Mannix


Mannix Information

Mannix is an American television detective series that ran from 1967 through 1975 on CBS. Created by Richard Levinson and William Link and developed by executive producer Bruce Geller, the title character, Joe Mannix, is a private investigator. He is played by Mike Connors. Mannix was the last series produced by Desilu Productions.

Scenario

During the first season of the series Joe Mannix worked for a large Los Angeles detective agency called Intertect, which was the planned original title of the show. His superior was Lew Wickersham, played by Joseph Campanella with the agency featuring the use of computers to help solve crimes. As opposed to the other employees who must wear dark suits and sit in rows of desks with only one piece of paper allowed to be on their desk at one time, Mannix belongs to the classic American detective archetype and thus usually ignores the computers' solutions, disobeys his boss's orders and sets out to do things his own way. He wears plaid sport coats and has his own office that he keeps sloppy between his assignments. Lew has cameras in all the rooms of Intertect monitoring the performance of his employees and providing instant feedback through intercoms in the room. Unlike the other Intertect operatives, Mannix attempts to block the camera with a coat rack and insults Lew, comparing him to Big Brother.

To improve the ratings of the show, Desilu head Lucille Ball and the producer Bruce Geller brought in some changes making the show similar to other private eye shows. Lucille Ball thought the computers were too high tech and beyond comprehension for the average viewer of the time and had them removed.

From the second season on, Mannix worked on his own with the assistance of his loyal secretary Peggy Fair, a police officer's widow played by Gail Fisher – one of the first African-American actresses to have a regular series role. He also has assistance from the L.A. police department, the two most prominent officers being Lieutenant Art Malcolm (portrayed by Ward Wood) and Lieutenant Adam Tobias (portrayed by Robert Reed). Other police contacts were Lieutenant George Kramer (Larry Linville), who had been the partner of Peggy's late husband, and Lieutenant Dan Ives (Jack Ging).

While not generally known as a show that explored socially relevant topics, several episodes had topical themes, starting in Season Two. In Season Two alone, there were episodes featuring compulsive gambling, deaf and blind characters that were instrumental in solving cases in spite of their physical limitations, and episodes that focused on racism against blacks and Hispanics.

In the 1969 season, he also employed the services of a competitive private investigator, Albie Loos (performed by Joe Mantell) as a sort of investigative go-fer.

Character

Joseph R. "Joe" Mannix is a regular guy, without pretense, who has a store of proverbs to rely upon in conversation. What demons he has mostly come from having fought in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, where he was initially listed as MIA while he was a prisoner of war in a brutal POW camp until he escaped. Unfortunately, over the length of the series, a sizable percentage of his old Army comrades turn out to have homicidal impulses against him. During the series, it is also revealed that Mannix worked as a mercenary in Latin America. Like the actor who plays him, Mannix is of Armenian descent. Mannix was shown to speak fluent Armenian during the series as well as conversational Spanish.

Mannix is notable for taking a lot of physical punishment. During the course of the series he is shot and wounded over a dozen separate times, or is knocked unconscious around 55 times. Mannix frequently took brutal beatings to the abdomen; some of these went on quite a long time, particularly by the television standards of the era. Whenever Mannix gets into one of his convertibles he can expect to be shot at from another car, run off the road by another car, or find his vehicle sabotaged. Nevertheless he keeps his cool and perseveres until his antagonists are brought down. While making the television pilot "The Name is Mannix", Connors dislocated his shoulder running away from a From Russia With Love-type pursuit from a helicopter, and broke his left wrist punching a stuntman who happened to be wearing a steel plate on his back.

Starting in Season Two, Mannix lives at 17 Paseo Verde, West Los Angeles. Mannix grew up in a town called Summer Grove, where he was an star football and basketball player. Summer Grove had a thriving Armenian immigrant community. As of 1969, Mannix's mother had died ten years earlier, and Mannix had not been back to the town since the funeral. Mannix's estranged father, Stefan, was still alive and still living in Summer Grove, and Mannix and his father would start a reconciliation. When Mannix was returned to Summer Grove for a case three years later, he and his father were on good terms. Following military service in the Korean War, Mannix attended Western Pacific University on the GI Bill, graduated in 1955 and obtained his private investigator's licence in 1956. He is a black belt in Karate. In the first season he carried a Walther PP semi-automatic pistol. From the second season on Mannix carried a Colt Detective Special snubnosed revolver in .38 Special caliber.

Production

Gary Morton, the husband of Lucille Ball and head of Desilu Studios, noticed a 1937 Bentley convertible being driven by Mike Connors. A car enthusiast, Morton began talking about cars to Connors when he remembered a Desilu detective show coming up that he thought Connors would do well in.

Mannix featured a dynamic split-screen opening credits sequence set to theme music from noted composer Lalo Schifrin. Unusual for a private detective series, the Mannix theme is in triple time, the same signature used for waltz.

The show's title card, opening credits and closing credits roll are set in variations of the City typeface, a squared-off, split-serif face that was long used by IBM Corporation as part of their corporate design and still appears in their logo. This refers to the computers used by Intertect in the first season. The dot over the "i" in Mannix had the appearance of a computer tape reel. This was also removed after the first season.

