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Mannix is coming!

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#1781 of 2195 OFFLINE   jompaul17

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Posted May 13 2013 - 08:26 AM

A thought occurred to me as I was watching a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, coincidentally a Sutton Roley-directed episode from around 1971 called "Blast", and that is something that I think was mentioned before, but it just sank in - that Season 7 was where MANNIX was on the air alone of the former "Desilu Big Three".

 

For yet more coincidences, I'd also just watched a FUGITIVE episode from the third season of that show called "Wings Of An Angel". It was made prior to the start of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and co-starred Greg Morris as a prison inmate. Flash forward to last evening and I'm watching "Climb A Deadly Mountain", and who shows up? Greg Morris, fresh from his now-former MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE gig, playing an escaped prison inmate. Sometimes it boggles the mind.

 

Unfortunately, Mr. Sandman got the better of me and I nodded off about 15 minutes into the story.

 

Harry

Harry,

 

Along those lines, notice how Joe's office was re-decorated, almost re-modeled, for season 7, lasting into season 8.    It sort of morphs from a kind of Spanish-Mediterranean kind of office into a hunting lodge with Spanish-Mediterranean influence.  They add this dark wood around everything, and put lots more pictures on the wall, along with an old rifle, a large American Eagle and at least one sailing ship.  The basic furniture remains the same, but the couch and guest chairs change from leather upholstery to a striped, cloth pattern.

 

When it happened, it was kind of shocking.   I liked the simplicity of the old office.   But, that simplicity served a practical purpose -- going back to the Desilu big final three.   Watching Mission: Impossible closely reveals that sets were shared quite a bit between the two series, especially Joe's office and apartment.  They would remove the pictures from the office walls, move most of the furniture out,  add a cheap and slow-moving paddle fan overhead and viola -- Joe's office would serve as some third world dictator's office.

 

But, all this moving around meant that the stagehands didn't pay a whole lot of attention to where the pictures belonged on Joe's office walls.   The basic things mostly -- mostly -- stayed put, like the barometer/thermometer and the picture of Joe in his football jersey.  But, the secondary pictures moved all over the place as they didn't put them back properly.

 

There is this scene in season 4's "Bang Bang, You're Dead" where Peggy is straightening the pictures in her office.  I thought it was sort of funny in that she would have been the logical one to keep moving all of those pictures around -- I still wonder if it wasn't some sort of inside joke.    

 

So, after Mission went away, Joe finally got his own office without having to share it, and the pictures on the walls never move around in seasons 7 and 8.  His apartment did not get the same kind of remodeling job -- maybe because he could not get a tax write-off for that?

 

We've noted here before how easy it is to fall asleep while watching Mannix.   I'm sure -- sure -- many detractors of this thread will say it is because the series is boring.   But, that certainly isn't the case for me.    The series -- and character -- are actually incredibly comforting.   It makes you feel good that there are people like that around, and even comfort that it is OK to wind up getting hurt yourself.   Life is never so full of anxiety as when you feel so protective of pretty much anything.  

 

Actually, one of the great benefits I've experienced by being re-united with the series is that I sleep much better.    And, when it comes right down to it, sleeping well and with less anxiety eliminates all sorts of problems.

 

"Climb a Deadly Mountain" is one of my favorite episodes of the series.   I love the whole theme -- lots of symbolism in that episode, the scenes with Peggy and Art and especially that great ending. 

 

Just imagine seeing that first-run, after being invested with those characters for the previous seasons. 

 

Makes me want to watch it again...


Edited by jompaul17, May 13 2013 - 08:28 AM.


#1782 of 2195 OFFLINE   Harry-N

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Posted May 16 2013 - 07:39 AM

7.04 "Little Girl Lost" - a title use often in movies and TV. One of its more famous uses is an old TWILIGHT ZONE where a young girl slips into another dimension in her bedroom. The MANNIX story of course features a little girl, and for a time she's a bit "lost", but not in another dimension.

 

Some rather interesting casting in this episode, starting with the coincidental pairing of Beverly Garland and Dawn Lyn. Those two played mother and daughter for a couple of the ending years of MY THREE SONS, though in this MANNIX they have no scenes together. Julie Adams had done a first season MANNIX, and some other Desilu show veterans appear here. Sam Elliott had appeared as a semi-regular team member in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, Barry Atwater had a memorable role as Surak, Vulcan leader on STAR TREK, Gary Walberg did a quick scene on STAR TREK as well, and HM Wynant had also done a prior MANNIX, along with being in another famous TWILIGHT ZONE, "The Howling Man". And last but not least is Pernell Roberts, with a long and distinguished career in television.

 

The L.A. Zoo gets some time in this episode, too, and was memorably featured in the final two-part episode of THE FUGITIVE.

 

The young girl mentions that she can see "inside" people and that she knew that Joe Mannix was good because he "looked " like her late father on the inside - a heart-warming moment.

 

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A 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".

