Thursday, July 18, 2013

Classic TV: Barnaby Jones (1973)

Nearly 2 years after the conclusion of The Beverly Hillbillies, Buddy Ebsen returned to television with another hit series, this one lasting almost as long as Hillbillies, but so far removed from it, he became an icon all over again.

Barnaby Jones came from the Quinn Martin factory, and was meant to be a spin-off from Cannon, which was in its 2nd season. Instead, CBS bought the show before a pilot episode could air, which led to detective Frank Cannon (William Conrad) appearing in the series opener, "Requiem For a Son". Barnaby was a mid-season replacement that lasted 8 seasons, ending in 1980. As proof of the dual iconic status of Ebsen, he reprised as Barnaby in a feature film adaptation of Hillbillies, complete with Barnaby's theme music playing. About the only cool thing about a movie that didn't live up to the hype otherwise.

Lee Meriweather (ex-Time Tunnel) co-starred as Barnaby's daughter-in-law-turned-business partner, Betty. Mark Shera came over from S.W.A.T. in season 5, which helped things as Ebsen lightened his workload due to his advancing age.

Here's "Requiem For a Son":

To think that this actually started the trend of veteran stars (i.e. Dick Van Dyke) using mysteries as comeback vehicles in later years.

Rating: B.

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