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

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Ross Martin, Betty Garde, and John Vivyan
 MR. LUCKY television series.1959. Created by  Blake Edwards.

In this series, one of several created by Blake Edwards, Mr. Lucky (John Vivyan) -- with no first name -- operates a legal gambling ship outside the limit with his friend, associate and fellow adventurer Andamo (Ross Martin) -- which could be the fellow's first name or last. The boat is named the Fortuna, which means luck. Halfway through the first and only season of the show, Lucky decides to give up gambling and turn the Fortuna into an exclusive and very expensive private restaurant and night spot; oddly the scripts seemed somewhat better afterward and there was even more action. Pippa Scott was a semi-regular who played Lucky's girlfriend while Andamo played the field. Another character who appeared frequently was Lt. Rovaks, (Tim Brown), whose voice was so squeaky that he sounded like a cartoon character [maybe "Lucky Duck."] Mr. Lucky, frankly, was not one of the classic shows of television, nor was it one of Edwards' better or more successful series, but some of the generally mediocre episodes were somewhat more memorable than usual, with the best single episode being one wherein Lucky gets targeted by a hit woman played by Mari Blanchard. Another memorable episode has Jack Nicholson and Richard Chamberlain robbing the Fortuna and its customers at gunpoint. There were plenty of desperate, kooky or sinister females, as well as gangsters [one of whom is played by Lou Krugman, from the "Lucy Gets in Pictures" episode of I Love Lucy] and other reprobates. Despite the competent and often charming performances of the two leads -- although Vivyan was a borderline stiff -- the characters were shadowy and never quite came alive. Other guest-stars on the show included Betty Garde [that tough maid in a classic Honeymooners episode]; Grant Williams, Barbara Bain, Cyril Delevanti, Eleanor Audley, Lee Van Cleef, Nita Talbot, and Doris Singleton [Carolyn/Lillian Appleby on I Love Lucy] who's striking as an especially ruthless female with murder on her mind. Henry Mancini's music is nothing special. Ross Martin ["Death Ship" on The Twilight Zone] would have much more success with The Wild, Wild West a few years later.

Verdict: Stick with Mike Hammer with Darren McGavin.**

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