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. jompaul17

    jompaul17 Screenwriter

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    Let me apologize to anyone who reads this thread for the post last night -- upon reflection, it was the wrong tone -- just wrong.

    I so wanted to respond to Harry's post these past days, that was somehow stuck in my mind. When I sat down to do it last night, what came out was different than I would have wanted, and, as these things go, they can get out of hand in the moment, even when intentions are good. I should really know better.

    I so enjoyed Harry's post, capturing what the night of September 16, 1967 was like, by the shows on TV. Because shows back then were often aired at most twice before going into syndication, we can often place exactly where we were at certain times of our lives -- and in turn, relate that to who we were then -- and now. . Of course, I can do that for Mannix -- but, like Harry, I can do that for other shows as well.

    That is a big part of who we were -- and so who we are now, because we once experienced that so strongly. And, because we really do live so much in our minds, because our minds are so much who we are, and so powerfully enabled by story, we are more when we realize which stories move us -- and why.

    That is all I should have said last night -- and, I really did intend for the post to be entirely positive, which, in a strange way, it really is.
     
  2. jompaul17

    jompaul17 Screenwriter

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    Jack,

    Welcome back to the thread!

    And, as these things go, you happened to post about an episode I seldom watch, because it one of a few episodes of season 8 that I thought weren't quite as good -- and so I rarely watch it. My memory (which may be wrong) is that the episode has a clue based upon the use of a $100 bill -- and that makes me wonder if $100 bills even still exist.

    But, regarding guest stars, notice how Erik Estrada appears in there -- and, later on in season 8, Tom Selleck makes an appearance. So, the last season of Mannix sort of helped to set up '80s TV -- a true dark epoch in television history!

    Please keep posting.
     
  3. jompaul17

    jompaul17 Screenwriter

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    Harry,

    Looking forward to those posts!!
     
  4. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    As I read your recent posts (and my own), I realized that I could grab Season One on MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE off of the shelf and refresh my mind as to why John Colicos and Joseph Campanella in the same episode somehow didn't make a lasting impression on me.

    And I think the answer is casting, story, and make-up. First off, Joseph Campanella in the episode comes off as a mild-mannered, bespectacled, brainy type, not as the dynamic and athletic type that he usually played. Oh, it's clearly him, through the accent and all, but he was playing against type here.

    John Colicos, on the other hand, LOOKS like an Eastern European type as the story demands, so I guess I never found his odd (to me) appearance anything noteworthy.

    As for your somewhat off-topic post Joann, I know just how that can happen. Heck, my own post here has little to do with MANNIX! And if it was therapeutic to get it all out here, well, then so be it. And it served as reminder that we all have "stuff" going on in our lives beyond the keyboard.

    Harry
     
  5. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    $100 bills are still in circulation and common, and remain the largest denomination of US currency at this time.

    The episode deals with a $1000 bill and that's a large denomination that's no longer made. Large currency denominations were once used principally by banks in their transactions with each other, but after a time, that practice was discontinued and so were the large bills.

    The US Federal Reserve effectively withdrew these large bills back in 1969, just a few years before this MANNIX episode ("Man In A Trap"), so Joe is aware that in order to be passing around such large denominations, someone had to jump through some hoops somewhere.

    I've not actually completed the episode, but I saw enough of it before nodding off to see the seen of Joe deducing the relative rarity of the $1000 bill as a piece of currency.

    John McLiam played the PI who gets knocked off in the opening scene by Erik Estrada. McLiam was a character actor whose face was everywhere in television. Madlyn Rhue makes an appearance here - she who captivated the mighty Khan in STAR TREK's "Space Seed."

    In reading through THESE ARE THE VOYAGES PART 1 about the first season of STAR TREK, I learned that Joe d'Agosta, the casting manager for Desilu came up with a scenario where he'd hire guest stars on a three-fer basis. That is, instead of paying them say $1500 for a guest shot on STAR TREK, he'd double the price and get them on three different series. So instead of the going rate, he'd actually pay them less per appearance, but guarantee them work in three different series, which explains why there are so many cross-series appearances of these actors on STAR TREK, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and MANNIX.

    Harry
     
  6. jompaul17

    jompaul17 Screenwriter

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    Harry,Just a short note to say -- you are the greatest!(More on the posts later...)
     
  7. Dan McW

    Dan McW Second Unit

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    Harry, what is the Mannix font/typeface that you use in your avatar?
     
  8. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    It's either "City" or "SquareSlab711", I forget which. We discussed that many, many pages ago in this thread. It seems to me that I found "City" first, but that "SquareSlab" was closer to the real font.

    Harry
     
  9. Dan McW

    Dan McW Second Unit

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    Thanks, Harry.
     
  10. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    You're welcome ,Dan.

