Banacek (1972–1974)
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Let's Hear It for a Living Legend 

When a football player vanishes from the field in full view of network cameras and a live audience, it's up to Banacek to figure out how his kidnappers spirited him away without a trace.





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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Angie Ives
Holly Allencamp
Jerry Brinkman
John Brodie ...
Ritchie Mulligan
Ben Davidson ...
Deacon Jones ...
Tom Mack ...
Ed Wolinski
Gene Washington ...
Clay Mills
Clancy Williams ...
Walt Hicks
Video Technician
Albert Bates
Curt Gowdy ...
Curt Gowdy
Charlie Jones ...
Charlie Jones


When a football player vanishes from the field in full view of network cameras and a live audience, it's up to Banacek to figure out how his kidnappers spirited him away without a trace.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

13 September 1972 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


At the abandoned Army base the kidnappers are located in an old barracks where a number of pinups are on the walls. Behind Al Bates in plain view is the centerfold of Carol O'Neal, the Playboy Playmate for July 1972, making her the first nude woman to be shown on network TV. See more »


On the play that sets the mystery QB Mulligan gives the ball to RB Ives who runs to the side with the ball, is tackled, and vanishes. The cameras return to Mulligan getting up with his knee issue and the football is on the ground behind him, but it would have been over in the pile with Ives. They show the helmet, but not the ball, on the side after the pile clears. Just as big a mystery as how Ives vanished is how did the ball get back to the middle of the field to Mulligan!! No one ever comments on this although the play is replayed numerous times later. See more »


Thomas Banacek: [to Conrad Janis] If you're not sure that it's potato borscht, there could be orphans working in the mines.
See more »

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User Reviews

Cool Is The Rule...Sometimes Bad Is Good...
16 August 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

My summary is pure plagiarism quoting a lyric from a popular Huey Lewis song, but it fits. Banacek is a bad boy and he sure is cool. He lives the playboy life, but he's deadly serious about his craft. That craft would be solving insured criminal theft. For a meager 10-percent Banacek can live the high life. Yet he's grounded by Boston's "old-school" blue blood circles in which he moves. A wonderful juxtaposition! Banacek is George Peppard. An elegant yet approachable man. A pillar of both old world acceptance as well as garish 70's cool. He's perfect in the role. It was rumored that others such as James Coburn were considered, well all I can say is they snagged the perfect actor in Peppard.

Like Sherlock Holmes the crux of each week's complicated mystery isn't so much in the action but in the elimination. While Peppard can be physical it's his wily intuition that always rises to solve the case. Along the way we get some fantastic cinematography and some downright cool style via our protagonist. Dino and Frank can only remember when as George rewrites cool.

I'm a "Brother of the Leaf" ( a cigar lover) and I sincerely enjoy how much of Peppard's own signature style carries over into the series. The cocktails and the smokes, the cars, and the clothing (('ll forgive the SansaBelts) make for pure fashion forward style. Not to mention the signature gloves that carried over much later in "The A-Team".

So much for the overview, this episode, not unlike the pilot, is complicated. It, of course, skirts believability as it shoe horns relevance into everyday life...The NFL here. A player mysteriously disappears after a gang tackle. Insurance, as well as in this case ransom, money is on the line Banacek is on the case.

O.K., this episode isn't as earthy as the pilot. It stretches the imagination more, but it's still complicated and doesn't give up the finale too early. It keeps you invested. This is the fun, and entertainment, that is Banacek. It's great fun indeed. He's just too cool for words. We knew he'd solve it, but the ride was good. Sure, there tension isn't too great, but the journey is so enjoyable. The window dressing of Susan St. James is spot-on. The supporting characters add color. A solid start for a 70's cool Sherlock Holmes.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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If you like this series..... spacekadet3
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