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Actor Raymond Burr just couldn't relax after nine seasons as defense
lawyer/super sleuth Perry Mason. So,after many years on the Tiffany
network,CBS-TV,the actor switched networks this time over to the
Peacock Network,NBC-TV where the majority of its programming was in
The show is called "Ironside" and when it premiered in the fall of 1967,it came around a time where the fight of the civil rights movement was being followed(three years after President Lyndon B. Johnson sign in into law the civil rights act in 1964),the protest of the Vietnam War,and at a time where the nation was at a crossroads with the death of two of the nation's most famous leaders were cut down at the peak of their prime(Bobby Kennedy,and Dr. Martin Luther King,Jr.)not to mention at the same time the nation's most rioting of its cities and the summer of love and so forth. This show also came about during the escalation of the Vietnam War,the fall of Watergate and ended its run with the final Presidency of Richard M. Nixon. All of this occurred during the show's run. It is also to note that this series was Raymond Burr's second successful show,after playing America's most recognizable lawyer for more than a decade. "Ironside",was a consistent ratings winner throughout the eight years that it ran on NBC-TV from its premiere episode in September of 1967 through the show's final episode of the series in April of 1975.
"Ironside" was the first crime drama series to show a person who had a disability but at the same time had a knack for catching the baddies and so forth and Raymond Burr was a master actor at what he did. Just like Perry Mason,Ironside also knew the law and how it was to be used and not abused. Burr's character was the chief of police of the San Francisco Police Department who was in charge of special cases along with his partners Don Galloway,Don Mitchell,and Barbara Anderson who were all police officers. If there was something going down,you know that Ironside was on the case! The show had everything and I do mean everything that included crooked officers not to mention social issues of its day and so forth. Oh yeah,the music....was composer Quincy Jones the greatest ever! Yes,the best theme score ever made! Also to note that this show had a array of guest stars to boot as well that made their appearances including one episode which featured a very successful and popular Motown singer making his acting debut. The others including a array of stars that were regulars or special guest starsone of which including veteran actors Severn Darren and Bernie Hamilton. The series also show some of the best drama and high octane drama anywhere and you'll see this in some of the episodes too. You also got the chance to see Ironside's helper Mark Sanger go for being his assistant, to private detective,to police officer,and by the final season of the series go from getting married to being a district attorney and from there district court justice of the peace.
The pilot was a made for TV-Movie that premiered that same year before it became a TV series as part of NBC's Saturday Night Special. The series ran on NBC-TV from 1967-75,and after it went off the air twelve years later,the peacock network brought Burr back as Ironside in a made for TV-Movie called "The Return Of Ironside" in 1987,reuniting Raymond Burr with former cast members Don Galloway and Don Mitchell and a special guest appearance from Barbara Anderson. Recently,TV-Land brought back the reruns to this classic series and it needs to be seen for those of us who have fond memories of this show from the late 60's and part of the early 70's.
I didn't know much about Ironside, apart from my mum, explaining
to me what Raymond Burr did apart from Perry Mason. So, in 1999,
the BBC started to do re-runs of it, and i watched a few, and I liked
it alot. Channel five showed the 1967 TV Movie, and the Priest
Killer (1971, scary and a bit controversial) and it was the best i've
ever seen. It blows all the other cop shows out of the water, and
quincy jones's score, is addictive. the support cast, proved their
worth, especially Ed and Mark, and Eve's razor sharp wit. It shows
that people (the characters) who are from different backgrounds
Mark, a young black ex-con, Eve's upper class background, to Ed's
(i'm assuming working class catholic boy, who lost his way when
his fiance died) can gel quite well, but, that was what San
Francisco was like from 1967 onwards, a melting pot, of people
from different backgrounds.It is worthy of a big screen remake, but
they have to it justice and not go for the starsky and hutch spoof
hollywood have managed to botch together. It needs a director
who is a fan, rather than somebody who sees this as another
remake of an old show, it's more than that.
and what i can't get, is that what actually happened to the actors
from Ironside, Galloway has appeared on Perry Mason a couple of
times, looking 10 years older than his real age! but in comparison
to him in Ironside galloway aged 30 was a catch.
enough of my female observations. It's a great programme, but i think it needs to be brought to attention of a new audience, i'm 22 years old, and i think that the programmes of today are trash!!