    While under the weather the last day or so, I've had a chance to catch up on a couple of MANNIX episodes. "Man In A Trap" (8.14), I finally finished, and I followed it up with "Chance Meeting" (8.15).

    As we mentioned, "Man In A Trap" hinges on a $1000 bill found in someone's hand, and by 1975, the Fed had removed $1000 bills from circulation, so only those grandfathered in circulation were out there. Joe was astute enough to realize it - and I loved the line that Peggy said she hadn't seen a $1000 bill since her last raise!

    The old "Don" was played by the great Peter Brocco, an unsung character actor who generally fades into the background of virtually ever series ever filmed. A few of his other roles:

    STAR TREK
    JAN_PeterBroccoST2.JPG

    ZORRO
    JAN_PeterBroccoZorro.JPG

    VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA
    JAN_PeterBroccoVTTBOTS.JPG

    THE OUTER LIMITS
    JAN_PeterBroccoOL.JPG

    BEWITCHED
    JAN_PeterBroccoBW.JPG

    TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE
    JAN_PeterBroccoTZTM.JPG

    THE TIME TUNNEL
    15_Brocco.JPG

    ...and there were countless more, including THE FUGITIVE and at least three different episode of MANNIX, including "The Sound Of Darkness."

    More on the next episode later.

    Harry
     
  11. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    "Chance Meeting" (8.15) was a Vietnam War Vet story, a rather common theme in television dramas of the period. The MANNIX take on the situation has the deserter descending into a life of crime (funneling drugs) and the willingness to snuff out anyone who could potentially get in his way. The situation touches Peggy personally so naturally Joe is on-the-case. We also get to see a quite-grown Toby in this episode.

    Geoffrey Deuel plays one of the Vets in this episode, he the brother (and lookalike) of Peter Duel, who'd had some success on ALIAS SMITH AND JONES in the early '70s before dying a tragic death.

    Not my favorite MANNIX episode...

    Harry
     
  12. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    Most notably, Leslie Parrish turning up in S1 and in her opening scene wearing the same Greco-costume she wore in the Trek episode "Who Mourns For Adonias."
     
  13. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    As documented originally by yours truly way back in February of 2009. I first noted it on a STAR TREK BBS:
    http://www.trekbbs.com/showpost.php?p=2652353&postcount=22

    News spread here that same day:
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/topic/277565-star-trek-tos-on-blu-ray/?p=3407401

    And, you and I have been down this very road before over in THE FUGITIVE thread:
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/topic/297174-the-fugitive-season-four-volume-1/?p=3642142
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/topic/297174-the-fugitive-season-four-volume-1/?p=3642334

    It was truly a remarkable re-use of not only cast members but wardrobe too.

    Harry
     
  14. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    In an off-topic note, congratulations must go to the Pittsburgh Pirates for finally getting to the MLB playoffs via a wild card berth in the NL. I know our resident MANNIX expert is a Pirates fan, and I'm always happy for a Pennsylvania team.

    This year, for the moment, I find myself rooting for my adopted home team, the Tampa Bay Rays, who also squeaked in with a Wild Card berth on the AL side.

    Harry
     
  15. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    It's been awhile, and I haven't progressed any further in season 8, but I recently had a desire to watch a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE. In trying to pick one to watch, it occurred to me how much like a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE episode the season 7 MANNIX two-parter, "Race Against Time" was. I'd started watching that one a while ago and fell to the sleepies.

    Well this time I made it through, and found the whole thing rather enjoyable - as a MISSION:-type episode. It certainly fell outside the realm of a normal MANNIX. It felt a bit stretched too, with lots of chase scenes and long comings and goings - thing usually left out of MANNIX with its tight editing. As I mentioned in a previous post, the cast here is nearly all MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE veteran guest stars, and there are a lot of times when it seemed like Joe was just standing around.

    Harry
     
  16. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    Episode 17 of Season 8, "A Ransom For Yesterday" has Mannix trying to track down kidnappers and a long-lost son. Diana Hyland guested as the mother who hires Joe. Her somewhat estranged husband is a closer-to-the-right-age Dabney Coleman. (Every time I see Dabney Coleman as a young man guesting in a '60s-era show, he just looks too darned young!)

    Howard Hesseman, in his pre-Johnny Fever days, plays one of the kidnappers, and Alan Oppenheimer in the authority figure. A short, but amusing role of a rumpled journalist goes to Woodrow Parfrey.

    A feeling I get watching a lot of the season 8 episodes is that this might have been a transition year for the series. Different writers and directors (Bill Bixby here) have been giving the series a different feel. It's hard to describe, but some of the episodes seem to be veering off into a feeling I'd get watching a different '70s-style private eye or cop drama. I suppose it was a natural evolution as they were clearly in the middle of the '70s and trying to stay relevant and hip.

