Peter Gunn

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For other people named Peter Gunn, see Peter Gunn (disambiguation).
Peter Gunn
Peter Gunn Title Card.jpg
Genre Action/crime drama
Created by Blake Edwards[1]
Written by Steffi Barrett
Tony Barrett
Gene L. Coon
Blake Edwards
George Fass
Gertrude Fass
Vick Knight
P.K. Palmer
Lester Pine
Lewis Reed
Starring Craig Stevens[1]
Lola Albright
Herschel Bernardi
Hope Emerson
Minerva Urecal
Composer(s) Henry Mancini[1]
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 114 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Blake Edwards, Gordon Oliver
Running time 25 mins.
Broadcast
Original channel NBC[1] (1958–60), ABC (1960–61)
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original run September 22, 1958 (1958-09-22)[1] – September 18, 1961 (1961-09-18)

Peter Gunn is an American private eye television series which aired on the NBC and later ABC television networks from 1958 to 1961. The show's creator (and also writer and director on occasion) was Blake Edwards. It was also directed by Boris Sagal, Robert Gist, Jack Arnold, Lamont Johnson, one episode by Robert Altman, and several others. A total of 114 thirty-minute episodes were produced by Spartan Productions. Season one was filmed at Universal Studios, seasons two and three were filmed at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Philip H. Lathrop and William W. Spencer were cinematographers on many episodes. Craig Stevens' wardrobe was tailored by Don Richards and Lola Albright's fashions by Jax.

The series is probably best remembered today for its music, especially the popular "Peter Gunn Theme", which won an Emmy Award and two Grammys for Henry Mancini and subsequently has been performed and recorded by many jazz, rock, and blues musicians. The series was No. 17 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1958–1959 TV season. The series was nominated for 8 prime-time Emmys overall.[citation needed]

Plot[edit]

Craig Stevens as Peter Gunn (left) with Lari Laine and Lewis Charles in the 1959 episode "The Ugly Frame"

The title character, played by Craig Stevens, is a well-dressed private investigator whose hair is always in place and who loves cool jazz. Where other gumshoes might be coarse, Peter Gunn is a sophisticate with expensive tastes. He operates in a nameless, fictional riverfront city and can usually be found at Mother's, a smoky wharfside jazz club that he uses as his "office", often meeting clients there. Pete's standard fee is $1,000. He has a reputation of being one of the best investigators and trustworthy. He sometimes works cases out of the state and on at least one occasion out of country, with one case occurring in Mexico and another involving a tour of Western Europe. Gunn drives a 1958 two-tone DeSoto two door hardtop in the first few episodes of the first season, then a 1959 Plymouth Fury convertible with a white top and a car phone. In the third season Pete drives a 1961 white Plymouth Fury convertible with a car phone.

Pete's girlfriend, Edie Hart (Lola Albright), is a sultry singer employed at Mother's; she later opens her own place. Pete's pet name for Edie is "Silly". Herschel Bernardi costarred as Lieutenant Jacoby, a police detective and friend of Gunn. Occasionally he refers people to Pete as clients. Bernardi received his only Emmy nomination for the role. Hope Emerson appeared as "Mother", who had been a singer and piano player in speakeasies during Prohibition. She received an Emmy nomination for the role. For the second season, "Mother" was played by Minerva Urecal. Associate producer Byron Kane portrayed Barney, the bartender; Kane was never credited for playing this role. Bill Chadney played Emmett, the piano player at Mother's. (Chadney and Albright married in 1961.)[1]

Both Billy Barty as pool hustler Babby and Herbert Ellis as Beat bistro owner, painter, and sculptor Wilbur appeared in several episodes as occasional "information resources", as "Mother" also often is. Capri Candela played Wilbur's girlfriend Capri. Frequent director Robert Gist appeared as an actor in different roles in three episodes.

Edie opened her own night club "Edie's" with James Lanphier as Leslie the Maitre D in Season 3.

Cast[edit]

Frequent director Robert Gist appeared as an actor in different roles in three episodes.

