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JohnHopper

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QM File: THE FBI (ABC/1965-1974)

THE FBI • SEASON 6 (1970-1971) (26 episodes • 50 mins • color)

This is the first Seventies era season and the most popular one featuring many new or one-shot guests and the second assignment for the second producer team led by Philip Saltzman. Anyway, it’s still shot like a late-Sixties era production (studio-bound, backlot and rear projection scenes) and plays like The Invaders but, as the season progresses, it hopefully looks more realistic. The series displays its highest ratings, peaking at number 10, and leading star Efrem Zimbalist Jr. signs a second five years contract to continue on the show. As a side note, Inspector Lewis Erskine goes thrice undercover this season: see “The Stalking Horse”, “Center of Peril” and “The Replacement”. Meanwhile, a brand new cop series by QM begins: Dan August, led by Burt Reynolds. The pool of writers supervised by story consultant Robert Heverly tackles many thematic cases (bank robbery, corruption, espionage, kidnapping, organized crime, terrorism, theft) and my favorite one remains bank money theft (“The Condemned”, “The Hitchhiker”, “Turnabout”, “Three-Way Split”). This season sees some interesting directors: William Hale, Jesse Hibbs, Bernard McEveety, Virgil W. Vogel—both Hale and Vogel will become prolific and gifted Streets of San Francisco craftsmen. For the record, co-star Philip Abbott manages two episodes: “The Replacement” and “Three-Way Split”. For the anecdote, the season 6 promo film consists of scenes from “The Condemned”, “The Architect”, “The Witness”.

THE CONCEPT AND THE ZEITGEIST
Considered as a television version of Mervyn LeRoy’s 1959 film The FBI Story (starring James Stewart), it’s a holistic character study or a study on ordinary evil disguised as a criminal-oriented series, in other words, the stern leads are abstract and idealistic figures because they are depicted as the hand of justice in the line of The Untouchables and the guest heavies are the main interest and, above all, are the untamed beasts betrayed by their passions of a well-ordered frame which gives the series the format of an anthology. Unlike Robert Stack, leading star Efrem Zimbalist Jr. acts in the manner of the quiet, smooth and fatherly John Forsythe in the Golden Age tradition. The rigid structure of this federal narrative is divided in three parts (the introduction of the criminal with its record that includes the full name and the charges during the prologue, the life and the fall of the criminal during the four acts, the criminal as a convict in Inspector Lewis Erskine’s office during the epilogue but, from episode #4, that third ritual comes and goes). This season treats the social themes of the time throughout the youth movement backdrop (see “Time Bomb” with Geoffrey Deuel and Diana Ewing, “Death Watch” with Glenn Corbett and Diane Keaton) as the fifth season of the plot-driven CBS series Mission: Impossible (led by Peter Graves). At the same time, a brand new Feds series from ABC pops-up: The Silent Force (led by Ed Nelson), but it never survives past the first year.

THE QUOTE
“I always thought the villains were the most interesting characters,” says Saltzman. “My villains weren’t just black-and-white evil people.There was always some driving force that turned them into that. I tried to do stories with interesting villains. I used women killers too. I liked the idea of having women be the killers. It made the shows more interesting.”
—Producer Philip Saltzman about The FBI, page 82 in Quinn Martin, Producer: A Behind-the-Scenes History of QM Productions and Its Founder.

PRODUCTION TEAM
executive producer: Quinn Martin
producer: Philip Saltzman
associate producer: Mark Weingart
story consultant: Robert Heverly
directors of photography: William W. Spencer (13), Jack Swain (11), Fred Mandl (2)

Independant company man Quinn Martin started his career as a producer in the 1950’s and launched the first season (1959-1960) as an executive producer of the groundbreaking retro feds show The Untouchables (led by Robert Stack) for Desilu Productions. His first series under his company was the 1961 contemporary police drama The New Breed (led by Leslie Nielsen). The FBI was QM’s fourth series and the longest one. For the record, Quinn Martin was always credited first which made no sense because the producer is supposed to be the man in charge who set the tone.

Producer Philip Saltzman started his job from season 5 (1969-1970) and will end it at season 8 (1972-1973). His first commitment as a producer for QM—as an associate producer, by the way—was for the third season of 12 O’Clock High and will later work on Barnaby Jones along with cinematographer William W. Spencer. Prior to this, he was involved in the police series The Felony Squad (1966-1969) as an executive story consultant during season 1 and as a producer during season 2 and 3 along with writer Robert Heverly.

Associate producer Mark Weingart was a writer and started from season 4 (1968-1969) under the first regime of producer Charles Larson and will cease at the end of season 7 (1971-1972). He used to manage the WWII series The Rat Patrol as both writer and producer. For the anecdote, he was a story editor during the first season of The Wild Wild West under the guidance of the second producer: Collier Young.

Story consultant Robert Heverly worked from season 5 to 7 during the regime producer Philip Saltzman of but was first hired as a writer from season 4 to 8 and later replaced Mark Weingart as an associate producer during season 8. The majority of this season scripts was directed by Virgil W. Vogel.

Apart from the regular FBI cinematographer William W. Spencer who used to work on 12 O’Clock High and will later participate at Barnaby Jones, find two additional craftsmen: Jack Swain, known for his connection to two notorious CBS series (The Twilight Zone and Rawhide), and Fred Mandl (see “Escape to Terror” and “Incident in the Desert”).

CAST OF CHARACTERS
regular cast: Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Inspector Lewis Erskine), Philip Abbott (Assistant Director Arthur Ward aka the representative of J. Edgar Hoover), William Reynolds (Special Agent Tom Colby).

supporting cast: Dean Harens (Special Agent in Charge Bryan Durant), Anthony Eisley (Special Agent in Charge Chet Randolph), Lew Brown (Special Agent in Charge Allen Bennett), John Mayo (Document Examiner),

various cast: Marvin Miller (Narrator), James W. Gavin (Federal helicopter pilot).

The strength of season 6 is the colorful guest actors that add weight to the story: see Edward Andrews, Anne Archer, Carl Betz, Larry Blyden, Sorrell Booke, Antoinette Bower, Eric Braeden, Michael Burns, Ahna Capri, Darleen Carr, Dabney Coleman, Gary Collins, Glenn Corbett, Royal Dano, Ray Danton, Geoffrey Deuel, Charles Dierkop, Bradford Dillman, Ivan Dixon, Michael Douglas, Andrew Duggan, Marj Dusay, Dana Elcar, Diana Ewing, Steve Forrest, Arthur Franz, Harold Gould, Dabbs Greer, Harry Guardino, Murray Hamilton, Mariette Hartley, Peter Haskell, Susan Howard, Diana Hyland, Steve Ihnat, Richard Jaeckel, Diane Keaton, Richard Kiley, Larry Linville, Robert Loggia, Tim McIntire, David Macklin, Joe Mantell, Monte Markham, Scott Marlowe, Linda Marsh, Wayne Maunder, Donna Mills, Vic Morrow, Lois Nettleton, Warren Oates, James Olson, Woodrow Parfrey, Roger Perry, Suzanne Pleshette, Ford Rainey, Hari Rhodes, Peter Mark Richman, Wayne Rogers, Albert Salmi, William Shatner, Martin Sheen, Tom Skerritt, Kent Smith, Don Stroud, Angel Tompkins, Joan Van Ark, Joyce Van Patten, Stuart Whitman, Billy Dee Williams.

THE DVD SETS
The prints are not restored and still look good enough. The chromatic calibration is the blatant weak spot because the colors are too saturated and the contrast is too high and they suffer from a dominant color (magenta or cyan or green) in the white tones and the skin tones. The DVDs are MOD (Manufactured On Demand) and this is the first season sold in one set. Unfortunately, there are no extras and no English subtitles.

