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Baretta Title Screen.jpg
Baretta title screen
Created by Stephen J. Cannell
Theme music composer
Opening theme
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 82 (list of episodes)
Production company(s)
Distributor NBCUniversal Television Distribution
Original network ABC
Original release January 17, 1975 (1975-01-17) – May 18, 1978 (1978-05-18)
Preceded by Toma

Baretta is an American detective television series which ran on ABC from 1975 to 1978.[1] The show was a revised milder version of a 1973–74 ABC series, Toma, starring Tony Musante as chameleon-like, real-life New Jersey police officer David Toma. When Musante left the series after a single season, the concept was retooled as Baretta, with Robert Blake in the title role.[2][3]


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, fictional city. A master of disguise, Baretta wore many while performing his duties. When not working he usually wore a short-sleeve sweatshirt, casual slacks, a brown suede jacket and a newsboy cap.

Beretta was often seen with 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. He drove a rusted-out Mist Blue 1966 Chevrolet Impala four-door sport sedan nicknamed "The Blue Ghost" (license plate 532 BEM). He hung out at Ross’s Billiard Academy and referred to his numerous girlfriends as his "cousins".

"Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow," the show's theme music was composed by Dave Grusin and Morgan Ames and sung by Sammy Davis, Jr.

Supporting cast[edit]


Season Episodes First aired Last aired
1 12 January 17, 1975 (1975-01-17) April 30, 1975 (1975-04-30)
2 22 September 10, 1975 (1975-09-10) April 28, 1976 (1976-04-28)
3 24 September 22, 1976 (1976-09-22) May 4, 1977 (1977-05-04)
4 24 September 28, 1977 (1977-09-28) May 18, 1978 (1978-05-18)

Production notes[edit]

Baretta with Fred.

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 influenced Rock band El Chicano from Los Angeles, California. El Chicano also released the song as a 45 and also as a track on one of their albums. The "Baretta" theme song by El Chicano was a huge hit in many countries including Turkey, Malaysia, Singapore, France and The Philippines.


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. Me-TV aired reruns of Baretta on Saturday afternoons in 2007.

DVD release[edit]

On October 29, 2002, Universal Studios Home Entertainment released the first season of Baretta on Region 1 DVD in the United States. It is unknown if the remaining three seasons will be released.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Season 1 12 October 29, 2002

Cultural references[edit]

Mad magazine spoofed the series as "Barfetta".


External links[edit]