Posted March 26 2007 - 04:03 AM
I was a teenager when the series came on. I was more interested in comedy than drama, and the drama I DID watch tended toward Science Fiction like OUTER LIMITS, TWILIGHT ZONE, etc.
When THE FUGITIVE first premiered, it ran opposite one of my favorite variety shows, THE GARRY MOORE SHOW. That's the show that spawned talents like Carol Burnett and launched Allen Funt's CANDID CAMERA, so it was no slouch of a show. I simply couldn't tear myself away from that to watch any drama show on ABC.
Yet I remember the buzz from that first season. The premise DID sound exciting to me. Had I been old enough for water-cooler talk back then, THE FUGITIVE would probably have been one of the shows discussed.
Yet I stuck with GARRY MOORE til the end. And the end was near. Eventually the ratings of THE FUGITIVE simply crushed the old GARRY MOORE SHOW, and I was free to watch THE FUGITIVE and see what the country was raving about.
And I was hooked instantly. It took no time at all for it to become probably my favorite show of that era. What was the "it" factor? The brilliant performance of David Janssen and the intelligent writing of the show along with the fabulous stable of Quinn Martin guest stars. As mentioned, the show played like an anthology, with different main characters every week. The common thread was that Dr. Richard Kimble floated into their lives, tried to keep his real identity secret, and to stay away from the law. Some episodes were heavy into the chase theme, others almost had Kimble relaxing as he helped out the guest star of the week. You never knew exactly where the show would take you, but you were happy to go along for the ride.
I remember being able to catch all of the earlier shows I missed when ABC reran the show weekdays in the daytime. Our local ABC affiliate in Philadelphia didn't carry the daytime show, but one of our upstart independent stations grabbed the show from ABC. It was a treat to be able to catch up with all of the episodes before the finale aired at the tail end of the fourth and "color" season. Of course this was all WAY before anyone ever thoughht of VCR's or home recording devices, so what was on TV was it. If you missed it, you missed it and hoped for a rerun someday.
As mentioned often, the finale was one of the first for a TV series to actually present a wrap-up to whatever story they were trying to tell. We were used to leaving the Robinsons lost in space and Tony and Doug floating around in the time tunnel without resolution. THE FUGITIVE gave us all the ending we sought - but did so at the very end of its run - at the tail end of the summer reruns! Yes, the show aired its regular 28 fourth season shows, then went into reruns for the summer. In August, we got the final two-parter as the last episodes to air on ABC in primetime.
If well-presented on DVD, it could and should be a huge seller. This news is almost worth my changing my avatar from THE TIME TUNNEL to THE FUGITIVE! I'll think about it.
My DVD CollectionA fugitive moves on, through anguished tunnels of time, down dim streets, into dark corners. And each new day offers fear and frustration, tastes of honey and hemlock. But if there is a hazard, there is also hope.
- Closing narration to THE FUGITIVE, "Death Is The Door Prize".