Saturday, March 15, 2014


I've already mentioned that McCLOUD was one of my absolute favorite TV series of the 1970s. After stealing scenes from Marshal Dillon in GUNSMOKE and a giant bear on GENTLE BEN, Dennis Weaver was finally the star of his own series.

McCLOUD was inspired by, if not entirely based on, a then-recent Clint Eastwood film entitled COOGAN'S BLUFF about a western lawman who becomes a fish out of water while in NYC on assignment. See the TV GUIDE description below. 

Originally a one hour part of NBC's anthology, THE MEN, in 1970, Marshal McCloud joined became one of the initial spokes of the "wheel" of the MYSTERY MOVIE, increasing the length of his episodes to 90 minutes or, occasionally, 2 hours!

And it was mostly Dennis, the clever writing, and solid directing that carried it as there was barely a  regular cast at all. J.D. Cannon was perfect as Chief Clifford, Sam McCloud's foil in every episode. Terry Carter was equally well-cast as Sam's easy-going, by the book partner. A parade of character actors and actresses reappeared in certain roles from time to time including Diana Muldaur as Sam's most regular girlfriend and Terri Garr and singer/actress Della Reese as officers working at headquarters.

McCloud regularly would end up using outlandish ways of police work as his brief assignment to study NYC police methods ended up stretching on from 1970 to 1977, even necessitating spinoffs such as the book series below.

THE RETURN OF SAM McCLOUD was a welcome 90 minutes or so with old friends a dozen years later but the magic was gone. The original series, however, still offers fun and intriguing mysteries that can be enjoyed over and over.

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