Peter Gunn 1958 - 1961 TV series.
It was a stylish 'film noir'-ish half hour detective series created and directed by Blake Edwards. It turned black & white filming into a high art form of slick sophistication unmatched then and certainly still unmatched for timeless visual beauty of cool sophistication.
A simple idea of the rich man-about-town private eye played straight and effortlessly by Craig Stevens.
It harkens back to another stylish and sophisticated tv series, Have Gun-Will Travel.
This detective doesn't have the witty patter of Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlow, nor the world-weary tough guy persona of Dashiell Hammet's Sam Spade. Peter Gunn is just a suave guy in expensive tailored suits with crisp white cuff linked shirts, ebony polished shoes, who stand out by not wearing a fedora, yet manages to fit in with everyone, from Hobos, to Beats, to Jazz musicians, to his wealthy clientele. He never seems out of place in his expensive suits wherever he goes, and all feel comfortable with him as his open dead pan mirror-like persona puts everyone at ease since they see themselves reflected in his engaging pleasant, good looks.
Steven’s Peter Gunn is the perfect urbane trench coated WASP PI who finds the perfect foil in the Jewish world-weary Lt. Jacoby police officer of the 13th precinct played by the fedora and trench coat wearing Herschel Bernardi.
The stories were all tight and straight forward, packed with as much intrigue and surprises as can be fitted into a mere 25 minutes and still give time to indulge in a cool Jazz pieces often song by the lush sultry sounds of the actress Lola Albright, playing Edie Hart, his Jazz club singing lady love.
The show was both hip and cool, and just barely managed to skirt the razor's edge precipice to avoid falling into parody.
Then there is the hypnotic addictive music - cool hip original Jazz produced by Henry Mancini. The opening theme is relentlessly transportive and unforgettable. It was played over abstract painted art sequence of the opening credits that lets you know that this is going to be a dark journey into a classic period piece of stylish art.
It remains must see entertainment, too good to be believed.
67omertawrote: Recorded on August 26, 1977 at the Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, album released in 1979. Similar to most live albums, In Concert featured fan favorites of previously released material. However, "Peter Gunn", ELP's take on the classic TV themed song, was never published on any of their other albums (a slightly edited version of this live recording was included in the compilation The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer of 1980 and published in certain countries). ELP often opened with this song during the Works Volume 2 tour. The group hired an orchestra of 70 musicians for some concerts on this tour, but ultimately had to fire the orchestra due to budget constraints that almost bankrupted the group.
25 April 2004 | by rrichr
But in terms of pure style, no TV series of that time, of any genre, could match the half-hour crime drama Peter Gunn, a production so stylized and stylistically detailed, and so measured, that it almost resembled Japanese Kabuki.
Every aspect of this Blake Edwards-produced series was meticulously detailed and managed, from the near-blank style of its acting to even the visuals that preceded and terminated breaks for commercials.
In fact, it was the pre-commercial segue that became my favorite. In the sequence, a musical G-clef unwound itself and morphed into a Giacommeti-like human figure, all against a slowly-arpeggiated, extremely cool jazz guitar chord.
This very slick sequence got past me the first time around, when the show was in its network run and I was too young to really appreciate it.
But years later, when the series was in local syndication and airing at midnight, I stayed up just to watch and listen to it. It was that cool.
Most Peter Gunn episodes were cut from a similar template: the caper to be addressed transpired in a pre-credit sequence (Peter Gunn was one of the first shows to jump directly to story before rolling opening creds.)
Then Craig Steven's almost impossibly urbane private eye, Peter Gunn, would step onto the case, always bending the law just enough to keep Herschel Bernardi's way dour NYPD detective, Lt. Jacobi, unsure of whom to arrest first: Gunn or the perps in question.
The often-repeated sight of Jacobi arriving on the scene, snub .38 drawn, ready to arrest the suspect, only to find Gunn already there and in control, never failed to amuse.
When Gunn was not effortlessly staying two steps ahead of Jacobi, he was lizarding at Mother's, a waterfront jazz club, and getting his flirt on with its sultry headlining singer, blonde neutron bombshell Edie Hart, played by Lola Albright, a type of lady that might be defined as Marilyn Monroe's far more experienced sister.
The show's sense of cool was almost too much, but not quite, a fact that made it eminently watchable then, and has allowed it to live on even now in syndication.
Underpinning and significantly defining the series was Henry Mancini's superb music. Mancini passed away in the mid 90's and is just now getting his due, including a postage stamp in his memory.
His Peter Gunn theme is still being covered today but it was his incidental music for the series that I loved best, especially the stuff that played as the pre-credit story opened.
Mancini took the then-popular West Coast, cool jazz sound and further iced it down, doing things like blending flute and tremoloed vibraphones to sustain a menacing, ever-darkening cloud behind the plot.
Mancini was a master of all moods, which he crafted with lush harmonies and gliding melodies (The ageless Days of Wine and Roses and Moon River are his; lyrics by Johnny Mercer.)
Mancini was very prolific and did many great things that sort of slid by while no one was really looking, probably because he never tried to acquire the spotlight himself, as himself.
He mainly let his work do the walking and talking. His soundtrack to the movie Hatari (an intermittently very entertaining action flick with John Wayne as an African big game capture expert) remains worthy and remarkable to this day.
As a freshman at the University of Idaho, I watched Mancini guest-conduct the university orchestra; the Maestro forbearing graciously as his `Baby Elephant Walk', an incidental piece from the Hatari soundtrack that became an international hit, was butchered by the inept flute section.
It was heart-rending. Mancini also did the music for another similar but unsuccessful TV series, Mr. Lucky, based on the Cary Grant movie character from the mid-forties.
Mr. Lucky died fairly quickly, but its theme music, featuring the squishiest, most liquid Hammond organ voice ever recorded, lives on, in my memory at least.
For more go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Gunn
Gary Jaron's musings.
In my High School Art Department someone had made an ornate sign on hung it on the wall that read: 'Ignore this sign completely.' A paradox couched in sarcasm and irony. This blog is for random musings on anything and everything that comes into my head.