a Burmese Buddhist. It seems every show I've seen has one or several big-name actors.

Good acting, good writing. There is certainly a grittiness to this show. Ahead of its' time in some ways. I very much enjoy this title. I catch the shows on 'RTV,' which stands for Retro TV. Watched I Spy, Route 66, other old shows. Naked City however, is a real hoot. I have IMDb open as a watch the shows. Blows me away all the guest actors they have. Good stuff!
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10/10
Greatest Detective Show Of All Time
phylladel25 December 2010
As a kid, I watched the premier of Naked City on TV and instantly fell in love with it. Watched every episode from the first season of half-hour shows to the three seasons of hour-long episodes. Everything about the show was great but what has forever been etched in my memory were the three hauntingly beautiful theme songs of this series. There was the original, "This Is The Naked City" written by George Duning. The second theme, which initiated the hour-long episodes, was "Naked City Theme", aka "Somewhere In The Night" by Billy May. The theme for the final season was "The New Naked City Theme" by Nelson Riddle. They were all gorgeous pieces of music that added to the powerful character of the series. The great scripting, gritty photography and memorable music make this my all-time favorite show of any kind.
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9/10
My Favorite Cop Show from the 60's
comixdraw22 February 2009
This was a great human interest police show with the "wet streets" look and feel of New York City. It had a classic film noir look reminiscent of "The Third Man" with Orson Wells. The two lead actors, Horace McMahon and Harry Bellaver were once referred to as "the two homeliest actors on television", but handsome Paul Burke (12 O'clock High?) was brought in for some contrast. I'll never forget Mickey Rooney's guest starring role as Ooftus Goofus, who would sneak into his dads supermarket after closing and change all the prices to ridiculous lows to get even with the old man. It never went into reruns, no doubt because it was shot in black and white.
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10/10
nyc
aimless-463 April 2008
The 138 episodes (all in B&W) of the police drama "Naked City" were originally broadcast on ABC from 1958-1963. The series started in a 30-minute format (39 episodes), took a year long break and return in a 60-minute format. The series was filmed in the old Biograph Studios in the Bronx, famous as the studio where D.W. Griffith got his start.

Image Entertainment's 3 DVD release "Naked City - Set 1" contains an assortment of twelve of the hour-long episodes from seasons 2 and 3. The titles, episode numbers, and original air-dates are detailed below.

Although the title makes it sound like a racy exploitation series it is actually the total opposite. Many consider this gritty crime drama the best ever of its genre and the title reflects a focus on stripping away the glamor off NYC and exposing its ugly inside; at least to the extent that they could get away with on broadcast television during those years.

"Naked City" is a follow-up to the 1948 film noir feature of the same name. Both movie and television series utilized extensive location shooting and they definitely have a different feel than the Hollywood product of that era. Also unusual was featuring jazz music by Billy May and Nelson Riddle.

The show never stopped changing its cast, it was a bit like "Police Story" in this regard as it made its guest stars (it drew a lot of big names from Broadway) the show's greatest asset.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

22 March 1961: (2-20) The Fault in Our Stars; 12 April 1961: (2-22) A Memory of Crying; 17 May 1961: (2-27) Make-Believe Man; 21 June 1961: (2-32) Take and Put; 18 October 1961 (3-4) The Fingers of Henri Tourelle; 15 Nov 1961: (3-7) Which Is Joseph Creely?; 6 Nov 1961: (3-10) Requiem for a Sunday Afternoon; 13 Dec 1961: (3-11) Ooftus Goofus; 3 Jan 1962: (3-13) The Face of the Enemy; 24 Jan 1962: (3-16) The Contract; 14 Feb 1962: (3-19) Let Me Die Before I Wake; 28 Feb 1962: (3-20) To Walk Like a Lion
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8/10
When television was first rate
eronavbj-129 March 2008
This one is the kind of series that made early TV the first rate entertainment is was (but seldom is today). Naked City was also the fertile ground wherein the show "Route 66" was also born. One of the early episodes--"Four Sweet Corners"--was about two young guys who teamed up to go against a neighborhood gang. Those two (played by Bobby Morris and George Maharis) would be the catalyst for the Route 66 series, except Bobby Morris died unexpectedly, so Martin Milner starred opposite Maharis in Route 66.

