Originally Posted by filmklassik
I joined this site for one specific purpose: To thank Jo Ann for her many great MANNIX postings both on here and at Amazon.com. Hats off, Jo Ann. Your giddiness and insight about the show was so infectious it made me run out and buy seasons one and two SIGHT UNSEEN, while the amazing work done by Mssrs. Connors, Geller, Goff and Roberts led to my buying subsequent seasons as soon as they became available (which was never soon enough!)
So congratulations, Jo Ann. I am officially hooked now. MANNIX more than lived up to its billing -- and how many things can you say that about? It's a fast, smart, witty, and impeccably produced show with -- you're correct, Jo Ann -- top-notch characterizations. However (and this is something that doesn't get enough attention around here) it boasted masterfully plotted stories, too.
Full disclosure: I'm a plot guy. More so than you, Jo Ann, and, I suspect, more so than many people on these boards. When it comes to mystery and suspense I love a rock-solid, cunningly crafted script as much as anything... and so too did producers Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts.
Goff and Roberts were already well-established industry veterans by the time they assumed producing chores in 1968. And they were also brilliant. Yes, they were originally playwrights but not in the Arthur Miller/William Inge/Tennesee Williams tradition. The first play they wrote together, and the one that caught the attention of Hollywood, was an ingeniously plotted mystery called PORTRAIT IN BLACK (ultimately adapted for the movies by the playwrights themselves more than a decade later).
And their first high-profile screenplay collaboration was on the legendary crime picture WHITE HEAT, starring James Cagney. So yes, Goff and Roberts could write terrific, well-rounded characters with the best of them, but they also knew from (and definitely respected) a well constructed plot.
Structure... pacing... twists and turns... reversals and pay-offs... these things are incredibly difficult to get right ONCE, let alone 26 times a year... but getting them right was important to Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts, and the scripts they supervised on MANNIX for seven seasons reflected that.
This is fast becoming my favorite show of all time.
I just can't thank you enough for this post -- and it came at a particularly good time, too.
This is probably the first time in my life I have ever been described as "giddy" but, in the context of this thread, I am happy to accept the label.
The way you describe having purchased the series sight unseen and that it is fast becoming your favorite show of all time -- I so wanted to see someone post something like this these past nearly two years now.
is so much better than people give it credit for, having been caught up, I believe, in some distortions these past years for all sorts of PC reasons that Baby Boomers adopted without even realizing it. In this case, those PC things obscure something far more important to us as human beings -- what heroism in story really means to us, why character matters, and how beautiful it is to be a tough individual who can manage to find a way to work beside "the system" -- not outside of it, nor cowed by it.
The more I think about the series in the context of all sorts of things, the better Mannix
holds up. I still find this amazing. So, when you say it is becoming your favorite show, that makes complete sense to me -- even as I so appreciate your saying it.
is actually often praised for its production qualities, and those were surely something I came to expect but took for granted during its first run. When I compare it to other series I watched back then, it just seemed so much more polished. I guess that's because it was. Heck, I've even seen people praise the camera man on Mannix
, which, since it was shot with a single camera, really does make a difference!
Add to that the symbolism, the score, the settings, the pacing, the story, the way MC inhabited and invented the role, what the character was all about, and you really do get something very special.
As for Goff and Roberts, I really don't mean to short-change the plots in Mannix
, nor their role in making the series a classic. Mannix
certainly is characterized by extremely interesting and well-done plots. But, since so many other series wound up being ALL
about plot (ranging from Mission: Impossible
to Murder She Wrote
), all I wanted to say was that Mannix
is about so much more than that. That "so much more" is what makes so many episodes and scenes re-watchable, something even worth thinking about more in the context of those characters as you re-watch them, even after you know how the plot is going to turn out.
I'm sure Goff and Roberts contributed to that, as well. Heck, Ben Roberts wrote the incredible, "A World Between" which dealt with the Joe-Peggy relationship in a brilliant way. In that episode, and in so many others, Mannix
was masterful at mis-direction, so that something subtle and more significant would get through to you while you were supposed to be paying attention to the otherwise well-done plot! This was also brilliantly done with respect to racism in "Death in a Minor Key." Those episodes were both brilliantly constructed and acted -- most especially when you consider the racial climate back then.
Ben Roberts also wrote a couple of other Mannix
episodes, if memory serves, "The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress" and "The Survivor Who Wasn't." Curiously, he is credited with writing the story, but not the screenplay (in the opening credits of those episodes). Each of those episodes include some great scenes that establish qualities of character. And, I have no doubt that Goff and Roberts, along with Connors, cared a lot about consistent, well-done, qualities of character. It comes across that everyone seemed to care about that series, right down to the nude art!
What I do not understand is why Goff and Roberts went off and did Charlie's Angels
right after Mannix
! Having watched a few episodes of that series, and seeing their names there, in the way I saw them on Mannix
so many times, I distinctly remember wondering what the heck was happening to the world. It didn't help that I missed Mannix
so much, and not only did nothing replace it then (nothing ever did), but those names were now associated with that show. Heck, Goff and Roberts are mostly known for their "work" on Charlie's Angels
, not Mannix
But, your point about giving proper credit to plot, and the role Goff and Roberts played in Mannix
is well taken.
By the way, Bruce Geller contributed a lot to Mannix
as well, in particular the symbolism of the "jackets" and the cars -- but also the pacing, which kept the show moving. He wrote the season 4 opener, "A Ticket to the Eclipse," which shows a bit of Joe's dark side. But, I understand he was banned from the Paramount lot starting in around 1970, because of budgetary issues with Mission: Impossible
Please keep posting!