My love of 70’s cop/detective shows is legend, but it wasn’t until my house acquired MeTV that I discovered the brilliance that is Cannon.
Cannon stars William Conrad as private detective Frank Cannon, a former police detective that retired from the force after his wife and son were killed in a car accident, which wasn’t fully dealt with until the final season of the show, which ran five years. The opening features theme music, lots of colored dots and circle cropped pictures, and finally a voice over that tells you you’re watching Cannon starring William Conrad. It then goes on to list the guest stars and the title of the episode. I have no idea why, but I find this neat.
Anyway, the episodes are pretty much the same in the since that Cannon gets hired on a case or stumbles into a plot or is otherwise drawn into helping the needy and defeating the forces of evil, usually with karate chops. Really. The man used more karate chops than Bruce Lee.
Cannon took quite a bit of abuse in the course of his investigations. He’d get beaten, shot, hurt in car accidents. I don’t know how many shirts he ruined from blood due to head wounds. Or the blood of others. He engaged in quite a few fights and was rather agile for a big man.
Oh, yeah. When most people picture a hero, he’s not usually as wide as he is tall, but Cannon broke that stereotype. There were still plenty of fat jokes to go around, though, if not by others then little self-deprecating quips about himself. But to be fair, Cannon had to be big. He was a big personality that liked big things. Big cars. Big meals. Big paydays.
Guest stars on the show were a fun parade of all things 70’s, either people on the way out or on the way up. Clu Gulager, William Daniels, Willie Aames, Nick Nolte, Robert Loggia, Martin Sheen, Tina Louise, Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul before they were Starksy and Hutch, Micky Dolenz, Joan Van Ark, Leslie Nielsen, Harold Gould, Shelley Duvall, Mike Farrell and Wayne Rogers before M*A*S*H, Lee Meriweather, Robert Hays, and Tom Skerritt all put in some face time on Cannon.
Oh, do you like Barnaby Jones? Thank Cannon. It’s a spin-off. Don’t know what Barnaby Jones is? It’s the show that helped people think of Buddy Ebsen as someone other than Jed Clampett. Maybe we’ll discuss it another day.
I admit that sometimes the show is a little unbelievable sometimes (KARATE CHOP), but Cannon is a fun character. He can be very serious, almost menacing at times. But with the people he likes, he’s quite funny and has a great smile.
Those end scene freeze frames at the end of a show were made for those chubby cheeks.