Mannix is Coming! (All things Mannix w/spoilers)

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Hank Dearborn, Sep 20, 2007.

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  1. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    Stephen Bowie and JoAnn Paul:

    This debate has no doubt been a lot of work, for both of you, but I think each of you have added to our understanding and appreciation of Mannix. Thanks to both of you. For what little it may be worth, I find both of your perspectives worthy and illuminating—and probably in large part because they come from such different points of view.

    As a Star Trek fan, I confess that a quote from The Undiscovered Country came into my mind while I was reading your posts that may or may not be relevant. In that movie, Captain Kirk is talking with Spock, and at one point says, more or less: "We're each of us extremists. Reality is somewhere in-between."

    I think each of your points of view address essential elements of this classic show. For me, perhaps unrealistically, the views you express are not entirely incompatible—at least in my mind. Imho the "reality" of Mannix is probably somewhere in-between the two views that you present.

    Anyway, thanks again for your work. And thanks also for being civil as you agree to disagree.

    Best wishes, Ben
     
  2. jompaul17

    jompaul17 Screenwriter

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    Stephen,

    So, let me see if I get this all right.

    First, your opening sentence is designed to discredit me whole cloth, using the technique of saying the world agrees with you and I am all alone -- and then you go on to take umbrage because I pointed out errors, omissions and misleading statements in your review. It's a clever way of saying that I'm unreasonable and you are an injured party. But, I never said your writing wasn't clever! You are clearly a skilled writer with facile command of the English language and how to get points across -- including that sentence buried near the end of your previous post:
    But, I'll get back to today's version of that. Let's examine the facts that caused such umbrage.

    So far as I can tell, you've now corrected multiple things in your initial review, including two I pointed out and at least one other (that I know of, so far) that someone else pointed out. So, there were multiple errors in your review.

    Second, while you go into great detail summarizing multiple sources for why Mannix was canceled (or renewed after its first season -- except those sources aren't actually included in this post for some reason...), your claim for your reason for not mentioning Gail Fisher's contribution to Mannix, and in turn Mannix's contribution to diversity, is because it is already noted in multiple sources! I can assure you that quite a few people remain unaware of Mannix's contribution to diversity, especially in the context of the times in which it first aired. This now includes readers of your article who may have been introduced to the series for the first time. Did it not deserve even a single sentence of mention? So, Mannix's contribution to diversity was completely overlooked.

    Third, saying that "fabulously violent" is going to have a clear positive connotation for all readers seems, especially for a journalist, well... let's just call that misleading.

    Anyone can quote or reference a favorite critic, author, or writer if they want outside confirmation. If you invoke Matt Zoller Seitz for form, I can invoke Jung or Campbell for themes.

    Still, if form is the central piece of the article, then I would think you might be interested in what Mike Connors had to say in PBS' Pioneers of Television: Crime Dramas. Mannix had far more camera set-ups than the typical drama of the day -- that was a true Bruce Geller innovation. That affected the stories, pacing and acting in the series -- as I discuss in my book. So, that was overlooked in your article as well.

    Still, I don't mind that so much as this statement:
    which is another shot at me buried in there near the end of the post -- just like the post the day before.

    In that same vein, I find it quite discouraging that any journalist who claims to write about classic television would write that heroism was:
    Wow. Really?

    Honestly, I don't even know what to say to that. I think that statement pretty much speaks for itself.

    Clearly I'm a big fan of Mannix -- I wrote a book on the series, after all.

    And, despite your claims that discussion of themes is quite common, I'm certain my book isn't ordinary or typical in pretty much any way.

    The series has been overlooked and mislabeled for decades. One of the labels it tends to get is "violent" while modern series get a pass because they are so "innovative." Where in the world does that line of thinking go? You mean anything goes so long at it is innovative?

    Further, notice how you defended The Sopranos when you conjured a "convert attack" on my part? Imagine how I feel about Mannix carrying a primary label as violent -- yet again? And its actually quite major contribution to diversity being overlooked -- yet again?

    Discussion of violence in terms of punching and volume lacks depth -- the whole point is how it is used -- yes, thematically.

    If you want to write another post, I'll wait for the clever zingers buried in there to come my way... Geez.
     
  3. jompaul17

    jompaul17 Screenwriter

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    Ben,

    I appreciate this.

    For me, the difference is that I initially pointed out things, and did not get personal.
     