Actress Lois Nettleton, one of the guest stars on Naked City, explained why the show was so well done, saying that it, "..focused on the atmosphere and reality of the people involved in the story. It was more personal." She is right. They just don't put this kind of effort into dramatic shows today. The star of this show was actually the streets New York City. You can't beat that kind of casting.

For a good take on the series, I recommend Jim Rosin's book, "Naked City, The Television Series." Then get some DVDs of the show and see why it was ahead of its time.
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10/10
A TV Series Featuring: Paul Burke, James Franciscus, Nancy Malone, Horace McMahon, John McIntyre, Harry Bellevar! And Starring The One and Only, THE BIG APPLE!
John T. Ryan9 March 2008
In the Year of Our Lord 1958, the Western reigned supreme on the 3 Networks and in syndication. We once counted about 30 'Oaters' that we saw in our house that we saw on a more or less regular basis. But others genre had their stars rising in their particular Zodiacal Signs and were gaining in popularity. Cops 'n' Robbers had been a staple on TV from the earliest days; a carry over perhaps from some of those series movies like featuring the likes of CHARLIE CHAN, SHERLOCK HOLMES, BOSTON BLACKIE (Chester Morris-type), THE SAINT, THE FALCON and THE THIN MAN.

The transition to Television brought us early series like THE PLAIN CLOTHESMAN, ROCKY KING (with Roscoe Karns and his Son, Todd Karns) BOSTON BLACKIE (Kent Taylor-type), MAN AGAINST CRIME (with Ralph Bellamy as Mike Barnett) and even an early DICK TRACY (with, who else? Ralph Byrd). A little later some new waves of Cop/Detective shows came along. We saw titles like PERRY MASON (oooh! A Lawyer!), THE THIN MAN TV (with Peter Lawford & Phyllis Kirk), CHECKMATE (Anthony George, Doug McClure, Sebastian Cabot), PETER GUN (Blake Edwards' brainchild with Craig Stevens, Lola Albright & Herschell Bernardi) MANNIX (Mike 'Touch' Conners) and Warner Brothers' Cloned Series of 77 SUNSET STRIP, HAWAIIN EYE, BOURBON STREET BEAT and SURFSIDE SIX.

There were others, but as one TV Columnist we recall in the Chicago American had observed, it got to a point where all of the good police work being done on our TV screens was done by the Private "I's". The 'Flatfoot' on the Beat was mostly being portrayed as the helpers.

This was all to change and the likes of Jack Webb's DRAGNET and RACKET SQUAD would struggle to get to the pinnacle; but by the 1970's regular Policeman, be they uniformed or plainclothesmen, were rising to be the top. They soon would be the one program type to fill in so much of the programming schedules. They were in a sense, "the New Westerns." One of the main reasons, other than Mr. Jack Webb's efforts that we have enjoyed our HILL STREET BLUES, HOMICIDE, NYPD BLUE and LAW & ORDER group is the quality displayed and subsequent success of NAKED CITY (Shielle Productions/Screen Gems TV, 1958-63).

The idea for the Series sprang from Mark Hellinger's NY specific crime drama, THE NAKED CITY (Hellinger Productions/Universal Pictures, 1948) In it the drama of murder, the primary investigation and follow-up, all play out against the back-drop of what is (I being a super-sensitive Chicagoan) doubtless the greatest city in the World. Never before had a movie set in NY been filmed completely there and on such a grand scale; using the best settings in the 5 Burroughs as the most magnificent scenery of an urban nature anywhere; as well as the use of countless thousands, or even millions of extras.

