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Sure, Dragnet was in a category all its own and Naked City did pave the
way for Kojak, but the grit was too shiny and fake. I grew up in NYC
and later, after I moved away, when I watched Kojak in syndication I
would get so homesick. What got to me the worst wasn't seeing landmarks
like The Angry Squire or Washington Square, but by shooting on city
streets, the NYC detritus was blowing down the sidewalk. Yes, that made
me lonesome for home. Kojak was a show by, for, and about New Yorkers.
Kojak's attitude was a New York cop's attitude, he was tough and glib
and underneath that layer was the soft chewy center.
Law & Order owes a huge debt to Kojak. I knew I would have to watch L&O because of what I can only describe as Kojakisms, and it is a disservice to Kojak (& to Telly) that he is only remembered for "Who Loves Ya, Baby?". Kojakisms were as rich and varied as literature.
Here are some of my favorites:
"That's the way the baklava crumbles, baby"
"Whatever you do, don't you so much as double park anywhere near Manhattan South, 'cause you'll get a Hear Ye and a Hear Ye and a greeting you'll never forget."
"Light a candle, baby; a Get Well card won't do."
"...kiss off Goldilocks, your porridge is getting cold."
"You could package that with a wrap-around deodorant and still come out with a stink."
"...the Internal Affairs shoo-flies, they're gonna be all over us like a groom on a honeymoon. And lemme tell ya something, we all better be virgins or have a pretty good story."
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may; there's a chill in the air.'
"The wine, it smells beautiful baby, but the company, strictly down the tubes."
"Ya know what a vendetta is? It's when a whole bunch of people kill a whole bunch of people for years and years and years and like that!"
" Yer no good! And that's the end of the story!"
Absolutely one of the best shows ever.
I remember this show like the back of my hand going through the
dimensions of time and space itself. "Kojak" was the brainchild of
creator and executive producer Abby Mann that aired for 118 episodes
from October 24,1973 until March 18, 1978 for CBS-TV where it was a
ratings winner in prime-time for the five great seasons it was on the
air. Telly Savalas was the undisputed king of detectives as N.Y. Lt.
Theo Kojak who had a sense of style and grace,who had the lollipops,was
a ladies man with a sense of family values and drove that great big
gas- gussing Buick for a cop car around the slimy streets of Manhattan
and all parts of the city. Kojak had a knack for solving crimes his own
way and bringing in the baddies with his old Greek standards mixed in
with the Noo Yawk(New York)attitude.
However,the stories that made that show were some of the best ever since some of the episodes dealt with racial issues,police corruption, women's rights,and the harrowing issue of alcoholism and drugs. However,several of the guest stars who appear on the show were just starting out but in turn had some grand performances including up and coming actors like Harvey Keitel and Paul Micheal Glaser(aka Starsky from Starsky and Hutch),to Christopher Walken, Janet DuBois, Sherman Hemsley, Esther Rolle, and Haywood Nelson(What's Happening!)to having special guest appearances by Danny Thomas and former NFL Great Rosey Grier. Other guest stars included Tina Louise, Dabney Coleman, John Ritter, former Bond-girl Maud Adams, Sylvester Stallone,Forrest Tucker,James Woods, Shelley Winters,and Sammy Davis, Jr. Great cop show while it lasted,and to this day I still have the original "Kojak" game from Milton Bradley for the heyday(circa,1975).
After the success of "Kojak's" five year-run on CBS from 1973-1978, and some 11 years after the series' finale, ABC picked it up for six made for television movies during the mid-1980's as part of the network's "Mystery Movie" line-up.
Overall, this disappointed me because it wasn't the Kojak remembered
until the final few episodes of this first season: you know, the "Who
loves ya baby?" Kojak played so well by Telly Savalas.
It took half the episodes before Kojak even sucked on his first lollipop. In other words, the "Theo Kojak" as we remember him, took almost a year to develop and that took up most of this disk. I am hopeful that more seasons will come out on DVD because those would all be what I was looking for in the first place. So far, I haven't heard any word of that happening. Maybe this first season DVD did not sell well.
The last month of this season, when the shows got a lot more entertaining, were so not only because Kojak came to life but humor was injected with "Stavros" (George Savalas) and his pet plant "Shirley," as well as a few other neat touches.
One of the episodes in this first set interested me because it starred Lola Albright, the blonde who was a knockout on the old Peter Gunn television series. It was interesting to see her after a long absence. Speaking of women, this was the first look I had of Kojak's girlfriend who was something else - a great looker - but suddenly disappeared and never came back with no explanation!