#1783 of 2195 OFFLINE   jompaul17

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Posted May 16 2013 - 09:17 AM

7.04 "Little Girl Lost" - a title use often in movies and TV. One of its more famous uses is an old TWILIGHT ZONE where a young girl slips into another dimension in her bedroom. The MANNIX story of course features a little girl, and for a time she's a bit "lost", but not in another dimension.

 

Some rather interesting casting in this episode, starting with the coincidental pairing of Beverly Garland and Dawn Lyn. Those two played mother and daughter for a couple of the ending years of MY THREE SONS, though in this MANNIX they have no scenes together. Julie Adams had done a first season MANNIX, and some other Desilu show veterans appear here. Sam Elliott had appeared as a semi-regular team member in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, Barry Atwater had a memorable role as Surak, Vulcan leader on STAR TREK, Gary Walberg did a quick scene on STAR TREK as well, and HM Wynant had also done a prior MANNIX, along with being in another famous TWILIGHT ZONE, "The Howling Man". And last but not least is Pernell Roberts, with a long and distinguished career in television.

 

The L.A. Zoo gets some time in this episode, too, and was memorably featured in the final two-part episode of THE FUGITIVE.

 

The young girl mentions that she can see "inside" people and that she knew that Joe Mannix was good because he "looked " like her late father on the inside - a heart-warming moment.

 

Harry

Harry,

 

That cast is also interesting because it formed the basis of the 1998 Diagnosis Murder episode that brought Joe Mannix back one more time -- supposedly they continued the "unresolved" case of who actually murdered the little girl's father. 

 

MC is quoted (I can't remember where now -- maybe the season 1 DVDS?) as saying they picked that episode because of the number of guest stars that were still alive, but I bet it is also because there were quite few "names" in that episode, especially Garland and Roberts, who were both available in 1998.   The little girl (Dawn Lyn), however, apparently no longer acts, so they brought in someone else to play the adult version. 

 

As mentioned here before, I have mixed feelings about the DM episode.  It was great to see MC play Joe again, and they included all sorts of "symbolic" elements of the character.    But, extending that story like that sort of ruins the original version -- and now that we have the original back, it can take away something from the original story to even think that the story was extended in the way it was.

 

Because, you are right -- it was kind of a heartwarming story, especially with the "moment" you describe -- which is not only nice, but generally true of certain people.

 

Then again, what else were the people behind the DM episode going to do? 

 

Because it did not include Goff and Roberts, I never really considered the DM episode a valid Mannix episode -- a virtual 195th episode -- it was just something fun. 

 

Towards that end, I think everyone should have their own notion of what happened to Joe and Peggy after the series ended -- left to the viewers imagination, as so many elements of story were in the tightly edited episodes with the often abrupt endings that practically demanded such imagination fill in the gaps and extend the endings into viewer-told continuations. 

 

Mannix also used the LA Zoo multiple times (s4's "A Ticket to the Eclipse" comes to mind).   And, Mannix also used an amusement park in s3's "Once Upon a Saturday" as well as s2's "In Need of a Friend."  I have wondered if either (or both?) was the same one used in the final episode of The Fugitive.


Edited by jompaul17, May 16 2013 - 09:18 AM.


#1784 of 2195 OFFLINE   Harry-N

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Posted May 17 2013 - 04:12 AM

Starting the second disc of S7, I watched 7.05 "The Gang's All Here", where once again something's happened to Joe, and Peggy and Malcolm are out trying to find him. The seemed rather soon after "Climb A Deady Mountain", though other than the Joe-alone-and-injured premise, the two are quite different.

 

The late Paul Carr does one of his six turns in different roles in Mannix, looking quite '70s-ish with the long hair and bushy mustache. The New York Street set gets a workout here and so does poor Joe. The man winces like no other!

 

Harry


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A 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".

#1785 of 2195 OFFLINE   jompaul17

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Posted May 18 2013 - 10:04 AM

Starting the second disc of S7, I watched 7.05 "The Gang's All Here", where once again something's happened to Joe, and Peggy and Malcolm are out trying to find him. The seemed rather soon after "Climb A Deady Mountain", though other than the Joe-alone-and-injured premise, the two are quite different.

 

The late Paul Carr does one of his six turns in different roles in Mannix, looking quite '70s-ish with the long hair and bushy mustache. The New York Street set gets a workout here and so does poor Joe. The man winces like no other!

 

Harry

Harry,

 

I love the ending of "The Gang's All Here."  

 

I know when they did it, that MC and GF weren't looking at each other -- it was a single-camera show.  But, they probably did do the scene together, and multiple times at that, considering the multiple camera angles.

 

Beyond that being yet another great ending with them together within a couple of weeks, the other being "Climb a Deadly Mountain," the meaning behind that scene is timeless.  I even like the story of that episode, the young kid who first tries to find his identity with a gang -- a group -- but ultimately finds the courage through the spirit of his dead father, and help from Joe, to be his own man -- to become his own man, even risking himself in the process.

