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I met Teresa Graves when I worked on the tech crew of her film
'Vampira'. I never got to know her well, but I was impressed by her
talent, intelligence, professionalism and (oh, too right) her
considerable sex appeal. She attracted a lot of attention on 'Laugh-In'
as one of the go-go dancers, sharing this duty with Goldie Hawn: the
two of them frugged in skimpy bikinis while the camera tracked towards
graffiti painted on their gorgeous bodies.
'Get Christie Love!' was a cop show, unusual (for the time) in featuring a black female protagonist. The scriptwriters kept Christie (Graves's role) sassy and sexy as well as brave and professional. Officer Love had a tendency to address everyone -- even criminals and total strangers -- as 'sugar', which she pronounced 'shoogah'. Anticipating a gimmick that would later be done better on 'Charlie's Angels', 'Get Christie Love!' tended to place its female protagonist in undercover assignments, thus getting her out of a boring police uniform and into all sorts of tight-fitting civvies that showed off her delicious physique. The fight scenes tended to show Christie Love using martial-arts skills rather than her fists or a gun; I found this gimmick somewhat contrived, but it certainly did give us some fine views of Teresa Graves's athletic skills and (oh, too right again) her delicious physique.
Despite her intense desire to succeed as an actress, Ms Graves turned out to be her own career's worst enemy. A devout Jehovah's Witness, she insisted on projecting her own religious values onto her role in this series. Although Christie Love was never (to my knowledge) explicitly identified as a Jehovah's Witness, Graves refused to have her character do anything which contravened her own religious beliefs. To begin with, Christie Love would never drink alcohol. (No great loss there; she's a police officer on duty.) It got worse when Graves decided that Christie Love would never lie, under any circumstances. As the character was frequently working undercover, and therefore had to pretend to be a criminal (or sympathetic to criminals), this was a serious handicap indeed. Graves's increasing restrictions on her character's behaviour led to the extreme weakening of this series, and then its demise.
The best episode of 'Get Christie Love!' is "Murder on High C". This episode not only has a good script and unusual story; it also featured some stunt casting that worked surprisingly well: in this episode, Teresa Graves was reunited with six of her 'Laugh-In' castmates: Johnny Brown, Judy Carne, Henry Gibson, Arte Johnson, Gary Owens and Jo Anne Worley. All of these comedy veterans were cast in dramatic roles, and all (except the execrable Worley) gave impressive performances. A mad bomber is terrorising the city. The audience learn early on that he's Morton Perkins: a meek loner and electronics genius, brilliantly played by Johnson. As Christie Love closes in on him, Perkins nonetheless always manages to stay one jump ahead of her. Eventually, Perkins plans to leave his latest bomb at an open-air concert, where the high note will detonate the explosive ... until Love's arrival forces Perkins to retreat with the bomb in his car. The episode's ending is extremely believable. Too bad that 'Get Christie Love!' didn't feature more episodes of this calibre.
Teresa Graves was a cast member on "Laugh-In" before headlining this cop show. Christie Love was an expert at undercover work. She relied on her street smarts and sass to get her out of danger. Her favorite ploy was to pretend that she was helpless when confronted by villians, then surprising them by using her martial arts skills on them. The series was the result of a high-rated ABC Movie Of The Week. Unfortunately, wisecracks and heavy action sequences weren't enough to keep this on the air for more than a season.
I don't think "Christie" was given enough sufficient amount of time to to demise. If you ask me, putting on a show at 10pm back in the mid-70's is a disaster waiting to emerge. Most adults were in bed by that time, plus I personally don't think CBS counted on the TV-movie pilot being as successful as it in turn became. And yes, I am aware - as well as many others - Graves wished to tone down the violence of the show, but I doubt that had little impact, or the fact that her catch phrase, "you're under arrest, sugar" was worn out. Uh, hello ...look at Lansbury on "Murder , She Wrote." Jessica Fletcher always candidly remarked, "I think I know who it might be" nearing the end of each episode. Prejudice I think was the real crime of this show; the ABC executives not counting on its fame; a show with a black woman as a cop. Look at "Julia," that was a hit too, but was pulled only a few seasons after on the air. I'm sorry folks, but this show never fell through the cracks. And to sign off on a positive note of proof ...it is one of the few shows cancelled that people actually remember!
In the words of Christie Love: "Watch Out Sugar!"
