The Pilot was partially filmed in the California statehouse. The first day of shooting was November 22, 1963. Richard Crenna remembered being told in the middle of filming that John Kennedy had just been shot in Dallas. See more »
Democracy is a very bad form of government. But I ask you never to forget. All the others are so much worse.
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One of the first political dramas on television that I recall is Slattery's People. The only other show I recall with a political tint to it was The People's Choice and that was anything, but serious.
Though it only lasted for a season Slattery's People attracted quite a cult following, unfortunately not big enough of a cult to keep it on the air or develop a cottage industry like Star Trek.
Previous to this show Richard Crenna had done nothing but comedy in Our Miss Brooks and The Real McCoy. I'm told Crenna embraced this show as his big attempt to have him be taken as a serious actor. Even though the show didn't last Crenna was never forced to play squeaky voiced adolescents or country bumpkins ever again. You have to credit the man with destroying his typecasting.
Bing Crosby produced this show and it is set in the state legislature of an unnamed state where Richard Crenna functions as the minority leader of an unnamed party. That Republicans and Democrats aren't used is not completely off base, a small group of states do have nonpartisan legislatures.
Crenna was an honest crusader and he was aided and abetted by Alejandro Rey as his Mexican-American administrative assistant. It was the first time that a Latino was cast in a serious role in a prime time drama.
Hopefully these shows will see the light of day again.
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