Thursday, April 21, 2011

TV Cops Before They Were Sexy

It seems most TV dramas these days are either legal or medical dramas. Regardless of whether it's a gritty, hard hitting drama or a cerebral enigma that unravels itself over an hour, one thing is consistent. Sexy people.

Now I'm not saying that there weren't beautiful people on TV back in the day - after all it was called the boob tube for a reason however it seems that casting directors didn't have to worry about eye appeal when choosing actors for their TV dramas. Here's a few examples: 

Barnaby Jones (1973) - First of all, who the heck names their kid Barnaby? Your just begging for a school yard beating with a label like that. Uncle Jed Clampett, a.k.a Buddy Epsen (who the heck names their kid buddy either !?!?) was the title character in this show about a retired detective and his daughter-in-law solving crimes while searching for his son's murderer. Just look at those bedroom eyes. Damn son...... turn it down a notch, it's gettin' hot in here. 

Columbo (1971) - Peter Falk played the bumbling Lieutenant Frank Columbo, a homicide detective with the LAPD. The role had Frank stumbling around seemingly out of his element and getting under the skin of his peers who always dismissed him yet he was the only guy solving the crimes. You'd think after the fourth or fifth solved crime they'd cut him some slack and let him do his thing. Just once I'd like to hear one of the arrogant cop co-workers of his say, "Hey ! Let's get Columbo here. He'll solve this by the time we come back with donuts!" (Sorry - shameful and unnecessary cop stereotype inserted there)

Baretta (1975) - Do I really need to say anything? With characters that included Rooster, Little Mo and Fats, you kind of already know what the series was like. It's like what you see is what you get. An unorthodox cop solving crime his way. Breaking the rules to get er' done and making no apologies. Oh, he also owns a parrot named Fred. It's not his partner or anything - just a pet. Though that would be cool.

Starsky & Hutch (1975) - Okay I admit these guys were kind of cool and I was a fan growing up but the odd thing about these two was how they'd swing from cool and sexy to dopey and buggy looking from episode to episode. There was no consistency but they did have an informant named Huggy Bear and used a cool ass red Torino with a white stripe as a cop car. Very realistic. 

McCloud (1970) - Dennis Weaver played the "cowboy in the city" that also happened to be a cop in this series. The popularity of spaghetti westerns helped give this series some legs and it lasted seven series. Back then, episodes were two hours long and billed as the "Mystery Movie of the Week" but eventually was scaled back to ninety minutes and then to an hour. After all, how much urban cowboy on a horse can you take?

Having said all this, it wasn't all that bad. We did have Policewoman (1974)
Angie Dickinson playing the role of Sgt. "Pepper" Anderson as an undercover cop working what the good Lord gave her to keep the streets safe and rid of all the scums of the earth. Bless her heart.


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