August 26, 2010
He was suave. He was sophisticated. And he was "like coolio-daddyo to all you cats!"
I only have a couple too few episodes that I picked up in one of those value-priced DVD tv collections. And I never was lucky enough to catch the series in syndication, though I've heard plenty of the series and the unforgettably suave yet danger-ladden theme music by Henry Mancini (Best Arrangement, Grammy Awards, 1958; Album of the Year). But I think I'd really like to see more this stylish private eye detective show. It's left me with a hungry appetite for more each time I've gotten to follow Gunn on a case.
Peter Gunn may have been the coolest gentleman private eye to be seen since the Thin Man series with William Powell. The epitome of cool as envisioned by the mid century, the original suave and sophisticated man's man. Remember, Peter Gunn was happening even before Agent 007 burst onto the big screens with the first Bond movie, Dr. No.
"Hot on the case, cool under fire," Peter Gunn originally aired 114 1/2 hour episodes from September 22, 1958 to September 18, 1961, preluding the years that brought us many classic spy and crime dramas such as The Avengers and The Saint. The show was the creation of Blake Edwards, the same mastermind behind the Pink Panther movies, starring Craig Stevens, Herschel Bernardi, Lola Albright. Stevens portrays the stylishly hip and ultra cool Mr. Gunn with an ample helping of wry humor thrown in for good measure. The cases takes him through an assortment of moody imagery: mod hangouts, avant-garde artists pads and film noir-esque back alley ways, always with the swanky sax, bass and drums setting the cool mood through it all.
Hmmm.... wonder if a cool cat wannabee can locate a copy of the complete soundtrack from the series?