Hart to Hart

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Hart to Hart
Hart to Hart.jpg
Created bySidney Sheldon
StarringRobert Wagner
Stefanie Powers
Lionel Stander
Composer(s)Mark Snow
Bruce Broughton (4.12)
Robert Folk
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes110 (List of episodes)
Production
Producer(s)Aaron Spelling
Leonard Goldberg (pilot movie)
David Levinson (1979-80)
Mart Crowley (1980-83)
Leigh Vance (1983-84)
Running time47 minutes per episode
Production company(s)Columbia Pictures Television
Rona II
Spelling-Goldberg Productions
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Broadcast
Original channelABC
Original runAugust 25, 1979  – May 22, 1984
 
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Hart to Hart
Hart to Hart.jpg
Created bySidney Sheldon
StarringRobert Wagner
Stefanie Powers
Lionel Stander
Composer(s)Mark Snow
Bruce Broughton (4.12)
Robert Folk
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes110 (List of episodes)
Production
Producer(s)Aaron Spelling
Leonard Goldberg (pilot movie)
David Levinson (1979-80)
Mart Crowley (1980-83)
Leigh Vance (1983-84)
Running time47 minutes per episode
Production company(s)Columbia Pictures Television
Rona II
Spelling-Goldberg Productions
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Broadcast
Original channelABC
Original runAugust 25, 1979  – May 22, 1984

Hart to Hart is an American television series, starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers as Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, a wealthy couple who moonlight as amateur detectives. The series was created by writer Sidney Sheldon and produced by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg. It ran from 1979 to 1984 on the ABC Television Network.

Premise[edit]

The premise of the show is summed up in its famous opening lines, spoken by the character Max: "This is my boss: Jonathan Hart, a self-made millionaire. He’s quite a guy. This is Mrs. H -- she’s gorgeous. She’s one lady who knows how to take care of herself. By the way, my name is Max. I take care of both of them -- which ain’t easy; ‘cause when they met, it was murder."

Jonathan Hart (Robert Wagner) was a self-made millionaire and the CEO of Hart Industries, a Los Angeles-based global electronics conglomerate. His wife Jennifer (Stefanie Powers) was a beautiful freelance journalist. Living the jetset lifestyle, the glamorous couple spent their free time as amateur detectives and in every episode they found themselves involved in cases of smuggling, theft, international espionage, or most commonly, murder. At their opulent California estate, they were assisted by Max (Lionel Stander), their loyal, gravelly-voiced butler, cook, and chauffeur who also helped with their "cases." The Harts' beloved pet dog was a Löwchen called "Freeway," so named because he was a stray that they found wandering on the freeway. The Harts own a Mercedes-Benz 300 TD diesel wagon, a dark green Rolls Royce Corniche convertible (replacing the Series III Bentley custom cabriolet in the first season), and a yellow Mercedes-Benz SL roadster (1979 450 SL, replaced by a 1981 380 SL) with personalized California vanity plates 3 HARTs, 2 HARTs, and 1 HART respectively. The trailer also shows a side view of Jonathan Hart driving a red Dino 246 GTS. They also own a Grumman Gulfstream II private jet, which is featured at the start of each episode. Max describes the couple as well as himself at the start of each episode.

Production[edit]

Screenwriter and novelist Sidney Sheldon had originally written a script for CBS entitled Double Twist about a married couple who were also both spies. The script remained unfilmed for several years before producers Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg decided to update the idea for a potential television series. They offered the script to screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz, who had by that time written several screenplays including three of the James Bond films. Their instruction to Mankiewicz was to update the script to make it more contemporary and viable for a potential weekly series. They also told Mankiewicz that if his draft was successful, he would also be able to direct the pilot episode himself. Mankiewicz reworked Sheldon's original script and it was renamed Hart to Hart. Mankiewicz also made his directorial debut with the pilot episode as planned, and remained a "Creative Consultant" on the series afterwards.

