Mannix #atozchallenge

Let’s start with the opening theme for the 1967-1975 TV show Mannix, written by Lalo Schifrin.

I wasn’t much of a Mannix fan until after the show had completed its first run on CBS and was in reruns as part of The CBS Late Movie, where it ran back-to-back with Longstreet, a show about a blind detective. I think I was fighting depression at the time: it was the first quarter of sophomore year, I was taking classes towards a degree in Math and not doing well in any of them, and I felt no desire to do anything to make my situation better. Mannix reruns helped.

The show followed Joe Mannix, a private investigator. He was played by Mike Connors, who had some success as an actor on TV and in film.

Mike Connors as Joe Mannix, 1968 (source: CBS Television [Public Domain], via Wikipedia

During the first season, Joe worked for a detective agency called Intertect, which used computers to help solve cases. Mannix’s boss at Intertect was Lew Wickersham, played by another TV veteran, Joseph Campanella. Joe was often at odds with Lew and the other detectives, because unlike them, he ignored what the computer told him to do, openly disobeyed orders and argued with his boss, calling him “Big Brother” at one point.

We have Lucille Ball to thank for saving Mannix after the first season. She (the owner of Desilu, the studio where the show was made) and Bruce Geller (the producer) decided that viewers had a hard time relating to the high tech angle the show was based on, and in the second season Joe was on his own, assisted by Peggy Fair, his secretary whose husband, an LAPD officer, had been murdered. Peggy was played by the lovely Gail Fisher, one of the first African American women to play a leading role on a TV series.

Gail Fisher (source: famousbirthdays.com)

Mannix was notorious for the amount of violence in it. Joe was either being beat up or was beating someone up in every show. It was nonetheless a very popular show, earning Mike Connors four Golden Globe nominations (winning once) and four Emmy nominations, and Gail Fisher four Emmy nominations (winning once) and three Golden Globe nominations (winning twice, the first Black actress to have done so). The show earned two Emmy nominations and four Golden Globe nominations, winning once, and writer Mann Rubin won an Edgar award from the Mystery Writers of America for the episode “A Step In Time.” The show paved the way for other private investigator shows during the ’70’s, including Ironside, Cannon and Barnaby Jones.

Social conditions being what they were in the ’60’s and ’70’s, the chances for a romance between Joe and Peggy were practically nonexistent. I always thought they’d make a good couple.

MeTV in the US carries Mannix reruns, which unfortunately run at 2 AM Eastern weekdays or I’d be up watching every night.

46 thoughts on “Mannix #atozchallenge

  1. I remember Mannix and he always got beat up. I also remember Longstreet and loved the show even though I was very young. I liked James Franciscus. I would like to revisit both shows.

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      1. I was just about to write that I was a Longstreet fan when I saw this comment. I liked Mannix too, but Longstreet gets my vote.

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  2. I don’t think I’ve ever watched an episode of Mannix but there are a lot of shows that I’ve never watched. Probably won’t start now either. I don’t recall watching much television back in the seventies other than late night music and talk shows.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  3. I have only watched a very few. I am not sure why. Well, when it first came out I was only 10, and wouldn’t have been allowed! By the time the 70s came I preferred to watch The Streets of San Francisco, if for nothing else, for Michael Douglas!
    I wouldn’t stay up or get up at 2:00am for even my favorite shows!
    Great job on including X. I did wonder how you’d do!

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    1. I think I originally had “maximum” or something in the “M” slot. Then I saw an ad on MeTV and I said, “Mannix! That’s a great M word.”

      By 11 PM I’m ready for bed. Maybe I’ll get them on some streaming service.

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  4. My Dad LOVED LOVED Mannix, no joke. If you made the mistake of being in the living room, watching TV, when it was due to come on….my Dad would just sit down and say, “MANNIX!” No such thing as “after you’re done.”

    He was pretty hooked on Columbo and Hawaii 5-0, too.

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  5. I remember Mannix but not well, I do remember watching Longstreet. Lots of good background information on the show, John. It’s funny to think he called the computer “Big Brother”.

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  6. Another stroll down memory lane. We watched Mannix together as a family. And we watched Ironside, Cannon and Barnaby Jones too. Makes me remember shows like Perry Mason and Kojak. I’m a TV-aholic and while there are some pretty good shows on today, I have to say they sure don’t make ’em like they used to. I also am not a fan of the re-boots.

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    1. Cop and private eye shows were huge in the ’70’s, and they weren’t all explosions and gunfights. They had good writing, good characters, and good stories, and the whole family could watch them.

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  7. Yep, I remember Mannix and I even watched it a few times when I had the day off. Back in the day I worked three & even four jobs. One for each child. I was a single mother raising 4 children by myself. I was waitressing, cleaning houses, selling toys and bar tending. Once in a while I even sang with a band and played some keys for them. It was an even split four ways after the first month. Great bunch of guys. We were called the Brothers Three plus “1”! I was “1”! hahaha Anyway back to bizzzz Yes, Mannix was cool and they did have great stories with decent plots (which was a rarety back in the day). Wow, I haven’t thought about that show in ages. I wonder if it’s on some where? hmmmmmmmmm Have a great night John. You’re my last one of the day! Sheesh! and Whew!!! Now I have to set up for Tuesday. Bummer! hugs

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      1. LOL. Some of the shows start out good and then it’s like the writers ran away from their own stories…

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  8. I remember watching Mannix as a kid. My Mom always said she knew if he was driving something other than his usual convertible he was going to wreck. I don’t remember, is it true?

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