Mercenaries Johnny Reach and Hank Brackett cruise the American Southwest in 1914 in their Stutz Bearcat in search of action and adventure. They often take dangerous assignments for pay; their fee is usually a blank check, and after the mission, they just fill in whatever amount they think the job was worth. Written by
Marty McKee <email@example.com>
Hollywood car builder/customizer George Barris made two replica 1914 Bearcats for the series. A period TV Guide article said they cost $25,000 for the pair, this at a time when a new Corvette was about $5,000. The cars were full scale metal bodied replicas mounted on custom frames and powered by Ford engines and transmissions (out of (then) late model pickups. For safety they featured four wheel brakes, which were not on a genuine Bearcat. The brass radiator is interchangeable with a genuine Stutz unit. See more »
Bearcats!-An Action Adventure Series that became one of the sleeper hits of the 1971-1972 season,but lasted 13 episodes
The short lived action-adventure series "BEARCATS!" starred Austrailan actor Rod Taylor in his second weekly television series. Produced and Created by Douglas Heyes(of "Maverick")and produced by Morton S. Fine and David Friedkin(of "I Spy")under Taylor's production company Rodcor Productions for Filmways Productions. Filmways Productions was basically a studio that was known for cranking rural comedies("The Beverly Hillbillies","Petticoat Junction",and "Green Acres") not to mention other comedies that the company produced("The Addams Family", "Mister Ed",and the short-lived courtroom drama series "The Trials of O'Brien")but this is the first time that Filmways produced a weekly series that was laced with breathtaking adventure and non-stop action. The series "BEARCATS!",produced 13 episodes for Filmways Productions and CBS-TV from September 16,1971 until December 30,1971. The show was placed on the Thursday night timeslot where it went up against the supermacy of the runaway NBC hitmaking powerhouse of "The Flip Wilson Show" and the western "Alias Smith and Jones",which was on ABC. Not bad for a series that had became one of the sleeper hits for the 1971-1972 season,even though it had a short run. Yet,"BEARCATS!" had potential.
The show was a mixture of several shows since it was set in the American Southwest around 1914 at the beginning of the 20th Century,but it had the aspects of a western but set in modern times with a hint of espionage and intrigue woven into each of the story lines. "BEARCATS!" was the story of two adventurers who traveled around looking for lucrative,difficult,and dangerous assignments. Their mode of transportation was a fancy Stutz Bearcat. Rather than charge a fee for taking on an assignment,they requested a blank check from each of their clients. After completing the job they filled in the amount according to what they felt their services were worth. Rod Taylor was Hank Brackett(the brains of the outfit and leader)and his partner was Johnny Reach,his assistant and driver of the Stutz Bearcat (Dennis Cole). Several episodes were in my opinion top notch and were the cream of the crop of action shows that exploded onto TV during the early 1970's. One episode,they were hired to find out who was setting fire to oil wells in a small bordertown;in another their task was to stop mercenaries from sabotaging medical supplies that were being shipped overseas to the Allies during World War I. To mention going uo against very interesting villains which included ruthless Mexican bandits,gunslingers,German officers in order to save the country and the world. Very good show with plenty of non-stop action,adventure and excitement. When CBS-TV cancelled this show in December of 1971,the network replaced with the greatest traversy of them all--by adding one of the worst children's shows of all time--the granddaddy of all pathetic animal shows-"Me And The Chimp"-from the 1971-1972 season,and that show lasted no more than 8 episodes.
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