The MOD SQUAD producers probably figured that much of the younger demographic that watched their show wouldn't have a clue who MANNIX was or where he lived/worked, so if the Paseo set wasn't in use then it was fair game.
In recent days, I've completed two of the last three MANNIX episodes. "Design For Dying" was one I'd started a couple of weeks ago but hadn't gotten around to finishing. That episode intrigued me based on the cast. Barbara Rush was a well-known actress who I got to appreciate through her work as Lt. Gerard's wife "Marie" in the two-part episode of THE FUGITIVE called "Landscapes With Running Figures". And her husband here, Dennis Patrick, had also done a quick role in a FUGITIVE ("Storm Center"), but I was more familiar with him as the roguish "Jason McGuire" from the gothic soap DARK SHADOWS.
This episode was also much more like a standard MANNIX episode with its base in L.A., interactions with Peggy, and the twists and turns of the plot. I let the next episode play as I'd gotten comfortable on the couch and it was kind of rainy out yesterday. I saw most of "Search For A Dead Man" but have to confess nodding off in the middle. I'll need to go back and revisit that one some day when I'm looking for a MANNIX fix. Familiar faces here were John Hillerman, Paul Mantee, and Robert Symonds. The lovely Mary Wilcox had done two other turns in MANNIX over the years. Again we got to see Peggy feed Joe a line that helped solve the case.
Just one more left - and I'm not all that eager to run it, but I will endeavor to do so sometime in the next week or so.
"Design for Dying" is buried deep behind the reason I have done so much writing on this thread. Three years ago, I started to write here because I wanted to see the rest of the series released -- so badly. That was my sole goal -- to help that in any way I could. This thread seemed like the best place to do it.
Mannix had this oddity of having more than a full season buried in the vaults, never seen in syndication anywhere in the world. But I was a big Mannix fan as a kid. And, I had seen all of the episodes of Mannix -- except for this one. Because the night it first ran was the night before one of my parents was to have major, life-altering surgery the next day.
This was 1975. We don't think in terms of life-altering surgery so much anymore. We think people have surgery, and it works, or not. There is no in-between. We don't think of potentially devastating, mutilating and long-term consequences of side-effects. But the result of this surgery was akin to part of someone's head being blown off by a roadside bomb. So, the surgery dramatically affected the trajectory of my life and the lives of everyone I loved.
Because of the tension in the house that night, no one was permitted to turn on the TV. I had seen the "Next on Mannix" previews for the episode, and was already hooked, looking forward to it, as usual. But, another thing about those days was that if you weren't able to sit in front of a TV when the episode first ran, you had to wait to see it in the summer re-runs -- there was no other option. If you missed that opportunity, you had to wait for the hopefully not too seriously mutilated episode to run in syndication.
But this episode never ran in the summer reruns that final year. And it never made it to syndication anywhere in the world for the next 35 years. It only ever ran -- ever -- on any U.S. channel of any kind once -- on March 23, 1975. Mannix was canceled after running only two more new episodes after that.
So, on a day 36 years after the episode first ran the night I sat in my bedroom contemplating the terror ahead of me and knew a fresh episode of Mannix was running and available to be watched on a TV set that was fully functional but I was not permitted to turn on, I sat down and watched the only episode of Mannix I had never seen before. It was surreal. I knew the broad outlines of the episode. I remembered the pre-views, the teaser scenes, held in my mind all those years. And 36 years later, it delivered!
The scenes with Joe and Peggy -- notice them! For years I wondered what might have happened to those two, either in the writer's minds, had the series been renewed, or in my own imagination, given enough hints. After an upturn at the beginning of season 7, their relationship sort of cooled off. So, I was forced to think, for 36 years, that perhaps it was destined to go nowhere. Except, in this episode, we have these two scenes where they are back to being playful and suggestive again -- very suggestive for the norms of that day. Peggy wanted flowers and candy from Joe. Really? Oh, how sweet it was to watch that episode. And oh, how denied I felt that I did not have it in my memory all those years.
But, the experience taught me something else. When I was not permitted to watch TV that night, the parent who did that (who recently passed away and whom I deeply loved, beyond words) was wrong. Taking their cue, still only thirteen years old at that time and at the dawn of adolescence, I felt it was time for me to put aside childish things like being a fan of the series, and become an adult.
But that was utterly misguided. I needed my connection to my hero, and never more than on that particular night. It took me nearly four decades to learn how important certain kinds of heroes can be to helping us survive so much, and why. Now, the kid who thought it was adult to leave childish heroes behind has finally grown up. Armed with experience, study, reflection and reason, I can say with full confidence that heroes are of immense value, in direct proportion to what we are asked to endure and what challenges we take on in life.