The most interesting of the earlier shows was the one that featured James Woods as a student in a crime class. If you know Woods, you know he wound up playing an intense, evil guy.
The cast in here is good. Kojak's boss, "Frank" (Dan Frazer) was a good guy as was one of Kojak's assistants "Crocker" (Kevin Dobson) who got more screen time as the series went on. Stavros was always fun to watch, especially Kojak calling him "Curly" or "Fatso" or "Baldy."
Now that everything is on a roll, please, give us the rest of the series!
Telly Savalas used his considerable charisma to breathe a little life into this look at a New York detective.Helped by some good location filming in the Big Apple and fairly realistic plots(not to mention that Noo Yawk attitude), Kojak stands as an above average 70's cop show.
Theo Kojak was and IS the epitome of cool. He was a top cop, he kicked major criminal ass, he sucked on lollipops to kick his smoking habit, and best of all, he maintained a crome-dome so cool and fashionable, Vin Diesel doesn't even come close! The late, great Telly Savalas brought to life Det. Kojak, and thus this creation was the precursor to all those hip "supercop" TV shows to come, with NASH BRIDGES bearing in mind. Who loves ya, baby? Kojak does.
If there was one Series on TV, that brought pure pleasure in watching was "Kojak." The dialog was fast paced, the greatest American slang and humor (so much so the audiences in England, were astounded with the slang), the greatest and smartest detective, the nasal and overbearing Captain Mcneil. brilliant direction that never sagged in the quality, the greatest side-kicks in the way of Stavros and Crocker. Those incredible stories series after series. The only intellectual TV show that came close to this was "Banaceck" with George Peppard, but that was a solo act that lacked the brilliance of an ensemble like "Kojak". This was a TV series, where things came together like a zig-saw puzzle. This is the "God Father" of the TV and the director is the "Coppola" of TV directors. If there is one set of DVD's in entirety that I would own, those would clearly be "Kojak" "All In The Family" and "Law&Order." Who loves ya baby!!
My favorite show of all time. Kojak(1973) was a detective show with a sense of humor. Was the best of all the Police shows during the 1970s because of the great acting and interesting guest stars. Telly Savalas gives the character of Kojak a witty toughness that many later Police shows have copied since. Telly Savalas was an actor who made the films that he was in much entertaining to watch. The best episodes were the ones with great guest stars.
Telly Savalas was a grizzled film and TV veteran when he got the spotlight in 1973, with KOJAK. It was a most deserved turn in the sun. Telly took this character and made it his own...the ethnicitity, the old world charm, the brains behind the tough NYPD detective lieutenant that had a genuine compassion for the crime victims he encountered. Telly was the man! The scripts were outstanding, especially in the first season, when penned by Jack Laird, Robert Foster and Halston Wells. The direction was cineamatic quality by the likes of Leo Penn, Jeannot Szwarc and Joel Oliansky. Memorable episodes as SIEGE OF TERROR, DEAD ON HIS FEET, LAST RITES FOR A DEAD PRIEST, THERAPY IN DYNAMITE...I could go on and on. It's also the breeding ground where James Woods, Steven Keats, Harvey Keitel and David Proval cut their small screen dramatic teeth. It's time for this TV legand to be released uncut and unedited on video.
This series, a vehicle for star Telly Savalas, stands out in my mind as becoming more as it developed. The location filming in NY jogs memories of those who visited or lived in the city at that time. The plots frequently involved The Mob, which reflects the time. Some stories were patently unrealistic, but every time I'd complain about such, the camera would move into the street and that winter grating steam would wind around the sound of shoe leather, giving a pretty good suggestion of Dashielle Hammett (sp?). Interesting guest stars would occasionally show up, George Savalas proved a very natural actor and some of the humor appeared unforced and ad lib. A better show than much of the drivel in that decade.
The technical adviser, Detective Burton Armus was the guy that gave Telly the idea about the lolly pop. Burton was a detective working out of the 7th district homicide squad and advised the show. He went on in the film and TV industry as writer and director. A very special gut and I was proud to work with him for the short time I was there( the squad ). I met Telly on two occasions and when I told him that I was NYCPD he shook my hand and said he liked and respected our department. He was much like Jack Webb, anyone who met him , liked him because he was real. Hope the new show will be worth watching. We know it won't be the same, what re-make is?
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