Episodes[edit]

Season Network episodes Premiered: Ended:
1 NBC 38 1958.09.22 1959.06.15
2 NBC 38 1959.09.21 1960.06.27
3 ABC 38 1960.10.03 1961.09.18

Peter Gunn ran for three seasons starting in late 1958. A total of 114 episodes were produced during the three season run. Peter Gunn premiered on September 22, 1958 with the episode The Kill. The first season ran from September 1958 through June 1959 and contained 38 episodes.[2][3][4]

Origin of series[edit]

Edwards developed Peter Gunn from an earlier fictional detective that he had created. Richard Diamond, Private Detective starred Dick Powell, and aired as a radio series from 1949 to 1953. David Janssen later starred in the television adaptation from 1957 to 1960. It was this character's success which prompted his creator to revisit the concept as Peter Gunn. Edwards had earlier written and directed a Mike Hammer television pilot for Brian Keith.

Music[edit]

21 seconds of "Peter Gunn" by The Art of Noise and Duane Eddy

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The show's use of modern jazz music was a distinctive touch that helped set the standard for many years to come with cool, modern jazz themes accompanying every move Gunn made. The music, composed by Henry Mancini, was performed by a small jazz ensemble which included a number of prominent Los Angeles based jazz and studio musicians. Trumpeter Pete Candoli, alto saxophonist Ted Nash, flutist Ronny Lang, trombonist Dick Nash, and pianist John Williams, provided most of the improvised jazz solos.[5]

Prominent jazz musicians occasionally made on-screen appearances. Trumpeter Shorty Rogers appeared in the episode titled "The Frog" playing flugelhorn as Lola sings "How High the Moon".[citation needed] Drummer Shelly Manne was credited with a Special Guest role in the 1959 episode "Keep Smiling" playing drums in the "Bamboo Club" combo. Brazilian guitarist Laurindo Almeida plays guitar as himself in the 1959 episode "Skin Deep".

The "Peter Gunn Theme"[6] became an instant hit, earning Mancini an Emmy Award and two Grammys. Its ostinato bass line was possibly influenced by "Down the Road a Piece," a boogie-woogie song by Don Raye, recorded in 1940 by the Will Bradley Trio with pianist Freddie Slack.

The RCA Victor soundtrack album by Henry Mancini reached No. 1 in Billboard's Pop LP Charts. The popularity of this album prompted RCA to issue a second Mancini album of Peter Gunn music. Bandleader Ray Anthony's recording of the theme music reached No. 8 on Billboard's Hot 100.

"The Peter Gunn Theme" has been recorded and performed by numerous musician. Today, many people who have never seen the TV show can easily identify the theme.

Selected songs from the series[edit]

