Although I have read Lou Cameron’s 1969 paperback novel, The Outsider, I’ve never actually watched the 1968-1969 NBC-TV series on which that book was based. Yes, I understand: This almost disqualifies me from membership in the Ceaseless Defenders of Old TV Crime Dramas Club--especially given The Outsider’s notable pedigree (it was novelist-producer Roy Huggins’ precursor to The Rockford Files). But that’s something I am going to have live with, at least for now.
While McGavin’s equally short-lived Kolchak: The Night Stalker has become a cult favorite, with prominent DVD releases, no official set of The Outsider has been brought to market. And though I know that some of the 26 episodes of The Outsider--which starred Darren McGavin as “low-rent ex-con turned resigned, wistful private eye David Ross”--are available in bootleg versions on the Web, I haven’t yet brought myself to plunk down the money for their acquisition.
So I was surprised over the weekend to discover two video clips from The Outsider on YouTube. They take in the beginning and end of a late-series episode titled “Periwinkle Blue” (originally shown on April 2, 1969). They were posted by someone who signs him- or herself “Shmoytz,” and operates a YouTube page devoted to the late American actress Lois Nettleton, who guest-starred in “Periwinkle Blue.”
The early minutes of this episode (with Ross calling to complain about an inadequate takeout serving of fried chicken) definitely remind me of what Huggins--who is credited here under the pseudonym “John Thomas James”--was able to accomplish with The Rockford Files. But it’s impossible to make more thorough comparisons without actually seeing the episode in toto.
Maybe I shall have that chance someday. For now, I’ll have to be satisfied with these two small tastes of The Outsider.
READ MORE: “A TV Movie Review by Michael Shonk: The Outsider (1967)” (Mystery*File); “A TV Series Review by Michael Shonk: The Outsider (1968-69)” (Mystery*File); “FFB: The Outsider--Lou Cameron,” by Randy Johnson (Not the Baseball Pitcher).