The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

A Vintage Binge or Baby Pics of the Stars

Dave Randall

Posted on November 25, 2018 19:59

1 user

Some buried treasures in TV's Golden Past.

It was an unexpected bonanza. A heretofore not experienced five days off for Thanksgiving brought some much needed down time away from work, and away from the constant waves of nausea that wash up on the daily news. I had a little time to discover a few episodes from a venerated old show from before my time. 

Naked City was a distinctive crime drama, first as a half-hour series in the 1958-1959 season, then as a full hour show from 1960 to 1963. It was based on the famous, semi-documentary-styled, 1948 film of the same name. The hour-long version followed NYPD Detectives Adam Flint and Frank Arcaro (Harry Bellaver), with their lieutenant, Mike Parker (Horace McMahon), on cases throughout four of the city's five boroughs, filmed on location.

It was said the city itself was the star of the show. Each gorgeous, black and white scene has New York landmarks in the background: The Chrysler and Empire State Buildings, The Triangle Building, Roosevelt Island, the original Yankee Stadium, The Williamsburg Bridge, Sardi's, Carnegie Deli. You name an early 1960's location on a New York sight-seeing tour, and you saw it on Naked City

If NYC was the bell of the ball, the writing was its charming escort. Big stars loved it and guested each week on the ABC-TV series. It was the staple of young actors, however, that stand out and make the show a curiosity, today.

There are few other filmed television series of that era that can boast such a number of actors who went on to be such major, award-winning, enduring stars. Most of them are still living and working today. The names stand out like they're lit up on a marquee. 

Those still working or still with us include Alan Alda, Ed Asner, Robert Blake, James Caan, Diahann Carroll, Michael Constantine, Bruce Dern, Keir Dullea, Robert Duvall, Peter Fonda, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Shirley Knight, Piper Laurie, Diane Ladd, George Maharis, Robert Morse, Robert Redford, George Segal, William Shatner, Martin Sheen, Rip Torn, Cicely Tyson, Jon Voight and Christopher "Ronnie" Walken.

This was some of the best television of the time. You could say that Naked City was the Law and Order of the day with a different set of standards and practices to adhere to. The DVD collection includes sponsor tags -- the opening and closing "Brought to you by" announcements on many episodes for everything from Brylcreme and Rolaids to Speidel watchbands and Viceroy Cigarettes (also seen on a few displays in location scenes). 

Seeing the city at that point in history, stars-to-be at the nascent stage in their careers is fascinating. Dustin Hoffman made two appearances, one with Robert Morse, "Sweet Prince of Delancey Street," was 93rd on TV Guide's 1997 list of TV's Greatest Episodes. To use the series' catchphrase, these Baby Pictures of the Stars are one of the 8 Million stories in the Naked City.

Dave Randall

Posted on November 25, 2018 19:59

Comments

comments powered by Disqus

‘The City That Sold America’ (U.S.) 5:45 p.m. Thursday, 11:30 a.m. Saturday at AMC River East, 322 E. Illinois Documentary...

THE LATEST THINKING

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest