Thursday, November 3, 2016

Forgotten TV: Owen Marshall, Counselor-at-Law (1971)

He didn't come from the pen of a noted mystery novelist, like Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason, but Owen Marshall, Counselor-at-Law does have a real-life lawyer among his creators.

Jerry McNeely co-created Marshall with David Victor, the executive producer of Marcus Welby, MD. After a back-door pilot aired on Welby, Marshall merited an ABC Movie of the Week berth, albeit at 2 hours instead of the usual 90 minutes, in 1971. That fall, Marshall was added to ABC's fall lineup, and ran for three seasons (1971-4).

Arthur Hill toplined as Marshall, who had a revolving door of operatives, largely because his first, Jess Brandon, was written out of the show after about a year or so (Lee Majors, fresh from Men From Shiloh, moved on to The Six Million Dollar Man). Still, Marshall came across as a Mason clone, but instead of a murder of the week, the series, like Welby, addressed societal issues of the day.

In this 3rd season episode, Marshall defends a military deserter (Randolph Mantooth, Emergency!). Jane Wyman and MacDonald Carey (Days of Our Lives) play the parents in "The Desertion of Keith Ryder", which also features Henry Jones and Dennis Patrick. By this point, Majors was gone, with David Soul (ex-Here Come The Brides) taking his place.

Soul would move on, of course, to Starsky & Hutch, and had a brief run on the pop charts, which we've previously documented.

This should've lasted longer than it did. That's all I can say.

Rating: A.

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