Mannix

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Mannix
Mannix.jpg
FormatCrime drama
Created byRichard Levinson
William Link
Developed byBruce Geller
StarringMike Connors
Gail Fisher
Theme music composerLalo Schifrin
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons8
No. of episodes194 (List of episodes)
Production
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running timeapprox. 50 minutes
Production company(s)Desilu Productions (1967–68)
Paramount Television (1968–1975)
DistributorCBS Television Distribution (2007–present)
Broadcast
Original channelCBS
Audio formatMonaural
Original runSeptember 7, 1967 (1967-09-07) – April 10, 1975 (1975-04-10)
Chronology
Followed byDiagnosis: Murder
 
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Mannix
Mannix.jpg
FormatCrime drama
Created byRichard Levinson
William Link
Developed byBruce Geller
StarringMike Connors
Gail Fisher
Theme music composerLalo Schifrin
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons8
No. of episodes194 (List of episodes)
Production
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running timeapprox. 50 minutes
Production company(s)Desilu Productions (1967–68)
Paramount Television (1968–1975)
DistributorCBS Television Distribution (2007–present)
Broadcast
Original channelCBS
Audio formatMonaural
Original runSeptember 7, 1967 (1967-09-07) – April 10, 1975 (1975-04-10)
Chronology
Followed byDiagnosis: Murder

Mannix is an American television detective series that ran from 1967 through 1975 on CBS. Created by Richard Levinson and William Link and developed by executive producer Bruce Geller, the title character, Joe Mannix, is a private investigator. He is played by Mike Connors. Mannix was the last series produced by Desilu Productions.

Scenario[edit]

During the first season of the series Joe Mannix worked for a large Los Angeles detective agency called Intertect, which was the planned original title of the show.[1] His superior was Lew Wickersham, played by Joseph Campanella with the agency featuring the use of computers to help solve crimes. As opposed to the other employees who must wear dark suits and sit in rows of desks with only one piece of paper allowed to be on their desk at one time, Mannix belongs to the classic American detective archetype and thus usually ignores the computers' solutions, disobeys his boss's orders and sets out to do things his own way. He wears plaid sport coats and has his own office that he keeps sloppy between his assignments. Lew has cameras in all the rooms of Intertect monitoring the performance of his employees and providing instant feedback through intercoms in the room. Unlike the other Intertect operatives, Mannix attempts to block the camera with a coat rack and insults Lew, comparing him to Big Brother.

To improve the ratings of the show, Desilu head Lucille Ball and the producer Bruce Geller brought in some changes[2] making the show similar to other private eye shows. Lucille Ball thought the computers were too high tech and beyond comprehension for the average viewer of the time and had them removed.[3]

From the second season on, Mannix worked on his own with the assistance of his loyal secretary Peggy Fair, a police officer's widow played by Gail Fisher – one of the first African-American actresses to have a regular series role. He also has assistance from the L.A. police department, the two most prominent officers being Lieutenant Art Malcolm (portrayed by Ward Wood) and Lieutenant Adam Tobias (portrayed by Robert Reed). Other police contacts were Lieutenant George Kramer (Larry Linville), who had been the partner of Peggy's late husband,[4] and Lieutenant Dan Ives (Jack Ging).

While not generally known as a show that explored socially relevant topics, several episodes had topical themes, starting in Season Two. In Season Two alone, there were episodes featuring compulsive gambling,[5] deaf and blind characters that were instrumental in solving cases in spite of their physical limitations,[6][7] and episodes that focused on racism against blacks and Hispanics.[8][9][10] Season Six had an episode focusing on the effects the Vietnam War had on returning veterans, including the effects of PTSD.[11]

In the 1969 season, he also employed the services of a competitive private investigator, Albie Loos (performed by Joe Mantell) as a sort of investigative go-fer.

