The weekly adventures of Frank Cannon, an overweight, balding ex-cop with a deep voice and expensive tastes in culinary pleasures, who becomes a high-priced private investigator. Since Cannon's girth didn't allow for many ... more »fist-fights and gun battles (although there were many), the series substituted car chases and high production values in their place.« less
E. Hornaday | Lawrenceville, NJ United States | 03/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Finally, "Cannon," the Classic TV private eye series that premiered in 1971 is making its debut on DVD, with a four-disc boxed set collecting the first half of the show's Season 1 episodes.
Its star, William Conrad made a very big presence as Private Investigator Frank Cannon, well beyond the veteran actor's trademark girth. His deep, resonant baritone voice, and his remarkable acting demanded viewer's attention throughout the series' five-year run - and it still does today.
Cannon was a tough L.A. sleuth with very refined tastes. But, what could have been a forgettable series became an instant Classic when the versatile Conrad portrayed the character with depth and feeling. Cannon cared about his clients and it showed, so viewers cared about him.
Since Cannon's size didn't allow for many fist-fights and gun battles, which were the staple of the TV landscape of the day (and sadly still is), the series substituted car chases and high quality and innovative production values in their place.
Cannon had once been a police officer, but was discharged from the force for being overweight. After the murder of his wife and son, Cannon tracked down the killer and confronted him in a tearful and angry scene that still resonates. That loss and a deep understanding for the need for real justice, prompts Cannon to launch his successful career as a private investigator.
Cannon charged high fees to his well-to-do clients so that he could work for poorer clients at little or no charge. He also indulges his high-priced lifestyle, which includes a penthouse on the Sunset Strip, gourmet culinary delights and cooking, expensive wine, and regular maintenance on his Lincoln Mark IV, which was frequently damaged as a result of his cases.
"Cannon" was a staple of producer Quinn Martin's popular detective shows. It was nominated for a Best Drama Emmy in 1973, and Conrad was nominated for Best Dramatic Actor in 1973 and 1974. In 1980, Conrad reprised his role in a TV-movie, portraying Cannon coming out of retirement to investigate a friend's reported suicide.
The CBS series featured many of Quinn Martin's well-known stylistic innovations. "Cannon" marked the first time a QM series aired on a network other than ABC. Also for the first time, producers made a bold decision in 1973 to try to spread the established viewership popularity of "Cannon" to another QM show. They had Conrad's character "cross over" and appear routinely on the fledgling investigative series, "Barnaby Jones," which starred Buddy "Beverly Hillbillies" Ebsen, which was a QM series that began in 1973 and ran concurrently with "Cannon" on CBS.
For his part, Conrad was a star long before "Cannon." He created the role of Marshal Matt Dillon on the original radio version of the Classic western "Gunsmoke" in the 1950's. After "Cannon," Conrad starred in "Jake and the Fatman," and was "Nero Wolfe," as well as narrating numeroust TV shows like Tales of the Unexpected, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and Manimal.
But, "Cannon" is considered by many to be the greatest achievement of Conrad's distinguished career, having created a character at once genial, witty, erudite, cultured and astute - but tough-as-nails.
Guest stars in "Cannon's" first season include: Tom Skerritt, Wayne Rogers, Mark Hamill, Joan Van Ark, Tim O'Connor, Vic Tayback, Kim Hunter, Dack Rambo and the late-great Roy Scheider.
Season 1 of "Cannon" had 24 episodes, including the two-part pilot. This four-disc DVD boxed set represents the first-half of the those episodes. Expected episodes are: Pilots Part I & II; Salinas Jackpot; Death Chain; Call Unicorn; Country Blues; Scream of Silence; Fool's Gold; and The Girl in the Electric Coffin; Dead Pigeon; A Lonely Place to Die; No Pockets in a Shroud; Stone Cold Dead; and Death is a Double Cross.
