Sunday, July 22, 2007

Banacek

Ed here: I have fond memories of the old NBC Sunday Night Movies. My favorite was Dennis Weaver as McLoud. The site of him racing up Broadway on a horse ready to leap aboard a fast-moving stagecoach--not even Roy or Gene had ever done anything like that. Columbo I liked sparingly and McMillan and Wife I liked only when Nancy Walker was featured. Banacek was never a favorite but I did enjoy the locked-room mystery format. Come to think aboutit, most of my fond memories of the revolving series center on McLoud.

From the New York Times this morng:

DVD
A Slick Sleuth From the ’70s Is Back, on a Budget
Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
By FRANK DeCARO

GEORGE PEPPARD — a dashingly handsome leading man who never quite became a big-screen megastar despite his memorable turn as Audrey Hepburn’s love interest in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” — has this distinction: He had the best haircut of any TV sleuth ever.

But “Banacek,” the 1972-74 series that brought him (and his haircut) to prime time a decade before “The A-Team” enshrined him in pop culture infamy, never really got the respect it deserved. The glory went to “Columbo,” “McCloud” and “McMillan & Wife,” the three detective dramas that beginning in 1971 rotated under the umbrella title “The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie.”

“Banacek,” about a vintage-Packard-driving, panatela-smoking insurance investigator from ritzy Beacon Hill in Boston, was part of the network’s attempt the following year at a second whodunit anthology, on Wednesday nights. To say the midweek offerings never duplicated the success of the originals is an understatement. (Even I don’t remember Richard Widmark in “Madigan” or James Farentino in “Cool Million,” and I live for this kind of middlebrow 1970s television.) Now that the first season of “Banacek” has come to DVD, it’s time to render unto that Caesar haircut what is due that Caesar haircut. While not classic television, “Banacek” is modish fun that holds up 35 years later.

for the rest go here http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/22/arts/television/22deca.html

3 comments:

Todd Mason said...

And McCLOUD predated the MYSTERY MOVIE series...it was part of FOUR-IN-ONE the previous season (with NIGHT GALLERY and two less-well-remembered series, THE PSYCHIATRIST and SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, before being matched up with the more familiar rotation-mates in Fall, 1971.

Bob Randisi said...

I also enjoyed Banacek, but I do remember Cool Mliion and liked it. James Farentino was paid each week with a blank check. he was a troubleshooter.

RJR

Fred Blosser said...

"a dashingly handsome leading man who never quite became a big-screen megastar" -- Peppard had three strikes against him early on, unfortunately: 1) Three of his big early films ("Home from the Hill," "How the West Was Won," and "The Victors") were ensemble dramas in which he was one of several actors with co-starring status, 2) When he landed on the launching pad with "The Carpetbaggers," Paul Newman already had a lock on the type of role he did best (the hard-edged cad), and 3) most of the movies that followed "The Carpetbaggers" were westerns, spy, and war movies; respectable but undistinguished genre films in crowded fields. He did make a pretty good PI flick, "PJ," during the time that the Bond craze had pretty much supplanted PI films for a spell. Along with "Gunn," "Harper," and "Marlowe," "PJ" kept the PI banner flying until the genre finally bounced back with "Chinatown."