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Despite over thirty films to his credit, Mike Connors will be best
remembered for his television work. In 1959, he created a sensation as the
undercover agent with the hidden gun behind his back, in "Tightrope", and in
1967, at 42, he introduced one of the most popular detectives in television
The initial concept of the series was intriguing; a high-tech investigative agency, Intertect, headed by Joseph Campanella, possessed all the tools to analyze and fight crime, except one; a P.I.'s instincts, that ability to play hunches and make correct decisions by 'gut feeling'. So they hired the best veteran private eye in the business, Joe Mannix, and utilized his services whenever the 'human touch' was required, while backing him with all their resources.
While the Intertect episodes were often imaginative, and Connors and Campanella had good chemistry, CBS quickly realized that the program's fans were watching because of the rugged Mannix, who, each week, despite being beaten, tortured, drugged or worse, managed to emerge victorious. So Campanella and Intertect were dropped by the second season, and Mannix returned to more traditional digs, accompanied by a new secretary, Peggy Fair (Gail Fisher), the widow of a cop. With aid from his 'buddies' on the Force (Robert Wood, Jack Ging, and "Brady Bunch" patriarch, Robert Reed), Joe Mannix would take on cases as simple as petty theft, to unsolved murders, while still taking more than his share of abuse each week.
With his chiseled features and thick jet-black hair, Mannix was a hero attractive enough to appeal to women, yet tough enough to keep men watching, as well. Fiercely loyal to his Greek heritage and many friends, a sucker for a 'hard luck' story, and with a well-stocked (and used) medicine cabinet, the series 'fit' like a pair of well-worn, comfortable shoes, and audiences quickly developed a viewing habit that would last seven more seasons, until 1975. The success of "Mannix" would open the door for a whole new generation of 'gumshoes' that followed, from "Cannon" and "Barnaby Jones", to "The Rockford Files" and "Magnum, P.I."
It is a heritage that Mike Connors can be proud of!
Very good writing and very good camera work, in both angles and continuity.
This show is still viewable by today's standards. Some may appreciate how
'car phones' were the leading edge of technology in the late 1960s and early
1970s when not even fax machines existed. Others may reminisce on the
occasional fad fashion statement even while the main characters wore what
was considered conservative. Few can ignore how thoughtful the episodes
were. Sometimes complex, the well scripted plots often kept the armchair
detective puzzled until the very end. It is as though every single object,
mannerism, and facial expression had a purpose towards telling the story.
Hard action, yes. Violent, maybe. Graphic blood and guts, no. Realistically, cars didn't flip over other cars and burst into flames at every car chase. Just like everyone experiences similar issues within each respective profession, some plots had similarities but they were so well thought out that they were very different in the end. Consequently, soft and caring moments were interspersed with happiness, sadness, and action. It was a fairly real show with few, if any, stupid scenes; a show where people didn't do superhuman stunts. It contains mystery and some suspense. The theme song is classic. It's a good series that can still be enjoyed today, on reruns, of course.
Desilu Studio created this hit show starring Mike Connors and it was a blockbuster hit. Desilu had been riding high with Mission Impossible and Star Trek and of course the Lucy Show, but as Desilu was folding into Paramount, CBS bought this show and Desilu produced a superb drama. Bruce Geller who produced Mission Impossible at Desilu was given the task by Herbert Solow the dynamic Executive Vice President of Desilu to produce this hit TV show. Mannix stands as the very last of the great shows Desilu produced among them The Untouchables, Star Trek, Mission Impossible, and great comedies such as I Love Lucy, Our Miss Brooks and of course The Lucy Show. It was wonderful as a fan of Desilu to see so much quality programming from a great little studio run by Lucille Ball.
He's not as fabulously wealthy as Amos Burke,nor famous as Jim Rockford
or Columbo,but few television detectives have remained and beloved and
under the radar cool as Mike Connors' Joe Mannix. The television series
"Mannix" was the return of the private eye detective shows and this was
a reply to the domination of the weekly espionage shows that were all
over the place during the 1960's. Created by the team of Richard
Levinson and William Link under executive producer Bruce Geller and
associate producer Barry Crane along with producers Wilton Schiller
along with Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts(whom wrote scripts for some of the
episodes)and under the executive in charge of production Herb Solow and
Douglas S. Cramer for Desilu/Paramount Television,"Mannix" produced an
astounding 194 episodes-all in color for CBS and ran for an impressive
eight seasons on the network from September 16,1967 until April
13,1975. The theme music was composed by the great Lalo Schirfin(one of
the all time television theme greats).
