21 August 2005 | mollyshearergabel
Kojak changed everything
Sure, Dragnet was in a category all its own and Naked City did pave the way for Kojak, but the grit was too shiny and fake. I grew up in NYC and later, after I moved away, when I watched Kojak in syndication I would get so homesick. What got to me the worst wasn't seeing landmarks like The Angry Squire or Washington Square, but by shooting on city streets, the NYC detritus was blowing down the sidewalk. Yes, that made me lonesome for home. Kojak was a show by, for, and about New Yorkers. Kojak's attitude was a New York cop's attitude, he was tough and glib and underneath that layer was the soft chewy center.
Law & Order owes a huge debt to Kojak. I knew I would have to watch L&O because of what I can only describe as Kojakisms, and it is a disservice to Kojak (& to Telly) that he is only remembered for "Who Loves Ya, Baby?". Kojakisms were as rich and varied as literature.
Here are some of my favorites:
"That's the way the baklava crumbles, baby"
"Whatever you do, don't you so much as double park anywhere near Manhattan South, 'cause you'll get a Hear Ye and a Hear Ye and a greeting you'll never forget."
"Light a candle, baby; a Get Well card won't do."
"...kiss off Goldilocks, your porridge is getting cold."
"You could package that with a wrap-around deodorant and still come out with a stink."
"...the Internal Affairs shoo-flies, they're gonna be all over us like a groom on a honeymoon. And lemme tell ya something, we all better be virgins or have a pretty good story."
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may; there's a chill in the air.'
"The wine, it smells beautiful baby, but the company, strictly down the tubes."
"Ya know what a vendetta is? It's when a whole bunch of people kill a whole bunch of people for years and years and years and like that!"
" Yer no good! And that's the end of the story!"
Absolutely one of the best shows ever.