There was very in common between the Film and the Series; although James Franciscus did portray the Detective Jimmy Halloran, who was Don Taylor's character in the film. And Mr. Franciscus was in the 1st Season's Episodes; which were only ½ Hour in Length and seemed to meet with only Luke warm response from the public. The series was on hiatus for the next season of 1959-60; only to return as an hour long series in the 1960-61 season. But Paul Burke as Det. Adam Flint replaced James Franciscus as the lead.

It seems that the hour long episodes put the series over the top; perhaps allowing more time for characterization, plot development and good old shoot-em-up Action! In retrospect, we can only say that NAKED CITY has proved to be one of the finest Dramas in TV History, Cop Show or not. Now ain't it grand that Hindsight is always 20-20?
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8/10
New York and its people were the real stars
thebuckguy22 December 2007
As others have noted, Naked City was essentially an anthology series (a now gone genre that was common in the late 50s/early 60s), rather than a "police procedural". The scripts varied in quality and some veered a bit too much toward the sentimentality and sanctimony that passed for quality television in the show's era. Nonetheless, it provided many sides of New York and probably showed off the city better than any subsequent New York-based show. "Naked City" was put together by many of the same people responsible for "Route 66", which was the yin to this show's yang--restless loners who went everywhere (rather than cops rooted in New York) and and served up a similar range of characters in places all over the country, with similar kinds of scripts. Whatever the limits of the writing, the show was well-acted and had strong regulars, as well as a range of guest stars and bit players that seems amazing from our vantage point in the present.

Regarding previous comments: The city has changed less than one might expect in the last few decades. I rented a DVD that included a scene at 3rd Ave & 68th St. A few days before, I happened to be in that area--except for one corner, much of the area looks much as it did in that 1961 episode. As for the "diversity" of the show and NYC: New York in 1960 had a much smaller proportion of minorities than cities such as Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis, Washington DC, etc. Also, the big drug-fueled crime wave of the late 60s to the 80s had not begun and the racial disparity in arrests and incarceration was not as large as it has become in the present day. African Americans lived in Harlem, but also middle class sections of Queens and economically mixed areas of Brooklyn; it was never as ghettoized as many other places such as LA or Chicago and there was a significant middle class. In 1960, New York still was very much a city of Irish, Italian, & Jewish immigrants and their descendants, with healthy doses of Greeks, Eastern European gentiles, Scandinavians, and others. In addition, the show's occasional African-American guest star or even its inclusion of Black faces in crowds were radical steps for their time and the sort of thing that engendered sponsor resistance. Even after the passage of Civil Rights laws, Black faces were rare on television. Naked City was far ahead of its time, even if it seems anachronistic now. Pontiac may have been a sponsor, which would explain the 4 door hardtops (top of the line cars in their day) for the cops and old Fords for the perps. OTOH, location filming was novel and has never been cheap, so the expendable perp cars would have been potential junkers.

My guess is that "Naked City" was popular among everyday police officers for the same reason that "Barney Miller" was--it humanized the individual cop, showed the tedium of their job, and portrayed the world of odd and unexplainable characters that filled their day. It's doubtful that anyone would want to identify with the likes of Andy Sipowicz (NYPD Blue), even he that seems more realistic to a TV viewer.
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8/10
A classic
Elliot James22 September 2007
My uncle worked as an electrician on Naked City and my father was friendly with the very talented Paul Burke (Adam Flint). Watching some episodes on Image's DVD set, it struck me how bizarre and outre Naked City really was. I hadn't seen the show since I was a boy. I remembered the fantastic photography, the crisp, beautifully lit black & white compositions and the documentarian style of the cinematography. There was an amazing power in the way the photographers captured the gritty, grimy, gloomy city streets filled with crumbling tenements and garish storefronts, made all the more depressive by the black & white camera-work. (When they shot street scenes, you could see people gathering in the background, staring into the camera.) Instead of a realistic police procedural, NC's overly dramatic scripts, oddball characters and off-Broadway theatrical dialogue came close to surrealism. It's great to see at least a few episodes on DVD.
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9/10
All about the background
arieliondotcom23 June 2007
The real fun of this film isn't the acting or the story, it's the background. To travel into a time machine and see non-actors going about their daily lives in so many scenes, unaware that they are being filmed (you wonder if there was some 'splaining to do, Lucy, when people were filmed where they shouldn't have been or with people they shouldn't have been with). As a younger (cough, cough) member of a New York family (and I'm Italian so take "family" however you like...I miss the Sopranos already...) it was great to literally see the "old stomping grounds" that my brothers and sisters and parents knew and saw every day.

