IT APPEARS THAT the year of 1960 was very important in the area of law. In addition to the Presidential race that would pit two trained attorneys (Kennedy and Nixon)against each other, the lawyer as genre was more than just 'fair' game for TV series. The American Broadcasting Company alone,launched two such half hours. The first was THE LAW AND MR. JONES; which starred James Whitmore. The second is today's honoree; that being HARRIGAN & SON; which starred Pat O'Brien and Roger Perry.
THE PREMISE OF this show was simple and very basic. Pat was James Harrigan, Sr. and Roger was James, Junior. Son joins his father's Law Practice and the fun begins. It was the age old generation thing that provided a good deal of the energy and situational comedy of the episodes.
YET, THIS WAS not a sitcom per se; but rather a sort of Dramatic Comedy. "Comedy", in this case is meant in the classic, Shakespearean sense; that being any story in which the protagonist is successful in his quest for whatever.
THE THIRD REGULAR player in the shows all too brief run was Georgine Darcy; who portrayed their young, single-braided and very attractive blonde secretary, Gypsy. The show opening featured her freely gyrating her lovely hips while walking down the hall of her bosses' office building. While this display of feminine pulchritude and charm was done, it was accompanied by an instrumental rendition of that George M. Cohan song, "Harrigan."
ONE PARTICULAR EPISODE that springs to mind was titled "100 POOF" and it guest starred one of Pat's old drinkin' buddies from the days at Warner Brothers, Frank McHugh. Frank's character was accused of DUI and the Harrigans were his counselors at law.
WE RECALL THAT the Harrigans won the case by introducing evidence that their defendant had an abnormally constructed digestive tract. The intestines then held up any carbohydrates; which were then transformed into alcohol. They proved it in court by having Frank eat some saltine crackers. Previously sober as a judge, he was soon stewed and singing Irish Drinking Songs, while still on the witness stand.
THIS LAST INCIDENT gives credence to our theory of what it was that drew us to tune in to this HARRIGAN show. It was the marketing of personalities such as Mr. Pat O'Brien's and Mr. Frank McHugh's as an attraction. These images were carefully crafted by big studio publicity men and their old films could be seen regularly on local TV stations.*
ANOTHER ELEMENT THAT was employed and exploited to good use was that previously mentioned George M. Cohan H-A-R-R-I-G-A-N song. For not only did accompany Christine Darcy's lovely entrance, but It was also featured at closing. The only difference her was no Gypsy and both Father and Son sang it while Junior played the piano.
GEE, AREN'T THEY just like all the lawyers that you know?
NOTE * We believe that Allen Jenkins, another Drinkin' Buddy from the old days at Warner Brothers, also appeared in at least one installment.