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  • Longstreet was only on the air for one season. In my memory it stands out as a truly great series despite the fact it was short-lived, as sometimes happens with television. The premise was intriguing: a blind detective. The part of Mike Longstreet was wonderfully portrayed by James Franciscus, well remembered for his run in the earlier hit series, Mr Novak. Unfortunately, Longstreet did not catch on in the same way. Franciscus was perfectly believable as a blind person. He was the right person to carry off this part: handsome, smart and charming. The stories were interesting and intelligent with strong acting in the supporting character parts. Hopefully a DVD set of Longstreet will come out in this age when old and recent television series are being made available on the latest technology.
  • This series was a cut above the rest of the TV detective series of the day but somehow didn't find an audience.

    The idea of a blind detective may not be totally new but added so much to the story. And who could forget Pax, the beautiful guide dog in the series!

    Whilst the stories themselves may have been no better than the average series, the settings , in New Orleans, the acting and the music (I note the comment about the music score in other comments ...I remember that clearly) all work to make a good television series even better!

    Well you never know day Paramount might just dig into its archives and release it on DVD!
  • A series that wasn't just about cops and robbers but also looked at how a man struggles with the handicap of being blind and overcomes. No silly, superhuman ,unrealistic stuff about mega-hearing, but well thought out scripts that were exciting and also developed the characters. Superbly acted by James Franciscus, you believed he really was blind. Bruce Lee had a small bit part, which added to Longstreet's developing character but fortunately Jeet Kune Do was only a small part. Also fine were the co- stars; Peter Mark Richman and Marlyn Mason. Even the music was great, the score was by the talented Oliver Nelson, whose music in the episode "Elegy in Brass" was superb. This should be repeated again!
  • I remember that for the fall of 1971 NBC moved "Ironside" from its longtime Thursday slot to Tuesday, and ABC decided that another show about a physically-challenged detective could fill the Thursday slot. As it turned out, "Ironside" ran into ratings problems against "Mod Squad," also on ABC, while "Longstreet" got as high as fifth in the Nielsen ratings. NBC quickly put "Ironside" back on Thursdays. Maybe Raymond Burr's snarling, intimidating personality made more of an impression than the more laid-back James Franciscus, best known at the time as English teacher Mr. Novak.

    But that doesn't change the fact that "Longstreet" was a good show that happened to meet an early end; not only did we get to see the hero, who was blind, at work, but also learning how to cope with his new handicap. Maybe people didn't tune in week after week to get lessons on how to cope with blindness but I think it added a dimension to the show. And add to that the great supporting cast: Marlyn Mason as Longstreet's Braille teacher and assistant; Peter Mark Richman as his co-worker at the insurance company; Bruce Lee on the few occasions he appeared; and one of the most beautiful dogs I've ever seen--Pax, Longstreet's German shepherd guide dog. The characters on this show are likable, the violence is held to a minimum, and it's a shame ABC didn't give it a second season, maybe on a different night.

    And just how does a sighted actor play a sightless character? Franciscus once said he had to learn to unfocus his eyes, and I remember an article in the Atlanta Constitution shortly after the series ended that said he suffered from real vision problems for a time because of this.

    The only question I've always had is how Longstreet, even with the use of an electronic cane, always knew when to tell Pax to make a left or right turn.

    Definitely well-written, well-acted, and a winner no matter if ABC didn't give it a second chance.
  • A series that truly had depth and got you into the character more then any series today. Brilliantly scripted, directed and acted. Anyone having issues coping with life on any level will find the show inspiring. Yes the mystery aspect was well done, but more well done is the portrayal of a man overcoming impossible odds to strive and persevere. Add to this some bonus episodes of the incomparable Bruce Lee and you have a winner of a series. It's a true crime that the series did not continue, because it had a depth rarely found in series of the time, or in fact on TV today. Longstreet is one of those rare treasures waiting to be found by those who wish to dig.
  • Rumjal4 December 2008
    Warning: Spoilers
    I enjoyed Longstreet, which followed in the steps of Raymond Burr's successful Ironside TV series and was intended to give it competition. But this show was canceled after one season because it was decided--I believe wrongly--that Longstreet was not able to compete with Mr. Burr's Ironside.

