Cannon (TV Series 1971–1976) Poster

(1971–1976)

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Frank Cannon; large and in charge.
Victor Field20 July 2002
Once upon a time you weren't a real TV detetctive unless you had a gimmick; Banacek was Polish, Barnaby Jones was old, Pepper Anderson was a "Police Woman," Ironside was in a wheelchair, Longstreet was blind, McCloud was a cowboy, Kojak was bald, Starsky and Hutch were "cool" (I HATE that word!), Columbo was polite and persistent...

Cannon, who left the force after his wife and child were killed (a plot thread tied up in one of the later episodes), was fat. And like Sammo on "Martial Law" nearly thirty years later, he didn't let his excess avoirdupois hinder his getting results. Unlike Sammo, however, he was hopeless when it came to the rough stuff - watching him get physical is embarrassing, and you suspect he and everyone else involved knew it, which is why hand-to-hand fight scenes were kept to a minimum throughout. (Scenes of him scuba-diving were also kept to a minimum of one episode of the entire run - William Conrad in a wetsuit is not something you want to see.)

The series was more reliant on stories than gimmicks, however, and it was William Conrad's show. No sidekicks, no best buddies, no revolving-door love interests, no down-at-heel stuff for him; he was good value, and so was the series.
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9/10
Best TV detective series ever made.
dnwalker16 December 1999
Unlike more recent detective series that are little more than an hour of car chases, graphic bomb scenes and other gratuitous violence, Cannon showed a detective carefully and cleverly going about the business of solving perplexing crimes. Moreover, unlike The Rockford Files and others which strain credibility by portraying a supposedly successful detective as always having trouble paying his bills, Cannon shows a very successful detective surrounded by the trappings of success such as a beautiful Mark IV and an expensive penthouse apartment. All in all a great series.
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comment on the sad state of TV
wendell_watkins24 July 2008
Remembering the vast numbers of shows out there in TV Land like this one that COULD be shown, it irritates me no end how of the 5 million channels out there, not one of them shows shows like this! (Not even TV Land hmmmm...what potential wasted there!).Instead they all seem to want to be the same station doing the same stuff. Over and over with the same stuff! At any rate I think it would be great and that there'd be a steady niche audience for a station (or several stations) that switched up constantly and aired Loss Leaders like Cannon. There are SO MANY to pick from. Why oh why won't they take a chance and show them? Well I'm sure it's that they don't believe they can make a safe buck that way.
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9/10
Another Excellent Detective series of the 70's.
ironside-328 January 2003
Cannon was an excellent tv movie and resulted in a successful series that ran for 5yrs.

William Conrad was brilliant as the overweight Private Eye Frank Cannon.

He proved that you didn't have to be good looking or a super hero to be a good detective.

So he was fat, so what, he was an everyman detective and an ordinary guy that you might see in the street who happened to be overweight.

Despite this he proved he was intelligent, quick witted and he had a number of smarts to outwit his opponents, but he was also capable of looking after himself physically when the situation arose (he was an expert in karate, being overweight does not mean you can't handle the rough stuff when you need to, my judo instructor was 19st, the same weight as Cannon, but boy could he move fast when performing various judo throws and moves).

I am 19st myself, but I know that I can look after myself when need be, with my experience of judo.

Remember Cannon was cunning and knew that his size might get in the way of the physical rough stuff, so he planned his moves carefully and used short swift karate & judo moves to gain the upper hand of his opponents.

He proved that a fat man could look after himself and that he was more than capable when it was needed to deal with violent crooks.

If he was ever attacked and beaten up, he usually got his revenge at the end of the story one way or another.

Also it has to be remembered that Cannon carried a gun. He was an expert with firearms and an excellent marksman (as was William Conrad in real life)and was a competent driver in his Lincoln Continental.

All in all Cannon was another good tv detective series of the 70's, which sadly has given way to the over violent and over done crime films & television series of today, which to my mind lack story content of these old tv detective series of yesterday, which had good story content without the need for over the top violence.

