With this week’s release of Banacek: The First Season on DVD comes a bit of gossipy news about why that series stopped filming in 1974.
Banacek was then probably the most popular of four detective series rotating under the NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie umbrella (the other three being Tenafly, The Snoop Sisters, and Faraday and Company). Yet it ceased production after only two years (16 episodes), rather than become a standalone series, or maybe move over to join McCloud, Columbo, and McMillan & Wife as part of The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie. Why? According to the Web site TV Shows on DVD, Banacek’s termination came because star George Peppard “decided to quit the show. That may seem strange, but Peppard was divorcing Elizabeth Ashley, and didn’t want her to receive more money as a settlement. Sounds like a nasty divorce!”
As the saying goes, you learn something new every day.
Here’s another bit of trivia: Actress Ashley’s second husband, James Farentino, was the star of another Wednesday Mystery Movie series, Cool Million, in which he played a jet-setting private eye who charged $1 million for his services. Unfortunately, only four episodes of that series were produced.