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  • It's a pity that this series isn't available for sale on any format. The premise of a pretty clumsy Scotland Yard inspector on loan to the San Francisco PD sets up a background that is well exploited in many episodes, starting with the local detectives laughing at what a lameo they've traded to the Brits in an "exchange" deal. What the Brits send them is Inspector Hart who walks in, introduces himself and promptly puts his umbrella through the glass on the Lt. Gennero's door.

    In the following episodes, we meet such characters as "Careful Eddie" who seems to need to go to the ER every time he encounters inspector Hart. Cassis Yates is great in her role as the only female detective who unfortunately gets stuck as being Hart's sidekick.

    Of course, in his own bumbling way Inspector Hart manages to solve whatever case he's handed through some of the trickiest plot ploys around.

    Too bad the series is not available. I'd buy it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Imagine that Sherlock Holmes ( the Basil Rathbone version ) was still around in 1980 and attached to the 22nd precinct of the San Francisco Police Department. That was more or less the premise of this short-lived U.S. sitcom, a vehicle for the talented British actor Ron Moody ( 'Fagin' from the 'Oliver!' musical ). His character, Det.Insp. Roger Hart, had been temporarily assigned to the States as part of a foreign-exchange programme. Scotland Yard ( the Americans obviously do not know we have a new one nowadays ), on the other hand, got a fella by the name of Al Swink. Massively unpopular with his fellow policemen, they were glad to be rid of Swink, but when Hart walked in through the door, announced himself, and promptly smashed the window with his umbrella ( before then knocking over a water-cooler ), they took back the whip round they were collecting for him! Hart was a klutz, and every time he caused unintentional damage, would look shocked, and say: "Did I do that?".

    He was paired with the attractive Det.Jennifer Dempsey ( Cassie Yates ), and the show that followed was a sort of spoof of police shows of that time. Plenty of visual gags were on offer, many reminiscent of the 'Pink Panther' films. Hart himself was Rathbone's Holmes to a tee, right down to the clothes and pipe, and he had a habit of treating everything like a baffling mystery. When he pulled open the drapes in a hotel room, for instance, he exclaimed in an excited tone of voice: "Hmmm...just as I suspected...the balcony!". It owed a great debt to 'Get Smart' ( and had some of the same writers including Arne Sultan, Mike Marmer and Chris Hayward ). The first episode opened with Hart trying to talk a would-be suicidalist off the Golden Gate Bridge. He failed - the man jumped.

    Only eight episodes were made. In America, the show was intended to be shown in September 1979, but apparently was held over until June of the following year for fear viewers might confuse it with 'Hart To Hart'. By the time it reached Britain it had already been cancelled. Another problem the show had was that there already was a British sitcom called 'Nobody's Perfect' ( starring Elaine Stritch and Richard Griffiths ), hence the change of title to 'Hart Of The Yard'.

    Was it any good? I liked it at the time. I don't know how it would stand up now. Moody was very funny as 'Hart', playing the role absolutely straight. Another British actor, Clive Revill, guested in one episode as legendary criminal mastermind 'The Ocelot'. Perhaps if it had lasted longer it might have caught on. Who knows?
  • For anyone who's never seen Ron Moody in action, he is nothing short of a genius! He can perform impressions like Frank Gorshin; improvise like Jonathon Winters and gleam madly like John Astin. Bearing in mind I love those guys' work, you'll know how much I respect Moody.

    Hart of the Yard was a little weak in places, but for it's era and medium, very, very good overall. It certainly gave Moody the opportunity to demonstrate his ample talents in a variety of ways. He plays the role overall as a rather accident-prone modern Sherlock Holmes. But the different situations each week allowed him to display different aspects of the character and his background.

    I would love to see this again! Just checked Amazon and found it's not released on DVD or even video, so let's sort that out TVland, okay?!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm so glad there are other people who remember this series. I seem to be the only one of my friends and family who does. Which is unfortunate because my late uncle had the privilege of being hired as Ron Moody's stand-in for this show. Uncle Bob passed away just after the last episode was filmed, so he never got to see himself on TV. But I watched, and it was such a thrill to see him on my TV. It was a great show too! Very well-written, with a great cast. My favorite scene was one in which they had to diffuse a bomb. At one point, Hart asked Dempsey for a piece of elastic. She then removed one of her bra straps, and it did the trick. When Hart complimented Demosey on her resourcefulness, she said "I just did what any cop would do". To which Hart replied "Not just any cop, Dempsey. One with a bra!" Great line, from a great show! And I remember my uncle saying that Mr. Moody was a very nice person who was a joy to work with.