Friday, September 17, 2010

Killed in the Ratings: “Get Christie Love!”

(The eighth entry in a month-long series about American TV crime dramas that debuted with fanfare, but are now largely forgotten.)

Title: Get Christie Love!

Starring: Teresa Graves and Charles Cioffi

Original Run: 1974-1975 (22 episodes, plus pilot), ABC-TV

Premise: Inspired generally by Dorothy Uhnak’s 1970 novel, The Ledger, but certainly influenced by “blaxploitation” films of its era, this show starred former Laugh-In regular Graves as the first African-American female undercover cop on the Los Angeles police force, working to bring down drug dealers and other high-risk malcontents. The big-’fro’d, bare-midriffed Ms. Love had a smile to melt hearts, but she could also protect herself in dangerous situations, whether with a few karate chops or several well-aimed swings of her capacious handbags. And she rarely failed to deliver her signature line when apprehending criminals: “You’re under arrest, Sugah.” Her LAPD supervisor was the ever-concerned Lieutenant Matthew Reardon (Cioffi).

Additional Notes: According to Wikipedia, this show grew out of a well-received ABC teleflick of the same title, shown in January 1974. But the subsequent series was “financed on a meager budget and [was] heavily sanitized to conform to Graves’ religious morals (she had become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses since the making of the TV film).”

Above: Get Christie Love!’s write-up in the September 7-13, 1974, Fall Preview edition of TV Guide. (Click to enlarge the image.) Below: A 1974 promotional spot for Graves’ series.

video

5 comments:

RJR said...

Donna Mills did the movie, but I liked Graves as Christie Love. Then she got religion . . .

RJR

J. Kingston Pierce said...

Hey, Bob:

I think you might be mixing up your movies here. Donna Mills appeared in the 1973 teleflick (and unsold TV pilot) made from another of Dorothy Uhnak's books, The Bait.

http://www.answers.com/topic/the-bait

But Teresa Graves was in the 1974 pilot film for Get Christie Love!, and went on to star in that series.

Cheers,
Jeff

Wallace Stroby said...

Cioffi played a similar role in the first SHAFT film. He's also great in the TV movie MONGO'S BACK IN TOWN, with Joe Don Baker, based on the E. Richard Johnson novel.

RJR said...

Jeff, both films were based on her character Christie Opara, weren't they?

Wallace, I really enjoyed the Mongo movie, and many of Johnson's books.

RJR

J. Kingston Pierce said...

You're right, Bob: Both Donna Mills' The Bait and Teresa Graves' Get Christie Love! were based on Dorothy Uhnak novels starring white Hungarian-American policewoman Christie Opara. Although Mills' protagonist became "Tracy Fleming" in the teleflick, the plot still stuck closer (as I recall) to Uhnak's original story than Graves' pilot film, Get Christie Love!, did to the source material provided in The Ledger.

Cheers,
Jeff