What American male between the ages of thirty-nine and fifty-five doesn’t smile at the phrase, “One Adam 12, One Adam 12, 211 in progress.” Yes, that’s one of the signature lines from the classic TV show Adam-12 and I’ll admit that it holds a special place in my heart. It may even be one of the reasons I turned to a career in police work (Although I can point specifically to Police Story as being the main reason I became interested in the field).
Created by Jack Webb, Adam-12 ran from 1968 through 1975 and aired 174 episodes. It was a simple premise; follow the lives of two uniformed LAPD cops, veteran Pete Malloy, played by Martin Milner and rookie Jim Reed, played by Kent McCord. The show was a drama without a lot of gun play. There were long conversations between the cops while on patrol and encounters with all sorts of odd and interesting characters off the street. A lot like real police work.
Adam-12 is listed as writer Stephen J. Cannell’s first permanent writing job when he joined the show in its fourth season. I remember it as the first TV show I watched and cared about. In fact, when the local NBC station changed the airing time to past my bedtime I was moved to write a letter to the station. Back then there were only three channels and we were a long way from VCRs, not to mention DVRs. You watched a show when it aired and 9:30 on Thursdays was not a time I was allowed to be in front of the TV. The irony of it is that 9:30 at night is once again past my bedtime. At least now I have the flexibility of just touching a button on the DVR to watch something at my convenience. If not for the DVR I would not have seen a Saturday Night Live in a couple of years and thought Dana Carvey was still hilarious on it.
The beauty of hundreds of cable TV stations allows me to occasionally see old shows I loved. I discovered that F-Troop was not nearly as funny as I thought when I was six-years-old. Dark Shadows is not as scary. Even my old favorite Adam-12 is a little dated, slogging through dialog that seems wooden and situations that are dull at best. But I prefer to remember it as I did as a child; exciting and fresh, pointing me to career which I have found rewarding and interesting.
What shows influenced you? Can you still see them on Nick at Night?