Mathnet

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This article is about the American television show. For the Russian web site, see All-Russian Mathematical Portal.
Mathnet
Mathnet.jpg
Kate Monday (Leech) and George Frankly (Howard).
Genre Kids' Crime Drama
Developed by Janette Webb
George E. Swink
Written by David D. Connell
Jim Thurman
Directed by Charles S. Dubin
James F. Golway
Karl Epstein
Jesus Salvador Treviño
Bill Schreiner
Starring Beverly Leech (1987–1990; 19 episodes)
Joe Howard (1987–1992; entire series)
Toni DiBuono (1991–1992; 11 episodes)
James Earl Jones (1987–1988, 1991; 5 episodes)
Emilo Del Pozo (1990–1992; 16 episodes)
Mary Watson (1987–1990; 13 episodes)
Bari K. Willerford (1990–1992; 16 episodes)
Opening theme "Danger Ahead"
Composer(s) Gerald Fried
John Rodby (Conducted and arranged by)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 30
Production
Location(s) Los Angeles (1987–1990)
New York City (1990–1992)
Camera setup Film (Principal Photography)
Videotape (Post-Production)
Single-camera setup
Running time Varies
Production company(s) Children's Television Workshop
The Webb Organization
Turtleback Productions
Broadcast
Original channel PBS
Picture format 1.33 : 1 (Full screen)
Audio format Mono (1987–1990)
Stereo (1991–1992)
Original run January 26, 1987 (1987-01-26) – October 23, 1992 (1992-10-23)

Mathnet is a segment on the children's television show Square One Television, of which five seasons were produced (1987–92). This parody of Dragnet featured mathematician/detectives at the Los Angeles Police Department who solved mysteries using their mathematical skills. There were two main characters: detectives Kate Monday (Beverly Leech) and George Frankly (Joe Howard). Mary Watson also had a regular role as the duo's technical analyst, Debbie Williams. The third season had the show's setting moved to New York City. Beginning in the fourth season, Kate Monday was replaced by Pat Tuesday (Toni DiBuono). James Earl Jones played a recurring role as Chief Thad Green. He also briefly appears in season 4 and indicates he knows Pat Tuesday. When the duo was transferred to New York, Captain Joe Greco (Emilio Del Pozo) became their new boss and undercover NYPD officer Benny Pill (Bari K. Willerford) became their semi-regular backup support.

Development and Production[edit]

After a successful first season, production began on six new episodes for the second season. By the time production ended on the third season and its six episodes in 1989, Beverly Leech (Kate Monday) left, and was replaced by a new character named Pat Tuesday, played by Toni DiBuono. Production on the first six episodes with the new character commenced in 1990, and ended in 1991, in time for Square One TV's fourth season. Production on the final season and its five episodes began in 1991, and ended in 1992.

During production, the background music also changed. Originally, it had a synth score. But gradually, as the series progressed, it was replaced with an orchestral score.

The building where Mathnet was filmed in Los Angeles is located on 6045 York Boulevard. It now houses a museum about the LAPD.[1][2]

Premise[edit]

Each segment of the series aired on one episode of Square One, a production of the Children's Television Workshop aimed at teaching math skills to young viewers. Five segments made up an episode (one for each weekday), with suspense building at the end of each segment. A Mathnet comic briefly appeared in 3-2-1 Contact.

Both Mathnet and Square One went off the air in 1994 (it was rerun until then after the final 1992 season was completed), reappearing from 19992003 on the cable television network Noggin, a joint venture of Nickelodeon and CTW. However, only 65 episodes were leased by the Noggin network. Mathnet segments also aired on The Phred on Your Head Show (one of Noggin's original programs).[3]

Math and science[edit]

Real principles of math and science, and mathematical tools used by the detectives to solve crimes include:

Guest stars[edit]

A number of well-known actors made guest appearances on this show. Among them were Edward Winter, Eve McVeagh, Yeardley Smith, Dick Wilson, William Windom, James Karen, Kenneth Mars, Henry Jones, Kevin McCarthy, Geoffrey Lewis, Russell Johnson, McLean Stevenson, Dick Sargent, Jack Riley, Marcia Wallace, Estelle Harris, Tammy Grimes, Arnold Stang, Paul Dooley, Maddie Corman, John Michael Higgins, Jayne Meadows, Bob Arbogast, Weird Al Yankovic, John Moschitta, Jr., Wayne Knight, and Betty Buckley. In addition, real life L.A.P.D. officers, Sam Salazar and Steve Fellman, have also appeared as themselves, and did head writers, David D. Connell and Jim Thurman, as various characters (sometimes together). Sometimes, only Thurman's voice would be heard.

