Saturday, March 9, 2019


For this week’s Video Weekend, we have an episode from the last season of ‘Barnaby Jones’.  I could be wrong about this, but Buddy Ebsen does look tired in this adventure and that might have been one reason it was time to call it a day.  (Not that he was done by a long shot; he just knew it was time to let somebody else shoulder the heavy work.)  Ratings could have been another reason the show was ready to pack it in.

I haven’t yet consulted my handy-dandy guide to unsold TV pilots book by Lee Goldberg (I have both hardcover and paperback versions!), but I have this feeling that this episode of ‘Barnaby Jones’ was a backdoor pilot for a show that would have starred Harry Guardino as crusading reporter W.W. DiAngelo of the Los Angeles Chronicle.  (That makes another notch in that newspaper’s TV credits, mostly from ‘Perry Mason’ and ‘Quincy, M.E.’.)

The set-up was in place – W.W. (which stood for Walt Whitman) was a thorn in the side of his “nephew in all but blood” who was an LAPD detective.  We also got to meet the reporter’s assistant back at the paper, Lucy, who was played by one of my many TV crushes, Laurette Spang.  And there was Philip Pine as the Chronicle’s editor and Charles Lampkin as Benny, a guy who ran a hot dog stand and would probably have been W.W.’s source for info on the street.

The story centered around this quintet of characters as the heroes with Barnaby taking a back seat to give them the spotlight.  (Barnaby’s best moment was a short interaction with a secretary/records archivist who was kind of sweet on him.  She was played by Barbara Perry, who was the first actress to play Pickles Sorrell on ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’.  After her two episodes, Joan Shawlee took over the role and knocked it out of the park.)

UPDATE:I watched that episode of 'Barnaby Jones' on the morning of February 27.  I wrote up this post and added in the link to the video that same morning.  Later in the day I went back to YouTube to grab a few stills from it for a future article about the Los Angeles Chronicle and I needed one of Linden Chiles as the murderer.  However, just a few hours after seeing it the first time, it was now taken down by the user.

"They" must be on to me.....


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