I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Monday, April 09, 2007

"Peter Gunn" (1958-1961)

This was one of mother's favorite TV shows. It ranked high on the cool factor with her. I only know this series from reruns, as it disappeared from the airwaves a few months before I was born. From what I've seen of it, I have to agree with Ma's assessment.

Peter Gunn (Craig Stevens) was a smooth private eye. He was tall, dark-haired and handsome. His girlfriend, Edie Hart (Lola Albright), was a singer in a jazz nightclub called Mother's. The woman who ran the place was also called Mother (played by actresses Hope Emerson during the first season, and Minerva Urecal the second season). Many women came across Gunn's path in his line of work, but he appeared to be faithful to Edie. Gunn sometimes got help from surly policeman Lt. Jacoby (Herschel Bernardi). Jacoby was usually already on the case, so he resented Gunn being involved, too. Despite of his feelings, Jacoby would be on hand to help Gunn when he got into dangerous situations with the bad guys.

The show feels a bit film noir-ish, with a lot of the action taking place at night. I grew up mostly on full-hour cop shows, so I'm amazed that a lot was packed into these half-hour episodes.

This series had some of the coolest sounding incidental music, in addition to the main theme song. A couple of albums were released -- The Music from Peter Gunn and More Music from Peter Gunn -- and they did well on the charts. Henri Mancini, who also composed "The Pink Panther" theme, and "Moon River" for the film Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), did the music for the TV series.

Blake Edwards, a director known for The Pink Panther films and other films such as S.O.B. (1981), produced 44 episodes of the series and wrote some of the episodes. Herschel Bernardi was also the voice of Charley the Tuna, the character on the Sunkist Tuna commercials.

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