Sunday, September 30, 2012

January 24, 1974 review of McMillan and Wfie from Miami News

This is a newspaper review from the time that the show was airing and is an interesting view of the series.

PLOTS AGAINST WIFE KEEP MICMILLAN BUSY BY MARVIN KITMAN


The basic plot in McMillan and Wife is that someone is always trying to kill the wife (played by Susan St. James) and McMillan (Rock Hudson) won’t let them.

Thus, the major function of the police commissioner of San Francisco appears to be saving his wife’s life. Commissioner McMillan does not spend very much time in the office. Indeed, it is hard to recollect his even having a desk at police headquarters.

Of course, the police commissioner of San Francisco may not have that much work to do in the first place. Chief Ironside (Raymond Burr) is in charge of cleaning up crime in San Francisco as the chief of police in Ironside on NBC. And whoever he doesn’t catch from his wheelchair, there’s always Karl Malden and Mike Douglas out there patrolling The Streets of San Francisco on ABC.

How come some TV viewer might rightfully as, San Francisco and Los Angeles have so many cops on the TV beat? Cities like Philadephia and Detroit are defenseless on TV. No wonder there’s so much crime on their streets.

But what worries me today is the crime wave against Mrs. McMillan. 14 attempts on her life in 14 shows is what I call a crime wave. Is it a coincidence or is some person or person trying to get her—and for what?

Sally McMillan lives in a beautiful home with Stewart McMillan, the commissioner, and Nancy Walker. In a previous episode of the show, some cop referred to Nancy Walker as a “maid.” “Housekeeper,” Nancy quickly corrected him. “Friend,” Sally McMillan said.

Why does the commissioner’s wife need a maid or a housekeeper? She is a strong young woman who doesn’t have a job. She doesn’t do any volunteer work with any consistency.

If Mrs. McMillan stayed at home and dusted more often, perhaps the incidence of crime against her would drop significantly. Why doesn’t she play golf in tournaments? Or go out and visit Mrs. Columbo?

Now Mrs. Columbo is the ideal TV cop’s wife. She has never been shot at once; she has never even been kidnapped or even held hostage. Mrs. Columbo is absolutely no trouble at all to her husband. She’s talked about and never seen. Mrs. McMillan should be like Mrs. Columbo and allow her husband to do his work, whatever it may be.

Okay. Who’s the mastermind behind the plot to get the commissioner’s wife? A snitch (informant) says it’s Mrs. Columbo.


Okay some of his criticism is valid, Sally does seem to blunder into trouble but I got the impression she grew up with servants and that Mildred had worked for the family for years. She also has been shown to be involved with several charities over the episodes, she came from money and has probably never had to have a job.

However I had forgotten that there were 3 cop shows set in San Francisco at the same time, that is actually pretty odd.

Monday, June 25, 2012

BANACEK SEASON 1 EPISODE 7

The Greatest Collection of Them All

The collection is 23 million dollars of impressionist paintings. It has been exhibited for the last year at museums around the country. The exhibit was set up by Gloria Hamilton for the benefit of the Heart Alliance. The paintings are crated up in New York and locked and sealed into wooden packing cases and then strapped and sealed into a truck from Trotter Van Lines.

The paintings are driven to Boston in the truck with a security car in the front and the back. There is a reception waiting for them in Boston. As soon as the crates are unloaded they are taken inside and opened by the chairman of the museum, Mr. Trotter. The first crate he opens is empty and he yells for them to get the truck back. The truck is a couple of blocks away but the security men chase it down.

When all the crates are opened there is one small painting left, a Brock, with an odd sized frame. Mr. Trotter’s son (played by Jamie Farrell) runs Trotter Van Lines and gave Gloria the use of the truck for free. He drove his father out of the business because he was spending too much of the company’s money on cultural donations. Boston Insurance has 6.5 million dollars of the 23 million dollar insurance on the exhibit.

Gloria Hamilton did the entire exhibit as cheaply as she could, and the insurance has a one million dollar deductible that the heart fund would have to pay if the paintings aren’t found. So She is trying very hard to find the paintings on her own. Eventually she joins forces with Banacek, and falls for him, of course

Old Polish Proverb

A Wise Man never tries to warm himself in front of a painting of a fire.





Saturday, June 23, 2012

BANACEK SEASON 1 EPISODE 6

Ten Thousand Dollars a Page

The Tyson Museum is under construction. It is mostly finished and they are setting up the exhibit for The Book of Hours. This is a rare illustrated manuscript from 1562. It is in a room by itself . There is a camera focused on the book and sensors on the book pedestal. If the book is moved then iron doors seal off the room and alarms sound for police to come. There were some successful tests on the system, so the book is put in the exhibit.