Song Title[7] Season of First Appearance Episode Number of First Appearance Episode Title of First Appearance Additional Episodes and Notes
Peter Gunn Theme 1 1 The Kill Accompanies the beginning and ending credits of each episode.
Brief and Breezy 1 1 The Kill Also appears in "Murder on the Midway" (Season 1, Episode 19), "The Coffin" (Season 1, Episode 37, sung with lyrics), "The Portrait" (Season 1, Episode 38), "The Rifle" (Season 2, Episode 9), "Death Watch" (Season 2, Episode 30), "Send a Thief" (Season 2, Episode 33), and "Come Dance With Me And Die" (Season 3, Episode 24).[8]
Slow and Easy 1 1 The Kill Also appears in "Image of Sally" (Season 1, Episode 9), "Murder on the Midway" (Season 1, Episode 19), "The Ugly Frame" (Season 1, Episode 24), "The Lederer Story" (Season 1, Episode 25, solo piano version), "Keep Smiling" (Season 1, Episode 26), "The Coffin" (Season 1, Episode 37), "Protection" (Season 2, Episode 1), "Edge of the Knife" (Season 2, Episode 3, solo piano version), "Death is a Red Rose" (Season 2, Episode 5), and "The Price is Murder" (Season 2, Episode 11, sung with lyrics), "The Hunt" (Season 2, Episode 21), "The Long, Long Ride" (Season 2, Episode 24), "The Deadly Proposition" (Season 2, Episode 25), "The Dummy" (Season 2, Episode 27), "Witness in the Window" (Season 2, Episode 31), "Send a Thief" (Season 2, Episode 33), "The Heiress" (Season 2, Episode 37), "Cry Love, Cry Murder" (Season 3, Episode 25),[8] "The Most Deadly Angel" (Season 3, Episode 29),[8] and "Deadly Intrusion" (Season 3, Episode 35).[8]
The Floater 1 3 The Vicious Dog Also appears in "Murder on the Midway" (Season 1, Episode 19), "Scuba" (Season 1, Episode 21), "The Ugly Frame" (Season 1, Episode 24), "Keep Smiling" (Season 1, Episode 26), "Hot Money" (Season 2, Episode 15), "Hollywood Calling" (Season 2, Episode 22), "Wings of an Angel" (Season 2, Episode 29), "Send a Thief" (Season 2, Episode 33), "The Maître D'" (Season 3, Episode 3),[8] "The Judgement" (Season 3, Episode 5),[8] "The Death Frame" (Season 3, Episode 6),[8] "Sepi" (Season 3, Episode 12),[8] and "Portrait in Leather" (Season 3, Episode 23).[8]
Soft Sounds 1 3 The Vicious Dog Also appears in "Image of Sally" (Season 1, Episode 9), "The Leaper" (Season 1, Episode 15), "Pecos Pete" (Season 1, Episode 20, solo piano version), "The Dirty Word" (Season 1, Episode 23), and "The Feathered Doll" (Season 2, Episode 7).
Fallout! 1 3 The Vicious Dog Although the bassline of this song is heard at the opening of every Peter Gunn episode since "The Kill" (Season 1, Episode 1), the melody is not featured until "The Vicious Dog" (Season 1, Episode 3).
A Profound Gass 1 4 The Blind Pianist Also appears in "Image of Sally" (Season 1, Episode 9), "The Ugly Frame" (Season 1, Episode 24), "The Game" (Season 2, Episode 10, solo piano version), "Letter to the Law" (Season 2, Episode 35), and "Murder on the Line" (Season 3, Episode 38).[8]
Joanna 1 6 The Chinese Hangman Also appears in "February Girl" (Season 1, Episode 30, solo piano version), "Lady Wind Bell's Fan" (Season 1, Episode 33, solo piano version), "The Comic" (Season 2, Episode 4), "Letter to the Law" (Season 2, Episode 35, solo piano version), "Take Five for Murder" (Season 3, Episode 10),[8] "Dream Big, Dream Deadly" (Season 3, Episode 11),[8] "The Deep End" (Season 3, Episode 22),[8] "Portrait in Leather" (Season 3, Episode 23),[8] "Short a Motive" (Season 3, Episode 27),[8] and "Down the Drain" (Season 3, Episode 37).[8]
Not from Dixie 1 8 Rough Buck Also appears in "The Ugly Frame" (Season 1, Episode 24), "Death is a Red Rose" (Season 2, Episode 5), "Hot Money" (Season 2, Episode 15), "The Semi-Private Eye" (Season 2, Episode 34), "A Penny Saved" (Season 3, Episode 26),[8] "The Most Deadly Angel" (Season 3, Episode 29),[8] and "Death is a Four Letter Word" (Season 3, Episode 34).[8]
The Little Man Theme 1 10 The Man with a Scar Also appears in "The Ugly Frame" (Season 1, Episode 24), "The Portrait" (Season 1, Episode 38), "Send a Thief" (Season 2, Episode 33), "Baby Shoes" (Season 2, Episode 38), "Blind Item" (Season 3, Episode 17),[8] and "A Kill and a Half" (Season 3, Episode 20).[8]
