The misadventures of two of New York's finest (a Mutt and Jeff pair) in the mythical 53rd precinct in the Bronx. Toody, the short, stocky and dim-witted one either saves the day or muffs ... See full summary »
Brash NYC policeman Officer Gunther Toody is partnered with stiff, by-the-book Officer Francis Muldoon to protect an important mafia witness prior to testifying against orgainzed crime in ... See full summary »
John C. McGinley,
The owner of a wax museum has an exhibit dedicated to the Munsters. When he uses robots that look like Herman and Granpa to pull a jewelry heist, everyone thinks that the real Herman and ... See full summary »
George Baxter was a highly successful corporation lawyer who was always in control of everything at the office, but almost nothing at home. When he returned from the office at day's end, to... See full summary »
In the 1880s Jason McCord travels the country trying to prove he's no coward. He needs to do this because the military career of this West point graduate came to an end when he was thrown out of the army after being accused of cowardice.
Frances "Gidget" Lawrence lives with her widowed college professor father in California. Anne is her older sister who is married to John Cooper, a psychology student. Gidget spends most of ... See full summary »
The misadventures of two of New York's finest (a Mutt and Jeff pair) in the mythical 53rd precinct in the Bronx. Toody, the short, stocky and dim-witted one either saves the day or muffs things up much to the chagrin of Muldoon, the tall, lanky and smart one. Written by
Jason R. DeCesare <firstname.lastname@example.org>
NBC wanted to buy part ownership of the show in exchange for it being renewed for a third season. Creator Nat Hiken refused and the show's sponsor, Proctor and Gamble, tried to take the show to CBS. But there was no room on their schedule. Hiken had become burnt out on the show due to its single camera set-up which required more time. He also had constant problems with Joe E. Ross who had trouble remembering his lines. Hiken gladly ended the show and never worked on another series again. See more »
No consistent spelling for surname of character played by Al Lewis. In credits, it is listed as Schnauser, but name stenciled on character's locker is Schnauzer - with various spelling appearing whenever name is seen printed throughout series run. See more »
"Ooh, ooh! So Francis ya don't think I know who Leonard Bernstein is, do ya? Well I saw him on Television. He's a Band Leader!"...Officer Gunther Toody (Joe E. Ross)
Taking a cue from his previously screened and highly successful SGT. BILKO series(aka YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH 1955-59), creator Nat Hiken went to the extensive pool of existing talent in the comedian /comic/funny man line. It was here that he found names like Jimmy Little, Joe E. Ross and even BILKO Star Phil Silvers had his comedic roots on stage in either Vaudeville or Burlesque.
In the casting of the players, Mr.Hiken and company made use of the available and eager New York stage actors. What could be more natural? After all, CAR 54 would be a Sitcom that was set in New York City about the Policemen of New York. Ergo, it would behoove any creative persons involved to add a certain otherwise unattainable degree of realism by using native born New Yorkers! (Duh!) The use of what must be described as "Obvious Humor" was a regular element of the series. Often the gags could be spotted coming from a ways out, yet the execution of the dialog by the players and the practice of milking a running gag for all its worth before finishing with it.
Hence we had a situation in one episode where Officer Francis Muldoon(Fred Gwynne) laments childhood experience wherein the kids at school referred to him as "Horse Face." Officer Gunther Toody(Joe E. Ross), his partner consoles him by telling him: "Don't worry Francis, kids just repeat what other people say!" And if this wasn't enough, Toody later adds: "After all, Francis, everybody liked Black Beauty!" They would sometimes take it beyond twice, but no matter it would be "resolved" in one way or another. And the charm of it was all was done straight-faced and serious.
The use of Cops as a Comic Foil has been around been with us ever since there has been Authority to deal with. When Mr. Mack Sennett gave us his Keystone Kops(and their immediate ancestor, Sennett's BANGVILLE POLICE)the use of the Cop as an outlet for humorous purposes was already a well established tradition on stage;be it in Vaudeville, English Music Hall, Burlesque, Stage Drama or Broadway Musical.Looking back further, we see in newspaper cartoons (not Comic Strips)be they straight humor or the Editorial type, this in heavy evidence.
There is one other area that CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU? makes points that may not be apparent to a viewer. Unless you have been a Cop or had close family "on the job" it might completely miss you. (And this is no fault on anyone's.) Most of our TV Cops were characterized as little more than some sort of law enforcing robots. Oh, there were some exceptions, but for the most part series like Jack Webb's ADAM 12, portrayed what could almost pass for training film conversations. The team of Reed & Malloy seemed more interested in discussing street cop secrets and department procedure than sports, movies, where to get your car fixed or broads, even.
Mr. Hiken's crew not only humanized Cops, but took them a step further in showing some human foibles. And that,in the bigger picture of the Cinema & TV, may well be the greatest contribution that Nat Hiken and CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU? provided.
This Cop Sitcom/Farce is one of the best representative series of its period(The early to mid 1960's). If you are not familiar with it, it's high time you met. If not on an outlet like NICK AT NIGHT, then try VHS or DVD's. Even a purchase would be well worthwhile.
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