 

I just love that theme.

 

And, you are right, MC winced and showed pain better than anyone else I know -- he didn't overdo it, but he tended to be comfortable expressing it.  Greatness in a can -- literally, when you consider the film in the can!

 

It was, indeed, strange that "Climb a Deadly Mountain" and "The Gang's All Here" were aired so close to each other.  They are not only shown two weeks apart, they are two production numbers apart and done so early in the season.   And, they both involved some shooting that seemed different -- one on a mountain and the other with scenes on the Paramount lot that seem to have been done at night.

 

But, notice how, in season 4, the three episodes "The World Between,"  "The Mouse That Died" and "What Happened to Sunday?" were production numbers 81, 82, and 83, respectively.  They all had "hospital' themes and were consecutively shot, but were not shown that close to each other -- the latter show seemed to be held for months before being shown.    It is by far the only season that had underlying themes and episodes filmed close to each other -- as mentioned before, "The Sound of Darkness" was practically set-up in almost every episode of season 3 that aired before it.

 

The surprising thing about these two episodes were how closely they were shown together.

 

Beyond the obvious "where's Joe -- we know he's in trouble and can't find him" theme, setting up similar scenes with Peggy and Art, it's almost as if the show was trying to say to its fans -- hey we know we got away from this sort of thing in season 6, but we're letting you know we are back!

 

Beyond that, notice how these two episodes sort of pair up in other ways -- they set types of scenes that are curiously missing from "The Dark Hours" an episode that comes much later in the season but which was designed to be a feature for that season.    You sort of feel cheated from some scenes in that episode, which is brilliantly done to be something less than ordinary.  But, those scenes that you feel are missing are actually there in "Climb a Deadly Mountain" and "The Gang's All Here."    And, I've read where scripts for the whole year are picked early in the production season, essentially first.

 

Now, did the producers do this on purpose, or was this an accident?

 

I have found, since researching this series, that there was much more intention behind what you see on the screen than one might initially anticipate -- things I never expected were meant to be a conscious and well-considered departure from both PIs of the past as well as the emerging trend towards lesser heroic types were very much on purpose, by design and for good reasons.

 

I find this information in old articles and interviews -- and it makes me love this series and character all that much more. 



#1786 of 2195 OFFLINE   Harry-N

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Posted May 21 2013 - 04:30 PM

7.06 "Desert Run" is one of those Joe-in-a-strange-town episodes. Great cast that includes Ford Rainey, Kenneth Tobey, Mark Lenard, and Jeanette Nolan.

 

It's a great example of economy of story-telling. Early on, Joe is flying his rented plane with James Sikking, looking for the plane crash site. Not finding it, they spot a town that's supposedly deserted. In a split second, Joe's parking his rent-a-car in that town. Then after being admonished by the townspeople to leave, we're again instantly thrust into a scene with Mannix driving up to his client's supposed house - in a totally different rental car!

 

This all happened in an era where show producers had a lot more time to tell their stories, yet in order to get even lengthier stories told, the Mannix showrunners used this then-uncommon visual style where scenes just jump-cut to the next one without unnecessary exposition.

 

Today's shows are so short, they HAVE to do this - and they have their actors speak so quickly that you often miss part of the story trying to digest what was just said.

 

Harry


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A 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".

#1787 of 2195 OFFLINE   jompaul17

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Posted May 22 2013 - 04:35 PM

7.06 "Desert Run" is one of those Joe-in-a-strange-town episodes. Great cast that includes Ford Rainey, Kenneth Tobey, Mark Lenard, and Jeanette Nolan.

 

It's a great example of economy of story-telling. Early on, Joe is flying his rented plane with James Sikking, looking for the plane crash site. Not finding it, they spot a town that's supposedly deserted. In a split second, Joe's parking his rent-a-car in that town. Then after being admonished by the townspeople to leave, we're again instantly thrust into a scene with Mannix driving up to his client's supposed house - in a totally different rental car!

 

This all happened in an era where show producers had a lot more time to tell their stories, yet in order to get even lengthier stories told, the Mannix showrunners used this then-uncommon visual style where scenes just jump-cut to the next one without unnecessary exposition.

 

Today's shows are so short, they HAVE to do this - and they have their actors speak so quickly that you often miss part of the story trying to digest what was just said.

 

Harry

Harry,

 

Mike Connors discussed this tight editing style in the PBS Special, Pioneers of Television: Crime Drama.   He credits Bruce Geller (Goff and Roberts must have kept it going after Geller departed), and says it kept the show moving, clicking his fingers when he said it.  It's sure clear they were able to tell more story than a lot of other shows -- and not at the expense of relationship with the characters.

 

You make a very nice point that dialogue today is so clipped it is absurd.  I watched the whole season of HBO's The Newsroom, displaying a host of characters with interaction so clipped and dismissive that they would be fired for their arrogance, regardless of their technical ability.  But, that style was also in series like the recently departed Vegas, and, as you say, it does seem to be commonplace.

