Car 54, Where Are You?
|Car 54, Where Are You?|
Opening title sequence
|Also known as||Car 54|
|Created by||Nat Hiken|
|Directed by||Al De Caprio|
|Starring||Joe E. Ross|
|Theme music composer||Nat Hiken|
|Opening theme||"Car 54, Where Are You?"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||60 (list of episodes)|
|Cinematography||J. Burgi Contner|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Eupolis Productions|
National Telefilm Associates (1973–1986)
Republic Pictures (1986–1997)
Worldvision Enterprises (1997–1999)
Paramount Domestic Television (1999–2006)
CBS Paramount Domestic Television (2006–2007) CBS Television Distribution (2007–present)
|Original release||September 17, 1961 –|
April 14, 1963
Car 54, Where Are You?, an American sitcom that aired on NBC from September 1961 to April 1963, is the story of two New York City police officers based in the fictional 53rd precinct in The Bronx. Car 54 was their patrol car. The series was filmed in black-and-white and had a rotating group of directors, including Al De Caprio, Stanley Prager and series creator Nat Hiken - who helmed several episodes. Filming was on location, and at Biograph Studios in the Bronx.
The series follows the adventures of New York City Police Department officers Gunther Toody (badge #1432) (Joe E. Ross) and Francis Muldoon (badge #723) (Fred Gwynne), assigned to Patrol Car 54. Toody is short, stocky, nosy, and not very bright and lives with his loud, domineering wife, Lucille (Beatrice Pons). College-educated, Muldoon is very tall, quiet, and more intelligent. A shy bachelor, he lives with his mother and two younger sisters and eschews the notion of being married.
- Joe E. Ross as Officer Gunther Toody
- Fred Gwynne as Officer Francis Muldoon
- Ruth Masters as Mrs. Muldoon
- Hank Garrett as Officer Ed Nicholson
- Jim Gormley as Officer Nelson
- Albert Henderson as Officer Dennis O'Hara
- Bruce Kirby as Officer Kissel
- Al Lewis as Officer Leo Schnauser
- Beatrice Pons as Lucille Toody
- Charlotte Rae as Sylvia Schnauser
- Paul Reed as Capt. Paul Block
- Joe Warren as Officer Steinmetz
- Nipsey Russell as Officer Anderson
- Ossie Davis as Officer Omar Anderson
- Frederick O'Neal as Officer Wallace
- Patricia Bright as Mrs. Claire Block
- Nathaniel Frey as Sergeant Abrams
Many of the scripts were written by Nat Hiken, who won an Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Emmy Award for his work on the series. Hiken had previously produced The Phil Silvers Show, which featured Joe E. Ross and Beatrice Pons as a married couple.
Car 54 was originally sponsored by Procter & Gamble.
The police cars used for the series were actually bright red and white, which appeared as the proper shade of gray for an NYPD car on black-and-white film. NYPD cars of that era were black and green with a white roof and trunk. Two Plymouth Savoys were used as the title vehicle during the series – a 1961 Savoy during the first season and a 1963 Savoy during the second.
During the closing credits of episodes in the second season, a "futuristic" police car was seen driving on the streets of New York City.
The line "Khrushchev's due at Idlewild" referred to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev arriving a year before the series began in September 1960 at New York's Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International Airport), to attend the United Nations General Assembly.
- Carl Ballantine
- Gene Baylos
- Sorrell Booke
- Tom Bosley
- Heywood Hale Broun
- Wally Cox
- Dana Elcar
- Dan Frazer
- Alice Ghostley
- Arlene Golonka
- Bruce Gordon
- Margaret Hamilton
- Bob Hastings
- Katherine Helmond
- Don Keefer
- Jake LaMotta
- Shari Lewis
- Hal Linden
- Judith Lowry
- Simon Oakland
- Molly Picon
- B.S. Pully
- Charles Nelson Reilly
- Jane Rose
- Billy Sands
- Jean Stapleton
- Maureen Stapleton
- Larry Storch
Primetime Emmy Awards
Car 54, Where Are You? was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards, earning one.
- 1961–1962 (presented May 22, 1962)
- Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy: Nat Hiken—Won
- Outstanding Program Achievement in the Field of Humor—Nominated (Winner: The Bob Newhart Show)
- Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy: Nat Hiken, Tony Webster, Terry Ryan—Nominated (Winner: Carl Reiner for The Dick Van Dyke Show)
- 1962–1963 (presented May 26, 1963)
- Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy: Nat Hiken—Nominated (Winner: Carl Reiner for The Dick Van Dyke Show)
Car 54, Where Are You? first entered into syndication in January 1964. It began airing on the cable channel Nick at Nite in 1987 and ran on the network until 1990. It was seen for less than one year on the short-lived Ha! Channel in 1990-91 and also aired on another Viacom-owned cable channel, Comedy Central, in the early 1990s. In 2016, the show aired early Sunday mornings on MeTV, and also aired occasionally on its sister network Decades.
Car 54, Where Are You? was made into a 1994 film, filmed mainly in Toronto, starring John C. McGinley as Muldoon, David Johansen as Toody, and Rosie O'Donnell. The film was made in 1990 but not released until 1994 due to the bankruptcy of Orion Pictures. It was a box office bomb when it was first released and was poorly received by critics. Original cast members Lewis and Russell appeared in the film.
In the early 1990s, Republic Pictures Home Video releases some episodes on VHS. Shanachie Entertainment announced in the fall of 2010 it was releasing season one on DVD Region 1 on February 22, 2011. The second and final season was released on April 24, 2012.
The show had two seasons, each with 30 episodes.
In popular culture
- The show’s theme song is parodied as “Mario, Where Are You?” in an Atari commercial for Mario Bros.
- Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh used the Car 54 theme when talking about the actions of then New York City mayor David Dinkins in the early 1990s. However he had the line "Car 54 Where Are You" replaced with "General David Dinkins Where Are You."
- Coletta, Charles (2002). "St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture: Car 54, Where Are You?". St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture. Archived from the original on August 19, 2005.
- Bennett, Bruce (April 12, 2011). "Fifty Years Later, Car 54 Shows Up". The Wall Street Journal. News Corporation. Archived from the original on May 15, 2011. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
- "Amadeus music editor and composer John Strauss dies". BBC News. 2011-02-18. Retrieved 2011-02-24.
- MeTV Staff (20 Apr 2016). "9 things you might not know about 'Car 54, Where Are You?'". MeTV. Retrieved 31 Dec 2019.
- Glover, Kara (1991). "Financing may be hard to find for bankrupt Orion". Los Angeles Business Journal.
- "Car 54 Where Are You? The Complete First Season" (Press release). Shanachie Entertainment. November 29, 2010. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012. Retrieved September 5, 2013 – via TVShowsOnDVD.com.
- Lambert, David (January 11, 2012). "Car 54, Where Are You? - 'The Complete 2nd Season DVD: Date, Cost, Package, Extras!". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012.
- "Mario Bros. Atari 2600 & 5200 1983 Commercial". YouTube. February 7, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
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