"Mannix" is one of the great detective shows of all time and here's why. One,you had some very good writing and excellent camera work in both angles and continuity. The other,right from the start however,Mike Connors emitted broad-shouldered,Everyman solidness. Mannix solves his cases with his brains,his gun,and his fists. He was an all-purpose detective. In season one of "Mannix"(and from the debut episode),the intital concept of the series was intriguing from the start: a high-tech investigative agency,Intertect,headed by Joesph Campanella(the boss Lew Wickersham)possessed all the tools to analyze and fight crime,except one;a P.I.'s instincts,that ability to play hunches and make correct decisions by 'gut feeling'. So they hired the best veteran private eye in the business,Joe Mannix to take the cases and solve the crimes. Mannix utilized his services whenever the 'human touch' was required,while backing him with all their resources. While the Intertect episodes were often imaginative,and Connors and Campanella had good chemistry,fans were tuning in each week to watch Joe Mannix solve cases,deal with crime and mysteries and take on the baddies despite being beaten,tortured,drugged or worse managed to emerge victorious. With his chiseled features and thick jet black hair,Mannix was a hero attractive enough to appeal to women,yet tough enough to keep men watching as well despite being fiercely loyal to his Greek heritage.
However,Campanella and Intertect were dropped by the second season. Mannix left the firm at the start of the 1968-69 season and set up shop as a private investigator,accompanied by a secretary,Peggy Fair(Gail Fisher,in one of the first roles on a drama series for a African-American actress),the widow of a cop. With aid from his 'buddies' on the force(Robert Wood,Jack Ging,and "Brady Bunch" patriarch Robert Reed who played Mannix's superior Lt. Tobias),Mannix would take on cases as simple as petty theft,to unsolve murders,blackmail,while still taking his share of abuse each week. Over the course of eight seasons,Mannix was shot 17 times,knocked unconscious 55 times and was drugged 12 times. "Mannix" proved to be a winner in the ratings too,nominated for several Emmys and it was producer Bruce Geller's most successful show after the huge runaway success of "Mission:Impossible". In 1970,actress Gail Fisher became the first black actress to win the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Peggy Fair on "Mannix"(beating out Barbara Anderson of Ironside and Peggy Lipton of The Mod Squad),and was nominated for four Emmys,winning once and 3 Golden Globe Awards(she won in 1973 for Best Actress)and in 1971.
THE BEST EPISODES: Season One of its debut episode "The Name is Mannix",and episode 13 of the series "A View of Nowhere" were impressive. Seasons 2 thru 4 were brilliant,while the last few episodes of its last two seasons(season 7 from the 1973-1974 season,and the final season 1974-1975,season 8)were action packed and fill to the hill with excitement. The success of "Mannix" would open the door for a whole new generation of 'gumshoe detectives' to follow,from "Hawaii Five-O",to "Columbo","Ironside"(which premiered that same year-1967), "Dan August","MacMillan and Wife","Banacek","Kojak","Baretta","Cannon", to "Barnaby Jones","The Rockford Files",and "Policewoman".
As a child growing up "Mannix",was the family get together hour on Saturday
nights after either "Mission: Impossible", or "The Carol Burnett Show",which
was on the CBS network. "Mannix" may have some of the usual PI fare,but it
was like no other detective show ever! He may go beyond the limits to
solving a case,but in turn he kicked major butt!!! Mike Connors was the PI
who was always sufficient in doing what he had to do,but in some cases,ended
up getting either in fights or shot at every once in a while. The camerawork
on the show,as well as visual effects,and locations were a standard,and it
raised the quality of it definely. There was a twist in every episode to see
who done it,or got away with murder, which is lead by the assistance of his
secretary Peggy(played by
Gail Fisher,who won an Emmy for her work on the series back in 1969),who
herself ended up in great danger,and it was always Joe Mannix to the rescue
to save her from some craze stalker,drug pusher,or killer. The show's theme
song is a classic by Lalo Schifrin,who also composed the theme to
It still comes on in re-runs on TV Land,but was the action packed show(and one of the most violent ever for television) on Saturday nights for the CBS network, which ran from 1967-1975.