A Quiet Gass 1 10 The Man with a Scar Also appears in "February Girl" (Season 1, Episode 30), "Bullet for a Badge" (Season 1, Episode 35), "Vendetta" (Season 1, Episode 36), "The Portrait" (Season 1, Episode 38), "The Rifle" (Season 2, Episode 9), "Sentenced" (Season 2, Episode 20), "The Maître D'" (Season 3, Episode 3),[8] "Sepi" (Season 3, Episode 12),[8] "Portrait in Leather" (Season 3, Episode 23),[8] "Till Death Do Us Part" (Season 3, Episode 30),[8] and "Voodoo" (Season 3, Episode 36).[8]
The Brothers Go to Mother's 1 11 Death House Testament Also appears in "Scuba" (Season 1, Episode 21), "The Lederer Story" (Season 1, Episode 25), "The Family Affair" (Season 1, Episode 32), "Kidnap" (Season 2, Episode 8, solo piano version), "Down the Drain" (Season 3, Episode 37),[8] and "Murder on the Line" (Season 3, Episode 38).[8]
Spook! 1 11 Death House Testament Also appears in "The Dummy" (Season 2, Episode 27).
Blues for Mother's 1 12 The Torch Also appears in "Edie Finds a Corpse" (Season 1, Episode 22), "Breakout" (Season 1, Episode 27), "February Girl" (Season 1, Episode 30, solo piano version), "February Girl" (Season 1, Episode 30), "Crisscross" (Season 2, Episode 2, solo piano version), "The Grudge" (Season 2, Episode 17, solo piano version), "Sentenced" (Season 2, Episode 20), "The Murder Clause" (Season 2, Episode 26, solo piano version), "The Candidate" (Season 3, Episode 4),[8] "The Long Green Kill" (Season 3, Episode 9),[8] and "The Royal Roust" (Season 3, Episode 14).[8]
Blue Steel 1 13 The Jockey Also appears in "The Lederer Story" (Season 1, Episode 25) and "The Portrait" (Season 1, Episode 38).
Timothy 1 17 Let's Kill Timothy
Sorta Blue 1 21 Scuba Also appears in "The Ugly Frame" (Season 1, Episode 24), "The Feathered Doll" (Season 2, Episode 7, sung with lyrics), "The Game" (Season 2, Episode 10), "Letter to the Law" (Season 2, Episode 35), and "A Penny Saved" (Season 3, Episode 26).[8]
Odd Ball 1 22 Edie Finds a Corpse
My Manne Shelly 1 26 Keep Smiling The title of the song is a pun on the name of the drummer Shelly Manne.
Session at Pete's Pad 1 31 Love Me to Death In its first appearances in "Love Me to Death" (Season 1, Episode 31), "Bullet for a Badge" (Season 1, Episode 34), and "The Rifle" (Season 2, Episode 9), this composition is performed in the form of a song (with lyrics) called "Straight to Baby" (as it is titled in Lola Albright's 1959 album "Dreamsville").
Goofin' at the Coffee House 1 31 Love Me to Death Also appears in "The Family Affair", "The Portrait" (Season 1, Episode 38), and (Season 1, Episode 32), "Crisscross" (Season 2, Episode 2), "Kidnap" (Season 2, Episode 8), "The Wolfe Case" (Season 2, Episode 14), "Hollywood Calling" (Season 2, Episode 22), "Witness in the Window" (Season 2, Episode 31), "The Semi-Private Eye" (Season 2, Episode 34), "Dream Big, Dream Deadly" (Season 3, Episode 11),[8] "Bullet in Escrow" (Season 3, Episode 15),[8] "A Penny Saved" (Season 3, Episode 26),[8] and "The Murder Bond" (Season 3, Episode 28, sung with words).[8]
Lightly 1 31 Love Me to Death Also appears in "Bullet for a Badge" (Season 1, Episode 34), "The Feathered Doll" (Season 2, Episode 7), "Slight Touch of Homicide" (Season 2, Episode 28), "The Heiress" (Season 2, Episode 37), "The Judgement" (Season 3, Episode 5),[8] "Bullet in Escrow" (Season 3, Episode 15),[8] and "Voodoo" (Season 3, Episode 36).[8]
Dreamsville 1 34 Bullet for a Badge Although the opening piano introduction is heard in "Bullet for a Badge" (Season 1, Episode 34), the primary melody is not heard until "Kidnap" (Season 2, Episode 8). Also appears in "Spell of Murder" (Season 2, Episode 16), "The Deadly Proposition" (Season 2, Episode 25), "The Murder Clause" (Season 2, Episode 26), "The Semi-Private Eye" (Season 2, Episode 34), "Baby Shoes" (Season 2, Episode 38), "The Passenger" (Season 3, Episode 1),[8] "The Deep End" (Season 3, Episode 22),[8] and "Voodoo" (Season 3, Episode 36).[8]
Walkin' Bass 2 31 Witness in the Window
Mr. Lucky N/A N/A N/A Although included as a bonus track on some Peter Gunn soundtrack albums,[7] this composition originally appeared in the Mr. Lucky Blake Edwards television series.
Mr. Lucky Goes Latin N/A N/A N/A Although included as a bonus track on some Peter Gunn soundtrack albums,[7] this composition is an album-only variation on a theme that originally appeared in the Mr. Lucky Blake Edwards television series.
Experiment in Terror N/A N/A N/A Although included as a bonus track on some Peter Gunn soundtrack albums,[7] this composition originally appeared in the 1962 Blake Edwards film Experiment in Terror.

