1 April 2007 | dougdoepke
Good Action Series
The TV series had the misfortune of coming along at a time when the trend in cop shows was being set by the more reality-based Dragnet. The concept of amateur detectives, comical helpers, and inept police really belonged to an earlier period before the onset of the Cold War and the Soviet menace. Thus it's a tribute to the excellent casting and great location photography that the show lasted as long as it did. Taylor is terrific as Blackie, handsome, debonaire, and with a panache that I think is missing in the movie version. Whatever they paid him, he earned it-- watch all the running and stunts he has to do, and without apparent doubles. Lois Collier too is charming and very fetching as Mary. Their chemistry together is perfect, neither too silly nor too serious-- just the right amount of "tongue-in-cheek". Meanwhile, Whitey, the dog, manages for the most part to act like a dog without being too cutesy or obnoxious, while poor Frank Orth gets the thankless job of Farraday even though he neither looks like nor acts like an acceptable bone-headed cop. The stories themselves have occasional twists, but are unexceptional for the most part. Nonetheless, they're nicely paced without getting bogged down in too much budget-saving talk. The show's real star, however, is a burgeoning post-war Los Angeles, just then moving into hyper-speed growth. Some producer had the good sense to load the series with location filming. Thus we get an unrehearsed view of rapidly changing neighborhoods and skyline. My lasting image of the show is of Tayor running across a roof-top as cranes across the way busy themselves with a new era. Unfortunately, it was an era that a show like Blackie would not survive.