THE QM BOOK
See Chapter 5 (p. 62-87) - The FBI
Quinn Martin, Producer: A Behind-the-Scenes History of QM Productions and Its Founder

by Jonathan Etter
(North Carolina, McFarland & Company, 2003, 232 pages, ISBN 0-7864-1501-0)
 

JohnHopper

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the fbi season 6 promo film

‘The FBI’ TV Series Promo (1971)

The season 6 trailer film consists of scenes from “The Condemned”, “The Architect”, “The Witness”.

 

JohnHopper

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the fbi season 6 publicity shot

fbi6_promo_01.jpg
 

JoeDoakes

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Ray
I've long hoped that they would release a complete series set at something reasonable. I think it would sell
 

JohnHopper

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¶​
¶ Next on The F.B.I. season 6, the reviews of the first disc and starting on Monday 5!​
¶ Get your ID and be ready!​
¶​
fbi6_d01.jpg
 

Lecagr

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Lee
A favorite episode of mine from the 6th season is The Hitchhiker, with Michael Douglas as a bank robber on the run from the law, pretty good episode.

A few years ago I bought the DVD's of all nine seasons, ordered them from Amazon so I imagine that's probably why the discs in all the sets are DVD-R's and not pressed discs.

On the subject of the season 6 DVD, my set has some strange goings on with the episode menus. The majority of the time, the menu screen appears as a black/blank screen with red squares on the side that move up and down for episode selection. Only occasionally the full menu screen appears with the artwork and episode titles. This is strange and season 6 is the only one with this problem, the other seasons are fine with the menu screens.
 

JohnHopper

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A favorite episode of mine from the 6th season is The Hitchhiker, with Michael Douglas as a bank robber on the run from the law, pretty good episode.

A few years ago I bought the DVD's of all nine seasons, ordered them from Amazon so I imagine that's probably why the discs in all the sets are DVD-R's and not pressed discs.

On the subject of the season 6 DVD, my set has some strange goings on with the episode menus. The majority of the time, the menu screen appears as a black/blank screen with red squares on the side that move up and down for episode selection. Only occasionally the full menu screen appears with the artwork and episode titles. This is strange and season 6 is the only one with this problem, the other seasons are fine with the menu screens.


It's really odd. Do you watch it on a television or computer screen?
 

JohnHopper

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THE FBI SEASON 6

Episode #1

“The Condemned”
written by Robert Heverly
directed by Virgil W. Vogel
cinematography by William W. Spencer
music by Duane Tatro
guests: Tim McIntire, Joan Van Ark, Martin Sheen, Joe Mantell, Royal Dano, Joseph Perry, James Sikking, Robert Gibbons, John Hudson, James MacKrell, Joel Lawrence, Dennis McCarthy, Will J. White, Cliff McDonald, Matt Knox

BANK ROBBERY

It’s a very good episode that relies on a war of leadership—in other words, the mastermind is challenged by a stranger/manipulative female model that disturbs his well-oiled team—leading to a complete switch of social position. Find a nice helicopter chase led by Inspector Erskine that tracks the suspects down which is part of the season 6 promo film as well as the manhunt in a tunnel construction site. The script is penned by story consultant Robert Heverly. The character of Martin Sheen plays a cerebral, nervous and authoritarian figure who doesn’t carry guns and uses a rough and emotional country man as the tool of his will. The cast of the criminals is good: Martin Sheen, Tim McIntire, Joe Mantell, Joan Van Ark. The score of composer Duane Tatro is effective, low-key, precise, jazz-infused.

QM actors notes: Martin Sheen will later play another bank robber in the great season 2 episode entitled “Betrayed” from The Streets of San Francisco. Sheen guests in some QM series like The FBI (4), Dan August, Cannon (3), The Streets of San Francisco.

