Saturday, February 4, 2017

Forgotten TV: Ohara (1987)

Having reinvented himself as a character actor all over again in "The Karate Kid", Noriyuki "Pat" Morita (ex-Happy Days) returned to ABC in January 1987, this time in a crime drama, Ohara.

Morita co-created the series himself, the idea clearly being that he wanted to see through the development of a crime drama with an Asian-American lead. Morita had done drama before, in films such as "Midway" while on breaks from Happy Days in the 70's. Despite being Japanese-American, a case could've been made that Morita could've been able to pass as the most famous Asian detective of them all----Charlie Chan. Ohara, then, was a trial run, after a sort. The series lasted two seasons (January '87-May '88), and faced stiff competition, particularly from another crime drama, CBS' Simon & Simon.

Madge Sinclair (ex-Trapper John, MD) and Kevin Conroy were among the co-stars. Problem was, the show changed formats a few times over the 16 months it was on the air, as WB and ABC kept tinkering with it, trying to improve the ratings. The fact of the matter was, no matter where they'd have placed it, Ohara was never going to be able to gain a strong audience, even with its target demographic.

Here's one of the various intros:

No rating. I don't recall seeing the show, and in those days, my folks preferred Simon & Simon.


Mike Doran said...

The Ohara intro you have is from the second season.
Season One was more action-oriented (sorry, unintentional), with a different theme; there were several casting changes during that season, which forced the producers to keep changing the titles.

By the way, did you know that Pat Morita started out as a stand-up comic in nightclubs?
He played a few Chicago clubs in the early '60s - he was billed as "The Hip Nip".
It was, as they say, a Different Time ...

hobbyfan said...

I'll fix the text, Mike, thanks.

So Morita did stand-up before turning to Hollywood, like so many others before him. I think one of the casting changes was the departure of Kevin Conroy (moved to Tour of Duty, where he also lasted 1 season) after the 1st season.