Others may enjoy the story, but for me, it's all about the background. A great city, unaware of being observed.
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6/10
Frank Serpico would not have been amused.
revtg1-220 December 2006
An odd show, if you watch it closely. First of all, it ran from 1958 until 1963 and it was about honest cops in New York City. It had some great performers, but some of the scripts, especially those done by Sterling Silliphant, were a little pretentious bordering on klutzy. Not as stilted, formulated, pretentious or klutzy as Dragnet, but borderline. The other thing interesting is in the episodes done in 1961 the detectives drove brand new Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs but the blue suits guys drove 1953-54 Fords. In one episode the mean hit man, whose speciality was killing people with a car, drove a 1950 or 1951 Buick chasing the cops who were in a 1950 Oldsmoblie. Now that's low budget. The character of the main focus, a hard working detective played by James Franciscus, is a little too introspective and self doubting to be a good New York street cop. The same demeanor was carried on by Paul Burke. A cop in New York with those kinds of hang ups would have lasted about one month. New York City, even in those days, was a lot more interesting than the show is able to present it. No real New York native characters. Just the mysterious Emerald City and hard working, deticated public servant cops putting it all on the line. That and Wheaties is as all-American as in got on TV back then. Good show for car buffs who like to see the old machines in action again, though.
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4/10
An NYC version of Twilight Zone
rquisenb30 November 2006
Loved the gritty/real Manhattan / New York City scenes – somewhat like Law and Order or NYPD Blue. The sharp picture quality on the DVD was much better than if I had watched this show originally on a 1961 television. Many top-flight actors made guest appearances, and Paul Burke, the star of the show and who later appeared in Dynasty, was great. Watched several episodes from 1961 on one DVD: The Fault In Our Stars (a pretty good classic detective story), Take and Put (a funny farce), Make Believe Man (too "dark" a story – didn't watch much of it). Stories remind me somewhat of Twilight Zone. Since Twilight Zone isn't really my cup of tea, probably won't rent any more episodes.
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Question
tegan-510 August 2006
The IMDb lists Paul Frees as the narrator of "Naked City" - the series. But it was my understanding that actor Lawrence Dobkin was the voice behind "There are eight million stories in the Naked City...This has been one of them".

The discs of the show are excellent. You get the rare chance, not only to see some of the talent of yesterday like Roddy MacDowall, Carroll O'Connor, and Maureen Stapleton, but actors doing early roles, some only walk-ons, like Dustin Hoffman as a thief in BAREFOOT ON A BED OF COALS or Peter Falk in a tiny role as a gun man in DEATH OF PRINCES or Gene Hackman as a nervous reporter in PRIME OF LIFE.

The series seemed to be approached by it's writers as New York theater, people talking a bit more emotionally than you would see on LAW AND ORDER. Their characters were delved in, rather than simply being shelved as "good" or "evil" as they do on today's series.

There have been several discs on the show from Image Entertainment and I hope they continue to release them.
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In a class by itself- an opus of the human condition
michael_ghee29 March 2006
My comments are regarding the 1 hour version (Naked City). Though technically a cop show (crime drama), its much deeper in that it richly examines the psyche of both victims and perpetrators involved in the crime as well as the social conditions they exist in. This makes for some pretty damn compelling viewing in addition to the fact the stories take place in New York City of the early 60's. My understanding is that this is the first TV show shot entirely on location so if your familiar with the city it is fun to check out the locales as they existed back then.

