Sunday, November 30, 2014

What Might've Been: The Persuaders! (1971)

For all of his accomplishments in Hollywood, Tony Curtis took up television late in his career. Starting with a guest appearance on The Flintstones (as Stoney Curtis) in 1965, Curtis began taking more of an interest in the small screen, and landed his first series in 1971, ITC's The Persuaders!, in which he co-starred with Roger Moore (ex-The Saint), still a few years away from his first role as James Bond.

Curtis played Danny Wilde, a New Yorker who enlisted in the Navy to escape the slums, then became a nillionaire investing in oil. Lord Brett Sinclair (Moore) was a race car driver who had little success on the track, but had his own fortune to fall back on. The two met in the French Riviera and at first weren't exactly pals, getting into a fight. A retired judge (Laurence Naismith) hires them on as special agents to solve crimes that the police can't. Not quite like Department S or The Champions or any of ITC's other adventure series not named The Saint or Danger Man. Predictably, the series, airing on ABC here, lasted just 1 season, and marked the end of ITC's era of adventure, which, they claimed, began with Danger Man in 1960.

Curtis would land a couple more series gigs, but his only other starring vehicle was another 1 year wonder, McCoy, as part of the NBC Mystery Movie, before joining the cast of Vegas.

Here's the open:

Suffice to say, you'd be hard pressed to find a cabler willing to take a chance on this or any other ITC 1-year series today, but it is available on DVD, at least in the UK.

Rating: B.


Derek said...

You people over in the USofA don't know what you missed! The Persuaders! is quite simply the BEST TV series ever made - bar absolutely NONE! It combines action, adventure, friendship, humility, humanity, good against bad - and every other good thing going. The acting, the writing, the EVERYTHING was just so spot it that it could NEVER be replicated today. Rest in peace Roger, Tony, Laurence... et al! I urge you ALL out there to buy the DVDs - or at least squint at them on YouTube. You won't be sorry.

hobbyfan said...

Over here, Derek, the networks take television ratings a little more seriously. Bear in mind, too that only one "series", as you call it, of Persuaders was produced, and wasn't renewed on either side of the pond.

Derek said...

Rating? A ratings 'Winner' is often a load of junk - it can depend on how much money the networks throw at telling people how 'great' the series, serial, etc, is - even if it's televisual trash! They are only after making the bottom line as thick as possible - not necessarily real quality (though quality and success very often - but not always - go hand in hand!) People can be made to believe anything: e.g. you have Trump (even if he is half Scottish, which should mean he's not half bad but doesn't - I'm fully Scottish, so I should know! LOL!), and we have Bumbling, Blustering, Bull*&^%%ing Boris!!! (NOTE: I did NOT vote for him or his party! Never have, never will! I am NOT responsible for the miasma of misery, or the brexit debacle that this country finds itself in! Mei non culpable! NotLOL!) Only ONE series (which is what I called it because that's what it's called! LOL), made, yes, agreed, but ONE series of solid gold TV - would you rather have a ton of feathers or a stone of gold? Exactly. And only one series because Roger Moore was set to be Bond, James Bond - and who could blame him for taking THAT role!? I hope you've watched it! Look after yourself, hobbyfan. Cheers, Derek.