Monday, May 07, 2012



Ed here: Here in microcosm is what happens when the suits decided to "fix" something. Amos Burke was a ridiculous ham-handed satire of current fads and social tendencies. I loved it. Here we had a slick copper who arrived on crime scenes in a Rolls Royce and got laid more than any three pro basketball players combined. Hollywod was his natural stomping ground. This is from the great Mystery

AMOS BURKE, SECRET AGENT. ABC / Four Star Productions / Barbety, 1965-66. Cast:Gene Barry as Amos Burke, Carl Benton Reid as The Man. Series based on characters created by Frank D. Gilroy. Produced by Aaron Spelling.


From Aaron Spelling: A Prime Time Life, by Aaron Spelling with Jefferson Graham: “Burke’s Law was one of my first great campy shows… Then ABC threw us a curveball with the ‘James Bond’ craze. Suddenly secret agents were in… So in 1965 Burke’s Law, the story of a millionaire L.A. detective, was forcibly changed to Amos Burke, Secret Agent. He became a debonair, globe-trotting secret agent for a United States intelligence agency. I hated it, Gene hated it, we all hated it, and ABC was very wrong to change it…”

The series was a ratings failure from the very beginning. “Balance of Terror” (9/15/65) was the series first episode. The Arbitron ratings (Broadcasting, 9/20/65) found NBC’s I Spy at 37.6 share (first half hour) and 40.9 (last half hour) compared to CBS’s Danny Kaye at 32.3 share and 30.3 share compared to Amos Burke at 24.8 share and 25.8 share. By November the series would be cancelled (Broadcasting, 11/1/65).


Interestingly, the final episode of the series, “Terror in Tiny Town, Part Two” aired at 10pm on Wednesday, January 12, 1966, the same night ABC premiered its new spy series Blue Light at 8:30pm. Could the failure of Amos Burke have played a role in ABC picking up Blue Light and the rush to get it on the air?

So besides the audience having little interest in Amos Burke as a spy, and everyone involved hating it, the series also had a fatal creative flaw, The Man.

The Man was supposed to be Amos Burke’s “M” (Bond) or Mr. Waverly (Man from U.N.C.L.E.). Instead The Man was one of the most unlikable, heartless, mean characters ever to play a good guy on TV. While Amos could not contact The Man, The Man gave him a watch that when it buzzed, it meant Amos had to stop everything and get to the airport as fast as possible to meet The Man. The Man’s office was the inside of a DC-9 and he conducted all meetings (but one) in the air.

for the rest go here:


John Paul Allen said...

I remember when they made the switch, but never understood why. A little network bandwagon jumping. Gene Barry was always Bat Masterson to me.

Anonymous said...

I didn't like burkes law too silly for me .the constant scenes of women slobbering over him were so sexist and stupid . I like the secret agent concept more be aide it was more fast paced but still thought it was equally silly .i didn't pay much attention to the man at all. Gene Barry was best at bat Masterson ...