A security guard is watching the camera and there is some glare, he thinks it is a fault in the circuit. Suddenly the alarm sounds and several police cars show up. When they open up the sealed room the book is gone.The manuscript is owned by a wealthy, old man who says the book is his most precious possession and he will do anything to get it back. there is a ransom demand but he just gets ashes back.

Old Polish Proverb

Just because the dress is satin doesn’t mean it comes off easy.




 



Thursday, June 21, 2012

BANACEK SEASON 1 EPISODE 5

To Steal A King

Mr. and Mrs. Markham checked into a security suite at the Stafford, a Boston hotel. They have a briefcase with 10 coins in it. The collection is called the 10 kings. It is being auctioned the next day and Mr. Markham expects it to net 2.5 million to 3 million. It is insured for 2.3 million. They put it in a special safe in the suite. Only Mr. Markham has the combination and it is on a time lock. The next morning, he goes to the safe and opens it and the 10 kings are gone.

There are 3 bidders for the auction; Ms. Clark (Brenda Vacarro) working for the Amsterdam Bank of NY, the Garson brothers, rich, eccentric collectors and Matt Donniger. Donniger is a rich cowboy from Nebraska ( Pernell Roberts) obsessed with proving his family history, he believes Mr. Markham cheated him at an auction. Ms. Clark is a charming liar who helps Banacek on the case.

Old Polish Proverb

A wolf that takes a peasant to supper probably won’t need any breakfast.





 



Friday, June 15, 2012

BANACEK SEASON 1 EPISODE 4

4 A Million the Hard Way

A Las Vegas casino is showing a million dollars in a rotating display as a publicity gimmick. Margot Kidder plays Linda , a photographer. It is her job to take pictures of people with the money. It is in a sealed dome in 5 stacks of 1,000 dollar bills. Only the head of the casino, Mr. Leland and the casino owner, a Howard Hughes type can get into the display.

Linda is photographing a couple and suddenly someone wins on the oversized slot machine, Big Betty. She rushes over to take a photograph, but the man doesn’t want his photo taken. He is with a woman, probably not his wife.

So she goes back to the money and starts to take a photo. But the display is empty. Banacek is called in by the casino owner. There is already an insurance investigator there who tells him there is no evidence of tampering on Big Betty.





Wednesday, June 13, 2012

BANACEK SEASON 1 EPISODE 3

3 No Sign of the Cross

Broderick Crawford plays Mr. DeRetzo. He is an old gangster living in Mexico, he is elderly and sick and wants to get into heaven. He thinks the way to do this is to bribe the church.

DeRetzo has the Cross of Bayone; a thousand year old gold, jewel encrusted cross worth a million dollars. The cross is about 18 inches high, and a foot across so I would think it would weigh a lot, but people carry it around like it weighs very little. So maybe it is just gold leaf or the producers didn’t stop to think that that gold is very dense and it would actually weigh about 70 pounds!

There is an insurance agent, Waynemouth who had devised a plan to get the cross safely from Mexico to the Archbishop of Los Angeles. A priest and a cop start from his hacienda and after they cross the border they are met by an American cop and priest and they transfer the cross to them. Of course they check each other’s IDs first.

The transfer goes off without a problem, but the package when opened does not contain the cross. Banacek gets on the case and finds out that the area that the cross passed through in Mexico is very isolated. There is only a very small town named Libel and a small, isolated farm owned by a man named Selmo. He is a woodcarver and he has an adult daughter , Cecilia, with polio. They came in to some money and are in Mexico City to visit a shrine hoping for a miracle so Cecilia can walk. They were away during the cross's disappearance.





Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Banacek Season 1 Episode 2

PROJECT PHOENIX

What is missing in the episode is a Experimental Safety Vehicle. This is a extremely safe car that was made for a contest. The first company to produce a safe car is being offered 15 million dollars for the rights to the car by Horizon car company in Detroit. The car is being transferred from Middlefield to Boston on the way to Detroit and is traveling by railroad car.

The car is strapped down on a flatbed and covered with a tarp. The open car is in between 2 boxcars. There are several guards on the train and the train makes no stops. However, when the train gets to Boston the flatcar is missing.







An obnoxious insurance investigator, Joe Thandenhurst is assigned the case and he hates Banacek. The investigator tells Banacek that the train didn’t stop at all. It was 40 to 45 mph all the way and there were no sidings. R and W m developed the car, the Phoenix and Horizon Engineering is the only company that would benefit from the disappearance.

Their car is in competition to get the prize. There is a rivalry between the companies and they steal each other’s employees. Christine Burton used to work for Horizon and was hired by R and W 2 years ago. She was caught on the way out of the factory with a full set of blueprints and was fired. Banacek goes to meet her, she is a definite suspect. She thinks Banacek is a sexist pig, but starts to warm up to him.The car is insured for 5 million dollars. There are a several suspects, but no way that the car could be stolen, until Banacek figures it out.

