15 March 2009

Of Mice and Mannix

I'm not sure when public libraries became the purveyors of late-60s/early-70s detective shows, but yesterday I picked up a few discs from the first season (1967) of a childhood favorite CBS showMannix, starring Mike Connors. The two episodes we watched were full of driving cars (Mannix tends to pursue other cars not necessarily chase them), people getting beaten up, and good-looking women (in that late-60s/early-70s way), with the smart, tough, and not-too-cynical private detective Joe Mannix solving the crimes before the credits roll.

This was a bit before I was a regular viewer because Mannix was working for a big agency, and Peggy Fair, his secretary played by Gail Fisher (hubba hubba), wasn't yet in the cast. FYI: In 1970, for her Mannix role, she became the first African American woman to win an acting Emmy.

It is always interesting to watch to see how mores have changed (beside the most obvious ones as when Joe lets his female colleague out of his car when he has to pursue some drug smugglers. Compare Astrophysicist Carla Gugino's simply refusing to get out of Dwayne Johnson's car as he heads off to bring the cute alien kids to a secret governmental hideout in Race to Witch Mountain, just released this weekend). While, as a father of girls, I'm pleased to see the portrayal of that strength, it's still annoying that we even have to waste a brief scene to somehow reaffirm its existence.


But other things would be different now too.

In the drug smuggling episode, for example, a young Lynda Day, before her Mission Impossible gig (hubba hubba), hires Mannix to figure out why her father keeps checking into a Mexican health spa/alcoholism clinic when he doesn't have a drinking problem. There are hints throughout the show that the special health drinks may be changing behaviors, etc...but, no, the daughter is shocked to learn from Mannix that her father is a drug dealer!

In the heated final scene, Linda, of course, who somehow ends up with a gun in her hand, is in disbelief until her father finally confesses. I'm fairly certain that, today, she just might have blasted him with a few rounds for letting her down, but, in 1967/8, dad is indeed glad he has been caught so that his daughter, who means more to him than anything, can now depend less upon him and grow more independent.

My nine-year-old, who's currently playing a rat in the Newington Children's Theatre's touring production of Sleeping Beauty (after playing a mouse in Cinderella last year), said she'd "clunk" me on the head if she learned I was a drug smuggler.

Gosh, I miss the old days!

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