  4. jompaul17

    jompaul17 Screenwriter

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    For the record, at the end of the second part of the Mike Connors-Joseph Campanella interview on disk 2 of season 1 of the Mannix DVDs, Mike Connors clearly states that Lucille Ball saved the series despite low ratings and threat of cancellation by CBS in season 1.

    (I thought discussion of this might have been there -- but have been too busy to watch the DVDs these past few days.)

    He specifically says how she liked the character, so they brought in people to fix the series. It's an easy inference (even though I've read elsewhere that she thought people did not understand the computers) that the character is what she liked -- not the format with the computers.

    So the series was saved and the re-tooling was prompted because Lucille Ball wanted to see the character saved. The "Ball," so to speak, got rolling from there -- at which point Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts were brought in for consultation -- and they became the co-producers of the series for the next seven seasons.

    MC does not state this as speculation. He states it as something he "heard later." The discussion of this is approximately two minutes long and is the closing part of a collection of planned comments that include behind the scenes information about the series.

    Ignoring this, or simply deciding it is false, is absurd. It was likely recorded in 2008. Anyone who buys the season 1 DVDs can watch it for themselves.

    Bruce Geller was the EP, so he was officially in charge of production. But it is curious that the consultation was done with a team who wound up actually producing the series -- well after Bruce Geller was banned from the Paramount lot in around 1970 (as previously discussed in this thread, with reference).

    Lucille Ball had gone out of her way for Mannix at least once -- as documented in the aforementioned book about Desilu. Regardless of the exact sale date of Desulu, she had personal investment in the series -- and gee, she might have just used her considerable influence at the network for personal or artistic reasons. What a thought!

    Such kinds of influence would likely not be published in a 1968 article, which would have some other story to account for why the series was so dramatically and singularly re-tooled after one season of low ratings.

    I sure never would have ignored, or worse, vehemently gone against something that was clearly stated by the star of a 40 year old series in an archival-style interview that anyone can watch right on the DVDs.

    Then again, I don't like to go against Mike Connors, since he still cuts an imposing figure and he knows where I live.
     
  5. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    The Odds Against Donald Jordan

    Liked this one. Mannix solved a complicated riddle with all sorts of false clues. Nice little romance with Susan Oliver, perhaps best known as the green gal in Trek's The Menagerie. What electric blue eyes she had. Joe Mantell does well as the sidekick. It was also nice to see Paul Winfield, who later went on to play many roles, including Martin Luther King Jr. in a miniseries, as was as a Captain in Trek's Wrath of Kahn. The ending was somehow touching. I liked how Mannix was trying to make things a little better with these troubled characters. I think I'd rate the episode a B+.
     
  6. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    I like how they often use real money on this show. So many shows from this era use such obviously fake money that it destroys some of the illusion. The chemistry between Peggy and Mannix was good in this episode. And it touched on one of my pet peeves of crime dramas starting about this time. Sometime in the 1970s, I think, it was decided that you should usually have white men doing the crimes. Certainly white men do commit a lot of crimes, but based on a lot of crime and detective shows from the 1980s to today it sometimes seems like c. 60-80% of all crimes are committed by white men. On TV, the bad guy role doesn't seem to be an equal opportunity profession. Ironically, in the attempt to not offend anyone and be progressive, it's ended up give a lot of good jobs to white male actors. The other pet peeve I have is how often in American dramas it's an upper class British man who is the baddie. You'd almost think that half of all plots for world domination are hatched by graduates of Oxford or Cambridge. Anyway, that's a very long-winded windup to saying that this particular episode took a different view. Sometimes it was a little awkward and strained, but ultimately I found the drama compelling. Good episode with a large role for Peggy.
     
  7. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    The Solid Gold Web

    Another solid episode. At this point the Mannix show seems like it was a well-oiled machine, producing good episodes nearly every single time. This one had as a guest star Sally Kellerman, who was in the Trek episode Where No Man Has Gone Before 4 years earlier. I liked the love story and the sketch of Mannix. Seemed like some pretty jazzy cinematography. JP's idea of Mannix putting himself at risk for people because he cares even more than because of the money seems esp. true in this one.

    Excellent PQ with these DVDs—equal to the best of any television show I've ever seen.
     
  8. Dan McW

    Dan McW Second Unit

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    I just finished season seven and noticed something about the opening credits. One episode--I think it was on the second or third disc--had different opening credits from the rest of them in the set. This episode had different footage in the "i" and "x" portion of the credits, which makes me think it was a true season-seven opening and that the rest of the episodes just had the season-six credits slapped on them.
     