The cops are based in the 65th precinct in NYC. They include Detective Adam Flint played brilliantly by Paul Burke as the young and always conscientious cop. His partner is a middle aged Det. Frank Arcaro who is dependable and good natured played well by Harry Bellaver. Lt. Mike Parker is played perfectly by Horace McMahon who act as the play it by the facts, grumpy boss. Its fun to watch the interaction between Flint and Parker as they argue over opinions on cases like father and son but yet you can tell there is respect for one another. Detective Flint's girlfriend appears in a few episodes as Libby played by Nancy Malone who in my opinion is just there to show at least one of these cops has a sex life and adds a light hearted element to the show when needed in the otherwise tense drama that usually pervades this program.

The show has a few "snoozers", but when its a good episode, trust me, its GOOD. Naked City has its fair share of GOOD episodes. They tackled a variety of interesting subjects/crimes ahead of its time for TV back then such as stalking, domestic violence, child molestation in a addition to standard cop show crime fare (robberies, murder, kidnapping). As I mentioned before it strongly focused on the human condition of the people in the stories so you also see examinations of loneliness, low self esteem, mental illness, alcoholism etc. You name it, Naked City covered it. I have observed that the earlier episodes can be quite violent at times such as one that starred Rip Torn and Tuesday Weld as southern hillbillies going on a thrill killing orgy in NYC. However, over time the violence had seemed to be toned down a bit near the end of its run (possibly due to censor and public pressure ??) However it did not take away from the tense drama the stories provided. The show did not always have neat,tidy endings. Yes the perpetrator would be caught, but often the victims were so traumatized, they too ended up screwed. I loved the way in some episodes as this the camera just fades away from the scene on a street at the end showing the despair people were sometimes left in.

Speaking of camera work, in this show it is phenomenal, showing vividly the live streets and gritty locales of NYC that Flint and Arcaro would deal with day after day, episode after episode. The show also featured a lot of good actors and actresses, many of which were just starting their careers. Picture this... Christopher Walken as a teen age son !, Dustin Hoffman as a stick up man !, A very young and unbelievably attractive Diahann Carroll facing a crisis as a school teacher ! There are just so many amazing things about this show, it deserves to be watched. Check it out on DVD. You wont be disappointed.
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Identity Of Narrator
Eric-62-223 March 2006
I've just been introduced to this series through the DVD releases and have found myself highly impressed by the location photography in New York and the atmosphere of the stories. The show serves the dual purpose of being entertaining, and also a fascinating visual time capsule of a lost period in New York history.

Although its unfortunate the DVDs are not released as Season sets, it's still impressive that the original bumpers and commercials have been left intact! A rare chance to see TV as it was experienced at the time.

On the matter of the narrator though, I'm afraid IMDb has it wrong. It is most assuredly NOT Paul Frees, at least not on the 1960-61 episodes I've seen on DVD. That voice is clearly Lawrence Dobkin, a noted radio actor of the 50s with a number of acting and directing credits all the way up to the 1980s.
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Just absolutely one of the best
ggrg40822 March 2006
I wholeheartedly agree with everything said about the show.It was absolutely one of the best ever, cop or no cop TV show. Even the title of each show was original and brilliant IMO. The show stands out even more after being subjected to all the drivel shown nowadays.Even though color hadn't come full circle at that time, I think the b/w format just added to the whole personality of the show and characters. I've got to add to my collection.Stirling Shilliphant was one of the geniuses behind the show's success no doubt.Someone mentioned that Leonard was the narrator but I think Paul Brees narrated most of the shows.His voice-over was a perfect fit too. In fact I can't think of anything that wasn't "perfect". The casting was terrific, the story lines, the on- location shots of Gotham,the title of each show...I could go on and on. The regular detectives actually looked and acted like real detectives compared to what they show today. It may be partly nostalgia but watching the video reminded me of why I liked it so much even back then.
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The DVD box sets are a Treasure!
Jay0910195118 March 2006
I highly recommend the 3 DVD box sets that are now available . Each set has 12 episodes exactly how they were first seen on ABC-TV 45 years ago. The location shooting in and around the streets of New York give a great view of the city in the early 60's. They even have included some commercials as an extra added feature that you can watch after you see the 4 episodes on each disk. But the real treat is the stories, many featuring some of the best all-time character actors of TV and Movies. No high tech, no sex, no graphic violence , no dirty words. Just good old-time TV drama, that seems to forgotten in today's lousy free TV with all of those lame reality shows.