 

For me, rapid-fire dialogue makes visual arts too technical, too literal -- removing rich symbolism and imagery of the kind I find not only more prevalent in older series, but also in our culture back before we became, as a whole, too technical and literal-minded -- and too dug in, as a result.

 

This is one reason Mannix did not fare well in syndication.   It's richness was in the way that tight editing was woven with character relationships and symbolism, which were always given time amidst the action.  Even just reaction shots conveyed so much -- but those reaction shots were the first to be cut in the edited versions for syndication.  Since syndication also speeds up the playback, some of those reaction shots lose their warmth even when they are there, almost appear as something they are not, when sped up.

 

Truly -- it was a revelation to see what was really in Mannix -- on those uncut DVDs, running at proper speed.

 

It helps that I was so used to paying attention when I first watched it that the impression some scenes left on me was deeply embedded -- and it was so sweet to see those scenes again.  They hold a lot, when the viewer just gets out of their own way and lets them sink in.

 

By the way, I once read where someone thought "The Sound of Darkness" was a two-part episode.  Nope -- they did it all in a single episode.  And, it really is amazing how much they get done in that episode -- when the bulk of it is about character, not action.



#1788 of 2195 OFFLINE   derosa

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Posted May 22 2013 - 05:01 PM

Well, it's written by Aaron Sorkin, and that's his signature style of dialogue

and characters.

 

Sports Night, The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and of course 

the "You can't handle the truth!" scene from A Few Good Men.

 

 

 

You make a very nice point that dialogue today is so clipped it is absurd.  I watched the whole season of HBO's The Newsroom, displaying a host of characters with interaction so clipped and dismissive that they would be fired for their arrogance, regardless of their technical ability. 



#1789 of 2195 OFFLINE   jompaul17

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Posted May 23 2013 - 06:30 AM

 

Well, it's written by Aaron Sorkin, and that's his signature style of dialogue

and characters.

 

Sports Night, The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and of course 

the "You can't handle the truth!" scene from A Few Good Men.

 

 

Right, I remember seeing him interviewed before The Newsroom premiered. 

 

A Few Good Men is one of my favorite movies, as I've mentioned here before.  But, not all of the dialogue in the movie is like the courtroom scene (which is excellent).  Courtrooms are designed to be confrontational, so, while the intensity of the exchange might well be trumped up from what happens in real life, it's plausible that such a scene could happen -- anything exceptional is, by definition, plausible (because so many kinds of things can happen once, exceptionally).  But, if that kind of intensity happened all of the time, the physics changes.  We would need to be driven by all kinds of drama, effectively making us victims of ourselves, unable to step back and process things intelligently -- which is the way The Newsroom comes across. 

 

The rest of A Few Good Men takes some time to develop the characters, with scenes that actually take time to ponder faces and actions -- maybe because it was directed by Rob Reiner.  That is what sets up the drama behind the courtroom scene. Heck, we even wonder what Caffee is up to before the courtroom scene takes place, because we see, entirely visually, that Caffee is thinking, planning, plotting.  I don't see that kind of thing in The Newsroom -- at all.

 

I sampled some of Sports Night (seem to recall it had a major actor in common with the excellent Six Feet Under) and some of The West Wing, didn't see the other.   My impression is that Sports Night got full of itself.  I remember them turning an episode of ESPN-style programming into something poignant, thereby getting the lead character out of his dismay with his cushy job.  That's pretty tough to buy for people who slog through all sorts of middle-class indignities on a daily basis, which is probably why the show did not last.   From what little I saw of The West Wing, Martin Sheen had at least some time to show some facial expression -- he at least had to come across as thinking about the implications of serious situations, even if everyone was buzzing around him and talking at him.  Actually, his need to ignore the buzzing around him made his taking the time to think all that more significant.  I don't see that in The Newsroom -- at all. 

 

Of course, that kind of rapid-fire dialogue mimics real life to a certain extent, since we live in a twitter generation.   But, when characters start to turn into animated tweets and text messages, where do we go for inspiration to take time to think, to take what is happening around us in, to step back and decide, and, most especially, to learn how to stand alone, above the fray of talking heads around us?

 

The rapid fire dialogue is being copied by other series, probably for the same reason the Harry Potter themes found their way into Batman and the recent James Bond movie -- same themes, applied to classic characters that were originally based upon different themes.

 

And, the way so many TV series seem to have a soap-opera background fueling the main characters, geez, how do they have time left to get anything done?   When did we start to see ourselves as victims of overblown family dramas who get work done despite drowning in personal relationship problems instead of noble public servants first?  

 

Success breeds copying. 

 

The only thing that breaks us out of a bad trend is to hope that something else succeeds -- some work of art that brings us out of feeling like victims of all of the chatter and makes us noble again.



#1790 of 2195 OFFLINE   Harry-N

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Posted May 23 2013 - 10:11 AM

Just watched 7.07 "Silent Target". Wow - this one could have been titled "Desert Run" - it would have fit nicely, but that title was already taken!

