Saturday, December 3, 2016

What Might've Been: Johnny Staccato (1959)

'Ey, lissen, bub. Lemme tell ya 'bout a gumshoe what got a raw deal from dem netwoik suits back in da day.

Johnny Staccato not only was a private eye, but a jazz musician, too. Often, he'd be sittin' in with a swingin', hotter than da 4th of July combo until a client came along to get him back on the pavement.

John Cassavetes starred as Staccato, and that slammin' jazz combo included the likes of Shelly Manne, who'd later compose the music for Ivan Tors' Daktari & Jambo, and future Oscar winner John Williams. The series lasted one season, split between NBC & ABC. Seems to me that the folks at home thought, due to the jazz music, that Staccato was ripping off that other hip-to-be-square cop show, Peter Gunn.

Now, like, let's scope out the series opener, "The Naked Truth", with guest stars Stacy Harris (a Revue Studios contract player at the time who often appeared on Jack Webb's shows, too), Ruta Lee, and Michael Landon (Bonanza), who apparently does his own singing in the first couple of minutes he's on camera.

I was hoping the Christmas episode, which aired this morning on Get TV (where it airs every Saturday), would be available, but it's not on YouTube. Maybe it's elsewhere, so we'll see within the next three weeks. Said episode, "The Unwise Men", guest starring Jack Weston, will replay later this month on Get TV (check local listings).

Rating: A-.


Mike Doran said...

The entire Johnny Staccato series is available on DVD from Timeless Media.

Very good restoration job, better than average from Timeless.

The shows do not include the original commercials, which I got to see on some bootleg tapes I had in the long-ago: John Cassavetes looking on wistfully at a couple in a rowboat below, while his voiceover extols the pleasures of Salem cigarettes ("Take a puff - it's springtime!").

By the way, this is the reason that Staccato switched networks midway through its single season: NBC wanted to cancel, but Salem didn't. ABC had an open half-hour, and there you go.

hobbyfan said...

Ah, the days when the sponsor, in this case RJ Reynolds, the makers of Salem, Winston, et al, had control of the programming. You don't see that anymore. Thanks, Mike.