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The Untouchables (TV Series 1959–1963) Poster

(1959–1963)

Trivia

Walter Winchell received a reported $25,000 per episode for his narration on this series. With his signature machine gun dialog delivery, he could apparently rack up almost 200 words per minute.
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Van Heflin and Van Johnson both turned down the role of Eliot Ness. Fred MacMurray, Jack Lord, and Cliff Robertson were also considered for the part.
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According to testimony from Jimmy 'The Weasel' Fratianno, a Mafia boss turned FBI informant, the Chicago family of the Mafia ordered the assassination of the show's producer Desi Arnaz because they didn't like, (a) the fact that the success of the show was focusing attention on the Mafia, and (b) the show's portrayal of Italians. Fratianno said that two hitmen hid themselves near Arnaz's house one night waiting for him to show up, but he never did. Shortly afterwards the assassination order was rescinded when it was realized that Arnaz's murder would cause the Mafia more trouble than it was worth.
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To counter some of the claims that the show was anti-Italian, later episodes gave a more prominant role to Agent Enrico Rossi (the Italian-American member of Ness's team) in order to show an Italian-American as a hero working for law and order.
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One of the groups that tried to end this show was the estate of 'Al Capone (I)'. It was their claim that this show was unfairly profiting from the Capone name.
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Robert Stack (Eliot Ness) and Walter Winchell (Narrator) are the only actors to appear in all 119 episodes.
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This show was under constant attack by various groups which claimed that it defamed the image of Italians and Italian-Americans.
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Among the concessions made to Italian-American groups, the network and producers were allowed to use Italians and Italian names for criminals based upon real persons but agreed that fictional criminal characters would be non-Italians.
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The only actors to reprise their roles as members of The Untouchables from the series pilot, the Desilu Playhouse movie "The Scarface Mob" are: Robert Stack as Eliot Ness and 'Abel Fernández' as William Youngfellow. All of the other team members were recast for the series.
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'Nicolas Georgiade', who plays Untouchable team member Enrico Rossi, actually had a small, uncredited role as a thug in the Desilu Playhouse movie "The Scarface Mob", the series pilot. In the movie, after the Untouchables raid a plant and round up the criminals, Georgiande plays the thug identified as "Frank Cotter, a gunman from New York" who quips to Ness that he'll read about Ness's obituary in jail, thus getting punched by Ness.
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Although Agent Jack Rossman (Steve London), the 5th member of the Untouchables, appeared in 64 episodes, he often had little or no lines of dialog.
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In the early 1950s, Desilu productions was prohibited from using the word "pregnant" on network television. At the end of the decade, when this series was produced, although euphemisms were often used, the word "prostitution" was used numerous times in the series.
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Agent Youngfellow was supposed to be a full blooded Cherokee from Oklahoma. In this series, he is played by a Latino actor, Abel Fernandez.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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