I hope to see video releases of this series soon.
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A Great Show I wish I could see again!
big_bellied_geezer3 September 2001
I agree with the others about the quality and the care that each episode of Cannon had. A memorable TV show that only ended because William Conrad grew tired of doing it and wanted to end it on a high note. There was a "reunion" TV movie called "The return of Frank Cannon" done around 1980 as I recall. Perhaps it will see the light of day again in reruns.
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10/10
A Great Representation of 70's Detective Series
ramsfan22 February 2009
The great memories of childhood included playing sports and watching television (it was ALWAYS on when I was in the house!!). For my money, the 70's produced the best shows, detective/cop series in particular: Starsky and Hutch, Baretta, Kojak, S.W.A.T. Barnaby Jones, The Rookies etc... And of course "Cannon".The plot has been described already: William Conrad starred as Frank Cannon, a heavyset private detective who took (and invariably solved) cases of interest. Aside from occasional help from his police contacts in gathering information from time to time, Cannon worked alone and relied on intelligence and the occasional gunplay to get things done. Presented in the trademark "Quinn Martin format" of "Acts I, II, III, IV, Cannon was thoroughly enjoyable. The fun in watching today lies in the many great character actors of the day (many of whom appeared on every show of the decade, it seems!), the "sterile" violence and the personal childhood memories the show holds. A great way to spend an hour.
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Rotund Detective with Taste for Food, Crime-Busting...
"Cannon", one of the many gimmick-driven series produced by Quinn Martin Productions in the 60s and 70s, was an inspiration for every 'weight-challenged' fan who ever fantasized of chasing down bad guys, solving crimes, and even, occasionally, winning the girl. The series' star, short, rotund William Conrad (as Frank Cannon), suffers the humiliation of being discharged by the police for being overweight, yet has the last laugh, as he frequently solves cases law enforcement agencies have given up on.

William Conrad (1920-1994) had built a long career around his low, powerful voice, and was best-known for his radio work as the original 'Matt Dillon' in the long-running series, "Gunsmoke" (the role James Arness would inherit, when the series moved to television). A successful character actor in many films of the forties and fifties (including a flashy role as Kasar, one of John Wayne's brothers, in the infamous THE CONQUEROR), the bulk of Conrad's TV work, prior to "Cannon", was as an off-screen narrator ("Rocky and Bullwinkle", "The Fugitive", "The Invaders"). "Cannon" was created specifically for Conrad, not only acknowledging his physical stature, but his skills as a chef, his occasionally prickly temperament, and his child-like joy of solving puzzles. Living well in a beautiful balconied apartment, he still spent most of his time behind the wheel of his sedan, en route to another case requiring his special skills.

With a bouncy, upbeat theme song (featuring a tuba, yet another 'reference' to his girth), "Cannon" was a lighter series than "Mannix" or "Barnaby Jones", but still provided occasional opportunities for Conrad to use his fists, and to even do a climactic foot chase, or two (the least believable moments of the series!).

While the actor would enjoy another successful detective series, as the more abrasive, slovenly 'J.L.' McCabe, in "Jake and the Fatman", "Cannon" remains Conrad's best-loved role, and a popular series in syndication, to this day.
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8/10
TV's Most Serious Private Eye Ever; William Conrad's Finest Role
silverscreen88821 October 2005
"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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8/10
Fun Viewing
aimless-4622 April 2008
"Cannon" was probably the least pompous of the original entries in television's anti- establishment police/private-eye sub-genre; setting the stage for "Harry-O" and "The Rockford Files". Rotund actor William Conrad played the title character; dubbed "Cannonball" in Mad Magazine's satire of the series. After years as the voice-over narrator of "The Fugitive" and "Rocky and Bullwinkle", Conrad finally was allowed to be on-screen and is said to have incorporated a lot of his own quirky characteristics into the Frank Cannon character.

Frank is a detective who only takes a case when he feels like it or is pressed for cash to maintain his expensive epicurean lifestyle (i.e. adventures in eating). Most of the action in the series is in the form of car chases; there is some fighting but almost no running. Lacking a handsome co-star "Cannon's" producers were obviously ceding most potential female viewers to the other networks during this time slot; which is generally a good thing for those in the target demographic as there are no compromises to expand the audience.

