Saturday, May 16, 2015

Forgotten TV: Chase (1973)

You might not think this actually happened, but Jack Webb had a lot more output, post-Dragnet, than you might remember.

For now, let's focus on the 1973 season. Webb already had three shows on the air. Adam-12 was in its 5th season. Hec Ramsey, with Richard Boone and Harry Morgan, was in its 2nd and final season. Emergency!, a mid-season replacement in 1972, was already in its 3rd. Because, at the time, Webb was to NBC what Aaron Spelling was to ABC and Quinn Martin to both ABC & CBS, a go-to producer for crime dramas (Martin's 1st sale to NBC, Banyon, was a 1971 frosh), the network asked for, and got, another show from Webb, whose last acting job was in, of all things, a sitcom (The Partners, with Don Adams), and otherwise had stayed behind the camera.

Chase was plugged in on Tuesdays on NBC, and if I remember correctly, it was the same night as Banyon. Anyway, co-creators R. A. Cinader, a long-time Webb associate, and Stephen J. Cannell came up with the idea of a specialized team of detectives who took on severely violent crimes. The gimmick? The cops would use different modes of transportation--an unmarked police car (of course), a motorcycle, which was also standard issue by then, and a helicopter.

Wayne Maunder (ex-Lancer, Custer) was the lone "name" in the cast. It turned out to be his last series, as he didn't headline another show after Chase was cancelled. About midway through, NBC moved Chase from Tuesdays, where it was getting pummeled by CBS' Maude & the original Hawaii Five-0, to Wednesdays, and overhauled the cast. Gary Crosby came over from Adam-12, but as a different character, rather than bring Officer Ed Wells over from Adam-12. Didn't work, and the series was done after 1 year.

One of my teachers was a big fan of the show, as I recall, but back in those days, my folks were more into the trendy sitcoms, like, well, Maude. Go figure.

The Rap Sheet serves up the open.

If some of the melodies of Oliver Nelson's score sound familiar, well, he might've been swiping himself, since he also composed the music for another Universal entry, The Six Million Dollar Man, over on ABC.

No rating.

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