Friday, November 16, 2012

Classic TV: Adam-12 (1969)

Jack Webb's revival of Dragnet was entering its final season in 1969. Just the same, NBC asked him to develop another police drama. What resulted was another TV icon that actually outlasted Dragnet's 2nd run.

Adam-12 followed veteran officer Pete Malloy (Martin Milner, ex-Route 66), serving as a mentor to rookie patrolman Jim Reed (Kent McCord, who'd made a couple of appearances---as different officers---on Dragnet). By the time the series ended in 1975, Reed & Malloy both had earned promotions, which would've suggested that if the series were to continue, Reed would've become the mentor.

The buddy format had served Milner well on Route 66 years earlier, and the chemistry with McCord was natural, as if they'd been friends for years. Milner & McCord were at the head of an ensemble that also included William Boyett as Sgt. McDonald, and Gary "Son of Bing" Crosby as officer Ed Wells. To help launch the series, Reed & Malloy appeared in an episode of Dragnet, and a couple of years later, they would in turn pass the baton, as Webb's next hit series, Emergency!, launched as a back door pilot on Adam-12.

There is so much to like, including the pulsing theme, composed by Frank Comstock, who also took over as musical director on Dragnet, and created an up-tempo version of the famous "Dragnet March".

Here's a sample intro:

As with Dragnet, Adam-12 was revived in the late 80's, but with new characters that, regrettably, viewers couldn't connect with. The New Adam-12, airing in syndication, was an abject failure.

Rating: A.


magicdog said...

I remember Adam-12 fondly and Kent McCord was another childhood crush!

You're correct in that Milner and McCord had great chemistry together; imagine if McCord had played Buz instead of George Maharis!

I also remember the remake and it was ok, but it didn't have the magic of the original.

hobbyfan said...

IIRC, the remake had Peter Parros (post-Knight Rider) in the cast, and that I think would be the last we'd see of that underrated actor. It's too bad Dick Wolf didn't try to tie everything together when he remade Dragnet nearly a decade ago.