Vega$

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For other shows, see Vegas TV.
Vega$
The pilot intro of Vega$
Created by Michael Mann
Starring Robert Urich
Phyllis Davis
Bart Braverman
Tony Curtis
Naomi Stevens
Judy Landers
Greg Morris
Composer(s) John Beal
Dominic Frontiere
Artie Kane
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 69 (list of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) Douglas S. Cramer
Aaron Spelling
E. Duke Vincent
Running time 55 Minutes
Production company(s) Aaron Spelling Productions
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Release
Original channel ABC
Audio format Monaural
Original release April 25, 1978 (1978-04-25) – June 10, 1981 (1981-06-10)

Vega$ is an American detective television drama series that aired on ABC from 1978 until 1981. It was produced by Aaron Spelling. The series (with the exception of special episodes filmed in Hawaii and San Francisco) was filmed in its entirety in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is believed to be the first television series produced entirely in Las Vegas.

The show stars Robert Urich as private detective Dan Tanna, who drove around the streets of Las Vegas in a red 1957 Ford Thunderbird [1] solving crimes and making Las Vegas a better place for residents and tourists alike.

Plot[edit]

Dan Tanna is a private detective whose clients include Phillip Roth (Tony Curtis), aka Slick, the owner of multiple hotel casinos including the Maxim Hotel and Desert Inn Hotel & Country Club, in Las Vegas. Tanna is always called to investigate criminal cases or more absurd situations, such as a nun who claims to own the land on which the Desert Inn stands.

Tanna lives on the Las Vegas Strip next to Circus Circus Hotel/Casino, in the theatrical props warehouse owned by the Desert Inn Hotel and Country Club, which he converted into his living place. The design of Tanna's pad allows him to park his T-bird in his living room. Tanna also uses gadgets that were very high-tech for the time such as a car-phone and an answering machine that physically picks the phone up off the hook and into the microphone of a tape recorder).

Tanna often does battle with many of the various criminal element that would threaten the desert oasis.

Tanna is a veteran of the Vietnam War. This is illustrated through flashbacks in various episodes.

Episodes[edit]

Supporting cast[edit]

Phyllis Davis played Beatrice Travis, Tanna's assistant, who is a single mom and a former showgirl. There is evidence that she was married before, but her husband had died. Although she and Tanna made a dashing couple, their relationship seemed to be purely platonic. Greg Morris played Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Lt. David Nelson. Nelson was a no-nonsense cop who often had Tanna's back and vice versa. While Nelson was never one to breach protocol, he often secretly assisted Tanna in cases Metro Police couldn't officially touch. Actress Naomi Stevens played police sergeant Bella Archer, who also assisted Tanna and Nelson. Bart Braverman played "Binzer," a college student who did Dan Tanna's leg work and usually provided comic relief. In the beginning of the series, Binzer was a petty thief who fled to Vegas to escape his former partners in crime from back east, as described in one episode, where his real name is revealed to be Robert Borso. Tanna seemed to have taken him under his wing and used his knowledge and connections of the street. Judy Landers played Dan Tanna's other assistant, Angie, who was also a showgirl, but unlike the savvy Beatrice was usually an airhead and would get things screwed up. She appeared only during the first season. Despite being initially billed as a co-star, Tony Curtis appeared infrequently during the first season, and only made a few appearances in subsequent years.

Guest stars[edit]

The series featured numerous performances and cameos by notable guest stars including: Muhammad Ali, Morey Amsterdam, Eve Arden, Kim Basinger, Demi Moore, Barbi Benton, Shelley Berman, Savannah Smith Boucher, Dick Butkus, Captain & Tennille, Kim Cattrall, Sid Caesar, Michael Cole, Shelley Fabares, Lola Falana, Erin Gray, Lorne Greene, Melanie Griffith, Lisa Hartman, Jack Kelly, Kurt Krakowian, June Lockhart, Gary Lockwood, Robert Loggia, Randolph Mantooth, Dean Martin, Maureen McCormick, Heather Menzies (Urich's real-life wife), Wayne Newton, Leslie Nielsen, Eleanor Parker, Slim Pickens, Pernell Roberts, Tanya Roberts, Cesar Romero, Isabel Sanford, Johnny Seven, Doc Severinsen, Alex Trebek, Mamie Van Doren, Abe Vigoda, Rudolph "Minnesota Fats" Wanderone, Shelley Winters, Lynda Day George,and Wolfman Jack.

Crossovers[edit]

In the Season 3 premiere of Charlie's Angels titled "Angels in Vegas", Robert Urich does a cameo as his Vega$ character Dan Tanna at the end of the episode. This episode aired the week before the Vega$ series premiere.

Syndication[edit]

Vega$ was one of the first shows to air in off-network syndication on the FX Network when it began in 1994 but has not aired in the U.S. in over a decade. FX ceased airing episodes around 2000.

Vega$ is now airing on the Decades Network as of July 2015.

DVD releases[edit]

CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) has released all 3 seasons of Vega$ on DVD in Region 1.

In Region 4, Madman Entertainment has released the first season on DVD in Australia.

DVD Name Ep # Release Dates
Region 1 Region 4
The First Season, Volume 1 11 October 20, 2009 July 14, 2010
The First Season, Volume 2 12 February 9, 2010 September 27, 2010
The Second Season, Volume 1 11 December 7, 2010 TBA
The Second Season, Volume 2 11 March 29, 2011 TBA
The Third and Final Season, Volume 1 11 May 8, 2012 TBA
The Third and Final Season, Volume 2 12 August 14, 2012 TBA

See also[edit]

  • Las Vegas – 2003 TV series with Las Vegas as setting
  • Vegas – 2012 TV series with Las Vegas as setting

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dan Tanna's '57 T-Bird, TV Acres.com Retrieved on 5 April 2014

External links[edit]