"Cannon" was a quality Quinn Martin production with logical situations, good suspense, and fast pacing.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

Episode 1 (14 Sept 71) "Salinas Jackpot" - Tom Skeritt, Sharon Acker; Episode 2 (21 Sept 71) "Death Chain" Episode 3 (28 Sept 71) "Call Unicorn" - Wayne Rogers; Episode 4 (5 Oct 71) "Country Blues - Clu Gulager, David Huddleston, Joan Van Ark; Episode 5 (12 Oct 71) "Scream of Silence"; Episode 6 (19 Oct 71) "Fool's Gold," L.Q. Jones; Episode 7 26 Oct 71) "Girl In the Electric Coffin" Kim Hunter; Episode 8 (9 Nov 71) "Dead Pigeon"; Episode 9 16 Nov 71) "Lonely Place to Die"; Episode 10 (23 Nov 71) "No Pockets in the Shroud," Roy Scheider, Linda Marsh; Episode 11 (30 Jan 72) "Stone, Cold Dead," Richard Anderson; Episode 12 (7 Dec 71) "Death is a Double Cross"
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It was a good PI Show!!!!
james148028 August 2000
Frank Cannon (Conrad), was a good PI in my book. He usually, drives around in his Lincoln Continental. If anything goes wrong, he takes out his little gun, or occasionally he bumps bad guys with his big belly when they mess with him.

Cannon loves to eat, and he even when the show ends he asked some women to have dinner, or if he saved a her life she gives him a big hug, and it was all right.

I give this show 600 giant balloons!!!!
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8/10
"Cannon! .... A Quinn-Martin Production!"
Matthew_Capitano25 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
OK, so he was a blimp.

Bill Conrad was 'Cannon'! He was a sleuth as well as a trustworthy guy, and on the occasional episode, he'd even do something physical. It may have been lamely written, but it was cool nevertheless. Like the time two(!) hoods are holding him at gunpoint only one foot in front of him and with a swimming pool behind them. Ol' Cannon knocks the guns out of both these idiots' hands and pushes them into the pool in one quick motion. Hey, that's pretty good! One of my personal favorite crime dramas, and judging from the ratings, a favorite of many others.

It's always funny, nowadays, to watch the credits as the supporting actors for an episode are shown in a small window and the narrator says, "With guest star, Bob Dunkleberry!"... *snicker*... and you're sitting there thinking, "Who the hell was Bob Dunkleberry?!".
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Never really gets the girl.
MJA productions9 September 2001
My fovorite private detective TV show. Frank Cannon is the only private detective in TV history to solve every crime and never really get the girl in the end. (In the Biblical sense). If he wasn'n such a great cook, he never would have gotten a women up to that fabolus apartment on Sunset.

The Lincoln Continental Mark IV was great, and by the way with a mobil phone, (before cell for all of you born after 1984), and before Banachk had one. At least Frank drove his own car. All kidding aside, it was well written and whitty. I love the show and wish it would come back for reruns. Robert Conrad is one of my favorite actors. Check out some of his early work; "The Killers", "Body and Soul", "Sorry, Wrong Number". I hope he has a star on the walk of fame.
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Cannon & The Streets of San Francisco: Top Crime TV Series of 1970's
NashBridges17 September 2001
I agree with my previous speakers. CANNON is one of the best crime series of the 1970's, and definitely one of the best ever made. Watching the re-runs of CANNON is always a pleasure. The screenplay writers cared for a good plot, the directors did an excellent job as well. And, of course, a greatly performing William Conrad brought Frank Cannon to real life. Just love it.
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7/10
I love detective shows
mm-393 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I love detective shows. One can watch Cannon on TV Land. I never saw a detective show with a fat, out of shape protagonist. The same formulated detective series, of running around asking question, with the usual confrontational climax. The viewer is assaulted with the out of the blue investigation breaks leading to figuring out the case. The usual plot devices of a found phone number, or random run in with character directs the story. The weired musical score sets a strange tone! A very 70's show because of the music, cloths, social message, and characters. The quality of filming and acting has come a long why from the 70's. Still a interesting show 7 out of 10 spy cams for Cannon.
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Cannon the series
rhk843-18 October 2005
Why hasn't anyone reproduced this series for sale by season?? I know many people that would buy it as it was a fantastic show. Possibly one of the best series ever. The show had character, and great action. The star William Conrad was so believable. Yet they produce old shows like "I married Joan" from the early 50's and not this one in color from the 70's. I don't understand. This show, CANNON, and The Rockford Files, and Mannix are just not available for sale by anyone that I can find. I have often wondered if someone, the producer or maybe even William Conrad had a rider in their contract that these shows could not be re-sold?? Does anyone know??
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The only detective always testing his pockets depths !!!
GUENOT PHILIPPE2 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
It is very enjoyable for me to Watch this TV show again, after nearly forty years, since I was a child. A Quinn Martin production is always Worth seeing. And I love seventies stuff: music, sets, actors, stories, everything...

