Friday, July 25, 2008

Look, I’m well aware of the fact that I might be the only person on earth that’s actually excited about this, but I can’t help it. I LOVE 70’s cop shows with a passion, and growing up, this was always one of my favorites. Cannon - Season One, Volume One (4 disc set released by Paramount on 7/8/08) recalls an era when you didn’t have to be good looking (or even able to walk, as was the case with Ironside) to star on a cop show. Brilliantly played by veteran actor William Conrad, Frank Cannon was a balding, pug-faced detective with a booming baritone voice and ample girth; in other words, he wasn’t hired to make the ladies swoon. Seeing this again after so many years, I found it interesting that they make no attempt to hide the aforementioned girth, in fact if anything they play it up. Case in point, in the pilot episode, a kid stops Cannon on the street and says “Hey mister, how did you get so fat?” Now I don’t know about you, but in 1971 I would have been beaten to within an inch of my life for saying that to a stranger, but in the world of Frank Cannon, he just pats his gut and says, “It wasn’t easy kid.” It's scenes like that and the fact that pretty much every time he walks they cue up a comical tuba riff (which is awesome of course) that make this show damn near a celebration of middle-aged male obesity.

So if you’re looking for lots of action, The Streets of San Francisco or Starsky & Hutch are probably a better bet, if only because the stars of those shows could actually run. And if it’s plot twists you crave, Mannix, Hawaii 5-0 and definitely Mission: Impossible had more creative writing, but there is something about seeing a fat guy armed only with a .38 snub nose and his trusty (and regularly totaled) Lincoln Mark IV take on… well, ANYBODY. Seriously, he thinks nothing of taking on the mob, crooked teamsters, and even evil rodeo clowns (seriously!) in his one-man quest for justice... and a big paycheck of course. Amazing.


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