Wednesday, October 19, 2011

SHANNON (half-hour series syndicated by Screen Gems/Columbia Pictures, 1961)

Scrapped my original review, mainly because gosh-darn-it I just couldn't help myself getting into this overlong diatribe about how the late-fifties to the late-sixties  (stead of '50-'59 and everything after was kitty litter) were the real Golden Age of Television! Now, that's something which I've probably gotten into not only on this blog but elsewhere for years on end, and I just didn't want to once again bore you outta your obviously jaded skulls with my impassioned if (as some would say) incoherent schpiel regarding my not-so-obscure views. But the fact still remains that the '57 to '67 span of tee-vee broadcasting was most definitely tee-vee's real GA, years when you'd have even more trouble crowbarring me away from my boob tube the same way you'd find it extremely difficult to pry Chuck Eddy's mouth away from Robert Christgau's rectum. And frankly, although anyone who'd beg to disagree might not be a subversive, he might as well be and don't let any guidance counselor or lesbian gym teacher tell you different!

SHANNON is but one of the many television series from this true Golden Age that gets me all hot and bothered, especially with that early-sixties look/feel and hard-edged style which never could be replicated even if often imitated for years on end (clever, huh?). And yeah, I know that during the late-fifties/early-mid-sixties we were being bombarded with private eye/cop shows and most of 'em were pretty engaging, but even if some would say that SHANNON was cut from the same patented cop show cloth it obviously was quite different than the competition. George Nader played the lead in this syndicated series, an insurance investigator whose cases take him on some pretty strange twists and turns that were bound to get him into just as much hotcha water as anything Phillip Marlowe or Philo Kvetch could hope to come up against. Film vet Regis Toomey played Shannon's boss at the "Transport and Bonding Surety Company", and not only that but Shannon's brand new 1961 Buick Special was equipped with everything from hidden cameras to a dictating machine and even a special compartment to keep a gun handy! Y'know, additions that I thought would have been standard on cars here in 2011 which only goes to show you how ahead of its time SHANNON really was and perhaps remains!

Plots naturally follow the usual suspicious claims and fraud ripoff attempts, things that would probably bring a yawn to the real life investigator but in this case usually lead to an average of three murders and an episode-capping killing in self-defense or suicide. Yeah, like Beaver once said, you can't beat Wednesday Night on tee-vee because that's when the most killings are, and although SHANNON might have aired on a different night in your market you're bound to get just enough fatal carnage to soothe your savage boobies. Of course, in between the slaughter there's always the boppings on heads and of course the sticky intrusions into the lives of people who usually start out having a grave animosity towards Our Hero, but by the end of the show seem to iron out all of their initial loathing perhaps due to the fat insurance check they're about to receive!

Nader plays it typically cool to the point where you think he was a hypnotist, and does a good job of portraying that essence of pre-touchyfeely manhood that permeated seventies television which only goes to show you how good of an actor the guy was, ifyaknowaddamean. Toomey's naturally great as well which would figure since the guy had been a longtime veteran with enough b-movie footage shot to reach around my waistline twice even. And really, I gotta say that a show like this succeeds a whole lot more'n the variety of MANNIXes that I grew up watching because well, it was shot in black and white, and even though our abode didn't get a color set until 1980 even then you could just feel the multicolor technology fighting it out with early-sixties intensity mano-a-mano.

Hey, if I were an up and running slob during those years you could bet that I would have been glued front and center in front of the box watching programs like SHANNON 'stead of hanging around at the pool hall like I shoulda, though at least for me there would have been one hitch. Y'see, where I live SHANNON was being run on channel 27 Monday nights at seven, yet on channel 33  THE JIM BACKUS SHOW,  another downright early-sixties winner featuring the future GILLIGAN'S ISLAND co-star as the editor of a small newspaper, was being aired directly opposite! Both of 'em were hi-quality examples of great early-sixties programming that seemed to get washed away once the late-sixties got their multicolored claws in gear. I mean, if you wanna talk about quandaries look no further!

(Big heapin' hunkin' thanks to Bill Shute for burning #'4 and 5 of his set...now where are the rest???)

4 comments:

Stupor Mundi said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! For years I've been talking about this show and no one knows what the hell I was talking about.I couldn't remeber the name. I used to work third-shift at a supermarket warehouse, and when I got home I would watch reruns of this and pass out in a kind of zen state as I watched what should've been mundane investigations turn into action packed finales. I couldn't remember what Shannon's job was. For some reason I thought he worked for the FDA and went after shady farmers. Now I have a name to look for it on Youtube.

django said...

hey, thanks for the ST 37 review. I'll send the band a link to the review...not only are they still around after 24 (!!!) years, but last weekend they played a concert in Austin that I organized and they were incredible...

re Shannon, I never get tired of that show...didn't want you to OD on it so I just sent the final 2 discs and will send you the others over the next few months...

are you familiar with Hermes Press, located over in New Castle, PA? I just bought their beautiful edition of 1950s Roy Rogers newspaper comic strips and I've been loving it, and also I've pre-ordered their first volume of the chronological Brenda Starr strips...why, you could drive over there and PICK UP your own copy!

Oh, I have purchased your Christmas present already. It is a weighty tome...I'll say no more...other than it introduced me to a side I didn't know existed of people I thought I knew...and it's comic strips...and it's pre-1950...and you haven't reviewed it, so I'm guessing you don't have it...

BILL S.

Christopher said...

Bill, thanks for the note...never heard of Hermes Press, though I do spend a li'l bitta time in New Castle so maybe I should seek 'em out!

As for the mystery X-mas gift...well now I know that I better get hold of something hefty for you! Still stymied as to what to get the man who has everything, though...

Qatmom said...

Wow!

I thought I was the only one alive who not only remembered this show, but who liked it. When I finally found copies of some of the episodes, I was surprized by the production values, because this was not a big-budget series.

I loved that car.