Mannix's automobiles

The automobile was a focus of Mannix's professional life, and he had several of them as his personal vehicle in the eight-year run of the series. Those were:

  • Season 1 " 1966 Mercury Comet Caliente convertible (pilot episode: "The Name Is Mannix"), 1967 Mercury Comet Cyclone convertible (one episode only: "Skid Marks on a Dry Run"), 1967 Ford Galaxie 500 four-door hardtop then a 1967 Ford Fairlane 500 four-door sedan after the Galaxie got shot up " both were Intertect company cars (one episode only: "The Cost of a Vacation"). In all other Season 1 episodes Mannix drove a 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado roadster "customized" by George Barris, builder of TV's Batmobile from the 1960s Batman ABC series, since the producers wanted a convertible and Oldsmobile never produced an open-topped Toronado. Because of a change in episode run order ("The Cost of a Vacation" was the second episode of Mannix shot after the pilot although it was the sixth episode CBS broadcast), the one-shot appearances of the Galaxie and Fairlane were after the Toronado had been established as Mannix's car.
  • Season 2 " 1968 Dodge Dart GTS 340 convertible "kustomized" by George Barris with functional hood scoops, Lucas Flamethrower driving lights, blacked-out grille, racing-style gas filler cap, molded-in rear spoiler, blacked out taillight panel and custom taillight lenses. The car was originally red but Mannix Executive Producer, Bruce Geller, wanted it changed to a British Racing Green, which Barris did. (This car still retains its original red paint under the carpet.) A Motorola car-phone (a crazily expensive and rare item in 1968) was installed. Rader mag wheels like those on the Batmobile were originally installed by Barris, but changed later in the '68 season to Cragar S/S chrome wheels. George Barris also installed his own "Barris Kustoms" emblem on the lower part of each front fender. There were no duplicate 1968 Mannix Darts built; it is a "1 of 1" car. This car was used in both the 1968 and '69 seasons of Mannix.
Even though a '69 Dart was built by Barris to replicate this car in the show's 1969 season, the '68 Dart was regularly seen during the '69 season. (In the 1969 episode "A Penny for the Peep Show" both the '68 and '69 Darts are used in the same shot, to elude a police tail on Mannix, but there was no explanation in the episode why or how two identically customized green Dart convertibles show up together.) In further tracing the car's history, it was learned that the '68 Dart was reportedly sold to a secretary at Paramount Studios and then was lost for decades until being discovered near a ranger station in the California mountains. It has since been restored to its original Mannix/Barris condition and was featured in Hemmings Muscle Machines, December 2009 issue.

The '68 Mannix Dart and its intriguing history was also featured on the TV show "Drive" on Discovery HD Theater in 2010. The TV show reunited the car with Mike Connors for the first time in over 40 years. The car is currently owned by C. Van Tune, former Editor-in-Chief of Motor Trend Magazine, who conducted the TV interview with Mike Connors and who also wrote an article on the Mannix Dart for the Summer 2011 issue of Motor Trend Classic Magazine. In that article, the Dart is reunited with Mike Connors, George Barris, and Mannix stuntman Dick Ziker.

Another article on the famous Dart was published in the October 2011 issue of Mopar Action Magazine. An article in the New York Times (July 22, 2012) included info on the 1968 Mannix Dart and a recent photo of Mike Connors with the car. The Mannix Dart was also mentioned on Sirius/XM Radio's "60s on 6" channel by disc jockey Mike Kelly.

  • Season 3 " 1969 Dodge Dart GTS 340 convertible "kustomized" by George Barris to replicate the '68 Dart. This car was totalled in a wreck soon after being sold, following its use on the series.
  • Season 4 " 1970 Plymouth Cuda 340 convertible
  • Season 5 " 1971 Plymouth Cuda 440 convertible (actually three 1971's were supplied by Chrysler Corp, and all had different size (318, 383, 440) engines. One of which was wrecked, but later repaired.)
  • Season 6 " 1973 Plymouth Cuda 340 convertible (actually one of the 1971 cars updated with 1973 grille, headlamps, front fenders, front/rear bumpers, and tail lights)
  • Season 7 " 1974 Dodge Challenger 360 Coupe (specially built for the show, it had every available option installed, plus an aftermarket sun-roof)
  • Season 8 " Chevrolet Camaro LT
Peggy Fair's cars were less prominent, but in seasons 2 " 8 they included a Simca 1000, Simca 1204 hatchback, Dodge Colt hardtop and finally a Chevrolet Vega hatchback.

Awards and honors

For his work on Mannix, Mike Connors was nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, winning once, and for four Emmy Awards. Gail Fisher was nominated for four Emmy Awards, winning once, and for three Golden Globe Awards, winning twice.

The series itself was twice nominated for the Emmy Award for Best Dramatic Series, and four times for the Golden Globe Award, winning once. In 1972, writer Mann Rubin won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for the episode "A Step in Time".

Royalties lawsuit

In May 2011, Connors filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Paramount and CBS Television Studios, claiming that he was never paid royalties from the Mannix series.

DVD releases

CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount) has released all 8 seasons of Mannix on DVD in Region 1.

In Region 4, Shock has released the first three seasons on DVD in Australia.

DVD Name Ep # Release dates
Region 1 Region 4
The First Season 24 June 3, 2008 August 10, 2010
The Second Season 25 January 6, 2009 October 12, 2010
The Third Season 25 October 27, 2009 February 9, 2011
The Fourth Season 24 January 4, 2011 N/A
The Fifth Season 24 July 5, 2011 N/A
The Sixth Season 24 January 24, 2012 N/A
The Seventh Season 24 July 3, 2012 N/A
The Eighth and Final Season 24 December 4, 2012 N/A



This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mannix" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.
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