Sunday, October 3, 2021

Forgotten TV: Sam Benedict (1962)

After Cain's Hundred bombed, MGM sold NBC another crime drama, this one aspiring to paint a more positive picture of defense attorneys, considering that Perry Mason, over on CBS, was a loose adaptation of Erle Stanley Gardner's novels.

However, Sam Benedict, with Edmond O'Brien, met the same fate as Cain, cancelled after one season. Benedict, hewed closer to another CBS entry, The Defenders, however, given that Benedict (O'Brien) and his partner, Tobor (Richard Rust) were a team of lawyers.

Following is a sample episode with guest stars Diana Hyland and George Tobias, the latter two years before Bewitched moved him into pop culture stardom.

WB released this series on DVD as a MOD (manufactured on demand) product, assuming this was not worthy of a mass market release. I have to disagree.

No rating. Just a public service.


Mike Doran said...

You left out one significant fact here:
Sam Benedict's Saturday night competition on CBS that season was Jackie Gleason's American Scene Magazine, which broke fast out of the gate and left not only Sam but Roy Rogers and Dale Evans on ABC well behind.
I have the DVD set, and learned something interesting: the pilot film was produced in color, while the rest of the series was in Black-&-White (why that happened, no one knows).
Had NBC run Sam Benedict in color full-time, it just might have made a slight difference in attracting viewers - after all, the previous season, NBC had Tales Of Wells Fargo which was in color ...
... but we'll never know, will we?

hobbyfan said...

It's my understanding that, as part of some sort of experiment, NBC had one episode of Sam Benedict in color, likely the pilot you referenced, and did so with other series that season.