Harry Orwell is a world-weary private investigator who was forced to leave the San Diego Police Department after a bullet became lodged near his spine. He lived on the beach, and, when not ...
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Harry Orwell is a world-weary private investigator who was forced to leave the San Diego Police Department after a bullet became lodged near his spine. He lived on the beach, and, when not working on a current case, spent much of his time fixing up his boat, which was called The Answer. Harry O was unusual in that he didn't own a flashy car in which to conduct high-speed chases, preferring to ride the bus instead. Written by
Marty McKee <email@example.com>
The television series,"Harry-O",which ran on ABC-TV from 1974 to 1976,was one of the best detective shows of the decade and for a very good reason. Watching the great David Janssen was a must-see for this would be his second best television series,and the most successful to add as well,his first was the drama series,"The Fugitive",which was on the same network(ABC)from 1963-1967.
The character that David Janssen portrayed is one of television's most memorable private detectives,which made it more engaging by David Janssen's extremely downbeat and weary portrayal of Harry Orwell,a man with very little in life to care about,who nevertheless cares very much. For once,the first person voice narration works in depiction to what is going on with the character in the story and the investigation into some of his cases. In other words,it helped Harry had something to say about the world around him and with good reason. A bullet lodged near his spine has gave this former police officer to seek new employment as a private detective to supplement his disability pension. He is always frequently in pain,it also limits his ability to engage in the usual combat situations when it comes to taking on the baddies. His means of transportation to and from crime scenes is by bus or taxi or on foot. He is a loner who lives in a beach house in San Diego and likes to spend his time re-building his boat "The Answer" in his yard. David Janssen made this character believable and it shows that Harry was understandable and he was someone who you could count on when the chips are down and the odds were against you in a time of crisis. And it shows in the Emmys that this show won including one for David Janssen for Best Actor In A Dramatic Series,and another for Anthony Zerbe for Best Actor In A Supporting Role.
I can recall during the first two seasons that the scripts were magnificent with some of the best writing ever produced for television and righteously so. Also to give credit to the direction as well(from Jerry Thorpe and Richard Lang)was without a doubt first-rate entertainment. It also had some of the most breathtaking photography ever witnessed and this is what made this show stand out from all the other "private eye" shows of the 1970's. And "Harry-O" was one of them. The series began as one of ABC's Movie Of The Week which was a two-hour pilot entitled "Smile,Jenny,You're Dead"(2/3/1973)and on the strength of that one came another titled "Such Dust As Dreams Are Made On",which was another ABC Movie Of The Week(3/11/1974). The series produced 44 episodes on ABC-TV from its premiere episode on September 12,1974 until the final episode of the series on April 29,1976. The guest stars that kept this show in check were first rate and some of the episodes are classics as well. Check out the guest star roster here from Jim Backus,Broderick Crawford,Sal Mineo,Robert Reed,Keye Luke,Martin Sheen,Margot Kidder,Cab Calloway to even Jodie Foster and Maureen "Marsha Brady" McCormick,and Dawn Lyn. This show also had two unknown actresses as well who after their stint who on go to bigger and bigger things(Farrah Fawcett and Loni Anderson). This show made have lasted two years,and when it was cancelled by ABC in the spring of 1976,it was replaced by a travesty of the greatest kind,"Charlie's Angels"(1976-1981). Harry-O's adventures ended too soon after the network executives pulled the plug on a show that was still in the top ten of the Nielsens in its final season.
NOTE: After years out of circulation,the series has returned after a two decade hiatus. The American Life TV Network has brought back the Emmy winning show from the 1970's,so every Monday evening "Harry-O" is broadcast in each episode and to see the great David Janssen is a welcome sight in one of his most famous roles.
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