Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Random TV Title: Switch

Clearly based on THE STING, the CBS-TV series SWITCH was one of many successful vehicles to star the suave Robert Wagner. Here, he played a conman, Pete Ryan, who teamed up with the ex-cop who busted him, Frank McBride (Eddie Albert), to open a private detective agency. More often than not, the smooth operator and the bunco detective used the skills from their former lives to run stings on the bad guys.

If it sounds a little like THE ROCKFORD FILES, let it be known that at least one ROCKFORD episode ("This Case Is Closed") later turned up as a SWITCH also, due to Universal's habit of recycling scripts (Warner Brothers was especially bad about this in its heyday of the late 1950s, particularly with another James Garner series, MAVERICK).

At any rate, SWITCH was a pretty good show with excellent chemistry between Wagner and Albert. Comic Charlie Callas was the wacky sidekick, and cutie Sharon Gless, later to win multiple Emmys for CAGNEY & LACEY and currently on BURN NOTICE, played the boys' secretary. Ironically, Gless was also a guest star in "This Case Is Closed," the ROCKFORD episode that SWITCH ripped off.

I believe the theme presented here, which was the show's second, was composed by Stu Phillips, who usually got the call for shows created by Glen A. Larson.


Jake Murdock said...

I also thought "Switch" was a good show and always looked forward to an episode back then. The 70s had the best detective shows!

hobbyfan said...

I don't know if Sleuth has this on their current schedule, but if they don't, they should! If the NBC-Universal family of networks could stop obsessing over daily blocks of the suddenly tired "Law & Order" imprints ("L & O" reruns are in TNT's hands, and are similarly abused with daily blocks), maybe they'd actually do us all a favor and diversify their scheds with some of the classics that aren't on RTN's current sched (i.e. Switch, Baretta).

Tom K. Mason said...

And that's not all. "Rockford" star James Garner and "Switch" creator Glen A. Larson (known sometimes as Glen A. Larceny) got into a physical "discussion" over Larson's alleged plagiarism of "Rockford" music. You can Google "James Garner Glen A. Larson" for a bunch of supporting links.