Most of the indoor scenes were filmed at old Biograph/Gold Medal Studio the Bronx. The 50's and 60's were a great time for young , talented actors living in New York. Many good TV shows and movies were filmed at the Biograph and Naked City is among the best.
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10/10
Riviting stories
dicmar_rot3 February 2006
I recently saw a picture of James Franciscus in reading a local TV news magazine. I instantly remembered the series "Naked City". I could not miss an episode when he and actor John Mcintire starred together. They absolutely worked great together. I remember how disappointed I was when they left the series. That was forty-eight years ago. I was fifteen years old at the time. For me,their work together never became routine. I remember the show through Lt.Muldoon mentoring James Franciscus's character. That was the heart of each story. The beginning of the show was always prefaced by the narrator saying "There are eight million stories in this city,this is one of them. It is great to have a chance to comment on these two actors.
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One of the best police dramas in television history
JAtheDJ18 May 2004
Naked City is an anthology series. Its stories are realistic and filled with compassion, pathos and immense human interest. The characters honestly portray the ambitions and emotions of people, rich and poor, living in New York.

The city is as much the star of the show as the actors. Filmed in black and white on location, the show visually captures the New York cityscape in the early 1960's, before the major building boom began.

The excellent cinematography, the forthright performances of the cast and guest performers, and the first-rate writing and direction make Naked City a gem to watch.
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Finely wrought time capsules of a bygone New York
luciferjohnson8 October 2003
Few TV shows in history sustained such a high level of acting, production and writing. Naked City was a showcase for up-and-coming stage actors, such as Robert Duvall, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Ed Asner--the list goes on and on. But leads--Burke, McMahon and Bellaver--were superb. Some episodes were nothing short of breathtaking. A good example is "Hold for Gloria Christmas," starring Burgess Meredith as a Greenwich Village poet. It was filmed entirely in the Village, and the cast included Herschel Bernardi, Eileen Heckhart and--a real treat for theater buffs--a rare appearance by the famed acting teacher and Group theater veteran Sanford Meisner. The best episodes were like that--character studies, filmed in the early Sixties, finely wrought time capsules of a New York that no longer exists.
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Grab these DVDs if you can find them
austinink8 March 2003
This is the best of the realistic cop shows of the late 50's and 60's. Heart-wrenching episodes. Many of these episodes featured the debutes of bit actors who were later to become stars on TV and in the movies...you name 'em, they first appeared in Naked City. The two DVD's that are out (hopefully every one of the three years of the award-winning series will be released in the future) feature Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Sylvia Sidney, Walter Matthau, Eli Wallach, George Marahis and Lois Nettleton. Each of the one-hour episodes (four per DVD) are unforgettable. You'll also love the main characters, Paul Burke and Nancy Malone. If you think NYPD Blue and other dramas are good, you are in for a treat, as this series beats them all. Of course the main star is New York City in the late 1950's-early 60's. Gritty, smoggy, black and white, and absolutely gorgeous. Don't miss these DVD's if you believe in realistic drama and incredible performances by all the actors. (OK, and I don't even do PR for them...so trust me..this series is super!)
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