Adaptations[edit]

The series made the transition to other media. An original novel and a comic book adaptation were published by Dell Publishing in 1960. A feature film, Gunn, was released by Paramount in 1967 scripted by Edwards and William Peter Blatty and directed by Edwards with Stevens reprising the title role six years after the series finished. ABC broadcast a 90-minute pilot in April 1989 with Peter Strauss in the lead role that was written, produced, and directed by Edwards, but the network failed to order a series despite strong ratings and reviews. In 2001, Edwards and his son, Geoffrey, joined with producers Jeffrey Tinnell and John Michaels and writer Norman Snider in developing an updated television series, but the project fell through when producers John Woo and David Permut began developing a big screen remake for Paramount with screenwriter W. Peter Iliff. Neither revival made it beyond the script stage.

TNT[edit]

TNT announced a new series was in development in May 2013 from producers Steven Spielberg, Julie Andrews, Lou Pitt, Justin Falvey, and Darryl Frank with writers Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner, Josh Appelbaum, and André Nemec. The series was not picked up for the 2014-2015 season.

DVD releases[edit]

In 2002, A&E Home Video released two volume sets of Peter Gunn on DVD in Region 1, which comprise 32 episodes from Season One. These releases have been discontinued and are now out of print.

On October 23, 2012, Timeless Media Group released Peter Gunn – The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1 for the first time. The 12-disc set features all 114 episodes of the series, as well as a bonus CD of Henry Mancini's award winning score.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Snauffer, Douglas (September 2006), Crime television, pp. 22–24, ISBN 978-0-275-98807-4 
  2. ^ Mancini, Henry (January 1, 1996). Peter Gunn: Percussion Ensemble, Book & CD. Van Nuys, Los Angeles: Alfred Music Publishing. ISBN 9780769263687. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ Hruska, Thomas; Evermann, Jovan (2004). Der neue Serien Guide: L-S. Berlin, Germany: Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf. ISBN 9783896025135. OCLC 615504917. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  4. ^ Pierce, David; Copyright Office, Library of Congress (1989). Motion picture copyrights & renewals, 1950–1959 (annotated ed.). Laurel, Maryland, USA: Milestone. ISBN 9780927347020. OCLC 21232046. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  5. ^ Mancini, Henry, Sounds and Scores, Northridge Music, Inc. 1971
  6. ^ Henry Mancini interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  7. ^ a b c d http://www.soundtrackcollector.com/title/5796/Peter+Gunn
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap http://www.mjq.net/petergunn/gunn-season-three.htm
  9. ^ Lambert, David (August 8, 2012). "Peter Gunn – Press Release from Timeless/Shout! for 'The Complete Series' DVD Set". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved August 8, 2012. 

External links[edit]