BANYON was a typically action-packed crime drama from television impresario Quinn Martin that starred Robert Forster (later an Oscar nominee for JACKIE BROWN) as a private eye in 1930s Los Angeles. It barely made it past the fall of 1972, but Forster told me he loved doing the show.
Q: I also want to ask you about BANYON. Everyone I’ve ever spoken to about BANYON has fond memories of that show. Did you think that was going to be big?
A: I don’t know. I had no idea. All I know is I loved doing it.
Q: Joan Blondell was on that show.
A: Yes, indeed. She played the operator of a secretarial school, and she would give me a free secretary every week. So I always had a free, new secretary that I had to break in every week.
Q: But it only lasted, what, thirteen weeks?
A: Fifteen shows. Half a season. The guy who wrote and produced and created it, Ed Adamson, died while we were shooting our first order. The show just did not survive his death. Quinn Martin produced BANYON. He was the executive producer. He picked it up after it had been a pilot, but before it got its order. He was the one that got it its 15 episodes. Quinn Martin was a very good guy. He always overpaid his actors.
Q: I’ve heard that’s why he was always able to attract such extraordinary casts, including guest stars.
A: He always exceeded the going rate for guest actors. I don’t think he paid many actors scale. He bumped it up just a little.