Old Polish Proverb

Read the whole library my son, but the cheese will still smell after 4 days. (Banacek's explanation no matter how much you know natural laws are natural laws)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mcmillan and Wife Episode list

SEASON ONE

PILOT ONCE UPON A DEAD MAN

MURDER BY THE BARREL

THE EASY SUNDAY MURDER CASE

HUSBANDS, WIVES AND KILLERS

DEATH IS A 7 POINT FAVORITE

‘TIL DEATH DO US PART

AN ELEMENTARY CASE OF MURDER

SEASON TWO

THE NIGHT OF THE WIZARD

BLUES FOR SALLY M

COP OF THE YEAR

TERROR TIMES TWO

NO HEARTS, NO FLOWERS

THE FINE ART OF STAYING ALIVE

2 DOLLARS ON TROUBLE TO WIN



SEASON THREE

DEATH OF A MONSTER…BIRTH OF A LEGEND

THE DEVIL,YOU SAY

FREE FALL TO TERROR

MAN WITHOUT A FACE

REUNION IN TERROR

CROSS AND DOUBLE CROSS



SEASON 4

DOWNSHIFT TO DANGER

THE GAME OF SURVIVAL

BURIED ALIVE

GUILT BY ASSOCIATION

NIGHT TRAIN TO LA

LIVE, HONOR AND SWINDLE



SEASON 5

‘THE DEADLY INHERITANCE

REQUIUM FOR A BRIDE

AFTERSHOCK

SECRETS FOR SALE

THE DEADLY CURE

GREED

POINT OF LAW

McMillan and Wife series description

McMillan and Wife was part of the NBC mystery line up. at first it was part of the Wedensday night mystery movie, then part of the Sunday night mystery movie. this series ran from 1971 to 1977. the mystery movie had several different mystery shows that rotated each week. so there were only about 7 McMillan and wife each year. this enabled them to take their time making the shows and ensured good quality.

i believe this series hold up pretty well. some of the clothes and hairstyles are just awful, but the characters are great. Stuart McMillan (Rock Hudson) and Sally McMillan ( Susan Saint James) were a recently married couple. Mac is quite a bit older than Sally. he used to be an attorney and now he is the police commissioner of San Francisco.

Mildred (Nancy Walker) used to work for Sally's mother, but when Sally married, Mildred went with her. Sgt. Enright ( John Schuck) is mac's assistant. both these characters often serve as comic relief for the show.

OPENING CREDITS






This show was a stylish ,sophisticated mystery series. The body count was pretty high among the friends of the McMillans but that didn't matter, i watched it for the wonderful relationship between Mac and Sally. I thought they had a great marriage ( I know Rock Hudson was gay, but he was such a good actor that i believed he adored Sally)

Mildred was also a wonderful character; loyal, sarcastic and funny. even Enright had his moments. they sure drank a lot on the show and twice they found a body in their house (and they didn't move!!!) also the police commissioner doesn't actually solve crimes, and certainly not with his wife's help.

in the last year, they killed off Sally and Mildred left, so the series didn't end well. they should of just stopped at season 5 with Sally alive. At the end of season 1 Sally was pregnant but she didn't actually have a baby until season 5 and they never explained it. Also, the baby, it was a boy, was never given a name. So there were some continuity errors on the show, but it is still a pretty enjoyable one.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Banacek Season 1 Episode 1

LET’S HEAR IT FOR A LIVING LEGEND

Hank Ives is a star quarterback. He is tackled by a group of opposing players and when they are pulled off him, all there is left, is a helmet. He has disappeared , it is on live TV, so Banacek sees it as his girlfriend’s apartment. The team owner is a prankster, so no one believes him at first that it is a real disappearance. But eventually they get a 2 million dollar ransom note.

Boston Insurance has a 500,000 dollar insurance policy for non performance. Hank is a loner and hard to get along with, especially when he lost his dog tags. His dad’s WWII army dog tags were his good luck charm and recently they disappeared. This leads Banacek to search for a mysterious blonde.

Old Polish Proverbs

If you’re not sure that it’s potato borsht, there could be orphans working in the mines. ( what you don’t know could hurt you a lot) 






BANACEK PILOT EPISODE

PILOT DETOUR TO NOWHERE

The pilot introduces all the characters. Jay is a chauffeur that Banacek hires when he goes to Texas. Carly is an insurance investigator that is told to go and spy on Banacek. The missing item is a armored car loaded with 1.6 million dollars in gold. It was being driven in Texas with a police escort. The escort had a blown tire, it turns out to be from gunfire, so the armored car is alone for a while. There are no intersections in the road, but the car disappears anyway. The police try to catch up to the car and come across a barrier made with oil drums. There are tracks leading away from the road and over a cliff. The 2 armored car guards are dead over the cliff, but no trace of the car or the gold.

