27 March 2010 | Cheyenne-Bodie
George Hamilton as a Bogart hero
George Hamilton came to television in "The Survivors", a sort of precursor to "Dynasty". The series was created by trash novelist Harold Robbins ("The Carpetbagers").
"The Survivors" was an ambitious soap opera with a lot of top talent in front of and behind the cameras.
Other fine actors besides Hamilton in "The Survivors" included Lana Turner, Kevin McCarthy, Ralph Bellamy, Diana Muldaur, Clu Gulager, Louise Sorel, and Rossano Brazzi. Many of the writers and producers of "The Survivors" had previously worked on the fine "Peyton Place".
But a big problem with "The Survivors" was that it didn't have a strong, appealing hero at the center. There was really no one to root for. Hamilton's character seemed to be a weak jet-setting playboy who was as superficial as everyone else in the series.
"The Survivors" was a major critical and ratings disaster. It was canceled after 15 episodes.
ABC had guaranteed Hamilton a full season run, so "Paris 7000" was quickly put together to finish the 1969-70 season.
The producer of "Paris 7000" was talented John Wilder, who had been an associate producer of "The Survivors". This was Wilder's first chance to originate production of a series. He would later produce "The Streets of San Francisco", "Centennial", and 'Spencer: For Hire".
George Hamilton played Jack Brennan, who worked out of the United States Consulate in Paris. Brennan tried to help out Americans in trouble. Hamilton told Johnny Carson it was a Humphrey Bogart type role, and this might become his new image. Hamilton made a very good series hero. He was much more appealing than he had been in "The Survivors".
Jacques Aubuchon was Hamilton's friend on the Paris police force.
Guest stars on the Universal series included Diane Baker, Joseph Campanella, Anne Baxter, E.G. Marshall, Jack Albertson, Martha Scott, Paul Henreid, and William Shatner.
But the best guest star was Barbara Anderson, moonlighting from "Ironside". Barbara Anderson was a cool blonde beauty in the Grace Kelly mold, and she never looked sexier than opposite the darkly handsome Hamilton. They made an intriguing couple. Barbara was asked back for a sequel to her episode.
Directors included Lewis Allen ("The Uninvited"), Philip Leacock ("The War Lover"), Jeannot Szwarc ("Somewhere in Time"), and Robert Day (the "Banyon" pilot).
Writers included Norman Katkov ("Ben Casey"), Paul Playdon ("Kolchak: The Night Stalker"), Michael Gleason ("Remington Steele"), and Gene L. Coon ("Star Trek").
George Hamilton made an effective Bogart hero. Maybe Universal should have gone the whole way and let George play Philip Marlowe in a series, rather than putting him in "Paris 7000". Raymond Chandler's choice to play Marlowe in the 40's was Cary Grant, so he might well have approved of Hamilton.