15 March 2008 | redryan64
"All I was doing was impersonating Officer Clancy, the Beat Cop in our NYC neighborhood.".......George Kennedy in TV Guide interview.
Big and strong, broad shouldered with a near vice-like grip; the old "Grizzled Veterans" found they were, nonetheless, susceptible to a couple of pending and unavoidable maladies. One is the thickening and sagging of the hips and the mid-section; while the other is the tendency of our dense and curly, wavy and thick crowning manes to thin out and get infiltrated by a certain condition; which appears to be an infiltration by the Comstock Lode.
AS a Sampler we've seen says in a Broken German-English dialect "Ve Get Too Soon Oldt undt Too Late Schmardt!" In no other area other than Police Work is this fact driven home so early on and thoroughly. The Experience sharpens up the perception of "the Street"; but our diminishing physical attributes limits what we are able to do out there.*
The Joe Wambaugh Novel of THE BLUE KNIGHT and subsequent Mini-Series (1972) with William Holden addressed this in detail. When the Mr. Holden's portrayal of 'Bumper' Morgan proved to be successful and popular with the public, as well as (Genuflect!!) the Critics; the idea was born to continue the character in a weekly dramatic series. Either Mr. William Holden was deemed unacceptable, wouldn't do Series TV or couldn't agree to term$ for other con$ideration$.
So the Production Company, Lorimar, installed George Kennedy in the part. A Made-for-TV Movie was made in order to test out the series potential and to get Mr. Kennedy's face out there as Bumper. It was successful and the series of "THE BLUE KNIGHT" (1975-76) was launched. Unfortunately, after getting on the air late in the Fall Season, 1975, it did not last beyond the opening couple of months of the CBS new 1976 Fall Season; getting yanked before the new year of 1977.
And that was truly unfortunate; for George brought some real slice of life to his portrayal. Whether intentional or not, Kennedy's 'Bumper' gave us more by doing less. George did a great job of "underplaying" in a genre that may well have invited more dialogue, more action and more criminal incidents that would fill up an hour's worth of face time.
All of this business was really quite a (Expletive Delegated) shame; for the stories weren't bad at all. And Oscar Winner and former Army Captain, Mr. George Kennedy put his mark on 'Bumper'; forever superseding William Holden's none too shabby rendition of Officer Morgan.**
It would be really neato if one of the TV Rerun Specializing Channels like Nick at Night, TV Land or a local operation like METV in Chicago would re-broadcast the now venerable series so we could share it with a new generation and even tape and save the episodes for our own selfish and nefarious exploitations; like adding them to our video collections! Of course, a real, store-bought set of DVD's would be okay too! .FINIS
John T. "Red" Ryan, or 'Jack' as some friends call him, is a retired "old Chicago Street Cop"; now being a self-styled Film and Television Critic: particular those of Police subject matter or those which are adaptations derived from Comic Strip and Comic Book sources. He also occupies his time judging the Gourmet Cooking done by his wife, Deanna and plotting future activities for their not-yet-arrived grandchildren, for whenever they should arrive.
NOTE: * It has been estimated that it takes about 5 years to get a completely broken-in, fully independently operational and functional Street Cop. The process may accelerate some if the Young Officer works in a high crime area; handling more serious and a greater number of Criminal Incidents.
NOTE: ** PLEASE!! Don't think we are knocking the "Golden Boy's" performance; for we definitely are not. It's just that we are dealing with 2 different types of treatments. The William Holden mini-series tended to be more literate and hence more "dialogue friendly" than the Weekly Hour Series.