  9. davidHartzog

    davidHartzog Cinematographer
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    FYI Mike Conners fans, someone has posted a number of Tightrope episodes on Youtube.
     
  10. Wiseguy

    Wiseguy Stunt Coordinator

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    I remember the black cat and Mannix coming on first followed by Barnaby Jones. I don't remember Mannix ever being associated with Cannon. A quick look at the schedules of both series over the years shows that the only time the two series even came on the same night were two months (July 75 - August 75, the last airdates for Mannix) when Cannon came on Wednesdays @ 9 followed by Mannix @ 10.
     
  11. Wiseguy

    Wiseguy Stunt Coordinator

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    Mission: Impossible did indeed use the western street in one of the last episodes appropriately called "The Western." (March 2, 1973)
     
  12. Wiseguy

    Wiseguy Stunt Coordinator

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    I noticed the "Cinnamon" song in three 3rd-season episodes: "Return to Summer Grove," "Walk with a Dead Man" and "Who Is Sylvia?" In addition I've noticed some tracks of the Mannix soundtrack used repeatedly such as "End of the Rainbow" in the episodes "A Sleep in the Deep," "Missing: Sun and Sky," "Who Is Sylvia?," "Only One Death to a Customer" and "Once Upon a Saturday." The track "Hunt Down" can be heard in "A Sleep in the Deep" and "A Chance at the Roses." "Warning: Live Blueberries" can be heard in "Missing: Sun and Sky" and "Harlequin's Gold." "Beyond the Shadow of Today" can be heard in "Once Upon a Saturday." All in the 3rd Season!
     
  13. Wiseguy

    Wiseguy Stunt Coordinator

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    I remember the syndicated airings on our local ABC affiliate. They alternated the late-night showings with uncut episodes of Hawaii Five-0 (albeit with an extra commercial break) when programs were still syndicated uncut on film (it was up to the local station whether or not snip footage). Mannix, of course, was syndicated pre-edited on tape, the current practice. I was surprised (and somewhat disappointed) to see the "gridwork" eliminated from the episodes possibly due to the extra commercial break.

    Although I always liked Mannix, I haven't been too consistent with either the CBS or syndicated airings. The only episode I know I saw on CBS, in syndication and on DVD was "The Mouse that Died" from Season 4, a memorable (obviously) episode. I was too young to see the first season on CBS (I always thought the second season was the first until I later learned otherwise) and for some reason didn't care to see the late-night broadcasts on ABC (and possibly our local station didn't show it all the time) so watching the first season on DVD was a new experience. I've been watching one episode a week ever since so as not to "dilute" the experience (except for a short break halfway through the series to watch the revival of Mission: Impossible having already seen all of the original). I'm now halfway through Season 5.

    I usually wait for the first few seasons of a series to be released before I start collecting. The price generally goes down somewhat and I don't have to wait for the new season to be released. So far, I've finished The Wild Wild West and both Mission: Impossible series and am in the process of watching Mannix, Hawaii Five-0 (maybe the new series as well) and Perry Mason. (Like Mannix, both Hawaii Five-0 and Perry Mason originally held back episodes from syndication although now all episodes are available. Our local FOX station shows all the Perry Mason episodes but cut down to at least 45 minutes.)

    Is it just a coincidence all these series are from CBS/Paramount? Basically a nostalgic trip since I've watched all these series off and on since the 1960s and 1970s. I'm also collecting The Three Stooges Collection but that's not a drama, it's not a TV series (at least not originally) and it's from Sony so maybe it doesn't count!
     
  14. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    My MANNIX DVD-buying was detailed in the earlier parts of this thread, but I'll reiterate it here in the interest of keeping a good thread alive.

    When I heard that MANNIX, Season One, was being released on DVD, I was really eager to get hold of it. Why? Well, it was a fondly remembered series from my young adult era. Those Saturday nights when the show premiered were part of a killer lineup on CBS and MANNIX capped it all off. The idea of him working against (or in spite of) these giant computers was appealing to me, and the show's pedigree was that it was a sister show to favorites STAR TREK and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE.

    So when it was announced that MANNIX was starting up on DVD, I noted the date and headed to the nearest Best Buy at lunchtime to grab a copy. I was delighted with the clean, clear presentation of this colorful show. MANNIX began as color TV was becoming a force, and was made with an eye to be colorful on those TVs of the era. And nothing was more colorful than the credits with its colored squares and rectangles, now presented with an even bolder, more colorful picture than ever on today's better televisions.

