Sunday, 13 July 2014

JUST WHO ARE YOU CALLING A BURKE? (OR: BEFORE DREDD, THERE WAS AMOS...)



Ah, the 1960s - now there was an era!  I remember all the U.S.
TV shows that made their way to these shores:  The FUGITIVE,
77 SUNSET STRIP, BURKE'S LAW - to name but three.  Back in
the '90s, Burke's Law was revived, still starring GENE BARRY as
Captain AMOS BURKE, and I made sure I watched it religiously
in an attempt to recapture part of my past.

Those who actually remember the '60s show may be surprised to
learn that DICK POWELL originally starred as the millionaire Los
Angeles police captain in the first episode of The DICK POWELL
SHOW, before Gene Barry stepped into the role.  Anyway, in a nod
back to the swinging '60s, here's a Burke's Law strip from the TV
CENTURY 21 Annual for 1966 (released near the end of '65)
to help give you a taste of yesteryear.



10 comments:

Gey Blabby said...

Dick Powell? Really? Well, now that you mention it, I seem to remember quite a few old stars from the thirties and forties turning up in the cop shows at that time. I suppose the TV audience were old enough to remember them from their heyday.
I don't remember this one, I must admit. I think it must be from just before I was old enough to be aware of what I was watching on telly. I do seem to remember Gene Barry starring in a show in the style of The Baron - that is, an American hero in a British show - but I can't mind the name.

Dick Powell was the star of one of my favourite Philip Marlowe films Murder, My Sweet. He wasn't as good as Bogie in the role, of course, but he did okay. My mother, on the other hand, could never accept him as a tough guy because of his early years as a baby-faced crooner in Hollywood musicals.

JohnJ said...

Season two of "Burke's Law" had an episode which served as the pilot for "Honey West" which has been released on dvd. Only season one of "Burke's Law" has been released here but through MeTV I did get to see most of season 2 and the third season, which retitled the show "Amos Burke-Secret Agent" a flawed effort to reframe Burke as Bond. In every episode he had to drive to the airport, pull out a gizmo that opened the door and dropped a stairway down to him, because he could apparently only report to his superior in mid-air.

Kid said...

The Adventurer was the name of the 1972-'73 British show created by Monty Berman and Dennis Spooner, which only lasted one series of 26 episodes. I can't recall if I ever saw it or not, to be honest.

******

I knew about the secret agent new direction from what I'd read somewhere, but I don't think I ever saw any - at least, I don't remember seeing them. Obviously it was because of the success of The Man From U..N.C.L.E. and other spy-type shows.

John Pitt said...

For me, this was the weakest strip in TV 21. I always wanted Space Patrol to move over from TV Comic, or even bring back Four Feather Falls.

Kid said...

I guess it was big on TV at the time, JP, hence its inclusion. Three pages of the Daleks might've been better appreciated by the readers 'though.

TC said...

You'd think the producers would have realized that the spy-fi craze was a passing fad, and would have left well enough alone with Burke. But maybe it (making him a secret agent) seemed like a good idea at the time.

The Adventurer and The Protectors were syndicated in the US, and were usually shown (IIRC) in a late-late-late time slot. I remember sometimes watching them, but can't recall any specific episodes or plots.

Oddly, the British action-adventure shows with American stars or co-stars (The Protectors, The Adventurer, The Baron, Man In a Suitcase, The Champions) never really caught on in the US. The most popular British action series with American audiences (The Saint, Secret Agent [Danger Man], The Avengers) were the ones with British stars.

TC said...

Re: being unable to accept Dick Powell as a tough guy after having seen him in musicals, that's why RKO changed "Farewell, My Lovely" (the novel's title) to "Murder My Sweet." They worried that the original title would make people think it was a chick flick, especially since Powell's image up until then was as a crooner in musicals and romantic comedies.

Kid said...

I guess ratings were slipping, TC, hence the change in direction. If the show had been doing really well, they'd have left well enough alone. As for Danger Man, he was originally an Irish-American agent in the half hour episodes, but when the show was revived a few years after the first run, he was retconned as British. I know The Saint was popular in the States, maybe because the show was originally set in America ('though shot in Britain).

TC said...

The Saint was very popular with women in the States. Two words: Roger Moore. And The Avengers was popular over here, because Diana Rigg. Women liked watching Emma Peel beat up men, and men liked her because she was so hot you could probably fry on egg on her.

AFAIK, the half-hour Danger Man episodes were never broadcast in the US (I could be wrong, of course). I have seen some of them on YouTube. Apparently, Drake was an American of Irish ancestry, and he worked for NATO (which would include the US and Great Britain). The hour-long series aired in the US sometime around 1965-66 or so (near the peak of the spy-fi boom), under the "Secret Agent" title, with the Johnny Rivers song added as theme music. In those, Drake appeared to be British, and worked for an MI6-type agency.

Kid said...

I've got a version of that theme, sung by Mel Torme. I found some of the name-changes for the U.S. pointless, and rather insulting to the intelligence of American viewers. 'Secret Agent' spells out the obvious, 'Danger Man' is intriguing and has the promise of excitement about it. 'Randall & Hopkirk - Deceased' is more imaginative and interesting than the rather bland 'My Partner The Ghost'.

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