 

It was interesting seeing the young Frank Langella in this one. I always liked his version of DRACULA. Also appearing in the nest of bad guys was Del Monroe who had played four years+ of Seaman Kowalski on VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA. And the there's the lovely Barbara Luna, who had been the "Captain's Woman" in the alternate universe episode of STAR TREK.

 

Peggy gets a quick opening in this episode - part of a string of Mannix-away-from-the-office episodes that seems to be prevalent in this season so far. Her deflection of the phone call as Joe is leaving the office is a bit of fun.

 

This episode, penned by Shimon Wincelberg, didn't have much in the way of the quick cuts that we'd just discussed. Indeed, there are shots of planes landing and Joe driving through the desert early on, and then there's lots of running around in the desert later on as he and Elena are being pursued. By the way, Barbara Luna has played multiple characters named Elena (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and HAWAII FIVE-0) - and her STAR TREK character's name was Marlena.

 

Harry


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A 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".

#1791 of 2195 OFFLINE   jompaul17

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Posted May 24 2013 - 08:45 AM

Just watched 7.07 "Silent Target". Wow - this one could have been titled "Desert Run" - it would have fit nicely, but that title was already taken!

 

It was interesting seeing the young Frank Langella in this one. I always liked his version of DRACULA. Also appearing in the nest of bad guys was Del Monroe who had played four years+ of Seaman Kowalski on VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA. And the there's the lovely Barbara Luna, who had been the "Captain's Woman" in the alternate universe episode of STAR TREK.

 

Peggy gets a quick opening in this episode - part of a string of Mannix-away-from-the-office episodes that seems to be prevalent in this season so far. Her deflection of the phone call as Joe is leaving the office is a bit of fun.

 

This episode, penned by Shimon Wincelberg, didn't have much in the way of the quick cuts that we'd just discussed. Indeed, there are shots of planes landing and Joe driving through the desert early on, and then there's lots of running around in the desert later on as he and Elena are being pursued. By the way, Barbara Luna has played multiple characters named Elena (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and HAWAII FIVE-0) - and her STAR TREK character's name was Marlena.

 

Harry

Harry,

 

You know, awhile back I mixed the title of these two episodes up, I think it was in the yahoo discussion group, and a member there corrected me!  They come close enough together in terms of time of occurrence -- and, you are right, the "Silent Target" title seems to go more with all of that running around in the desert.  

 

Your observation about the different style of episode, different editing, brings to mind something else Mannix did so well.  Notice how the individual episodes have distinct parts that not only seem to belong to different episodes, but different episode types.   

 

My favorite example of this is season 3's "A Penny for the Peep Show," where the hostage situation takes place in Joe's office up front.   It is tense, dramatic, and ends about 1/3 of the way into the second act.  Then we move to some drama between Joe and his client, where he offers to put himself on the line for her, followed by a mafia-kind of scene that takes place with Rege Cordic, followed by a sequence at a home with a shooting gallery where Joe is the duck running in some targets, and the episode winds up with Joe getting all wet fighting the bad guy!

 

When I watched this episode on the DVDs, I hadn't seen it in a long time.  But, when I watched it, I knew I saw it as a kid, because I saw all of those scenes -- but never did I think they wound up in the same episode!  And yet, not only do each of those situations go together, they wind up being completely developed -- do not seem as if anything is left out.  Incredible.

 

Each part of this episode would serve as an entire episode in most modern series. 

 

How did they do all of that stuff in an episode filmed in a little over a week, week after week?  You never knew what was coming next in an episode of Mannix -- not just the outcomes, but the situations.

 

"Silent Target" has that kind of feel, since it starts out in Joe's office with Peggy, but then you never do see Peggy again -- a practice continued into season 8 for quite a few episodes.  But, then you have Joe encountering the house -- setting up the isolation, followed by the drama of trying to figure out what the heck is going on in that house, then of course, what ensues with Elena -- a combination of action and high drama, and, dare I say, a classic theme of bravery given over to a woman -- in 1973!   Wow.

 

Frank Langella definitely stood out -- I remember noticing his eyes, even as a kid.   He seemed so intense -- perfect for that part.  I hadn't put together the background of BarBara Luna (who seems to spell her first name that way), but that is interesting.  She was excellent as well.  

 

How did this series pull off (a) packing so much into single episodes -- density, (b) doing so many different types of episodes -- range, © seamlessly mixing human response and nobility with all of that action -- flexibility, and (d) always keep its core themes consistent and timeless -- fidelity, doing this for eight years, so that its eighth season saw a re-bound in the ratings?

 

I found out that the producers were bitter about the cancellation (see the article) -- hey, I'm in good company!

 

http://www.vcstar.co...vd/?partner=RSS



#1792 of 2195 OFFLINE   Harry-N

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Posted May 26 2013 - 12:31 PM

Question: Which episode of MANNIX has action on a train? I love trains and have spotted the little piece of the menu where he seems to be moving through a train and then fires his gun. Those scenes are usually taken from the current season, right?

