Saturday, October 2, 2010


What do B.A. BARRACUS, JIM ROCKFORD & TONY BARRETTA have in common, besides their tireless devotion to take down the bad guys,each week, in 57minutes and 28 seconds or less?

These chimerical crime fighters , and dozens more TV tough guys, were created and developed by prolific, protean television writer/producer Stephen J. Cannell.The facile and formidable Cannell died in his Pasadena home on October 1st, at age 69,as a result of complications from melanoma.

A video visionary who had the unique ability to cultivate the human and vaunerable side of the characters he crafted , Cannell created, wrote and produced THE A-TEAM,WISEGUY,THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO,RIPTIDE, HUNTER, 21JUMP STREET, THE COMMISH, SILK STALKINGS,BARETTA and even won an EMMY AWARD for his work THE ROCKFORD FILES. He was a guiding force in the production of the recent A-TEAM movie.He got his start writing on UNIVERSAL's stable of classic caper shows like, Robert Wagner's stylish,ABC-TV spy series, IT TAKES A THIEF.

He was was often referred in the media to as a TV Mogul, but always preferred to be known as a writer, first. The son of a successful businessman, Cannell overcame dyslexia to launch and manage one of the medium's most successful production companies.

In 2008, he told an interviewer that he still wrote on an IBM Selectric Typewriter, because his dyslexia was so pronounced, that his many misspelled words rendered his computer's "spell check" feature useless.

Stephen J. Cannell leaves a legacy of dignity, decency and a portfolio of engaging, entertaining television shows, novels and films.It is an impressive achievement.

Here is an excerpt from his recent interview with THE ARCHIVE OF AMERICAN TELEVISION, posted on YOU TUBE. Here , he offers sage advice for aspiring writers.

Cannell explains the origins of his company's distinctive logo.

Here is the final iteration of that logo, from 1999.

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