Monday, July 13, 2015

Classic TV: Police Story (1973)

Police officer-turned-bestselling author Joseph Wambaugh, you could say, picked up the baton for Jack Webb in creating a realistic police drama for television. While Webb's last police series, Chase, was a failure for NBC, the network struck gold with Wambaugh's first foray into television, Police Story.

The anthology series also marked the debut of producer David Gerber at Screen Gems, which morphed into Columbia Pictures Television in season 2. Gerber came over from 20th Century Fox, where he was mostly developing sitcoms instead of dramas (i.e. Nanny & the Professor). The studio opted for more of an anthology format, largely because this opened up better options for spin-off prospects. As it is, Police Story birthed three series: Police Woman sprang from a 1st season episode. Joe Forrester, a comeback vehicle for Lloyd Bridges, began with an episode in season 2. Finally, David Cassidy's ill-fated Man Undercover came out of an episode in Police Story's final season. Of the three, of course, Police Woman proved to be the most successful.

If some of the melody of Jerry Goldsmith's closing theme sounds familiar, it might be because he used some of the same notes for his theme to CBS' Barnaby Jones. Ya don't believe me? Scope for yourselves after you've seen "Collision Course", a 1st season episode with Sue Ane Langdon (ex-Arnie), Dean Stockwell, Rosemary DeCamp, and Hugh O'Brian.

Retro TV picked up the series in 2012, but then left the local cable system before I could invest any time in Police Story. I didn't watch it back in the day, so there's no rating.

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