Home video release and reruns[edit]

In 1991, GPN released five episodes from the first two seasons on VHS ("The Problem of the Missing Baseball", "The Trial of George Frankly", "The Problem of the Dirty Money", "The Case of the Missing Air", and "The View from the Rear Terrace").

Around the same time, select PBS stations combined parts of an episode to air in primetime. This was done primarily for seasons 3-5 (New York City era), although at least one omnibus from the Leech era was also broadcast. These versions were re-edited so that they would come in at just under an hour long, featured other segments from Square One TV as "commercials", and newly created end credits, among other differences. Two of the primetime airings were also commercially released as VHS tapes from Republic Pictures in 1992 ("Despair in Monterey Bay" and "The Case of the Unnatural").

Episode list[edit]

Season 1 (1987)[edit]

Number
in series
Number
in season
Title Directed by Original air date Production code
1 1 "The Problem of the Missing Monkey" Charles S. Dubin January 26–30, 1987 11031–11035
A gorilla named Grunt escapes from the zoo, while a suspect dressed as a gorilla is being used to frame Grunt. The Mathnetters eventually find Grunt (whom they mistakenly believe to be the suspect) climbing the Hollywood Sign Later they apprehend the suspect at the zoo.
2 2 "The Problem of the Missing Baseball" Charles S. Dubin February 2–6, 1987 10540–10760
Pilot episode. A very important baseball has to be found at a house, but the house has been stolen. The house is eventually located, and the baseball is found in the fireplace.
3 3 "The Problem of the Passing Parade" Charles S. Dubin February 9–13, 1987 11011–11015
A parade was to be featured until the main attraction, Steve Stringbean, gets kidnapped. Stringbean tries to communicate the kidnapper's phone number to the Mathnetters in a short piece of music left on an answering machine. He is later found in a musician's house.
4 4 "The Trial of George Frankly" Charles S. Dubin February 16–20, 1987 11021–11025
George is placed under arrest for a bank robbery he didn't commit. He claims that he was on vacation at that time, and needs proof to back his claims. During the trial, the real George exposes the imposter.
5 5 "The Problem of the Dirty Money" Charles S. Dubin February 23–27, 1987 11051–11055
Kate and George try to solve a mystery as to why tons of dirt are being stolen. As it turns out, a fortune stolen from a Brinks truck many years ago was buried in the dirt. The suspect dies in jail, but his partner in crime is eventually located.
6 6 "The Mystery of the Maltese Pigeon" Charles S. Dubin March 2–6, 1987 14081–14085
Maureen O'Riley puts a rare bird glass sculpture on display at a museum, until it later disappears without a trace. It later turns out the sculpture belongs to the prince of Malta.
7 7 "The Problem of the Trojan Hamburger" Charles S. Dubin March 9–13, 1987 11041–11045
A husband who works as a clown is apparently abducted, while a diamond is stolen by a thief who may have used a secret trick to get in and out. The clown finds his way home. The Mathnetters find that the clown actually staged the kidnapping to steal the diamond.

Season 2 (1988)[edit]

