Mike Connors with Laura Snowden (left) and Claire Kelly, 1960.
|Created by||Clarence Greene
|Written by||Frederick Brady
Al C. Ward
|Directed by||Abner Biberman
Irving J. Moore
|Theme music composer||George Duning|
|Opening theme||Vic Schoen & Orchestra|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||37|
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Greene-Rouse Productions
Screen Gems Television
|Distributor||Columbia TriStar Domestic Television (2001)
Sony Pictures Television
|Original release||September 8, 1959– September 13, 1960|
Tightrope is an American crime drama series that aired on CBS from September 1959 to September 1960, under the alternate sponsorship of the J.B. Williams Company (Aqua Velva, Lectric Shave, etc.), and American Tobacco (Pall Mall). Produced by Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene in association with Screen Gems, the series stars Mike Connors as an undercover agent named "Nick" who was assigned to infiltrate criminal gangs. The show was to have originally been titled Undercover Man but it was changed before going to air.
Mike Connors' character would narrate the episode, echoing film noir technique. Police often did not know that Nick was working for the law, thus he was in danger from both the good guys and the bad guys. A special gimmick was that in addition to a gun in a shoulder holster, he carried a second gun snubnosed revolver in a holster behind his back; he was often searched by both cops and bad guys, but they stopped searching after finding the first gun.
Despite the show's popularity, it was canceled after one season. Mike Connors stated in an interview that the show's sponsor refused the network's request to move it to a later time slot on a different day. When CBS head Jim Aubrey stated the show was going to move, take it or leave it, the sponsor dropped Tightrope, and underwrote another program on another network. Connors also did not want suggested changes to the show to turn into an hour format with a sidekick. He thought such an alteration would eliminate the suspense element of the program.Also, another factor in the show's eventual cancellation were complaints concerning its alleged excessive violence.