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Ready The Man Cave: CLOO Has A Mannix Marathon

Ready the man cave.  This Saturday, January 28, CLOO is running an all day Mannix marathon.

Senior vice president of research for both USA Network and CLOO, Ted Linhart (twitter: @TedonTV )  - an avid fan of the series - has selected a dozen of his favorite eps which will air in semi-rotation starting at 6 AM

CLOO, currently available in 38 million homes, is a destination channel for crime and mystery fans.  (Click here to go to this page and enter your zip code to find out if the channel is available in your area.)

Joe Mannix (Mike Connors) is the quintessential private eye - a hard boiled, hot headed maverick.  The series - known for unfettered brawling, an inventive split screen title sequence, and a parade of hot, fast cars - ran from 1967 to 1975 on CBS.  The show, produced by Desilu, won an Emmy for best dramatic series.

In the first season, Mannix works for Intertect, a firm that solves crimes with the help of computers. But Desilu head Lucille Ball supposedly ordered an end to the IBM-ish story lines because she believed audiences were unable to grasp the high tech concepts.

By the second season, Mannix is a one-man operation, assisted by his trusty and oft-kidnapped secretary Peggy Fair played by Gail Fisher, one of the first African-American women cast in a substantive role on television.

For anyone under the age of 40 who hasn’t seen Mannix:  think the Beastie Boys music vid Sabotage, a parody of 1970’s crime dramas.

One of the episodes hand-picked by Ted Linhart is the classic Edge of the Knife guest-starring Fritz Weaver as a doctor whose son is kidnapped so he will kill a patient during surgery.

Linhart is more than a numbers cruncher.  From a fannish point of view, he has real tv nerd cred. By age ten he was reading Variety and his bar mitzvah gift was his very own “Sony television with a remote control,” Linhart told me earlier this week.  Raised on New York City’s upper east side, his family is rooted in television. His great-uncle, Louis Cowan, headed CBS in the 50’s.

The VCR, which ushered in the age of time shifting, was introduced into Linhart’s home in 1985.  But before that time, television viewing was truly appointment tv, requiring dedication, planning and sacrifice.  He watched many shows in primetime including, he said, St. Elsewhere on Wednesdays and the now classic NBC Thursday night line-up of Hill Street Blues, The Cosby Show, Cheers and Night Court.

He also loved Dynasty. “I was introduced to Dynasty, oddly enough,” he said, “by the captain of the football team.”

Linhart graduated from Northwestern with a degree in communications and he was finally able to catch episodes of Mannix while working for a Chicago tv station which owned the show.  “As a kid…with its fight scenes and good guys leaping off staircases onto bad guys,” he said, “Mannix was a program I always wanted to see but never could because it didn’t syndicate widely in the 80’s.”

Linhart said he’s faithfully screened every episode as the seasons have become available via DVD.  (Season six was released a few days ago.)  He calls the opportunity to program the marathon a “tv nerd’s dream.”

A few more on his list of Mannix top twelve -

View from Nowhere: while in a helicopter Joe sees a penthouse murder, but tenants claim nothing happened.

Return to Summer Grove:  Joe returns to his hometown and reunite with his Dad, with guest star Vera Miles

The Color of Murder features one of Diane Keaton’s earliest appearances.

The Mannix opening sequence with music by Lalo Schifrin.