 

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A 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".

#1793 of 2195 OFFLINE   jompaul17

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Posted May 26 2013 - 02:08 PM

Question: Which episode of MANNIX has action on a train? I love trains and have spotted the little piece of the menu where he seems to be moving through a train and then fires his gun. Those scenes are usually taken from the current season, right?

 

Harry

Harry,

 

That scene is from "All the Dead Were Strangers," which is, indeed, from season 7.   The train scene, so artfully timed to the music in the menus to the video of when Joe shoots his gun, takes place at the end of the episode.  The train is not moving during these scenes.

 

So far as I know, there is not one single violation of the rule that menu pictures all come from the season the DVDs covers.  Starting in season 4, this was also simplified.  Notice how in seasons 2 and 3, they changed the menu scenes to be more closely associated to the episodes covered on the DVDs.   But, they seemed to get a bit cheaper in seasons 4-8 so that the menu stays constant over all six DVDs -- all fine with me so long as we have this series back.

 

Of course, the season 1 menus are structured very differently.

 

All in all, I love those little action shots in the black frames of those menus, with the sound of the score behind them.



#1794 of 2195 OFFLINE   Harry-N

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Posted May 31 2013 - 07:47 AM

Too bad MANNIX never did an on-train episode. I always find those stories fascinating if they're well-written, as on a moving train there aren't any easy exits.

 

But I skipped ahead anyway to watch "All The Dead Were Strangers". There are a few things that grabbed my attention:

 

 - Joe's apartment: Is that some kind of '70s disco ball/light that's hanging in his foyer?

 

vlcsnap-2013-05-31-11h42m17s206.jpg

 

 - Ward Wood's voice: I never noticed before how much his deadpan delivery was similar in tone to Jack Webb's in DRAGNET

 

 - Music at train scene: Though the menu music and this scene are timed perfectly, in the actual episode of course, different music is present - and it's VERY reminiscent of the jazzy score/theme by David Shire to the New York subway movie of the '70s, THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1-2-3. (And MANNIX did it first!)

 

Harry


Edited by Harry-N, May 31 2013 - 07:49 AM.

My DVD Collection

A 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".

#1795 of 2195 OFFLINE   Harry-N

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Posted June 05 2013 - 04:03 AM

I got around to "The Deadly Madonna" the other day, and I wondered if anyone ever made the ironic connection that the story dealt with a long-missing film, and here the compilers of MANNIX must have run up against some missing film in using the slightly degraded print that they did. 

 

I was happy that at least this print was motion-steady. Often, when you see DVDs made from lesser quality prints, the image bounces around and the color levels are all over the place. But CBS did right by making this one look as good as they could. It was steady, and the color levels and tones looked as good as they could on the somewhat dirty print.

 

Harry


My DVD Collection

A 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".

#1796 of 2195 OFFLINE   Harry-N

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Posted June 05 2013 - 04:05 AM

Oh, and I wanted to comment on "Search In The Dark" too. I just loved the little interplay about the coffee early in the episode. Connors, Fisher, and Wood all played that little scene perfectly. It was...hot! :)

 

Harry


My DVD Collection

A 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".

#1797 of 2195 OFFLINE   jompaul17

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Posted June 07 2013 - 09:00 AM

Too bad MANNIX never did an on-train episode. I always find those stories fascinating if they're well-written, as on a moving train there aren't any easy exits.

 

But I skipped ahead anyway to watch "All The Dead Were Strangers". There are a few things that grabbed my attention:

 

 - Joe's apartment: Is that some kind of '70s disco ball/light that's hanging in his foyer?

 

attachicon.gifvlcsnap-2013-05-31-11h42m17s206.jpg

 

 - Ward Wood's voice: I never noticed before how much his deadpan delivery was similar in tone to Jack Webb's in DRAGNET

 

 - Music at train scene: Though the menu music and this scene are timed perfectly, in the actual episode of course, different music is present - and it's VERY reminiscent of the jazzy score/theme by David Shire to the New York subway movie of the '70s, THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1-2-3. (And MANNIX did it first!)

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=5kYR3lxQti4

 

Harry

Harry,

 

The whole subject of the decorations and wall hangings for Joe's office and apartment is just too much fun -- that, without even mentioning the nude art.  

 

That entrance way light -- it isn't really a ball so much as a star, more reminiscent of a multicolored Christmas tree star hanging upside down than a disco ball.   But, it does have a bar kind of feel to it, so much that it shows up in a bar in another episode (I think it might have been s5's "Catspaw".)   So, I guess when they went to make the bar set for that other episode, they decided to just borrow Joe's entrance light for that?  Maybe the Mission:Impossible people were using Joe's apartment at the time anyway, so Joe's decorations were just sitting in a pile somewhere. 