Character[edit]

Joseph R. "Joe" Mannix is a regular guy, without pretense, who has a store of proverbs to rely upon in conversation. What demons he has mostly come from having fought in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, where he was initially listed as MIA[12] while he was a prisoner of war in a brutal POW camp until he escaped.[13] Unfortunately, over the length of the series, a sizable percentage of his old Army comrades turn out to have homicidal impulses against him.[13][14][15] During the series, it is also revealed that Mannix worked as a mercenary in Latin America.[16] Like the actor who plays him, Mannix is of Armenian descent. Mannix was shown to speak fluent Armenian during the series[12][17][18] as well as conversational Spanish.[10]

Mannix is notable for taking a lot of physical punishment. During the course of the series he is shot and wounded over a dozen separate times, or is knocked unconscious around 55 times.[19] Mannix frequently took brutal beatings to the abdomen; some of these went on quite a long time, particularly by the television standards of the era. Whenever Mannix gets into one of his convertibles he can expect to be shot at from another car, run off the road by another car, or find his vehicle sabotaged. Nevertheless he keeps his cool and perseveres until his antagonists are brought down. While making the television pilot "The Name is Mannix", Connors dislocated his shoulder running away from a From Russia With Love-type pursuit from a helicopter,[1] and broke his left wrist punching a stuntman who happened to be wearing a steel plate on his back.

Starting in Season Two, Mannix lives at 17 Paseo Verde, West Los Angeles. Mannix grew up in a town called Summer Grove, where he was an star football and basketball player. Summer Grove had a thriving Armenian immigrant community. As of 1969, Mannix's mother had died ten years earlier, and Mannix had not been back to the town since the funeral. Mannix's estranged father, Stefan, was still alive and still living in Summer Grove, and Mannix and his father would start a reconciliation.[12] When Mannix was returned to Summer Grove for a case three years later, he and his father were on good terms.[18] Following military service in the Korean War, Mannix attended Western Pacific University on the GI Bill, graduated in 1955 and obtained his private investigator's licence in 1956. He is a black belt in Karate. Throughout the series, he is shown to accomplished in a variety of athletic pursuits, including sailing, horseback riding, and skiing. In the first season he carried a Walther PP semi-automatic pistol. From the second season on Mannix carried a Colt Detective Special snubnosed revolver in .38 Special caliber.

Appearances on Other Shows[edit]

In 1971, Connors guest-starred on an episode of Here's Lucy entitled "Lucy and Mannix are Held Hostage".

In 1997, Connors reprised the role of Mannix on an episode of Diagnosis: Murder entitled "Hard-Boiled Murder," which serves as a sequel to the Mannix episode "Little Girl Lost".

Production[edit]

Gary Morton, the husband of Lucille Ball and head of Desilu Studios, noticed a 1937 Bentley convertible being driven by Mike Connors. A car enthusiast, Morton began talking about cars to Connors when he remembered a Desilu detective show coming up that he thought Connors would do well in.[20]

Mannix featured a dynamic split-screen opening credits sequence set to theme music from noted composer Lalo Schifrin. Unusual for a private detective series, the Mannix theme is in triple time, the same signature used for waltz.

The show's title card, opening credits and closing credits roll are set in variations of the City typeface, a squared-off, split-serif face that was long used by IBM Corporation as part of their corporate design and still appears in their logo. This refers to the computers used by Intertect in the first season. The dot over the "i" in Mannix had the appearance of a computer tape reel. This was also removed after the first season.

Over the life of the series, several famous entertainers were featured in one-time roles as fictional entertainers based on themselves, including Neil Diamond and Lou Rawls in separate episodes as singers, Rich Little as an impressionist and Milton Berle as a stand-up comedian. Essay humorist Art Buchwald also had a cameo role unrelated to journalism.

Mannix's automobiles[edit]

The automobile was a focus of Mannix's professional life, and he had several of them as his personal vehicle in the eight-year run of the series. Those were:

Even though a ’69 Dart was built by Barris to replicate this car in the show's 1969 season, the ’68 Dart was regularly seen during the ’69 season. (In the 1969 episode "A Penny for the Peep Show" both the ’68 and ’69 Darts are used in the same shot, to elude a police tail on Mannix, but there was no explanation in the episode why or how two identically customized green Dart convertibles show up together.) In further tracing the car's history, it was learned that the '68 Dart was reportedly sold to a secretary at Paramount Studios and then was lost for decades until being discovered near a ranger station in the California mountains. It has since been restored to its original Mannix/Barris condition and was featured in Hemmings Muscle Machines, December 2009 issue.

