I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

My Photo
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, September 27, 2010

"The M Squad" (1957-1960)

A lot of people wondered what the M in "The M Squad" meant.  Actor Lee Marvin, the lead on the show, stated that it was just a name, that it meant nothing in particular.  As his character, Lt. Frank Ballinger, explained at the top of each episode, M Squad was a special division of the Chicago Police Department.  The police officers in that department could and would be assigned to various cases, everything from fraud to murder.  Ballinger was a tough guy who usually worked alone, and took orders more or less from Captain Grey (Paul Newlan).

It appears that the interior scenes were filmed in California, but many of the outdoor shots were filmed on location in Chicago.  Marvin explained that the exterior scenes had to be done quickly and on the sly.  Richard M. Daley was mayor of Chicago at the time, and he had a problem with "The M Squad" having some story lines about corrupt cops.  Mayor Daley was not crazy about having film crews around in general, and for decades, not much was filmed in the city.  Many city shots show Ballinger driving down State Street, Wacker Drive or Michigan Avenue.  He's also seen hanging out on Lake Shore Drive, walking in and out of the Chicago Tribune building on Michigan Avenue, or walking near the Wrigley Building.  I smiled when during the end of one episode, Ballinger got on the Red Line (the subway train) in front of the old Marshall Field's building.  The scripts make reference to places around Chicago, as well as out in the suburbs and small towns. 

Marvin had been in several films before appearing in this TV series which is rarely re-run.  The series helped further his movie career after it ended.  Marvin went on to appear in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence (1962) with John Wayne, and he won an Oscar for Cat Ballou (1965).  Like most old TV shows, many familiar faces appeared on their way to bigger and better things.  Actors guest starring on "The M Squad" included Don Rickles, Angie Dickenson ("Police Woman"), Charles Bronson (the Death Wish movie series), Marion Ross ("Happy Days"), and Leonard Nimoy ("Star Trek").

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home