 

I think it is there from nearly the beginning, if not the beginning, of Joe's apartment -- I can't picture anything else there.  But, it was hard to notice at first, because, at the very beginning of Joe's apartment, one side of the entrance is filled with a whole rack of flowers in bloom!  Since there isn't a whole lot of light in Joe's apartment, we are left to ponder whether those are a bunch of plastic flowers Joe liked to keep there, just to provide balance with the gun rack on the second floor, or if he liked fresh ones delivered every day.  They must have decided something wasn't quite right with those flowers, because they went away after awhile.  But, the multicolored star light remained in the entrance.

 

Considering the office (and apartment) pictures moved around al the time, it makes you wonder how much thought they gave that people who were watching these episodes were going to pay attention to décor!

 

Joe's office is especially fun to watch over the years, because some items come and go, while others were there the whole time. 

 

For example, consider the red box on Joe's desk that seems to have a rose on it -- there from beginning to end.  Most everything else in Joe's office is pretty masculine, down to the ashtray made out of a sword, but, then there is that rose colored box, always there -- and used.   It seemed to house things like scissors, used for things like disarming bombs in s6's "Cry Silence."   

 

These odd items, the multi-colored star, the rack of flowers in bloom and that rose colored box, could create an incongruity with the viewer's assessment of what the main character is all about -- but they never do!  Further, they never even appear out of place!   Geez, if you notice them first, Joe could come across as something of a shopper, with his appreciation for art and some pretty tasteful, even esoteric items.  But, you never picture Joe Mannix antiquing.   The character of Joe Mannix is so strong, that you reconcile those items with what you know about him and never use them as a means of defining who he is -- and this happens right at the very beginning!

 

He is not defined by the items that surround him, he even manages to overcome them, his character is that strong -- and I just love that about the character.   

 

The discussion of the train sort of fits along the same lines.    Mannix never did use a moving train set.  If memory serves, "All the Dead Were Strangers" used a real train for a short period of time at the end -- even went to some tracks to do it.   Had an episode been filmed on a moving train, it would have required a moving train set, which was probably expensive. 

 

But, look at the number of episodes of Mannix that managed to be compelling with sets cobbled together from things around the Paramount lot, and, even in the LA area, things that were re-used and represented multiple things.   I must have watched certain episode at least a half-dozen times before realizing that some of those exteriors used on the Paramount lot served for everything from police stations to embassys to funeral homes.   The use of the New York streets has already been extensively discussed.  

 

It can be fun to spot Mannix sets in other Paramount productions. For example, the church that you see over and over is the one used in Going My Way.   The apartment building used in many Mannix episodes ("The End of the Rainbow" comes to mind), is the brownstone used for the Bratter's apartment in Barefoot in the Park, and the alley used countless times (prominent in "Figures in a Landscape" and "Time Out of Mind" is the alley used at the end of Breakfast at Tiffany's

 

The point is just how much you watch Mannix for character, to the point that the sets and artifacts, while cool, hardly matter.   Most of "The Sound of Darkness" takes place in Joe's apartment, and, at the end, after the killer shoots his apartment up, you see Joe looking at his apartment once again, with his eyes back, only to see it without any bullet holes or things shot up at all!  

 

And, if you are like me, you can watch the ending of that episode and never notice that -- because you care so much about something else.

 

That, to me, is proof of the art of how well that character was done.

 

You notice character first, and everything that surrounds it second, hardly even noticing incongruity of physical "stuff" even overcoming the physical "stuff."  Isn't that what life is supposed to be all about?

 

Right, Ward Wood did come across as a lot more of a stereotypical kind of cop than Robert Reed did, mostly inspired, I think, by film noir.  Dragnet was so extreme -- the sort of like Spock as police lieutenant, but a Spock that wanted to be emotionless instead of the other way around.  But, I also think that Robert Reed took the buddy cop concept to the next level -- I'm not sure anyone did that before he did.   To his credit, Ward Wood evolved from that -- he was more hard-nosed at first, but seemed to quickly follow Robert Reed's lead, and warm up to Joe.   That made him perfect for episodes like "The Mouse That Died" and "Death is the Fifth Gear" leading to the big three of season 7 ("Climb a Deadly Mountain," "The Gang's All Here" and "The Dark Hours").  Because he was so much the conventional police lieutenant, it meant so much more when you saw him soften up at all to his buddy's struggles -- as well as to the places his buddy could reach because he was so much more his own man and willing to sacrifice and get hurt along the way. 

 

You see Art Malcolm, sometimes even reluctantly, seeing what Joe is all about -- and you sense, through him, that the loss of Joe would be more than the loss of a good friend. 



#1798 of 2195 OFFLINE   jompaul17

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Posted June 07 2013 - 09:14 AM

I got around to "The Deadly Madonna" the other day, and I wondered if anyone ever made the ironic connection that the story dealt with a long-missing film, and here the compilers of MANNIX must have run up against some missing film in using the slightly degraded print that they did. 

