Clarification to This Article
The story below about the television show "Mannix" states that is not on DVD. The story should have said that the show has not been officially released on DVD. Tapes and dubs were made when the show was rerun in the '90s, as the story states, and now unauthorized DVD copies are offered for sale online. Paramount, which controls the rights to the show, has never released or approved release to DVD.

Mannix Was the Man

Mike Connors, photographed at his Encino, Calif., home, became one of the highest-paid stars on television during the eight-season run of
Mike Connors, photographed at his Encino, Calif., home, became one of the highest-paid stars on television during the eight-season run of "Mannix," which went on the air four decades ago. (By Jonathan Alcorn For The Washington Post)

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By Neely Tucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 18, 2007

Somewhere out there, in the weird, quivering underbelly of the American dream, "Mannix" still lives.

Somewhere out there, there's a place where a sport-coat-clad private eye can whip around L.A. in a convertible, get beat down by some goons, shake it off with a Scotch on the rocks, then solve the case of the week with an assist from his leggy secretary.

Somewhere out there, but not on DVD.

"Mannix," one of the longest-running, most violent (for its time), most popular television detective shows in the medium's history, has been left out of the DVD trade. It's fading into the forgotten realm of old television shows nobody remembers. Mannix was, by one count, shot 17 times and knocked unconscious another 55 during the show's eight-year run, and how great is that? Could those "Law & Order" twits take that kind of abuse?

Mannix was the last of a certain type of American manhood, circa early '70s. He wore a tie and a wistful smile. He did not know doubt but was a friend of irony. He didn't worry about giving women "their space," and he wasn't "in touch with his feelings." He was kind to small dogs, little old ladies, and femmes fatales in deep trouble and short skirts.

He drove too fast, drank too much and smoked like he got paid for it. He slugged people and shot guys and never got pulled in by the cops. "The body count, even in the first few minutes of the show, could sometimes be appalling," notes one television reference guide. This was the era of "Who loves ya, baby?" "Book 'em, Danno!" and "This tape will self-destruct in five seconds."

Sigh.

"I've never really understood it myself," says actor Mike Connors, who became one of the highest-paid stars on television (earning a then-stratospheric $40,000 per episode) at the height of the show's Top 10 heyday. "We had a better average [rating] than 'The Rockford Files' or 'Hawaii Five-0' over eight years. And yet it's like it never occurred, it never existed, it never happened."

More than three decades after the show died, there are at least two Web sites devoted to it and more than 1,100 people have voted for it to be brought back on TVShowsOnDVD.com. It was popular on TV Land in reruns in the late 1990s but never translated to DVD.

"We've called, we've had hundreds of people petition, I just don't know why Paramount/Viacom won't release it," says Pat Talley, a university librarian in Tennessee who runs a Web site ( http://17paseoverde.tripod.com) and is a charter member of the Barracudas, the unofficial fan club of the show. (It's named for the Plymouth that Mannix drove.)"We've really pursued this thing, and we just cannot get an answer. We made tapes of the show during its TV Land run and given them to Mr. Connors. It's all he has of the show, either."

Montreal's Helene Gagne, an assistant manager at a pharmacy, has collected more than 100 scripts from the show, many of them originals. She tracks down locations used on the show via the Internet, then leads fellow fans on a "Mannix" tour of Los Angeles every year or so. She once met Connors in a restaurant there, and now they exchange Christmas cards.

"Every year we say, 'This'll be the year,' because Paramount keeps putting out old shows, but they just won't put out 'Mannix,' " she says. "I just want to see the eighth season [never shown in reruns] before I die."


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© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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