    What makes it so hard to convey is that Joe is still Joe, Peggy is still Peggy, yet the show "feels" different.

    Harry
     
  17. bretmaverick2

    bretmaverick2 Supporting Actor

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    Hey, the Mannix episode that was the basis for an episode of DIagnosis Murder is gonna be included in the full series set of DM!!! Nice!!
     
  18. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    That's a cool idea. I wish they'd have included the whole episode of DIAGNOSIS MURDER on the MANNIX DVDs.

    Harry
     
  19. Mark Collins

    Mark Collins Cinematographer

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    Harry you are right about the change of feel in the show in season 8. I remember that feel when it first aired on CBS. Yes I did have a ranting effect of Laura being used sort of in a Mannix script. The problem goes even deeper than that. I just did not like to see Joe with any woman except Peggy. How cool if they had just broke in season 8 and let fans see Peggy and Joe together. I know we all joke about Peggy being in danger but really I find those shows have something that pulls me in anyway. Harry because of you I have started to rewatch season 8 on Sunday nights. The first one I went to was Joe thinks Peggy is dead but the producers were smart enough to only let that stand for a few minutes. I thought now this show knows their viewers.

    Yes and as viewer back when season 8 aired I only saw certain episodes and unhappy and happy with the canceling of it and then ABC night time pick up. I now can see that it could have went on for a few more seasons but they needed a fresh take and they had Joe and Peggy and did not use it.

    Well the DM plot wrapped the series up for me as I have stated here before. Joe and Peggy were still together and the producers were wise enough not to tell us how.

    I only saw that episode when it aired live. I was not a DM fan and that was the only one I ever watched becuase I had read about Joe Mannix being in it. The funny thing is I have never seen it again since and maybe that is the way it is suppose to be for me.
     
  20. jompaul17

    jompaul17 Screenwriter

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    Harry,

    Well, a $1000 bill makes a lot more sense than a $100 bill -- not sure what I was thinking!

    Yes, Peggy makes fun of the way she is paid -- but, she winds up owning her own home season 6, and we get to see its interior in a later episode ("Chance Meeting" -- one of your later posts.). One gets the clear impression that Peggy ultimately does better, financially, by working for Joe than she would have by staying, for example, in the DMV -- and the series makes it clear that not all PIs treat their secretaries that way, or even have one in the first place. Notice, however, that mention was also made that Joe did not pay her every week, when she first started to work for him!

    But that is one of those structural things that make the show so brilliant. Joe and Peggy can tease each other -- like loving adults do (loving in the sense of friendship or otherwise). But, Joe the employer clearly treats Peggy well, even though no big deal is made of this. It is simply there, as a part of the structure of the show -- to be inferred, not to be spelled out.

    And, as a result of this, you get the sense that even though Peggy's husband died (a heroic death), Peggy sort of gets a life as a result. You get the sense that she is exposed to more and experiences more by working for Joe than if she had stayed a conventional policeman's wife. Now, of course, we do not know what would have happened to Peggy if her husband had lived -- she may have gone on to do great things. But, a lot of people in stable situations don't tend to move from them. The structural premise of her backstory is that she was forced into something she may not have otherwise chosen -- and something good came of it, even better, much more than the might have imagined, far more than she might have hoped for.

    That is a big part of the American story -- the way it used to be. Bad things happen to people -- but, they can encounter good people, like Joe, and live fuller lives as a result.

    Notice how we don't have that kind of backstory so much. These days, our backstories have more to do with enmeshment and entanglements (the product of family values -- the politics of these past decades) -- stories about dealing with issues that pertain to being stuck. This is a subtle, but important, difference in our own backstories.

    Then again, one could argue that there used to be more Joe Mannix types in our culture.

    But, of course, those types were also influenced by story.

    I'm absolutely fascinated by the "big three" Desilu productions of Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, and Mannix. There were so many shared sets, behind the scenes people, and guest stars. But, the three shows are distinctly different in gimmick. Even the original gimmick of Mannix was distinctly different from the other two. But, then Mannix dumped that gimmick -- and became about something else.

    It's difficult to point to Mannix (seasons 2-8) what its gimmick is -- its structure does not distill to a logline. The closest we can get is that Joe Mannix is an LA-based, tough PI. But that says so little, the younger generation will not bother. The seek gimmicks first, and structural elements second. And yet, Mannix' structural elements are brilliant -- rich and varied. They include (among many other things) Peggy's backstory which involves the premise of her having a fuller life because her husband died than she might have otherwise. She winds up helping a purely heroic type, a singular good guy, in situation after situation -- the premise that suffering and loss can lead to better things, bigger purpose. Suffering and loss can lead to redemption. This type of backstory is almost like heresy in today's culture. But, it is a rich back story -- and we lose it at our peril.

    And, it was right there, in the background of Mannix.

    Oh, how I love this series!
     
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