 

I was happy that at least this print was motion-steady. Often, when you see DVDs made from lesser quality prints, the image bounces around and the color levels are all over the place. But CBS did right by making this one look as good as they could. It was steady, and the color levels and tones looked as good as they could on the somewhat dirty print.

 

Harry

Harry,

 

Oh, yeah, that irony was not lost on me!

 

So, over the 194 episode of Mannix, the scorecard for media quality is that 2.5 episodes are compromised.

 

(1) about 1/3 - 1/2 of s4's "Figures in a Landscape" is all grainy with the color nearly completely washed out

(2) s7's "The Deadly Madonna" is so bad, many think it might not have been restored at all

(3) s8's "A Walk on the Blind Side" is similar, except it seems more grainy than fuzzy

 

Of these, I care about "The Deadly Madonna" the least.  If it was the only episode this way, I would not feel bad -- and could even appreciate the irony.   But, I do have some pain over "A Walk on the Blind Side."  Certain scenes in there -- I waited decades to see them again.   You don't think that something you care about that much will be left in the hands of others who might just let it deteriorate, but it almost seems as if that happened for that episode.  Ever hopeful (what else could a Mannix fan be?) I keep thinking that, should there be a BD release of Mannix, someone will discover that this episode was not restored, and give us an improved version.

 

As for "Figures in Landscape" well, some of that episode is clear and colorful, while that one part is just awful.   How can that happen to a master?   I guess the masters are on multiple reels?  I have a couple of 16mm episodes of Mannix -- and they fit on a single reel. 

 

I do have some pain over "Figures in a Landscape" as well.   I remember seeing it as a kid, to include the scenes in Joe's office and apartment that are compromised -- good scenes. 

 

But, all in all, I am so incredibly happy to have what I have now with these DVDs.

 

True to form with the previous post, the qualities of character in these episodes overcome so much that surrounds them.



#1799 of 2195 OFFLINE   jompaul17

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Posted June 07 2013 - 09:34 AM

Oh, and I wanted to comment on "Search In The Dark" too. I just loved the little interplay about the coffee early in the episode. Connors, Fisher, and Wood all played that little scene perfectly. It was...hot! :)

 

Harry

Harry,

 

OK, since you brought it up -- that is one of four pieces of dialogue in Mannix that might be considered dated.

 

It is amazing to realize that, while the producers of Mannix were putting out a show they never thought, and could never have predicted, would be viewed and scrutinized on DVDs, they still seemed to intentionally be making a show with timeless content.  It was set in its period, of course (in and of itself, such a difficult thing to pull off -- a character with knight-like qualities set in the present day), but it did not date itself in terms of dialogue and hardly even the properties of the villains.   The evils driving the heroic nature of the main character still apply today -- and so do his qualities of character since they are, in fact, timeless in nature. 

 

Curiously, one such piece of dated dialogue happens in the pilot episode, "The Name is Mannix."   When Joe is at the Palm Springs airport, a thug comes to take him to his client when Joe wanted to pick up his rental car and get himself there later.  The thug pulls a gun on Joe, meaning that he wasn't going to be able to pick up his rental car after all.  So when a young female rental car attendant brings the car to Joe (geez, were things different in those days....), Joe replies to her, "He tried harder."

 

This was from the Avis ads that ran those days, since, as the #2 rental car company (to Hertz), they "tried harder."

 

Another piece of dated dialogue comes at the end of "Climb a Deadly Mountain."  When Joe says to Peggy "I just couldn't find a phone" -- that was a line used by men in those days to try to get themselves off the hook for not calling women who expected them to call.  That line still works in that episode -- but it was somewhat stronger since it tied into a common expression which is, of course, no longer used.

 

Then, there is the dialogue you pointed out.  It tied into some commercial that ran then -- I can't remember which one now (most probably a coffee one).  But, "It's hot" was something running all over the airwaves when that line was said in that episode.

 

And, there is a fourth such dated reference, and a second one to a coffee commercial -- I think it might be in season 8.   For some reason, I seem to think the reference is much more explicit to a coffee commercial in that one, to the point of almost mentioning Mrs. Folger.   My apologies for not remembering which episode.   I have a somewhat less complete memory of season 8 -- it is still hard to watch because it was the last season -- and the show did not deserve to be canceled!

 

Actually, that link I posted a couple of weeks back blamed Fred Silverman for the cancellation -- I had not heard that before.  I seem to recall Johnny Carson making a lot of fun of Fred Silverman as well -- probably after he left CBS.   Fred Silverman had the power to cancel Mannix -- but he is not remembered fondly. 



#1800 of 2195 OFFLINE   Harry-N

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Posted June 08 2013 - 04:28 AM

"Cry Danger" had some great location shots in San Francisco, a city that's always fun to look at with its striking imagery. I love seeing Joe in the same locations as Jimmy Stewart in VERTIGO, one of my favorite movies.

 

Harry


My DVD Collection

A 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".





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