And these same tales are not all on the same frames, not always, some are unusual, if you compare to other shows. And a fat lead, walking quietly with his hands in his pockets, is so ...I don't find the adequate word to describe this. I will say unusual. I love this. A sort of trade mark. It is also interesting to Watch supporting actors that we see later in big screen films, or old ones that we saw in vintage movies. We call them guest characters.
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8/10
Fat, bald, mean, yet compassionate
daviddaphneredding9 June 2012
While it could not be said of Cannon that he was suave and handsome, it could be said that he was a very caring person, unlike the heavies that William Conrad portrayed in years previous to this time. He could be mean: though he did not engage himself in many fistfights, he used good judo chops occasionally,and the fat man was capable of bouncing people if he felt he had to do it. And he was mean and at the same time compassionate: he could be very mean toward the thugs, but he was so hurt when an innocent person was killed and/or wounded terribly. At the same time, he seemed to know how to relate to young kids. He did do well at solving crimes, and, thus, definitely, earned his high pay. Because he was a crime-solver and a fighter for innocent people who were being harassed horribly, I was drawn to this series which I watched many times.
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7/10
A Detective With Girth
bkoganbing6 April 2012
Cannon was truly a star vehicle. William Conrad had no other series regulars in this detective show, no family, no friends. We knew that he liked fine dining, he certainly had the girth to show for it.

A lot of people who've seen Conrad in films where he usually was a villain, don't know that he essayed another 20th Century hero. Before Gunsmoke came to television, Conrad was radio's Matt Dillon. That deep voice of his resonated well on radio and the casting potential was far greater.

As a villain for me his most memorable role was as the gunfighter who shot down Frank Sinatra's brother in Johnny Concho and sent Frank running out of town. Had it not been for Cannon, I think that role would have been his signature part.

Given his girth Cannon could not mix it up too much with the villains, but he was a dead shot with a pistol and he had great intuitive instincts which served him well putting together the pieces of a mystery to solve it. His girth didn't handicap in any way, just as Barnaby Jones's age didn't. In fact Buddy Ebsen as Barnaby Jones was introduced on a Cannon episode.

Cannon was good series television. I'm glad the MeTV network has brought it back.
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Cannon and the 70's
teddyrob6622 May 2001
I agree, I think Cannon was one of the best series ever made. The early 70's era was the best for guest stars, and Cannon had its share of famous actors. It was about something different every time. Cannon carried a gun, but he could also disarm a enemy with either a fist or a menacing sneer. The series hasn't been on in my area in a few years, yet I still remember particular episodes in great detail. I put the show on the level of Columbo, which was another series put together with great care. You can see the same episode several times over, and still not be bored. Also, there are a few episodes you need to see a few times to really get them. This is quality, something Quinn Martin did so well.
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10/10
Looking for video tapes with the original 1970's episodes.
Mogens Erik Brockhusen10 November 2004
Throughout the 1970's Denmark had only one TV Channel. We had Rockford, Kojak, Columbo, and McCloud, but no Frank Cannon. Those of us who could watch West German TV, though, had a chance to enjoy the Frank Cannon series, if we could live with the fact that he spoke German. German TV dubbed (and still do)very much anything foreign into German. It was also the time before a VCR would be found in every home. Had it not been for that, I would probably had ignored the language barrier and recorded the shows for keeps. I just loved to watch him cruise around in the Lincoln Mark IV and solve crimes. Is there anyone who can help me with tapes with this series? Kind regards Mogens
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