There are precious few actors who can create two successful television
characters. More recent examples include Mary Tyler Moore (Mary
Richards and Laura Petrie) and Bob Newhart (Bob Hartley and Dick
Loudon). In 1966, Burr completed a nine-year run as the most
recognizable attorney on television. In 1967, returning to television,
his challenge was to create a new character that wouldn't stand in
Perry Mason's shadow. The result was Ironside -- a rough, former chief
of the San Francisco police forced to retire when an attempted
assassination leaves him paralyzed. (The theme music is reprised in
"Kill Bill Vol. 1", whenever the Bride flashes back on her paralyzing
injuries.) Bob Ironside had none of Perry Mason's polish, frequently
spoke without thinking, and enjoyed fast cars as much as he relished
good police work. He was given a special task force that included a
regular joe beat-cop, Ed Brown (even in the sixties, a more vanilla
name was never given a character); a highbrow, educated female
detective (Eve Whitfield); and a troubled black youth, Mark Sanger, who
was to Ironside what Charlie Young is to President Bartlet on "The West
Wing". Instead of the Los Angeles setting of Perry Mason, Ironside was
in San Francisco. In addition, while Perry Mason kept the lights on at
CBS for nearly a decade, Ironside was a steady performer for NBC for
almost as long. The show was an instant critical and commercial
I think the reason Ironside is not as popular in reruns now as it was in the late 70s and early 80s is it will always be in the shadow of Mason, and that's a shame. The two shows are not the same, and there are many memorable episodes of Ironside. One in particular features Ironside isolated in his apartment, being stalked by a killer, that always reminded me of the climactic scene in "Rear Window" -- in which the killer was played by Raymond Burr! One of my favorite lines of dialogue, from the pilot, was his ribbing of his female detective: "By all means, ask Detective Whitfield. She's had the benefit of a classical education." That line -- which would never have passed Perry Mason's lips -- is a good sample of Ironside's tone through the series.
I have fond memories of watching this well crafted detective show
during my growing up years. The series portrays the story of San
Francisco Chief of Detectives, Robert Ironside, who has been hit by a
sniper's bullet, paralyzing him from the waist down. Confined to a
wheelchair, he must forego his previous detective position but stays on
with the Police Department as sort of a consultant. Ironside ferrets
out crime while working from a special Police Department office
complete with exercise equipment and sleeping facilities. Assisting him
is his own special unit, a diverse trio consisting of regular cop
Detective Sargent Ed Brown, educated policewoman Eve Whitfield, and
black ex con Mark Sanger. During the course of the series Sanger
progresses from Ironside's bodyguard to a police officer and finally a
In this series we see this formerly tough Chief of Detectives endeavouring to nail San Francisco's bad guys, all the while coping quite successfully with his recent disability. The program shows that this previously high profile crime fighter can still lead an equally productive life from his wheelchair. The show reveals his character development as well as his interactions with the trio of assistants, all providing viewer interest in addition to the crime solving elements.
Raymond Burr, alias Perry Mason, was born to solve TV crimes! The actor gives a masterful performance here as the wheelchair bound Ironside. This is generally quite an engaging detective series and frankly, I wish that there was more TV programming of its quality these days.
I lived in San Francisco from 1964-1980 and had a great fondness for
the city. Raymond Burr had an immediate hit with this show and I
enjoyed it immensely. It was always interesting to see the shots of
where Mark Sanger was driving and how they would cut to a studio set
when they got out of the van. I always wondered how they made the old
Hall of Justice look like it was still on Montgomery Street when it had
been torn down by the start of the series.
Another enjoyment was the development of the characters, particularly Mark Sanger who went from an uneducated street punk to a cop and then an attorney over the years.
Barbara Anderson got an Emmy for her work on the series as I recall.
If you look at the guest star list, there are a lot of character actors on it who appeared in everything from the 50's to the 80's including Richar Anderson, Michael Conrad, and Jack Soo.
An exciting show and I find little on TV today which makes me want to watch it every week like I did with Ironside.
George Senda Martinez, Ca
If Perry Mason was Raymond Burr's defining role, then this was his second most famous role. This show proved that you didn't need a lot of violence to be a great detective show. This was more cerebral than most of the shows that were around at the time. Also the supporting cast of Don Mitchell, Don Galloway, Barbara Anderson and, later Elizabeth Baur, were all great as Ed, Mark, Eve and Fran respectively. The most compelling character on the show though was Mark. We got to see him evolve from Ironside's body guard, to a police officer and, finally, becoming an attorney. Too bad they don't make shows like this anymore.
Raymond Burr is excellent as Robert T. Ironside and proves that despite
being crippled by a snipers bullet, manages to trap his would be assassin
and bring the culprit to book.
Great locations,(set in San Francisco), powerful score by Quincy Jones and excellent supporting cast.
This film captures the mood of the late 60's in America, better than any other film of its time.
Naturally with the above combination it was decided to make a successful tv series that ran for eight years and quite rightly so, I always thought Ironside was one of the best cop shows of the 60's & 70's and it was exciting to see how he would cope in dangerous situations when confronting crooks, when his friends were not always around to help him.
Raymond Burr as Ironside proved that he could solve cases sitting down better than any other tv cop standing and despite being paraplegic he was more than a match for any able bodied villain or crook, with his sharp mind and 26yrs experience on the SFPD.
Excellent film and tv series, its a pity there is nothing like it around like it today.
