Thursday, October 1, 2009
HIGH CALIBER CRIME DRAMA FROM BLAKE EDWARDS - VINTAGE EPISODE OF PETER GUNN - NBC-TV - CIRCA 1959
Peter Gunn, private eye, was as cool as a dry martini on a torrid, summer night.
He was not your grandfather's, film noir gumshoe.
As played by the debonair Craig Stevens, Peter Gunn was almost Kennedy-esque in his Ivy League carriage and cultured comportment. He was the kind of sophisticated operator that you would expect to find in Hugh Hefner's Playboy magazine ,rather than a Dasheill Hamett novel.
Gunn was ironic, intelligent and anathema to any thug that crossed him or hurt his friends.If danger was his profession ,loyalty was his predilection.
NBC-TV debuted Blake Edwards production of Peter Gunn on September 22, 1958 and it was an instant hit with critics and viewers. The sparse, tightly written, 30 minute adventures of the suave, urban knight were underscored with a groundbreaking, jazz soundtrack from virtuoso composer Henry Mancini.The pulsating theme song went right to the top of the pop music charts.
Besides Stevens, who played Gunn with a light touch of Cary Grant's breezy bemusement,the ensemble cast included voluptuous Lola Albright as his primary love interest, a sultry singer named Edie Hart. Herschel Bernardi was the long-suffering Lt. Jacoby, Gunn's confidant. Over the course of the series, both Hope Emerson and Minerva Urecal played, Mother, the earthy owner of Pete's favorite hang-out, a jazz bar called Mother's.
Superlative producer Blake Edwards went on to bring the PINK PANTHER film series to big screens around the world in the Mid-1960's.In 1967, Edwards brought Stevens back to reprise the role of the wry private eye for a big screen version of the series.Years later, Peter Strauss was cast as a sanitized version of PETER GUNN in an abortive, ABC-TV, pilot film that did not make the network schedule.
Edwards deft touch in framing character,dialog and story line set PETER GUNN apart from traditonal, TV crime dramas.Creative casting allowed the series to showcase New York stage actor Jack Weston, TV stalwart Gavin MacLeod and comic improviser Shelley Berman on the home screen.
While shot on the Universal back-lot, the show radiated the ambiance of the city by night. The B&W series ran for two seasons on the peacock network and then moved to ABC-TV for a final flight, after producing 114 intricate adventures of this modern-day Paladin.
Below, from the Wes Channel, YOU TUBE site, are three clips that comprise the debut episode of Peter Gunn , entitled THE KILL. Enjoy!!!!
As a bonus, from the Ostmusicmix, YOU TUBE site, here is the PETER GUNN theme, as composed by Henry Mancini. Enjoy!!!!!