The '68 Mannix Dart and its intriguing history was also featured on the TV show "Drive" on Discovery HD Theater in 2010. The TV show reunited the car with Mike Connors for the first time in over 40 years. The car is currently owned by C. Van Tune, former Editor-in-Chief of Motor Trend Magazine, who conducted the TV interview with Mike Connors and who also wrote an article on the Mannix Dart for the Summer 2011 issue of Motor Trend Classic Magazine. In that article, the Dart is reunited with Mike Connors, George Barris, and Mannix stuntman Dick Ziker.

Another article on the famous Dart was published in the October 2011 issue of Mopar Action Magazine. An article in the New York Times (July 22, 2012) included info on the 1968 Mannix Dart and a recent photo of Mike Connors with the car. The Mannix Dart was also mentioned on Sirius/XM Radio's "60s on 6" channel by disc jockey Mike Kelly.

Peggy Fair's cars were less prominent, but in seasons 2 – 8 they included a Simca 1000, Simca 1204 hatchback, Dodge Colt hardtop and finally a Chevrolet Vega hatchback.

Awards and honors[edit]

For his work on Mannix, Mike Connors was nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, winning once, and for four Emmy Awards. Gail Fisher was nominated for four Emmy Awards, winning once, and for three Golden Globe Awards, winning twice.

The series itself was twice nominated for the Emmy Award for Best Dramatic Series, and four times for the Golden Globe Award, winning once. In 1972, writer Mann Rubin won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for the episode "A Step in Time".

Royalties lawsuit[edit]

In May 2011, Connors filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Paramount and CBS Television Studios, claiming that he was never paid royalties from the Mannix series.[21]

DVD releases[edit]

CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount) has released all 8 seasons of Mannix on DVD in Region 1.

In Region 4, Shock has released the first three seasons on DVD in Australia.

DVD NameEp #Release dates
Region 1Region 4
The First Season24June 3, 2008August 10, 2010
The Second Season25January 6, 2009October 12, 2010
The Third Season25October 27, 2009February 9, 2011
The Fourth Season24January 4, 2011N/A
The Fifth Season24July 5, 2011N/A
The Sixth Season24January 24, 2012N/A
The Seventh Season24July 3, 2012N/A
The Eighth and Final Season24December 4, 2012N/A

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6f2aGT9AtKM
  2. ^ p.41 Snauffer, Douglas Crime Television 2006 Greenwood Publishing
  3. ^ http://www.videobusiness.com/blog/1740000174/post/1600029360.html
  4. ^ Mannix - Season 2, Episode 24 - "Merry Go Round for Murder"
  5. ^ Mannix - Season 2, Episode 21 - "Odds Against Donald Jordan"
  6. ^ Mannix - Season 2, Episode 1 - "The Silent Cry"
  7. ^ Mannix - Season 2, Episode 23 - "The Solid Gold Web"
  8. ^ Mannix - Season 2, Episode 18 - "Death in a Minor Key"
  9. ^ Mannix - Season 2, Episode 22 - "Last Rites For Miss Emma"
  10. ^ a b Mannix - Season 2, Episode 25 - "To Catch A Rabbit"
  11. ^ Mannix - Season 6, Episode 7 - "To Kill A Memory"
  12. ^ a b c Mannix - Season 3, Episode 3 - "Return to Summer Grove"
  13. ^ a b Mannix - Season 2, Episode 19 - "End Game"
  14. ^ Mannix - Season 2, Episode 13 - "Death Run"
  15. ^ Mannix - Season 4, Episode 1 - "A Ticket to the Eclipse"
  16. ^ Mannix - Season 1, Episode 6 - "The Cost of a Vacation"
  17. ^ Mannix - Season 1, Episode 10 - "Coffin for a Clown"
  18. ^ a b Mannix - Season 5, Episode 4 - "Wine From These Grapes"
  19. ^ Neely Tucker (November 18, 2007). "Mannix Was the Man". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-11-18. "Mannix was, by one count, shot 17 times and knocked unconscious another 55 during the show's eight-year run, and how great is that?" 
  20. ^ p.140 Aaker, Everette Encyclopedia of Early Television Crime Fighters 2006 McFarland
  21. ^ Belloni, Matthew (May 19, 2011). "'Mannix' Star Mike Connors Sues CBS, Paramount for Unpaid Profits (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 

External links[edit]