Filmed in a film noir atmosphere and featuring Henry Mancini music that could tell you the action with your eyes closed, Peter Gunn worked in style. Known as Pete to his friends and simply as Gunn to his enemies, he did his job in a calm cool way. He got his tips and cautions from Lieutenant Jacoby, a coffee drinking pal from the police. Also providing tips was "Mother" of her self-titled nightclub. Working at the nightclub as a singer was Edie Hart, his girlfriend. Written by
Mathias Banner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hot on the case... cool under fire. Should've been an hour!
I just finished watching 3 compilation series DVD's and was hoping to have a flashback on what I had thought was the coolest show (actually even then in syndication) from my early 1960's childhood. Yup, there was Craig Stevens racing around in his Plymouth Fury convertible (wearing "$30 shoes, a $200 suit and carrying a solid gold cigarette lighter") and guitar strumming Lt. Jacoby, complete with Charlie the Tuna's voice (even he drove a Christine-like Plymouth) and Lola Albright's "Edie" was as sexy as I remembered. Mancini's music is still way cool. But Jeez-Louise, the scripts stink! The problem is the :30 minute format allowed for maybe :22 of story and it appears that the producers just opted for atmosphere over cohesive plot. The series begged for an hour format. Several episodes I watched are completely illogical and/or just plain silly--- some make the revamped Amos Burke, Secret Agent or the 77 Sunset Strip clone, Surfside Six look Masterpiece Theater. Frankly most of the scripts are pointlessly stupid, and follow a format that invariably contain an immediate homicide (victims are quickly dispatched by bullets or the obligatory knife in the back), introduce a superfluous oddball character (Jack Webb used to do this with Dragnet, but usually less outrageously and certainly more sparingly)--- often a stereotypical beatnik, that simply wastes precious plot time. Next comes the fists and cut to a scene at Mother's Jazz Club where Edie makes googly eyes at Pete. Murders are solved somewhere around :19 and you can bet a Franklin half dollar that it was someone Pete met before the first cigarette commercial. It was kind of weird seeing several cast members of future Andy Griffith Show in one episode. In retrospect, it's odd that the perennial 1950's-60's also-ran ABC network (remember it's first #1-rated series wasn't until "Marcus Welby" a decade later) never realized they had all the elements here for a much better hour-long show. Peter Gunn is one of those television memories better left rattling around in a nostalgic corner of your head... I'll look for the two RCA albums of the show's music instead. Blaaech! 3/10 for Mancini, the threads and cool 50's Mopar wheels + the occasional glimpse of a talented-yet-under-employed character actor working for $250 1958 scale rent money. If Herschel Bernardi were still alive I'd love to ask him what it was like to work for 3 minutes screen time every week. Those Starkist commercials would be like Shakespeare.
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