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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 <email@example.com>
Idlewild was the original name of the airport in New York City, before it was changed to John F. Kennedy International. 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 »
Some of the warmest and funniest humor that was ever put on television came from the fertile pen of Nat Hiken when he created Car 54 Where Are You. As it came out at the beginning of the Kennedy presidency and only lasted two seasons, it can be said that it was a perfect fit for the Camelot years. After November of 1963 a gentle show like this albeit about cops would not have made it any longer.
In fact I can hardly believe it only lasted for two seasons, it seemed to go on forever in syndication. Speaking of JFK there was one episode I remember vividly about a patrolman who got a reputation as a jinx and no one wanted to ride with him. He did however pick up a certain VIP in 1960 and deliver him to a television broadcast. The VIP was Richard Nixon on the way to his debate.
The leads were Joe E. Ross and Fred Gwynne. Ross was a veteran of that other Nat Hiken creation the Phil Silvers Show where he played Mess Sergeant Rizzo. Ross played Gunther Toody who was an amiable goof who was assigned to give the benefit of his street wisdom to new partner Francis Muldoon. Gwynne as Muldoon was a tall shy almost backward kid and the only one who Toody might have seemed to have wisdom to impart. The funny thing is that somehow these two got through some very interesting situations and many times came out on top if not always by the book. They drove precinct Captain Bloch (Paul Reed) to total distraction.
The mark of a great show is the fact that even after almost 50 years I can still remember some individual episodes. I remember Molly Picon as Mrs. Bronson who simply would not be dispossessed from her home. I remember an episode with a parrot who learned from Ross to say I hate Captain Bloch. I remember a really wonderful episode where Toody and Muldoon try to get a decent bar mitzvah turnout for the son of Pokrass the landlord played by B.S. Pully. That was difficult because the stingy Pokrass was probably the most hated man in the Bronx. Still they managed in something not covered in the police manual.
You can see a lot of Car 54 in the Barney Miller Show in the next decade and I've a feeling that Toody and Muldoon may have wound up as instructors at the Police Academy.
I so wish the TV Land Channel would run this show.
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