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Mike Conners played an unnamed police undercover agent who infiltrated organized crime to expose the leaders and their plots. His name changed with each episode in order to protect him. Originally, he was to be named Nick Stone but eventually, he was occasionally called "Nick." Written by
J.E. McKillop <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Someone's Gotta Do It, Someone's Got To Walk That Tightrope!"
The show was fine. Mike 'Touch' Connors had been a B movie actor in the early fifties who couldn't get arrested in a decent film. Then he came along and did this immaculate TV series. I just went looking for this series and another with Frank Lovejoy, Meet McGraw, on Netflix, with no luck.
In the early days of TV, the opening billboard sequences of TV shows were often better than the shows. But with 'Touch' Connors behind the voice, the ultimate film noir voice-over had been met and joined with the premiere of this show.
I would die just to hear Connors do the opening sequence to the show, let alone get DVD copies.
Connors played an undercover cop who wore his .38 stuffed in a holster in the small of his back. He wore a black suit in every episode, and was as cool as a TV detective can get. The series was as noir as TV could manage. The suit was always dark, so was Touch's hair, the rooms were dim and dingy, but the night was bright with dark promise.
In that opening Billboard, Touch would recite the litany of the undercover man walking that tightrope, and my brother and I would be writhing with excitement from the effect, in our chairs. Then the show would come on and it would be something of a letdown. But Tightrope was a good show as fifties detective shows go.
Later, Connors would get a bigger TV show called Mannix, which was not as good, and become famous for the sense of parody he brought to the voice-over. I'm not sure he intended that, but years later, after Mannix was ancient history, the effect was saluted in an episode of Murder She Wrote. Connors played a disembodied voice, whose recording was used to illustrate his own murder. A little like William Holden in Sunset Boulevard, only trashier.
It was great. Elizabeth Ashley played a down-at-the-heel waitress in the episode, and Connors' voice-overs were wittier than a dead man should be, and funny.
But its the Tightrope Series that I long for. Could some of the others among you try to help start a drumbeat for this series to appear on DVD? Just write to Sony and beg them to produce a DVD series.
TV and movies today are now so boring that the old stuff is bound to come back on DVD.
Besides, someone has to try and bring this marvelous series back. Someone has to walk that tightrope and that someone is you!
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