Spelling and Goldberg's initial choice for the role of Jonathan Hart was Cary Grant. However, Grant (who was 75 years old at the time) had effectively retired from acting some years earlier. They then decided to find a younger actor who might embody the same style and persona that Grant was famous for and offered the role to Robert Wagner. No one else was seriously considered for the role; George Hamilton had a high profile at the time and was suggested but Aaron Spelling said that if he was cast "the audience will resent him as Hart for being that rich. But no one will begrudge RJ [Wagner] a nickel."[1]

ABC wanted Wagner's real life wife Natalie Wood to co-star with him as Jennifer Hart but Wagner was reluctant. Initial choices for the role of Jennifer Hart included Suzanne Pleshette, Kate Jackson and Lindsay Wagner, but Wagner suggested Stefanie Powers who had previously worked with Robert Wagner when she made a guest appearance in an episode of his series It Takes a Thief in 1970.[1]

Wagner wanted Sugar Ray Robinson to play Max but ABC were worried about a black man playing the servant to a rich couple. Eventually they cast Lionel Stander, who had worked with Robert Wagner in an episode of It Takes a Thief. In that episode ("King of Thieves"), he also played a character named Max who was a lifelong friend.

The main title theme for the series was scored by Mark Snow.

Fashion and jewelry designer Nolan Miller, who later designed the clothes for Dynasty, is credited as the costume designer for the pilot and the first season.

The ranch-style house used for exterior filming was previously owned by actors Dick Powell and his wife, June Allyson (Powell died in 1963). Powell was an old friend of both Robert Wagner and Aaron Spelling. The actual estate, known as Amber Hills, is situated on 48 acres in the Mandeville Canyon section of Brentwood, Los Angeles. The adress of the house is: 3100 Mandeville Canyon Road, Los Angeles, USA

Episodes[edit]

Ratings[edit]

TV movies[edit]

In 1993, almost a decade after the series ended, Wagner and Powers teamed up again for a series of Hart to Hart reunion TV movies. Eight 90-minute telemovies were made in total between 1993-96:

Lionel Stander reprised his role as Max in five of the movies before his death (from lung cancer) in late 1994. His last ever screen appearance was in Secrets of the Hart, which aired in March 1995.

DVD releases[edit]

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released the first two seasons of Hart to Hart on DVD in Regions 1 & 2.

In 2010/2011, Sony Pictures released all 8 TV-Movies on DVD individually via the Warner Archive Collection. These are Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases and are available exclusively through WBShop.com and Amazon.com. On October 2, 2012, Sony released all 8 TV-Movies in two volume collections entitled Hart to Hart - TV Movie Collection, Volume 1 and Hart to Hart - TV Movie Collection, Volume 2.[2] These are Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases, available via Amazon.com and are part of the Sony Choice Collection.

On September 4, 2014, it was announced that Shout! Factory had acquired the rights to the series in Region 1 and will release Season 3 on DVD on December 9, 2014.[3]

DVD NameEp#Release Dates
Region 1Region 2 (GER)Region 2 (UK)
The Complete First Season23October 25, 2005November 8, 2005April 10, 2006
The Complete Second Season20September 19, 2006September 19, 2006October 9, 2006
The Complete Third Season24December 9, 2014TBATBA
The Complete Fourth Season22TBATBATBA
The Complete Fifth and Final Season22TBATBATBA
Hart to Hart - TV Movie Collection, Volume 14October 2, 2012N/AN/A
Hart to Hart - TV Movie Collection, Volume 24October 2, 2012N/AN/A

Awards and nominations[edit]

International broadcasts[edit]

Cultural References[edit]

The Greatest Event in Television History (2013)[edit]

On June 6, 2013 (June 7 in the Eastern Time Zone), Adult Swim aired an edition of The Greatest Event in Television History. Hosted by Jeff Probst, the program went behind the scenes during the making of a shot-for-shot remake of the Hart to Hart opening sequence, with Adam Scott and Amy Poehler respectively in the roles of Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, and Horatio Sanz as Max.[4] The remake followed a similar effort in the fall of 2012, adapting the opening credit sequence of Simon & Simon.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Tom Mankiewicz, My Life as a Mankiewicz: An Insider's Journey Through Hollywood (with Robert Crane) University Press of Kentucky 2012 p 222
  2. ^ "Hart to Hart - Details, Boxes for 'The TV Movie Collection, Volume 1' and 'Volume 2' MODs". 
  3. ^ '3rd Season' Coming Soon, as Shout! Picks Up the DVD Rights!
  4. ^ "The Greatest Event in Television History: Hart to Hart' -- VIDEO". Adult Swim. 6 June 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 

External links[edit]