Season 1 Vol. 2, yet to be announced for preorder, is expected to collect the remainder of the first season episodes: The Nowhere Man; Flight Plan; Devi''s Playground; Treasure of San Ignacio; Blood On the Vine; To Kill a Guinea Pig; The Island Caper; A Deadly Quiet Town; A Flight of Hawks; The Torch; Cain's Mark; and Murder By Moonlight.
(Special Note: After the cancellation of Cannon, Conrad starred in "Jake and the Fatman." Conrad was Jason L. "Fatman" McCabe, DA, and Joe Penny, who portrayed Jake Styles, and Alan Campbell who played Derek Mitchell, two Private Investigator who teamed up with McCabe to get the bad guys first in L.A., then later in Hawaii. The series ran from 1987 to 1992.
CBS DVD and Paramount Home Entertainment have scheduled "Cannon - Season 1, Vol. 1," and "Jake and the Fatman - Season 1, Vol. 1," for DVD release on the same day.)
Cannon: Season One V.1 (4pc) (Full Sen)
Jake & The Fatman: Season One V.1 (3pc) (Full)"
D. M. THOMAS | Clawson, Mi USA | 07/12/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I just can't give more then 3 stars. Not because this is a great series..but because Paramount continues to offer sloppy looking copies. This looks like something copied off TV in VHS and then transfered to DVD. Now I know that is not the case but just pointing out the over all quality of the set. Colors shift on some episodes and the picture quality is soft. I buy hundreds of DVD each year and many of the TV series. But this is truly the poorest quality I have seen so far. I know, Paramount will come back and say that this is because it is an old show, etc etc etc. But that is bull. Why Paramount couldn't have remastered the set before transfer is beyond me. They could have cleaned this set and offered the kind of quality I get from Universal, Disney, etc. Final statement - A great TV series that deserves better quality. Shame on you Paramount as you continue to blunder ahead."
Love the show, hate being ripped off
S. Taylor III | Knoxville, TN United States | 07/20/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Cannon was, without a doubt, one of my top 5 detective series of all time. My problem with this set is the fact that it has been released without being re-mastered, and because it comes in two volumes. Why would Paramount do such a thing? As a company, when you try to rip off your customers, you lose much of your credibility. Universal released the Columbo series without re-mastering, and without extras (except for an episode of Mrs. Columbo - oh, joy). Paramount has also done the same thing with Mission: Impossible - no extras, and "some episodes may be edited from their original network versions". Can these companies not take a page from Criterion and release their shows in the very best quality they possibly can with all the bonus material they can? I will pay extra for Criterion released movies because they have demonstrated that they are willing to go the extra mile for their customers. Hey Paramount, how about re-thinking this series, and get it right starting with volume 2?"
Cannon Lives Again
Hobart A. Brown | Santa Cruz, CA | 09/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"William Conrad has been one of my favorite actors since his days on radio and film after retiring from active duty in the US Air Corps. His characters have always been powerful and his delivery intelligent and natural. He had the most convincing ability to express terror or grief with restrained stoicism of any actor I have ever seen. With those qualities in mind, I naturally enjoyed watching William Conrad in the Cannon series. I think the Cannon character was the real William Conrad. The technical quality of the DVD is like that which existed existed on broadcast television when the shows were made. This was before the comb filters that extracted a little more resolution from color television came out in the eighties. Other than that, the tape to DVD transfers have been made with utmost care and there are no noticable visual or audio changes or losses from the original recordings. Also, notice that Quinn Martin used the techniques of Film Noir. I'm looking forward to the complete Cannon series appearing on DVDs. Bart Brown. email@example.com"
Good old P.I. William Conrad
Deurenberg | Maastricht, THE NETHERLANDS | 10/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"'CANNON' was a TV-hit in the Netherlands during the first half of the 70ies. Because of his impressive figure good old William Conrad (who sadly is no longer with us) made 'CANNON' different from all the other P.I.-shows at that time. Now finally the fans can enjoy the series all over again on DVD and allthough I was only a 14 year old, back in 1971, today it still is fun to watch the episodes again and to see, besides Mr. Conrad, all those 'special gueststars' from that era."