One of my and many others most favorite TV show of all time! This show has it all, great production and acting, cast, writing, action, great visuals from the beginning credits to the end and awesome Lalo Shiffrin music to boot! This is the kind of TV show that not only showcased the best of the times it was originally done in, but also could serve as a inspiration and lesson to the writers and producers of action TV shows today to at least TRY to match this kind of quality in their productions!
Frankly, the first season of MANNIX was the best. Mike Connors as Joe
Mannix not only had to contend with a different adversary every week,
but also put up with a corporate, computerized workplace(Intertect)and
spar with his coolly abrasive yet supportive boss, Lou Wickersham
played by Joseph Campanella.
I remember watching MANNIX on an Admiral 19 inch black and white set as a high school student. Watching it in color on DVD 41 years later, I still recall being very impressed with 'Joe's' hip yet raw common sense approach to each case. That's why the button down office scenes provided such great entertainment in between the carnage.
The on location episodes also provided a gritty, realistic atmosphere. The first show was filmed aboard the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway while a later episode found Joe at a hippie night spot on the Sunset Strip. For this sequence, the dance music wasn't even canned but was provided by Buffalo Springfield.
Of course, Lalo Schifrin's memorable theme score to MANNIX perfectly complemented the opening credits. The groundbreaking multi-screen process was introduced during Expo 67 in Montreal and was later employed in major motion pictures such as THE BOSTON STRANGLER.
It was a foregone conclusion that Joe Mannix preferred bare knuckled punches to settle disputes instead of relying on IBM punch cards. Yet, bullets and the mounting body count in between commercials were nonetheless fast and furious. As a result, the 1967-1968 season was the most violent per episode during the entire run of this show. After Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sen. Robert Kennedy were both shot down in the space of two months, MANNIX was toned down as part of the national crackdown on TV violence.
Yet that first season gives the viewer a stark contrast between the florescent lit, corporate mindset against the loose cannon who gets the job done his way. For that reason, MANNIX delivers the goods with a powerful wallop! Bring your own silencer.
There's lots of competition in the private investigator premise for TV shows, but this was a standout in believability. Reminding one of the Johnny Cash quote, "Winners got scars, too", Joe Mannix got a fat lip or two but usually prevailed, or strategically retreated. Sort of a forerunner of the Jim Rockford character in occasional discretion-is-the-better-part-of-valor angles. Some episodes are now on VHS.
If you watch an episode of Mannix,you will want to watch the show daily.Now,the early 1968 episodes are definitely the best (particularly episode #13,A View of Nowhere)and you should try to catch these first.The 1970-1971 seasons are pretty bad.The last few episodes of '73 are action packed.If you love cop shows, take my advice and watch this one.
"Mannix" is my all-time favorite crime drama. Yes, there is a lot of
violence (there seems to be an obligatory fight scene in every show,
and it's a wonder Joe Mannix lived through eight seasons), but for
those of us who don't care about sifting through a slew of clues to
figure out whodunit, this is the show to watch. Except for the computer
angle of the first season (which Lucille Ball had eliminated because
she didn't think the audience related to it), this show is--unlike most
detective shows of its era--free of gimmickry; Mannix is not crippled
or blind or fat or bald or old or sloppy. He's just a regular guy (and
he's Armenian, by the way) who lives by his wits and his fists.
An added plus is Gail Fisher as Mannix's secretary Peggy Fair. True, she gets kidnapped a lot but she's also a lot of help to Mannix and it's also admirable that the show makes no big deal about the fact that she's African-American. She's a secretary, period.
Ward Wood and Robert Reed add extra flavor as Mannix's contacts on the LAPD, Lts. Art Malcolm and Adam Tobias, respectively. Reed, who was doing "The Brady Bunch" at the same time, often said he preferred doing this show to the sitcom.
And never to be forgotten are the split-screen graphics and that great Lalo Schifrin theme song which I find myself humming from time to time.
"Mannix" shows up occasionally on Cloo; I wish they'd show it more often.
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