I purchased the complete first season not knowing what to expect out of
this old TV show. I was pleasantly surprised because the writing and
acting is quite well done. Raymond Burr, like some other actors
features a screen presence and charisma that are shared by very few
people nowadays. This TV show is no exception -- Raymond Burr was good
at playing the character where he was tough as nails on the outside,
but a marshmallow on the inside. A particularly good episode showing
this talent is "Officer Bobby" from the first season. There is also a
fair amount of humor in the script, and it comes across very nicely.
The only really "dated" thing about the show is Barbara Anderson's hair
-- nowadays it looks really funny.
What impressed me partly was how beautiful San Francisco was in 1967. In every episode, they show a portion of San Francisco, and it is stunning! Very different from Columbo or other 70s TV shows that show Los Angeles. Los Angeles is ugly. Every single shot of San Francisco is breathtaking in this series.
Plus, there are some VERY famous guest stars in the first season. One is a household word by now. I won't spoil it for you who have not watched these yet. Overall, an excellent series. Highly recommended, even for kids.
Hardly any actor so credibly reinvented himself as many times as
Raymond Burr. In the late 40's into the mid 50's he often played the
villain, usually in westerns and noirs, and once he even had a minor
but crucial role as the villain in Hitchcock's "Rear Window". Then
there were all those years playing unbeatable defense attorney Perry
Mason that I figured he'd be typecast forever after that series ended.
However, he did such a credible job playing the wheelchair-bound
Ironside that the staff at restaurants were surprised when he would
show up for reservations walking in on his own two legs. The show had
camera-work that was ground-breaking without being annoying, there was
a feeling of family and camaraderie among the cast that oddly enough
reminds me of Joss Whedon's "Angel" in that regard, it had much better
plots than the other ensemble cop shows of that era, and it even had
lots of counter-culture material that worked out pretty well without
being cheesy or preachy considering the age of its main star, Burr, who
was 50 when the show premiered.
The premise of the show is that while vacationing in an isolated farmhouse, Robert Ironside is shot by an unseen assailant. The result of this wound is that he is paralyzed from the waist down. Accustomed to being Chief of Detectives, and not wanting to be put out to pasture, he turns to his old friend, the Commissioner of Police, who makes him his Special Consultant so that Ironside can go on working on cases rather than face living the life of a retiree on a disability pension. The supporting cast, and his team in solving crimes during the series, consists of rookie detective Ed Brown, policewoman Eve Whitfield, and somewhat reformed juvenile delinquent Mark Sanger. Up to this time, police detective shows had consisted of able-bodied young white men dressed in suits complete with hats, no matter what the occasion. This was one of the first TV shows of that genre - maybe the very first - to mix things up with an interracial cast, a policewoman who was an integral part of the team, a handicapped leader, and a member of "the establishment" in Ed Brown thrown in for good measure.
If this formula sounds a lot like Mod Squad, that's because it is, except Mod Squad came out the following year on the coattails of Ironside's initial success. Ironside had its share of guest stars that made it big in later years. In this first season keep a lookout for a young Harrison Ford in "The Past is Prologue", for Ed Asner in "The Fourteenth Runner", and Susan St. James in "Girl in the Night".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ironside was created by Collier Young and ran between 1967 and 1975. It
stars Raymond Burr, Barbara Anderson, Don Mitchell, Don Galloway and
Ironside focuses on gruff but kind hearted Police Chief Robert Ironside(Raymond Burr)who is sadly left paralysed from the waist down following a shooting. Now wheelchair bound Ironside gets his own crime unit with whom he investigates and solves cases in the San Francisco area.
His team consist of his full time carer the reformed thief Mark Sanger(Don Mitchell),Officer Eve Whitfield(Barbara Anderson)who is possibly the most stylish female officer in any detective series, Sergeant Ed Brown(Don Galloway)a dedicated young officer who lives for the job and Officer Fran Belding(Elizabeth Baur)who replaces Eve towards the end of the series.
Filmed on location in San Francisco and featuring some brilliant story lines Ironside is well worth a watch. It's entertaining, well written and is a little different to other detective series with Ironside's team becoming a surrogate family unit and very close friends which guarantees many moving scenes when one of them is injured or upset.
The highlight of the series though is undoubtedly Raymond Burr he portrays the Chief as a very intelligent and driven man who will stop at nothing to bring a criminal to justice, he's also very gentle and although he can sometimes be a bit sharp he has a heart of gold and will always apologise if he's harsh to someone.
Burr holds your attention even when he's not doing or saying anything in a scene and that's a hard skill to achieve for any actor. This along with Perry Mason seems to be the role Raymond was born to play, it's hard to imagine anyone else playing the Chief quite the way he does.
This series has stood the test of time and the stories are still effective when viewed by todays audiences. Quincy Jones iconic theme music for the series is also unforgettable and very unique. There's many well known guest stars in the series as well including a young Harrison Ford.
If you like Quincy or Barnaby Jones then Ironside is one you should watch too.
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