|Index||5 reviews in total|
Like others on this forum, I could not believe they canceled it.
Rod Taylor was great as a soldier of fortune around the turn of the century. Even though there was a lot of hunky beefcake for the ladies, this really was a man's show. The pairing of Rod Taylor and Dennis Cole was well-played. Rugged guy and pretty boy who both knew their stuff.
The pilot, "Powderkeg," was one of the best episodes of t.v. I have ever seen.
The series was my introduction to the Stutz-Bearcat and I've wanted one ever since. What a piece of machinery!
I'd love to see them bring the series back for another run - maybe the Hallmark channel on Saturday afternoons would be a fitting place and time.
"Bearcats!" was Rod Taylor's second attempt at a weekly television
series. It centered on a pair of soldiers of fortune in the American
Southwest circa 1914. That time frame gave the series a different
flavor, being something other than a traditional Western, or yet
another detective series set in the present. The concept appealed to
Taylor when it was presented by series creator, veteran Hollywood
writer/producer Douglas Heyes (who also had worked with Taylor on a
"Twilight Zone" episode).
Taylor's character, Hank Brackett, is a former Army captain, a veteran of the Spanish-American War campaign in the Philippines. Brackett had left the Army and settled in the Southwest, where he became known as a troubleshooter.At some point Brackett saved the young Johnny Reach (Dennis Cole) from unjustly being lynched as a cattle rustler. Together they cleaned up a couple of border towns in self-defense, and eventually people started coming to them for help.
They had to get a bit mercenary about the jobs they would take and set their fee as a signed blank check. They would fill in the amount only after successfully completing their job -- the amount being determined by the degree of difficulty encountered. Their rationale was simple: If you could put a dollar amount on your trouble, then you didn't need their help badly enough.
Typically they worked for railroads, landowners or the government. As private citizens they were able to cross the Mexican border where normal lawmen or the military could not go.
The period during which "Bearcats!" was set allowed for the use of unexpected props in what was essentially a Western -- including machine guns and airplanes. In the first episode, they fought a bandit who stole an Army tank to rob banks. Another episode saw them fighting a group of Germans who were attacking Mexican villages dressed as U.S. soldiers, in an attempt to get Mexico to attack the United States, thus preventing America from joining the war against Germany.
Brackett was responsible for the clever plans the pair had to come up with to defeat their well-organized foes. As the younger of the pair, Reach would often do the more athletic stunts.
The main source of conflict in their relationship was a good-natured competition for some of the inevitably beautiful (and available) women they would meet in their adventures.
Taylor played Brackett with his usual light touch and charm. However, he could be tough and deadly serious if the circumstances demanded. Here's a guide to the series, which was produced by Filmways and Taylor's own Rodlor Inc.
Episode list: 0.1 -- "Powderkeg" -- April 16, 1971 In the series pilot TV movie, Brackett and Reach are hired by a railroad to rescue 70 hostages on a moving train. 1.1 -- "The Devil Wears Armor" -- Sept.16, 1971 A stolen Army tank is knocking over banks along the border. John Vernon guest stars. 1.2 -- "Ground Loop at Spanish Wells" -- Sept. 23, 1971 German soldiers -- dressed as American troops -- are raiding border towns to start a war with Mexico. 1.3 -- "Dos Gringos" -- Sept. 30, 1971 A Mexican Army assassin is out to kill a revolutionary who's raising money in the United States. 1.4 -- "The Feathered Serpent " -- Oct. 7, 1971 A group of would-be revolutionaries hold a town hostage. 1.5 -- "Hostages" -- Oct. 14, 1971 As revenge for his father's hanging five years before, an ex-convict kidnaps a priest and demands a town to hang one of its citizens. 1.6 -- "Conqueror's Gold" -- Oct. 28, 1971 A newspaperwoman hires Brackett and Reach to rescue workers being held at an archaeological site by bad guys seeking treasure. 1.7 -- "Blood Knot" -- Nov. 4, 1971 Tensions erupt between Brackett and Reach when oil well sabotage -- and murder -- erupt in a town wanting to destroy an Indian village. 1.8 -- "Assault on San Saba" -- Nov. 11, 1971 A German military intelligence officer takes over a Texas prison for recruiting saboteurs. The puzzle for Brackett and Reach: How to break into a prison. 1.9 -- "Bitter Flats " -- Nov. 18, 1971 Brackett and Reach take on a ruthless rancher when the son of a friend disappears on a secret Army mission. 1.10 -- "Tiger! Tiger! " -- Nov. 25, 1971 Brackett uses himself as bait to stop a saboteur who's destroying supply shipments. 1.11 -- "The Big Gun" -- Dec. 2, 1971 A renegade Army colonel steals artillery to destroy a convoy of explosives bound for England. 1.12 -- "The Return of Estaban " -- Dec. 23, 1971 Pilot Estaban (see Ground Loop at Spanish Wells) returns to help surprise a gang that's out to rob and destroy a mining town. Henry Darrow reprises his role as Estaban. 1.13 -- "Man in a Cage " -- Dec. 30 1971 Johnny must rely on a convict to help him save Hank and a gubernatorial candidate.
