Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, September 26, 2008


BURKE'S LAW (1963 - 1966). Produced by Aaron Spelling.

This show had a really terrific premise. Amos Burke (Gene Barry) was a very wealthy, sophisticated and cultured man who happened to be a police captain in Los Angeles. He drove to crime scenes in a Rolls Royce chauffeured by Henry (Leon Lontoc). His partners were young, likable turk Tim Tilson (Gary Conway) and older veteran Les Hart (Regis Toomey). Naturally the show had a lighter approach than other cop shows, and sometimes was an out and out (and rather silly) comedy. Still, many episodes were intriguing, well-acted, and suspenseful. The show's other gimmick was to cast well-known former movie stars (or hasbeens), as well as familiar character actors, in supporting roles. Carolyn Jones scored as triplets in one episode, and Lizabeth Scott had a couple of notable guest shots as well. One episode cast Basil Rathbone as a flamboyant director and Edward Everett Horton as a Shakespearean actor. Gene Barry played the playboy detective with just the right note of insouciance and sardonicism, and the other regulars were top-notch as well. For the third season the supporting cast was let go and the show's title was changed to Amos Burke, Secret Agent due to the then-popular spy craze on TV (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; I Spy etc.). This, too, was an entertaining program but it only lasted one season. About thirty years after the show premiered, it was revived, again with Barry in the lead, but there were only 27 episodes.

Verdict: Fun whodunit. ***.

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