    I watched a number of the shows on Season One, but it somehow lost its emphasis in my watching routine as other series DVDs came along to dilute my interest in MANNIX.

    When Season Two was announced, I sort-of made a mental note to pick it up someday if I saw it, but I was concentrating on another series purchase at the time. I think it was MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, whose later releases were concurrent with MANNIX. It was just more important for me at that time to complete my MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE collection than it was to continue with MANNIX.

    MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE was indeed a different kind of show, but one that I really enjoyed, and had regretted that it hadn't been released in the VHS and LaserDisc eras. It had been a long time since I'd seen the show and I was really enjoying seeing them all cleaned up on DVD. With the frequent releases, I had to budget my money so it was MANNIX that would have to wait.

    Though I continued following this thread when updates were posted, I wasn't really active at all in MANNIX watching, particularly as discussions turned to Season Two and beyond.

    Finally, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE's Season Seven was released, and that series was essentially completed. The revival series wouldn't be out for a few more years. So it was time to perhaps concentrate on MANNIX. But by this time, I was keeping closer watch on my budget as I'd just retired, so again, MANNIX would have to wait, particularly with the semi-expensive prices that were being charged.

    Sometime in 2011, I think, we ate breakfast at a new Denny's in the neighborhood, which was attached to a Pilot truck-stop. After breakfast, we wandered over to the truck-stop store and saw a bin of DVDs of TV series at a sale price of $14.99. My prize that day was finding Season Three of MANNIX, which I picked up and proudly placed it alongside my Season One set.

    Looking through the episode list, I spotted "The Sound Of Darkness" where the blurb mentioned "Mannix is blinded." That was all I needed to know I wanted to revisit that episode. You see, in all of my MANNIX-watching during its run on CBS, the episode where Joe lost his sight was the only plot I recalled - the only episode out of all of the episodes made, that made enough of an impression on me that I remembered it all those years later.

    It was just as powerful watching it on DVD as I'd remembered it, and it got me into wanting to watch more of MANNIX, so I delved back into the Season One set concurrently with watching the Season Three episodes. And those two held me for awhile. It wasn't until April of 2012, that I found a deal on Season Two on Amazon, and I ordered it to fill that annoying gap between Seasons One and Three.

    While viewing episodes of these early seasons, I'd check into this thread every now and again and was aware of the gap between season releases. Fortunately that was all ironed out before I needed to purchase further seasons. Ultimately, I took advantage of a Deep Discount DVD sale to order three seasons at once. At the time, most MANNIX seasons were selling north of $30 and the Deep Discount price was somewhere in the $25-$27 range, so I decided to bite and bought Four, Five, and Six all at once. This was in June of 2012.

    When I began watching Season Four, I encountered a bad first disc, and then went about fighting with Deep Discount about an exchange, which took forever. While that was in process of exchange, I watched most of Season Five, then went back to Four to finish that up, then back to the end of Five to finish THAT up.

    Meanwhile Season Seven was being released, and I grabbed that one that July, even though I wasn't yet ready for viewing it, nor was it particularly cheap. And then Eight came along that December to conclude the series, and I added that one as it was released as well. I finally finished off that first run through the series - though it was, at best, a hopscotching pattern of viewing.

    I think at some point in time, I will go back and attempt a straight-through viewing of all of the episodes in order. Meanwhile, this thread pops up every now and again and keeps the subject of MANNIX at the fore.

    Harry
     
  15. Wiseguy

    Wiseguy Stunt Coordinator

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    Don't know if this has already been mentioned, but as I was recently looking through Kmart's inexpensive DVDs I came across the Here's Lucy Best of Collection which featured 7 episodes. The first thing I thought of was the Mannix episode but thought it unlikely it would be included here but was surprised to see it was indeed one of the 7 episodes so I picked it up for $5. For those who want the episode but would rather not buy the entire 4th season of Here's Lucy this would be an alternative.

    Some oddities:

    ...The set is released by MPI Home Video not CBS/Paramount.
    ...The first episode has the actual 1968-69 Paramount logo. The Paramount logo is not featured in any other episode. This episode also mentions Desilu in the copyright notice even though it was broadcast in 1969.
    ...The Mannix episode has a copyright date of 1969. Don't know if these are the original copyright notices or "recreated" for the DVD. Someone may have transposed the last two letters of the Roman numeral: MCMLXIX instead of the correct MCMLXXI.
    ...The final 4 episodes feature a Warner Bros. distribution logo at the end.
     
  16. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    I finally watched that HERE'S LUCY episode on Hulu, and it was fun. It's not something I feel I need to own though - a little of latter-day Lucy goes a long way. What was interesting was the set used for Mannix' office. They sort of got the window behind the desk looking fairly similar, but the door off to the side was way off. I wonder if Joe's office set was being used for some dictator on MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE that week, so they had to do a re-create.

    On another old matter, long ago we discussed a music group appearing on MANNIX "recording" in the studio. It was in the second season episode "Who Will Dig The Graves?" The group was The Peppermint Trolley, and I'd mentioned that I was familiar with the song, called "Trust" from the rare A&M Records album by the composer, Roger Nichols & The Small Circle Of Friends. Someone's posted the section of the song performance on MANNIX from a tape from TV Land:



    What's even more interesting is that this group is reportedly the ones that recorded the theme for THE LOVE BOAT and - wait for it - THE BRADY BUNCH! Yet another connection between MANNIX and THE BRADY BUNCH.

    The album from which this song comes had been released on CD:

    http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Sun-Peppermint-Trolley-Company/dp/B001T46TPG/

    Or if you prefer MP3s:

    http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Sun-Peppermint-Trolley-Company/dp/B002ANB14Y/ where you can just grab the single "Trust".

    Harry
     
  17. Dan McW

    Dan McW Second Unit

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    Count me as a member of the Mannix eight-season club. I just watched "Hardball" last night to finish off the series. Thanks to JoAnn, Harry, and others in this thread for making the Mannix experience even more enjoyable.
     
  18. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    For anyone on the fence regarding MANNIX, someone on YouTube named "Mannix Full Episodes" has uploaded some complete episodes. They're not the best quality, but if you've never seen an episode, it's a good way to sample a few.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/MannixClassicTV

    Harry
     
  19. JMas

    JMas Stunt Coordinator

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    I have been recording The Millionaire from the new Heroes & Icons channel. They recently showed a 1956 episode called The Victor Volante Story starring Touch Connors.
     
  20. jompaul17

    jompaul17 Screenwriter

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    Some may have noticed I've been away for awhile as the "unofficial hostess" of this thread. For those who care, it was yet another time I had planned to permanently leave the HTF, something like the second or third time, over the years.

    I'm used to being alone in my profession -- far more than most people can even imagine, because being by yourself is not the same thing as being alone. You are most alone when you are of your own opinion, in the midst of the crowd.

    This is probably my favorite quote of all time:

    "It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

    I wrote And Now, Back to Mannix because I knew I would not always be as connected to the themes therein as when I was writing that book. Probably no one is during all of their lives, even real heroes. That is why storied heroes who struggle are so valuable and powerful. That is why, in a real sense, I wrote the book for myself -- which is perhaps the best reason for anyone to write a book.

    After devoting my life to helping my parents live as graceful lives as possible under circumstances so extreme they probably warrant another book, each of my parents died, in 2012 and then 2013. After my mother died, I kept going in no small part just to see that book published -- I had it to look forward to, which was a great help. But, after the book was published, the full measure of grief set in. When that happens, the pettiness of some members of the HTF seems all the worse, because one of the few pleasurable remaining things turns into something painful.

    Under normal circumstances, those who make "is it more the result of stupidity or meanness?" tantamount to an interesting philosophical question would not get to me so much. But, when the grieving process covers the full measure of a life, everything gets to a person.

    If I didn't know both sides, the side that is affected by nasty and/or narrow people as well as the side that understands that people act out largely because they are trying to hide their own awareness of their own limitations, I could never have written the book in the first place. To the extent that book has insight, it is because I know both sides.

    Some heroes help us to understand the meaning behind that Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, because they embody it for us, thereby making an imprint on our minds. One reason that particular quote is so wonderful and so powerful is because it acknowledges both sides.

    I'm thankful that I understood, at least to some extent, the meaning behind that quote because when I was growing up there was once a prime-time TV series called, Mannix.

    Would that more people understood, valued and embodied that Ralph Waldo Emerson quote.

    I believe we once did, more than we do now. And all of our lives were better for it, because there was something more alive in us then than in this age of blissfully ignorant conformity.
     

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