George Barris made two 1914 Bearcat replicas for the series...and a third that he kept for car shows. All three cars are now in private hands. One, the first car made and the primary car used in the series, is fully restored in its TV colors and is in my car collection. The other TV car is Unrestored and has been repainted from its original TV colors. The display car (never used in the series, but retained for many years by George Barris for car shows) is being rebuilt by a new owner.
For more information on the series and Rod Taylor, please go to an excellent fan site... at www.rodtaylorsite.com . In rely to rfrenzel2002's comment below that accuses me of Plagiarizing the material...I wrote the Bearcats! section for that site. It would be nice if he/she had checked before accusing me of "stealing" something I wrote.
I totally agree with my other colleagues here on IMDb this was an excellent series that was shot on location and had a hip....Spaghetti Western-type feel to it...and was not given a chance to have a decent run...I mean ME AND THE CHIMP...come on, I would dare say that was to Ted Bessell who starred in the "series" like MY MOTHER THE CAR was to Jerry Van Dyke......anyway the series was brilliant in the casting, Rod Taylor who could do an American accent better than any Aussie today with the possible exception of Guy Pierce who ironically played George in the remake of THE TIME MACHINE....and Dennis Cole who tragically lost his son via an unsolved homicide that occurred I believe in 1991....both worked off each other quite well, a good buddy series that is very little dated save for the score by Hal Hooper which is quite good and upbeat, very 70's sound, similar to a score to a South African pseudo spaghetti western called THREE BULLETS FOR A LONG GUN that was in release near that time.....and yes the Stutz Bearcat, Americas 1st sports car that could reach speeds of 60 miles and hour...I know this would be asking a lot but this series is calling DVD.....D...V....D and since both Rod and Dennis are both alive and doing fairly well, commentary would be nice....anyway this western adventure, RAWHIDE and THE HIGH CHAPPERAL all deserve the DVD treatment
I remember this show quite well. It lost its thursday 8:00 pm time slot to the most awful show ever produced (Me and the Chimp), and I was forever stunned. The pilot movie for this show was called "PowderKeg", and starred Taylor and Cole (and guest star Fernando Lamas) and gave the back ground of how they traveled around the south west in 1915 cleaning up trouble for a blank check. The movie was available for a while on video (thankfully I bought it) and is just like the show. The show ran only 13 episodes (I wonder if more were produced) and dissappeared in Jan '73. The show was filmed in Old Tuscon studio's and showed off the old west scenery well, and it was an intelligently produced period show. The producers paid quite a lot of attention to detail; for example the other cars shown in the series were actual cars of the time. Like all great shows of that early 70's era (SEARCH was another one) I doubt anything like it will ever be attempted again. The reproduction Stutz Bearcat resides to this day in Geroge Barris's Hollywood car museum. I was surprised to read in another comment column that TVLand ran a few episodes on one of their Sunday showcases--I wish I had known so I could have taped them!!!
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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