Baretta title screen
|Created by||Stephen J. Cannell|
Michael D. Roberts
|Theme music composer||Dave Grusin & Morgan Ames|
|Opening theme||"Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow"
Performed by Sammy Davis, Jr.
Music performed by El Chicano
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||82 (List of episodes)|
|Production company(s)||Roy Huggins-Public Arts Productions
|Original run||January 17, 1975– May 18, 1978|
Baretta is an American detective television series which ran on ABC from 1975 to 1978. The show was a milder version of a successful 1973–74 ABC series, Toma, starring Tony Musante as chameleon-like, real-life New Jersey police officer David Toma. While popular, Toma received intense criticism at the time for its realistic and frequent depiction of police and criminal violence. When Musante left the series after a single season, the concept was retooled as Baretta, with Robert Blake in the title role.
Detective Anthony Vincenzo "Tony" Baretta is an unorthodox plainclothes cop (badge #609) with the 53rd precinct, who lives with Fred, his Triton sulphur-crested cockatoo, in apartment 2C at the run-down King Edward Hotel in an unnamed Eastern city (presumably Newark, New Jersey). Like his model David Toma, Tony Baretta wore many disguises on the job. When not in disguise, Baretta usually wore a short-sleeve sweatshirt, casual slacks, a brown suede jacket and a newsboy cap. He often carried an unlit cigarette in his lips or behind his ear. His catchphrases included "You can take dat to da bank" and "And dat‘s the name of dat tune." When exasperated he would occasionally speak in asides to his late father, Louie Baretta.
Baretta drove a rusted-out Mist Blue 1966 Chevy Impala four-door sport sedan nicknamed "The Blue Ghost" (license plate 532 BEN). In the series Baretta hung out at Ross’s Billiard Academy and referred to his numerous girlfriends as his "cousins".
Supporting characters include:
- Billy Truman (Tom Ewell), the elderly hotel manager/house detective, who used to work with Tony’s father Louie at the 53rd Precinct.
- Rooster (Michael D. Roberts), a streetwise pimp and Tony's favorite informant.
- Tony's supervisors Inspector Shiller (Dana Elcar) and Lieutenant Hal Brubaker (Edward Grover).
- Detective Foley (John Ward), an irritating stick-in-the-mud.
- "Fats" (Chino 'Fats' Williams), a gravelly-voiced black detective who goes on stakeouts with Tony.
- Detective Nopke (Ron Thompson), a rookie who admires Baretta‘s street smarts.
- Little Moe (Angelo Rossitto), a shoeshine man and informant.
- Mr. Nicholas (Titos Vandis), a mob boss.
- Mr. Muncie (Paul Lichtman), the owner of a liquor store at 52nd and Main.
The theme song, "Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow", was written by Dave Grusin and Morgan Ames; initially an instrumental, lyrics were added in later seasons that were sung by Sammy Davis, Jr. Every episode of Baretta began with the song, which contained the motto, "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time." The song was released as a single in Europe in 1976, reaching number one in the Dutch Top 40 as "Baretta's Theme". The music for the theme song was performed by Los Angeles based Latin Rock legends El Chicano.
After its initial run in syndication beginning in 1979, the series later re-appeared on TV Land in 1999 as part of a package of series licensed from Universal. The show has not aired in over a decade.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|Season 1||12||October 29, 2002|
- O'Connor, John J. "The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- McMurran, Kristin (1980-07-07). "With Stunning Intensity, David Toma, Ex-Cop, Ex-Addict and Model for TV's 'Baretta', Harangues Kids Against Drugs". People.
- Armstrong, Lois (1975-04-28). "A Time Bomb Named Robert Blake Re-Explodes as 'Baretta'". People.
- Maçek III, J.C. (August 2, 2012). "'American Pop'... Matters: Ron Thompson, the Illustrated Man Unsung". PopMatters.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Baretta.|
- Baretta at the Internet Movie Database
- Baretta at TV.com
- TV Character Bio: Tony Baretta at TV Acres
- Roy Huggins discusses the creation of Baretta in an Archive of American Television Interview