The weekly adventures of Frank Cannon, an overweight, balding ex-cop with a deep voice and expensive tastes in culinary pleasures, who becomes a high-priced private investigator. Since Cannon's girth didn't allow for many fist-fights and gun battles (although there were many), the series substituted car chases and high production values in their place. Written by
Marty McKee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Frank Cannon was originally a policeman, but he quit the force after the tragic death of his wife and infant son in an automobile accident. The tragedy drove Cannon to become a top private investigator. See more »
TV's Most Serious Private Eye Ever; William Conrad's Finest Role
"Cannon" was developed by Arthur Hume for Quinn Martin Productions, the same company whose leadership gave us also "The Untouchables" and "Barnaby Jones". This was also one of a bizarre series of what I at the time nominated as "defective detectives". Fortunately for viewers, instead of these series' central characters being ethically defective, like most other compulsives central characters on TV shows they all had a physical or experiential infirmity. One was too young, one was blind, one had a deaf daughter, one had crabgrass, another had an obnoxious girlfriend, Barnaby Jones was old and Frank Cannon, retired ace police detective, carried a lot of weight. He solved cases, worked with aid from and occasionally worked for his old police pals, and used the money he earned so he could buy and eat gourmet food and cook it for his friends in a posh Sunset Strip tower apartment This very-well-made and intelligently scripted series was not devoid of humor either; but William Conrad as "Cannon" was a considerable presence both as actor and large human being. His conviction and strength gave the series a solid boost in quality over other series Also, the employing of several fine guest stars a week added to that quality even more. The scripts for the series were overseen by David Moessinger, Stephen Kandel and Earl Booth. Among the thirty-four credited directors who toiled for the series between 1971-1976 were many first-rate talents, including Richard Donner, Marvin Chomsky, Robert Douglas, E. Arthur Keane, Michael O'Herlihy, Alec MacCowan, Leslie H. Martinson, David Lowell Rich, Jimmy Sangster, Virgil Vogel, David Whorf and Don Taylor. Writers among the nearly six dozen who created episodes for the series included Albert Aley, Margaret Armen, Bill S. Ballinger, Calvin Clements Jr., Harold Gast, Robert Hamner, Leonard Kantor, Robert Lenski, Ken Pettus, Paul Playdon, Jimmy Sangster, Karl Tunberg, Robert Van Scoyk, Phyllis White, Collier Young and Carey Wilber. Arthur Fellows was credited as supervising producer as was Russell Stoneham, with Winston Miller and Paul Playdon contributing also; an unusual feature of the show was how many of its producers and head writers contributed scripts to the series. Music for the series was seldom more than serviceable under seven contributers; Jack Swain did the good straightforward cinematography. The art directors were George B. Chan and Bill Kenney; the very varied set decorations were provided by Carl Biddiscombe and Frank Lombardo. Howard P. Alston was the executive production manager, with Fred Ahern in charge of production, and fine director Kurt Neumann and Lou Place having charge of active production units. John Elizalde was the show's musical supervisor. In one year, 1972, Charles Bateman was regularly featured as a police contact; and the series also used some actors five or more times, including Simon Scott, Arthur Adams, Patrick Culliton and Tom Pittman. Some of the most memorable guest stars on the series included Keith Andes as a charismatic cult leader who had no lines, Charlene Polite as a gorgeous flirtatious woman, and Katherine Justice as a suspicious woman investigating Pernell Roberts. The worst moment of the series? Perhaps it was putting William Conrad into a wetsuit to go scuba diving for evidence. The best? It might have been the brilliant episode "Death is a Doublecross", and much of Alec MacCowan's innovative direction. This is a well-remembered series; its mature star was twice as powerful as an actor and a character because he was not looking for romantic one-nighters everywhere, and because of the show's sheer narrative quality. The best of all private eye shows in TV history, by miles, I assert.
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