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George Hamilton as a Bogart hero
27 March 2010
George Hamilton came to television in "The Survivors", a sort of
precursor to "Dynasty". The series was created by trash novelist Harold
Robbins ("The Carpetbagers").
"The Survivors" was an ambitious soap opera with a lot of top talent in
front of and behind the cameras.
Other fine actors besides Hamilton in "The Survivors" included Lana
Turner, Kevin McCarthy, Ralph Bellamy, Diana Muldaur, Clu Gulager,
Louise Sorel, and Rossano Brazzi. Many of the writers and producers of
"The Survivors" had previously worked on the fine "Peyton Place".
But a big problem with "The Survivors" was that it didn't have a
strong, appealing hero at the center. There was really no one to root
for. Hamilton's character seemed to be a weak jet-setting playboy who
was as superficial as everyone else in the series.
"The Survivors" was a major critical and ratings disaster. It was
canceled after 15 episodes.
ABC had guaranteed Hamilton a full season run, so "Paris 7000" was
quickly put together to finish the 1969-70 season.
The producer of "Paris 7000" was talented John Wilder, who had been an
associate producer of "The Survivors". This was Wilder's first chance
to originate production of a series. He would later produce "The
Streets of San Francisco", "Centennial", and 'Spencer: For Hire".
George Hamilton played Jack Brennan, who worked out of the United
States Consulate in Paris. Brennan tried to help out Americans in
trouble. Hamilton told Johnny Carson it was a Humphrey Bogart type
role, and this might become his new image. Hamilton made a very good
series hero. He was much more appealing than he had been in "The
Jacques Aubuchon was Hamilton's friend on the Paris police force.
Guest stars on the Universal series included Diane Baker, Joseph
Campanella, Anne Baxter, E.G. Marshall, Jack Albertson, Martha Scott,
Paul Henreid, and William Shatner.
But the best guest star was Barbara Anderson, moonlighting from
"Ironside". Barbara Anderson was a cool blonde beauty in the Grace
Kelly mold, and she never looked sexier than opposite the darkly
handsome Hamilton. They made an intriguing couple. Barbara was asked
back for a sequel to her episode.
Directors included Lewis Allen ("The Uninvited"), Philip Leacock ("The
War Lover"), Jeannot Szwarc, and Robert Day (the "Banyon" pilot).
Writers included Norman Katkov, Paul Playdon, Michael Gleason, and Gene
George Hamilton made an effective Bogart hero. Maybe Universal should
have gone the whole way and let George play Philip Marlowe in a series,
rather than putting him in "Paris 7000". Raymond Chandler's choice to
play Marlowe in the 40's was Cary Grant, so he might well have approved
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