For anyone who has enjoyed The Naked City
series on Sunday Night Noir, as of last night the network has just begun at the very start of the series created by the innovative Herbert Leonard
in 1958, when it was the first television series filmed on the streets of NYC. Inspired by the 1948 movie, the series holds up surprisingly well. Initially, the programs were half an hour (they later went to 1 hour).
In the cast at the beginning were character actor John McIntire
as the older Detective Dan "Faith & Begorra" Muldoon, who plays his role like a self-conscious and taller version of Barry Fitzgerald (who starred in the original film). Rounding out the cast was a very young James Franciscus
as the newbie Detective Jimmy Fallon, whose stunned (and stunning) face often looks a bit like he just fell off a Christmas tree. Filmed in a gritty black and white style in a NYC that often seems to be in the grip of unending winter, these slice-of-life tales feature wonderful actors and glimpses of a lost world---though human nature and the quality that went into the production, writing and acting of the show really make these seem fresh.
You can see the epis coming up at the link below. I believe that the series, including these half hour shows, can be seen on Netflix too. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051297/episodes?season=1
Last night's shows included:
"Meridian" written with a certain high falutin' faux poetry by Stirling Silliphant
and directed by Jerry Hopper
, it concerns the first day on the job for Det. Halloran (Franciscus
) and some fairly inept kid hoodlums taking over an exhibit teeming with firearms (yeah, they had way too many guns in this country back than too). Don't miss McIntire
, with a thick Irish brogue, encouraging "the lads" (via bull horn) to give themselves up since they "oughta think about how their poor mothers will feel after they surely will be going to Sing Sing to be strapped into the electric chair."
"Nickel Ride," once again written with his usual flourishes and asides (courtesy of narrator Lawrence Dobkin) by Silliphant
(who also shaped the series Route 66
, among others) and directed by Doug Heyes
. This episode has Muldoon called in to help talk an older ferry boat captain (Cameron Prud'Homme
, a stage actor who had earlier in the decade appeared in one of his few film roles as Kate Hepburn's endearing dad in The Rainmaker
) into retiring. McIntire
, who left the series halfway through the first season (some sources say he missed his home in sunny CA, others claim he didn't like Franciscus
), really lays the Irish stuff on with a trowel in this episode. If you catch this one, don't miss McIntire
's parting shot in one scene when he asks an old friend if he remembers Muldoon's father. "Ah, a fine man," comes the reply. To which Muldoon comments, "A stormy man, most of his life, rest his soul. As he lay dying the priest said to him, 'Bobby, me boy, you've but one choice left to you, my boy. God or the Devil.' I remember father raised one dying eyelid and whispered, 'I'm in no position to antagonize anybody.'"