M Squad

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M Squad
Lee Marvin 1959.JPG
Lee Marvin as Lt. Frank Ballinger, from NBC's 'M-Squad' in 1959.
Genre Police drama
Starring Lee Marvin
Composer(s) Main theme by
Count Basie
Stanley Wilson
Incidental music and arrangements by
Sonny Burke
Pete Carpenter
Benny Carter
John T. Williams
Orchestra conducted by
Stanley Wilson
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 117 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) John Larkin
Richard Lewis
Producer(s) Robert Bassler
Maxwell Shane
Editor(s) Lee Huntington
John B. Moss
Stanley Rabjohn
Running time 30 mins.
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run September 20, 1957  – June 28, 1960

M Squad is an American police drama television series that ran from 1957 to 1960 on NBC. It was produced by Lee Marvin's Latimer Productions and Revue Studios. Its format (and opening credits) would later inspire the creation of spoof TV show Police Squad! Its main sponsor was the Pall Mall cigarette brand; Lee Marvin, the program's star, appeared in its commercials during many episodes.[1][2] Alternate sponsors were General Electric (GE), Hazel Bishop and Bulova watches.

Synopsis[edit]

Set in Chicago, Illinois, it starred Marvin as Detective Lieutenant Frank Ballinger, a member of "M Squad", a special unit of the Chicago Police, assisting other units in battling organized crime, corruption and violent crimes city-wide. Paul Newlan co-starred as his boss, Captain Grey. Although Marvin had been appearing in feature films since 1951, it was this series that made him a star, and he later went on to an even bigger film career afterward.

Episodes[edit]

Guest stars[edit]

Music[edit]

  • The theme music for the first season was composed by Stanley Wilson, who won the 1959 Grammy Award for the Best Soundtrack Album and Background Score from Motion Picture or Television. In the second and third seasons, the new theme was composed by Count Basie.
  • A soundtrack album, Music from M Squad, with liner notes by Lee Marvin, was released during the run of the show.[3]

Trivia[edit]

  • The TV series Police Squad! was a spoof on police series in general, and M Squad in particular. The opening sequence of Police Squad! spoofed both the opening sequence of M Squad and the openings of Quinn Martin's various police shows. The closing sequence spoofed the closing credits of Hawaii Five-O.
  • Similarly, the 1994 music video directed by Spike Jonze for the song "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys directly parodies the opening sequence of M Squad, amongst other police shows.
  • A novel was published in 1962, M Squad: The Chicago Cop Killer, by David Saunders. It was published by Belmont Books, New York.
  • Lee Marvin carried two Colt Cobra revolvers, the lightweight variant of Colt's "Detective's Special" revolver, which was popular with detectives at the time.

DVD release[edit]

  • M Squad: The Complete Series was released on DVD in the U.S. on November 11, 2008 by EDI Video.[4]

References[edit]

External links[edit]