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Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer

By Wikipedia

Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer was the title used for two television series about the fictional private detective Mike Hammer, the creation of American crime author Mickey Spillane.

The first Hammer series was a syndicated one of which 78 episodes were produced in the late 1950s. In this version, Hammer was portrayed by Darren McGavin. The series was criticized by some as being full of excessive, gratuitous violence, though incredibly mild by today's standards and there were no more deaths on the average episode of Hammer than the average western. TV Guide referred to it as "easily the worst series on TV." Spillane later admitted that his involvement in the first series was minimal. He was quoted as saying, "I just took the money and went home."

A second Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, starring Stacy Keach was produced for CBS from 1984 to 1987. Unlike the previous series, Spillane was closely involved with, and quite proud of, this incarnation. Initially this show was about as brutal as its predecessor, and criticized as being extremely sexist, with almost every female character adorned with a push-up bra and a costume that emphasized cleavage, but nonetheless found something of a large audience.

However, production was interrupted when Keach was arrested in England for possession of cocaine while there for the production of the film Mistral's Daughter.Production was suspended while Keach served six months in prison, and when the series returned as The New Mike Hammer, the sexist elements of the program were somewhat downplayed (although the violence certainly was not). An interesting continuing element in this series was the presence of the "The Face", a beautiful woman whom Hammer saw briefly in each episode but who would vanish before he could meet her. One of the most popular elements of this program was its theme music, "Harlem Nocturne" by Earle Hagen.

Keach's version of Hammer was revived with 26 more syndicated episodes produced about a decade later under the title Mike Hammer, Private Eye, but this revived version never found particularly wide distribution or much of an audience.

 

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TV TIDBITS

Aired: January 26, 1984 - September 9, 1987

Cast: Stacy Keach, Lindsay Bloom, Don Stroud, Kent Williams

Network: CBS

Genre: Detective Drama

Theme song

Image courtesy of CBS


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It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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