Returning guest actors: Tim McIntire (the season 2 “The Satellite”), Joan Van Ark (the season 4 “The Maze”), Martin Sheen (the season 3 “The Dynasty”), Royal Dano (the season 3 “The Legend of John Rim”), Joseph Perry (the season 4 “Breakthrough”), James Sikking (the season 4 “Wind It Up and It Betrays You”), Robert Gibbons (the season 3 “Blood Verdict”), James MacKrell (the season 5 “Tug-of-War”), Joel Lawrence (the season 5 “Fatal Impostor”), Dennis McCarthy (the season 5 “The Inside Man”), Cliff McDonald (the season 5 “Pressure Point”).

Preview Clip | The FBI | Warner Archive | The Condemned

 
Last edited:

JohnHopper

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THE FBI SEASON 6

Episode #1

“The Condemned”
written by Robert Heverly
directed by Virgil W. Vogel
cinematography by William W. Spencer
music by Duane Tatro
guests: Tim McIntire, Joan Van Ark, Martin Sheen, Joe Mantell, Royal Dano, Joseph Perry, James Sikking, Robert Gibbons, John Hudson, James MacKrell, Joel Lawrence, Dennis McCarthy, Will J. White, Cliff McDonald, Matt Knox


Pictures of bank robber leader Perry Victor (actor Martin Sheen).

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condemned08.jpg

condemned09.jpg
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condemned13.jpg
condemned14.jpg
condemned15.jpg
condemned16.jpg
condemned17.jpg
condemned18.jpg
condemned19.jpg
condemned20.jpg
 

Lecagr

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It's really odd. Do you watch it on a television or computer screen?
I watch the DVD's through a DVD player connected to the TV. I did see one reviewer at Amazon who posted about season six and mentioned there is the lack of a menu. The menu is there but it correctly appears only occasionally, most of the time it's just a black/blank screen with red squares on the side. Very strange indeed.
 

bmasters9

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On the subject of the season 6 DVD, my set has some strange goings on with the episode menus. The majority of the time, the menu screen appears as a black/blank screen with red squares on the side that move up and down for episode selection. Only occasionally the full menu screen appears with the artwork and episode titles. This is strange and season 6 is the only one with this problem, the other seasons are fine with the menu screens.

Why would the sixth go have such weird menu happenings?
 

JohnHopper

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THE FBI SEASON 6

Episode #2

“The Traitor”
written by Gerald Sanford
directed by William Hale
cinematography by William W. Spencer
music by Hugo Friedhofer
guests: Bradford Dillman, Wayne Rogers, Antoinette Bower, David Hurst, Eric Christmas, William Sargent, Forrest Compton, James Lydon, Ed Gilbert, William Wintersole, Richmond Shepard, Michael Sevareid, John Mayo, George Robertson, Ron Brown, Michael Chase

ESPIONAGE

It’s a good tale of corruption that degenerates into family blackmail combined with a case of social misery, in short, it relies on an innocent protagonist who falls into the spiral of fate: i.e., a company scientist has a money issue and fails to get a promotion hence his acceptance to do a dirty job (taking pictures of secret documents on a ruby laser) and feels guilty. The liaison agent (Wayne Rogers) acts as the Tempter and fools the weakling scientist (Bradford Dillman), behaving like Faust, with a banal cover of industrial espionage. The cast of the spies (Wayne Rogers, David Hurst, William Wintersole) is good but Bradford Dillman dominates the drama.

QM actors notes: Bradford Dillman appears in some QM series like 12 O’Clock High, The FBI (6), Dan August, Cannon (2), The Streets of San Francisco, Barnaby Jones (6), The Manhunter. Dillman is excellent in the pilot episode “Requiem for a Son” from Barnaby Jones.

Returning guest actors: Bradford Dillman (the season 3 “Southwind”), Wayne Rogers (the season 5 “Deadfall”), Antoinette Bower (the season 3 “Blueprint for Betrayal”), William Sargent (the season 5 “Conspiracy of Corruption”), Forrest Compton (the season 5 “The Challenge”), James Lydon (the season 3 “Act of Violence”), William Wintersole (the season 5 “Gamble with Death”), John Mayo (the season 5 “Return to Power”), Ron Brown (the season 5 “Nightmare Road”).
 

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