The story starts 2 months later. Now, usually in the series Banacek is called in by the insurance companies quickly. But in this story he pursues the case himself. If an insurance company’s investigators get nowhere for 60 days then anyone can go looking for the item and get the 10% fee. The investigator on the case, Mckinney sends Carly to spy on Banacek, she ends up sleeping with him but betraying him to look for the gold. In the pilot we learn that Banacek’s dad came over from Warsaw and went to work for the insurance company Carly works for. He was replaced by a computer after working there for 20 years, so Banacek isn’t too fond of insurance companies.

OLD POLISH PROVERB If your socks are not in your shoes, don't look for them in heaven. (Banacek's explanation: It didn't really disappear, they just couldn't find it.)


 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

BANACEK STARRING GEORGE PEPPARD

Banacek was part of the NBC mystery movie on Sunday nights, along with McMillan and Wife, Columbo, Hec Ramsey, McCloud and , briefly, Snoop Sisters. George Peppard played Banacek as a cool, sophisticated, antique-loving insurance investigator. Each week thieves stole something very precious in an ingenious way. Banacek was hired by the insurance companies for 10 percent of the value of the recovered item. Thomas Banacek was a complete sexist pig and the Polish jokes were horrible. But the mysteries were very interesting.

CAST

His chauffeur , played by Ralph Manza, served as comic relief, he thought he could solve the mysteries better than Banacek. Thomas also has a friend,played by Murray Matheson, who owns an book store, he proved background information for him. The friend, Felix, was elderly but also a ladies man just like Banacek. There is a fellow insurance investigator Carly, played by Christine Belford, she is a thorn in his side, she keeps trying to outdo him and sometimes she sleeps with him.

PILOT MOVIE DETOUR TO NOWHERE

SEASON ONE

LET’S HEAR IT FOR A LIVING LEGEND

PROJECT PHOENIX

NO SIGN OF THE CROSS

A MILLION THE HARD WAY

TO STEAL A KING

$10,000 A PAGE

THE GREATEST COLLECTION OF THEM ALL

THE 2 MILLION CLAMS OF CAPTAIN JACK

SEASON TWO

NO STONE UNTURNED

IF MAX IS SO SMART, WHY DOESN’T HE TELL US WHERE HE IS?

THE $3,000,000 PIRACY

THE VANISHING CHALICE

HORSE OF A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT COLOR

ROCKET TO OBLIVION

FLY ME—IF YOU CAN FIND ME

NOW YOU SEE ME, NOW YOU DON’T







There was a movie pilot and 2 seasons of episodes. There would have been a third season, but George Peppard was going through a nasty divorce and wanted to deprive his wife of his earnings. The show looks good, you can tell they spent money on it. Some shows look like they are all shot in the a couple rooms with familiar scenery. But this shows spent the money and goes on location often.

There are some recurring themes in the series. Jay is always trying to solve the puzzle himself and hustling for money. Felix can't win at chess. Carly is suspicious and jealous of Banacek but still sleeps with him often. His name is purposely mispronounced as Ban a sec and his being Polish is always mentioned (this is during the time when Polish jokes were very common and acceptable). And every woman that meets Banacek wants to sleep with him.

MYSTERY MOVIE OPENING CREDITS


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Snoop Sisters



Snoop Sisters was part of the NBC Mystery Movie lineup for only one season, 1973-1974. The series was part of the Wednesday and Tuesday night Mystery movie series, the other shows were Banacek , Faraday and Company and Tenafly. All the series, except for Banacek were quickly cancelled. Only 4 episodes were made of this series, but I still remember it fondly. The heroines, 2 elderly sisters, were game for anything and kept getting involved in mysteries.

CAST


Helen Hayes played Ernesta Snoop

Mildred Natwick played Gwen Snoop

Lou Antonio played Barney, the sister’s chauffeur

Bert Convy played police detective Steve Ostrowski

Mildred Natwick was also a part ofMcMillan and Wife, another part of the NBC Mystery Movie lineup. She played Commissioner McMillan’s eccentric, widowed mother.






Natwick and Hayes had made a movie for ABC in which they weren’t the Snoop sisters but they were amateur detectives. The movie, Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate, was successful and may have served as an unofficial pilot to the Snoop Sisters.

Ernesta and Gwen Snoop were very successful mystery writers, but they were not content to just write or enjoy retirement. The sisters became involved in real life mysteries, using the experience they gained writing their books , to search for clues. The series was set in New York City.

Barney was their loyal chauffeur, who helped them with their cases and served as an unofficial bodyguard. Steve Ostrowski was the sister’s nephew and was sucked into their cases.

Monday, January 16, 2012

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