    I may add that the pilot for this show was especially well done and very memorable. I hope that a box set of Longstreet will appear.

    Writers should note that this story idea was only briefly explored here and that much more could and should be done to show the play and interplay of disabilities on TV.
  • From the 1960s and 70s, there were numerous detective series where the lead character had a unique characteristic: wheelchair-bound Ironside, trench coat-wearing Columbo, senior citizen Barnaby Jones, etc. In the case of the watchable series "Longstreet", James Franciscus played the New Orleans-based insurance agent whose was blinded by an explosion that killed his wife and is determined to continue investigating cases despite his affliction.

    The priorities "Longstreet" developer/executive producer Stirling Silliphant had were similar to his earlier shows ("Route 66" and "Naked City", in which Franciscus appeared in the first season): character studies over plot. This is not to say that the show's plots were uninteresting. Franciscus' compelling performance kept my interest, as well as support from Marlyn Mason as assistant Nikki and Peter Mark Richman as Duke.

    Most martial arts fans remember the series less for Franciscus and more for Bruce Lee, who played Li Tsung, Longstreet's Jeet Kune Do instructor for just four episodes. Lee made such a strong impression, it's a shame that the producers/writers were unable to incorporate Lee in more episodes. At the same time, if Lee were made a regular, he may have not signed on for "Enter the Dragon" in his tragically short film career.

    "Longstreet" was an early success in the show's only season on ABC. Unfortunately, it was overshadowed in mid-season when NBC's "Ironside" moved into the same time slot. ABC canceled "Longstreet" at the last possible moment despite having better ratings than a number of ABC shows.

    There are many short-lived series like "Longstreet" that deserve to be rediscovered. I hope CBS/Paramount will consider releasing the series from their large vaults to DVD and web streaming.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "The Way of the Intercepting Fist" (a literal translation of jeet kune do), by student Stirling Silliphant, offers us our first real glimpse into Bruce Lee's fighting philosophy and espouses his "no-nonesense" approach to hand-to-hand combat beautifully. (Pierre Burton would refer to this episode during his interview with Bruce Lee because it just so happens to be one of the finest presentations of jeet kune do ever committed to film. The philosophical aspects of this LONGSTREET episode wouldn't turn up, per se, in any of the feature films Lee would do.) One can't help but smile when star James Franciscus is impaled by one of Lee's patented sidekicks and sent sprawling clear across the room. He jumps up and excitedly exclaims: "This guy's fantastic!" And indeed he was.
  • This was probably my favorite show of the 70's. I don't think I've ever seen an actor portray a blind person than James Franciscus. He was constantly tilting his head to hear better, rather than staring straight ahead with a blank stare like most actors portraying blind people. The stories were interesting, and there were great supporting actors, most notably Marlyn Mason, seeing-eye dog Pax, and of course Bruce Lee. I was originally drawn to this show because of Bruce Lee, but soon found I was really into the plight of this man and his struggles. Unfortunately, this was another good series that wound up on the chopping block way too soon.
  • Like the film "Marlowe," the only claim to fame of this rather insignificant series is its inclusion of aspiring actor Bruce Lee as a recurring character.

    Nobody seems to remember it for anything other than that. Still, a special DVD with all of the episodes starring Lee would be worthwhile.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I feel that I should mention first of all that apart from watching the movie-length pilot for this series recently, I never got the chance to watch the regular show, being much too young when it was first broadcast and the fact that Paramount seems to have permanently shelved the actual series. While I do think that the production was more than inspired by the TV show "Ironside" - another show about an investigator who was handicapped - from what I saw there was some promise. In this pilot, the scenes showing the title protagonist investigating are very interesting, and show that someone investigating without the use of sight could have lead to some very interesting investigation. However, since what I saw was a pilot, there is far more stuff involving the hero learning how to cope without sight, and this leads the actual investigation to be very little of the movie. Worst of all, the hero is never given the opportunity to confront the criminals that made him blind - their trackdown and arrest happen offscreen! I'm sure that the subsequent series didn't have these problems, so I would have given the show a chance had I been around to - ahem - see it.