Number
in series
Number
in season
Title Directed by Original air date Production code
8 1 "The Case of the Willing Parrot" Charles S. Dubin September 19–23, 1988 20030–20034
A talking parrot named Little Louie uses a Fibonacci call for solving a mystery on finding the deceased owner's inheritance. At the same time somebody else is also looking for it as well. The parrot goes missing but is found at the suspect's home. This is the only episode that does not show the suspect's apprehension.
9 2 "The Case of the Great Car Robbery" James F. Golway September 26–30, 1988 20010–20014
Kate and George try to solve a mystery on why 20,000 cars have been stolen over a two-month period. The cars are eventually found after the Mathnet crew rents a car to use as bait for the car theives. They lead the Mathnet crew to a chop shop and apprehend the owner as he is crushing the rental car.
10 3 "The Case of the Deceptive Data" Charles S. Dubin October 3–7, 1988 20340–20344
Mike Pliers asks Kate and George for some help on why his high rated show got unexpectedly canceled. After visiting viewers who are part of the survey, the ratings devices are discover to be altered to make it seem as if the show's replacement is being watched.
11 4 "The View from the Rear Terrace" Charles S. Dubin October 10–14, 1988 20320–20324
George needs to solve a problem on his own that deals with Kate, where she's at home with an injury. Kate neighbor plots to make bombs, though George doesn't believe her at first.
12 5 "The Case of the Missing Air" Karl Epstein October 17–21, 1988 20020–20024
Kate and George need to figure out the common factors to a chain of robberies, in which the suspect was talking like a duck. The suspect turns out to be a radio talk show host who robs stores that had their ads pulled from his station.
13 6 "The Case of the Map With a Gap" James F. Golway October 24–28, 1988 20000–20004
Kate and George go out to the desert with a young cowboy, to find a buried treasure of gold, using the help of angles and mirrors.

Season 3 (1990)[edit]

Number
in series
Number
in season
Title Directed by Original air date Production code
14 1 "The Case of the Ersatz Earthquake" Jesus Salvador Treviño January 15–19, 1990 30001–30005
A psychic predicts on when, where and the exact time an earthquake will strike, only to find out there was a trick to making the ground shake.
15 2 "The Case of the Swami Scam" Charles S. Dubin January 22–26, 1990 30011–30015
Kate and George begin a new assignment in New York City, where retired lawyers are being scammed by a Swami who claims to have the right predictions of horse races and lotteries.
16 3 "The Case of the Parking Meter Massacre" Charles S. Dubin January 29–February 2, 1990 30021–30025
The city's parking meters are being abused and cut off, and why one suspect was looking through quarters.
17 4 "The Case of the Unkidnapping" Charles S. Dubin February 5–9, 1990 30131–30135
The main star of the broadway musical "Anything Went" gets kidnapped, but tries to frame her co-star, who happens to know Kate when they were in college.
18 5 "The Case of the Strategic Weather Initiative" Charles S. Dubin February 12–16, 1990 30031–30035
A weather plane gets stolen and Kate and George try to find answers to where the plane might have landed.
19 6 "The Case of the Masked Avenger" Charles S. Dubin February 19–23, 1990 30081–30085
The Masked Avenger is being used by the mob to make him throw his wrestling match.

Season 4 (1991)[edit]

Number
in series
Number
in season
Title Directed by Original air date Production code
20 1 "The Case of the Unnatural" Jesus Salvador Treviño September 30–October 4, 1991 40121–40125
A baseball prospect is kidnapped and replaced by a mechanical imposter. The real player is eventually found and a baseball owner is apprehended.
21 2 "Despair in Monterey Bay" Jesus Salvador Treviño October 7–11, 1991 40101–40105
The Despair Diamond that was stolen in LA from a museum is involved in another robbery.
22 3 "The Case of the Calpurnian Kugel Caper" Jesus Salvador Treviño October 14–18, 1991 40071–40075
Mathnet is called in to help a tiny island country
23 4 "The Case of the Galling Stones" Bill Schreiner October 21–25, 1991 40111–40115
Pat Tuesday is suspected of stealing a expensive bracelet.
24 5 "The Case of the Poconos Paradise" Charles S. Dubin October 28–November 1, 1991 40091–40095
Vacationers to the Poconos are being robbed. A woman working for a mail company in Bayonne, New Jersey is the suspect.
25 6 "The Case of the Purloined Policies" Charles S. Dubin November 4–8, 1991 40081–40085
A bike gets stolen while the chief manages to find a suspect by identifying his handwriting.

Season 5 (1992)[edit]

Number
in series
Number
in season
Title Directed by Original air date Production code
26 1 "The Case of the Mystery Weekend" Bill Schreiner September 21–25, 1992 50021–50025
27 2 "The Case of the Smart Dummy" Bill Schreiner September 28–October 2, 1992 50231–50235
28 3 "The Case: Off the Record" Bill Schreiner October 5–9, 1992 50011–50015
29 4 "The Case of the Bermuda Triangle" Jesus Salvador Treviño October 12–16, 1992 50251–50255
30 5 "The Case of the Piggy Banker" Bill Schreiner October 19–23, 1992 50241–50245

References[edit]

External links[edit]