Crime: The unknown nature of it all,and the agents who would stop at nothing to bring them to justice remains one of the greatest crime-drama shows ever to come out of the golden age of television from the late 1950's,early 1960's.
The Untouchables may have been one great show,but in its day it was just that..one of the most violent crime shows on television,but during its four year-run it was propelled into the art of TV greatness when it aired on ABC-TV from September of 1959 to September of 1963.
Produced by Quinn Martin and Desi Arnaz,under his production company Desilu Productions,the series produced an astounding 114 episodes,all in black and white,and stood shoulder to shoulder with such giants as Bonanza,Gunsmoke,not to mention in that same time frame,Maverick,and classic shows like Rawhide and The Riflemen and it was during the four incredible years that this show ran,won Emmys for its breathtaking scripts and incredible acting. At the time this show was on the air,Desi Arnaz's production company,Desilu was producing shows like "Make Room For Daddy"(The Danny Thomas Show),"The Andy Griffith Show", and others and would go on after The Untouchables went off the air to created the shows "Gomer Pyle","I Spy","Mission:Impossible","Star Trek", "Mannix",and would co-produced his own comedy show,"The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour",and would be in charge of production,which went un-credited for "The Lucy Show" starring Lucille Ball during the show's first two seasons.
The Untouchables was groundbreaking at its finest and it was that reason to see why this was just so. Set in the prohibition era of Chicago during the late 1920's,early 1930's,during the depression,Special Treasury Agent Elliott Ness(played by Robert Stack) and his band of crimefighters must deal with bootleggers,gangland murders,assassins,and crime figures and mob bosses like Al Capone (Neville Brand) and Frank Nitti(Bruce Gordon). Brilliantly and expertly narrated by the great Walter Winchell,this power-packed crime drama of a series got the story told without the use of the screen gore,explicit profanity and blatant violence,but this show had plenty of gunplay and some of it was maybe tone down in this day and age,but during the show's run it was very violent,for instance the breaking of glass and the ricoheting of bullets were the standard but you never got to see any blood or gory stuff on the show,which was at the time prohibited due to the censors. This would become so true when Brian DePalma did the movie version of "The Untouchables" in 1987 with Kevin Costner in the Robert Stack role and Robert DeNiro in the Al Capone character and here this version was more violent and graphic than the TV show,which by the way gave Sean Connery an Oscar for his performance.
But getting back to the TV show of the same title,
Among the superior work by Stack,Brand,and Gordon,this show had a array of special guest stars that appear on the show almost on a weekly basis and the guest list included: Jerry Paris(long before his days on "The Dick Van Dyke Show"),Telly Savalas,Oscar Beregi,Jr.,Steve London, Jason Wingreen,Jason Robards,Jack Klugman,Grant Richards,Elizabeth Montgomery(long before her collaboration on "Bewitched"),Lee Grant,Abel Fernandez,Charles Bronson,James Coburn,and so many more. This was as awesome production that was to perfection along with Nelson Riddle's theme score.
I got the chance to catch one of the episodes on video recently,and it goes to show that this series needs to seen again and needs to be put on there on DVD,especially with the first two seasons of the series. Sometimes they do show this long lost series seldom at times on New York's WOR-TV and its very sad that the cable network's A&E,Nick at Nite,TV Land,TRIO,or The History Channel doesn't air this program.
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