FRIDAY FUN: 70s Cop Show Intros

Does the phrase “a Quinn Martin Production” mean anything to you? If it does, that means you probably watched a lot of cop or detective shows in the 1970s. I know I did!

I was surfing a message board last night and saw a thread where someone posted the trailer for the upcoming Hawaii Five-O remake (my take: it looks more like the A-Team than the show I remember). But seeing that made me go to YouTube to find the intro to the original show:

Now see, that kicks ass! And of course, YouTube being what it is, there was a link to other “related videos” that I had to check out… including:

S.W.A.T. – this show kicked all kinds of ass, and has one of the best theme songs ever. I don’t know if this show pioneered “freeze frame credits” (you know, where an actor jumps through a window, and the screen freezes just at the most dramatic moment and his name is displayed), but I always think of this when I see a newer show parodying it:

Streets of San Francisco – Ya know, I think this is a very well done intro. I think if you updated the film stock and changed the music, it’d be hard to tell that it was shot in 1972. And it’s funny to see Michael Douglas as a “lowly” TV actor, too. But what really kicks in this intro is the theme… it makes me want to buy a 1973 Cadillac and drive around the mean streets:

Kojak – You know who kicked ass? Theo Kojak, that’s who. Pointless trivia: in early episodes, Kojak chain-smoked, but producers decided to jump on the anti-smoking bandwagon, so Kojak quit smoking and took up lollipops… specifically Tootsie Pops. And so the thing Kojak used to help him stop smoking became a trademark… that and the phrase “Who loves ya, baby?”:

Starsky and Hutch – I liked this show, but didn’t love it. What I did love were the hundreds of replica cars you used to see out on the streets. It seems like back in 1977 you couldn’t go a day without seeing at least one Grand Torino painted up to look like the car on the show:

Police Woman – My mom, the closet feminist, was a huge fan of this show. I was a huge fan of Angie Dickinson. It’s funny how this intro shows a liberated woman kicking ass… but showing off a lotta skin while doing it:

Cannon – Mom was also a big fan of Cannon, about a police officer who quits the force after his wife and son die in a car accident and becomes a private detective. Pointless trivia: Cannon was the only new show to survive the 1971 TV season; every other new show that year was canceled!

Barnaby JonesBarnaby was a spin-off from Cannon, and I remember liking this show a lot more than the original. I dunno if it was because Buddy Ebsen was a friendly-looking old man, or if I was familiar with him because of The Beverly Hillbillies or because Lee Meriwether was kind of hot or what… but I really liked this show as a kid:

Baretta – There was once a cop series on ABC called Toma. The show was, for its time, incredibly violent and received a lot of criticism for being “too realistic”… which isn’t all that surprising, since it was based on the life a real-life cop from Newark, New Jersey. Anyway, when lead actor Tony Musante refused to return for a second season, the producers hired Robert Blake, toned the violence down, and renamed it Baretta:

Barney Miller – OK, so this was a sitcom and not really a “cop show” as such, but I’ve heard from many folks online that it was actually fairly “realistic” in that it shows the cops doing more paperwork than shooting perps. Barney’s house was also really small, and so it doesn’t fall into the whole “barista with a 6,000 square foot Manhattan apartment” meme. Plus, this show had the most kick-ass theme ever:

Quincy – OK, so Quincy was a medical examiner and not a cop… but every time a dead body came across his slab… it was murder! Plus, for some reason, chicks dug Quincy. I don’t know how Jack Klugman managed to sweet talk all those hot 70s girls back to his houseboat, but he sure did:

Emergency! – Yes, Emergency! was about fire fighters and paramedics, not cops. But I loved this show as a kid. I had the Emergency! branded fire fighter hat, and I remember my mom buying my the “crash kit” (like a double-sided lunchbox with all sorts of emergency “medical stuff” inside) when I went for my vision and hearing tests before starting elementary school:


4 Replies to “FRIDAY FUN: 70s Cop Show Intros”

  1. I was trying to describe “cheesy 70s cop show intros” to an 80’s baby and your blog post did all the work for me. Thanks! 🙂

  2. You left out The Mod Squad…seriously dated and a bit cheesy, but the theme song was great!

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