CBS (ended 1976)



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Frank Cannon lives in a penthouse on the Sunset Strip, where his passion is gourmet cuisine prepared by himself. In between meals he hires out as a private investigator to select clients in need of top-drawer work from a professional trained in the ways of the world. George McCowan's work on this series sets a new standard by treating television as simply a more mobile cinema. He registers the descendance of television from film, not merely radio. After creating Marshal Dillon in Gunsmoke on radio, and a great deal of film work, Cannon is the great achievement of William Conrad's career as an actor: genial, witty and acute.

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    • Another series from QM(Quinn Martin) Productions. William Conrad was the voice of Marshal Matt Dillon in the radio version of "Gunsmoke" and another Quinn Martin show "The Fugitive". He plays a rotund detective with a penchant for expensive things.moreless

      William Conrad now appears on the small screen after many years of voice over work. He portrays a Los Angeles based private eye who lives in a penthouse apartment, drives a Lincoln Luxury Car, Eats gourmet food and charges hefty fees for his services. A lot of his clients are very wealthy and can afford his services. His car is equipped with a mobile phone(a precursor to the cellular telephone of today, all of the cars are Lincoln Mark series(Mark III 1971-1972),(Mark IV 1972-1976). Being a Quinn Martin show Ford Motor Company provided all of the cars and sponsorship of the series.

      Guest stars included Tom Skerritt, Harold Gould, Martin Sheen, Keenan Wynn, Jacqueline Scott(A Fugitive and QM Alumni), Joan Van Ark(Valene Ewing on Knots Landing), Ross Martin, Eric Braden(Victor of The Young And The Restless), Larry Hagman and many others.moreless
    • Proof positive that the right casting can make or break a show.

      The thing about a weekly detective series is that without a compelling lead character, the show is lost. Stories are formulaic (how many times can you revisit the whodunit well, after all?) but with a strong actor and a unique character (Peter Falk, Angela Lansbury, Tony Shalhoub) you have a hit. If you don't (Dick Van Dyke John Larroquette), you're sunk. Fortunately, "Cannon" has William Conrad. Undoubtedly the greatest radio actor of all time, Conrad proved to be no slouch on screen, even if he was far from photogenic. "Cannon" is a show that succeeds entirely because of Conrad - the scripts are mostly pedestrian detective stories, nothing in the class of "Rockford Files," but Conrad sells it. His rich baritone voice and piercing blue eyes add tremendous gravity to whatever scene he's in. Nobody stands up to a corrupt town or consoles a grieving wife like Frank Cannon. Throw in the fact that he's a man of action (Rockford could never handle himself in a fight) and he's even more of a standout among his 70s sleuth brethren. In watching the first season of "Cannon" on DVD, I really am struck by how much Conrad brings to the part. He's an actor who does just as much with his silence as he does with his words. Having only been exposed to him from his radio work before, I'm very impressed. Conrad elevated this show above its average writing and gimmick concept (fat detetective!). I wouldn't say it's the best 70s PI show (that honor still belongs to "Rockford") but it's a close second.moreless
    • A great show with lots of action.

      Cannon was an expensive private investigator that worked high dollar insurance recoveries.He also took cases from people that couldn't pay his fee that usually lead to something big.He worked his cases alone and wouldn't back out of a fight.Cannon was a real man's man.He drove a big Lincoln with a car phone,packed a .38 snubnose and liked to sail and fish.Cannon also overindulged in good food,drank beer and smoked a pipe.This was the way he liked it.Cannon was a police detective in L.A. until his wife and baby were killed in an inexplicable bombing.After that, he did everything his way and wouldn't tolerate any nonsense. There were no real love interests in the series other than some good female friends and a couple of ex girlfriends that appeared toward the end.I appreciated this as I don't really care for too much romance in a Detective series.William Conrad was excellent in the role of action hero.Cannon could run down a young offender,dodge bullets,duck,dive and roll ! His fighting skills were very respectable.His signature moves included the bear hug and karate chop.Cannon is a really fun program to watch over and over again ! I'm thankful to have all the episodes.moreless
    • Ahhhh the 70s, the decade where detectives and cops drove around in cars the size of aircraft carriers.

      Ok, Cannon was the series about a detective whos name reflected the fact he was shaped like CANNON ball. Arguably the fattest character ever on TV. The episodes were standard 70s private detective plots, except since William Conrad was so fat he couldnt actually chase anyone without keeling over from a massive heart attack. But he often managed to use his aircraft carrier size car to corner a crook or some fitter cops shows up in the nick of time to nab them.

      They just dont make tv shows like this any more. I just hope the producers in Hollyweird dont try and do a lame big screen version of this show - though they probably will.moreless
    • Still Worth the Watching

      I was a dedicated watcher of this show when it first aired.That is, of course when I did not have a date.

      As to the show itself, it typical of the majortiy of detective shows bradcast from the fifties on.

      Thst is, it has a consistent tone and the basic premise that of the wizard detective who solves the case without much physicla effort. This is reminiscent of such non-reality-based shows as Ironside with Raymond Burr and the more recent Nero cable show of Nero Wolfe, which starred Maurychaykin and Timothy Hutton as the detective and his side kick.

      Joe Penny filled the side kick in an active and likeable way just as did Paul serve Perry Mason. And there had a goog cres of reportory players and a slew of guest stars.

      William Conrad, who due to his physical bulk rembling that of Orson Wellees in his later years, and who who had had to leave Gunsmoke when it went to TV, had a magnifient radio voice and he continued his narration career.

      Shows with this kind of mentor-pupil dynamic have been common in both film and broadcasting. this one was especially noted for the lack of physical activity by the lead. Contrast this with Jim Rockford who did do action bt was as likely to lose the fight as win it.

      Being once a person of large figure,thugh quite active, I noticed that Conrad often got the girl, or woman in his case, a theme which was encouraging.

      But, I always was amused by the incongruity of Conrad carrring a fice shot snub-nose revolver. When he pulled it almost idapeared into his fist. He couldl have worn a MAC 10 easily and no one would notice!

      Anyway, I could see a bit of myself in the character and always enjoyed watchin when I was around.moreless

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