In commerating on a television legend,Teresa Graves was the first of many black actresses to play to lead of a police officer who was also an undercover cop who used her street smarts to catch the baddies and to also get herself out of danger situations. Her favorite ploy was to pretend that she was helpless when confronted by muggers,rapists,and others who were braking the law,but the surprising effect that she used was to get back her allies with some breathtaking martial arts skills on them with was the highlight of this short-lived series.
The show was called "Get Christie Love" which first started out as a feature length film which was produced by David L.Wolper,who went on to produced several others successful shows including the mulitple Emmy winning "Roots". The TV series of the same title(produced by Wolper) ran on ABC-TV from 1974-75. The pilot series was a huge ratings winner which was the result of ABC's Movie Of The Week when it premiered in the fall of 1974. Unfortunately,the show was very good in some of the episodes(which produced 22 episodes),but certain wisecracks and heavy action sequences(which may the show more interesting to watch)weren't enough to keep on the air for more than one season(despicted low ratings). If this were remade as a big screen feature for a remake,the producers many considered for actress Vivica A. Fox for the part(HANDS DOWN!)of Christie.....
About the actress Teresa Graves...........
The reason that I'm commenting on this series is that Miss Graves was a pioneer at what she did for TV back in the 60's and 70's. As most people may not know about her,she was a regular feature on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In,which ran on NBC-TV from 1968-72,and was one of the members of the highly popular psychedelic singing group during her status with Laugh-In. She starred in several feature films before giving up her acting career altogether for religious purposes in the mid-1970's and throughout the 1980's. A lady and style and substance. She will be truly missed. R.I.P.
She passed away of natural causes on October,11,2002 at the age of 54.
On October 10, 2002, Graves' home caught fire after a faulty space
heater burst into flames. Fire fighters found her unconscious in a
bedroom of her home and she was rushed to the Daniel Freeman Memorial
Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival from burns and smoke
I found the show to be entertaining, but to copy cat, this was about the same time as Pam Grier - with her tough black chick movies and the other black exploitation flicks of the day, even being a pioneering show, it still was a racist show. I liked Angie Dickinson's "Police Women" much better, and I'm a black American.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a fairly tepid slice of blaxploitation that is apparently the
pilot of a short lived TV series. I didn't know that at the time, but
it makes a lot of sense now. It concerns the typically foxy, feisty
black woman who, this time, is a cop. There is a small point of
interest in that, because this was on television, it was probably
required that she be a cop, that is, on the side of official "decency,"
as opposed to being a street vigilante or average woman moved to take
the law into her own hands. But be aware that that point of interest is
not actually IN the movie.
This movie does stand out a little bit because it was based on a novel, and as such it actually has characters, an attempt at a subtext, and a somewhat decent story. Christie is a big-haired detective who portrays prostitutes in order to bring killers to justice. In her first confrontation, she seems terrified, and goes on a long time begging for her life before she finally karate-chops the guys' ass. Well, why did she wait so long? There is also a small point of scandal when a john she refuses calls her "ni--r," and she retorts: "Ni--r lover." And this was on TV!
Eventually the story proper starts, and Christie is deployed to get close to Helena, the girlfriend of a wanted drug dealer. There is a lot of subtext given lip service about how Christie and Helena share similar backgrounds and "are the same person," but it is not developed at all. But Christie's character is surprisingly developed; she's very bold and sassy, very in-your-face in a somewhat friendly way (like Kojak), and she has style.
In the utter high point of the film, Christie breaks into Helena's apartment to look around. She looks around at the décor, and says "Tacky." She goes upstairs, and next to the bed are six buttons, each of which plays a different kind of music (presumably for accompaniment to sex). At the third selection, a Mantovani-type orchestral thing, Christie wrinkles her nose and says "Oh! Tacky. Tacky lady."
There are a few other points of mild amusement:
The first time Helena is introduced, she is wearing a ridiculously HUGE hat that is supposed to be 'chic.' Christie's boss (who is incessantly coming on to her) takes her to this hideous restaurant, which Christie refers to as a "fancy bistro." That's about it.
There is a fairly decent "twist," again showing that this story came from a novel, but then they just go catch the bad guy, who doesn't put up any kind of fight, and the movie ends. In the last scene, Christie, feeling good from nailing the bad guy, agrees to sleep with her boss. The end.
--- Hey, check out Cinema de Merde, my website devoted to bad and cheesy movies. You can get the url from my email address above...
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