Wednesday, August 25, 2010

“This Is Not a Women’s Lib Drama”

Following my mention last week of the 1974-1975 TV program Amy Prentiss, one of the less-well-remembered segments of the classic NBC Mystery Movie “wheel series,” several Rap Sheet readers wrote to me, inquiring whether I knew anything more about that show. I’m sorry to say I don’t, really. I clearly remember watching all three episodes of that Ironside spin-off, plus the pilot, but I do not have any of them on tape or DVD.

However, in digging through my files earlier this week, I came across a time-yellowed newspaper clipping from the Portland Oregonian in which star Jessica Walter talks with Francis Murphy, then the broadsheet’s TV columnist, about winning her small-screen role as the San Francisco Police Department’s first woman chief of detectives. I’m only guessing, based on the fact that this article mentions the Amy Prentiss pilot in the past tense (it was broadcast on May 23, 1974) and alludes to a Hawaii Five-O episode to “be shown this fall,” that it was published sometime during the summer of ’74. (Unfortunately, I was too young at the time I scissored this out of Oregon’s largest daily paper to realize that it might be useful someday to have written the date on it!)

For anyone who’s interested, the Murphy column is featured on the left. Simply click on the image to enlarge and read it.


Yvette said...

The thing that catches my eye is the ludicrous headline of the article. ACTRESS TO PLAY WOMAN DETECTIVE. No, Actress To Play Male Detective - Now THAT's, maybe, a headline. Or Actress to Play Doggy Detective. Even better.
Or Actress to PLay...well, you get my point. How about just Actress to Play Detective. Nah. Not in THOSE days. Not even, maybe in today's days.

michael said... is the best place I have found to research old TV series.

Search Amy Prentiss and there is an overview of the series and its beginnings. There is a detailed episode guide with reviews.

Ed Gorman said...

She was never better than in Arrested Development. The Mom from Hell.

RJR said...

Saw these when they first came out. Didn't match up to a lot of the other "Wheel" shows. One of the ones I wish had lasted longer was COOL MILLION, with James Farantino.


Craig said...

The story probably ran around July or August of 1974 -- that's when these papers ran similar stories:


Walter herself observes how unlikely the show's premise was in that she was the ONLY woman on the police force and yet she was the chief.