Saturday, April 11, 2015

Forgotten TV: The Outsider (1968)

Darren McGavin was TV's original Mike Hammer in the 50's, before Stacy Keach, Jr. revived Mickey Spillane's iconic detective in the 80's. While most folks will remember McGavin for either "A Christmas Story", the original Night Stalker, or  playing Adam Sandler's dad in "Billy Madison", the actor had hard luck landing a series that lasted beyond a year.

The Outsider began with a 2-hour TV-movie in 1967, which aired earlier today on Grit, a digital channel now available in my home district (check listings). NBC thought enough of it to make it into a series the very next season, despite McGavin's track record (Riverboat, which co-starred future icon Burt Reynolds, also may have gone one year and no further. I'll have to look into that one.). Unfortunately, yep, Outsider, because of the glut of crime dramas,  lasted just the 1 season. Universal, the studio behind Outsider, was responsible for a good chunk of that glut.

The Rap Sheet provided the intro:

McGavin played ex-con-turned-private eye David Ross, and if the entire idea of a reformed ex-con going on the other side sounds familiar, well, Universal went to the well again a few years later with James Garner and The Rockford Files, which was much more successful. Go figure.

No rating.


magicdog said...

There was a time McGavin was considered a viable leading man in Hollywood. He ended up being more of a character actor as he got older, but he never disappointed in his roles.

Believe it or not I often remember him as Officer Damon, who befriends and later partners with Sidney Pythias (played by Jerry Lewis) in The Delicate Delinquent (1957). He was quite good as the straight man in that.

Yes, his role as "The Old Man" in "A Christmas Story" is also memorable, as was his turn as Murphy Brown's father.

It's a shame he didn't do well on series TV - sometimes it's all in the timing and it just wasn't in the cards for him.

hobbyfan said...

The role in Delicate Delinquent was originally intended for Dean Martin before he & Lewis broke up their act. Found that out as I was doing research.

The last film role I remember him having was in Dead Heat with Treat Williams & Joe Piscopo.