Peter Gunn
Created by Blake Edwards (1922-2010)

Suave, sophisticated, hep to the jive, groovin' to the oh-so-cool jazzbo-beat, PETER GUNN was like nothing ever seen before on television or anywhere else, really. He was a new kind of eye. While other dicks hung out in rundown offices, swilling rotgut, living hand to mouth, loners till the end, cloaked in rumpled trenchcoats and angst, Gunn hung out at Mother's, a swank jazz club, wearing his Ivy League finest, pitching woo at his best gal, singer Edie Hart, drinking nothing more than an occasional tasteful martini.

The strong cast included Craig Stevens as Gunn, Lola Albright as Edie, Hope Emerson (and later, Minera Urecal) as Mother, and Herschel Bernardi as Lieutenant Jacoby, Pete's long-suffering, sad-faced police contact and pal. A highly-innovative and influential show, it also boasted Mancini's hit theme song, as well as witty dialogue, snazzy clothing and elaborate (for television) camerawork. A sort of Miami Vice for its time, but with far more substance and very good, sometimes excellent, writing. It ran for two years on NBC, then for another year on ABC.

Creator Blake Edwards, responsible for the Pink Panther movies and radio's (and later television's) Richard Diamond used the shows's popularity as a stepping stone to a film career. Occasionally, he's dusted off the Peter Gunn character, first in the ill-conceived 1967 theatrical release, Gunn, and then in a 1989 made-for-televion movie/pilot for a new series, starring Peter Strauss as an updated Gunn. The pilot didn't catch on, but Strauss was perfectly cast as Gunn. Alas, other changes weren't quite as perfect. The new Gunn was cleaned up -- he didn't smoke, or even drink much, and he had an office complete with a ditzy secretary (a role seemingly written in to accomodate Jennifer Edwards, daughter of I wonder who?). And after the nice, tightly-scripted thirty-minute plots of the original series, the pilot seemed overlong and bloated. It was a nice try, but nice doesn't cut it. If only they'd cut down on the fluff, and given Gunn a drink, a smoke, and a better script, who knows?

And, in 1990, Rhino Home Video released a dozen or so of the original episodes for home viewing, so you might still find of these around. Even better, in 2002, A&E released 2 sets on episodes on DVD! (see below)

UNDER OATH

  • "One sure winner among this season's new shows is NBC's Peter Gunn. (Although) basically just another private eye series, it has established itself above the average through skillful plotting, fine performances, interesting innovations, and sophisticated dialogue. It's a must-watch for any detective story afficiando."
    --
    TV Guide, November 29, 1958
    .
  • Peter Gunn was the epitome of cool. The hippest detective there ever was and a lot of fun to watch. Everyone since, who's attempted to merge music, mood and story, from Richard Diamond to Miami Vice and New York Undercover, owes a debt to Gunn, Blake Edwards and Henry Mancini. The first music video, come to think of it.
    -- Ted Fitzgerald

TELEVISION

  • PETER GUNN....Buy the complete series on DVD
    (1958-60, NBC; 1960-61, ABC)
    A Spartan Production
    114 30-minute episodes
    Writers: Blake Edwards, Tony and Steffi Barrett, George and Gertrude Fass, Lewis Reed, Vicki Knight
    Directors: Blake Edwards, Boris Sagal, Alan Crosland Jr.
    Theme by Henry Mancini
    Performed by Henry Mancini and His Orchestra
    Starring Craig Stevens as PETER GUNN
    with
    Lola Albright as Edie
    Herschel Bernardi as Lieutenant Jacoby
    Hope Emerson (and later, Minera Urecal) as Mother
    Guest stars included:
    Jackie Coogan, Shelley Berman, Gavin MacLeod, Roxane Brooks
  • 1st Season (NBC)
  • "The Kill" (September 22, 1958)
  • "Streetcar Jones" (September 29, 1958)
  • "The Vicious Dog" (October 6, 1958)
  • "The Blind Pianist" (October 13, 1958)
  • "The Frog" (October , 1958)
  • "The Chinese Hangman" (October 27, 1958)
  • "Lynn's Blues" (November 3, 1958)
  • " Rough Buck" (November 10, 1958)
  • "Image of Sally" (November 17, 1958)
  • "The Man with the Scar" (November 24, 1958)
  • "Death House Testament" (December 1, 1958)
  • "The Torch" (December 8, 1958)
  • "The Jockey" (December 15, 1958)
  • " Sisters of the Friendless" (December 22, 1958)
  • "The Leaper" (December 29, 1958)
  • "The Fuse" (January 5, 1959)
  • "Let's Kill Timothy" (January 19, 1959)
  • "The Missing Night Watchman" (January 26, 1959)
  • "Murder on the Midway" (February 2, 1959)
  • "Pecos Pete" (February 9, 1959)
  • "Scuba" (February 16, 1959)
  • "Edie Finds a Corpse" (February 23, 1959)
  • "The Dirty Word" (March 2, 1959)
  • "The Ugly Frame" (March 9, 1959)
  • "The Lederer Story" (March 16, 1959)
  • "Keep Smiling" (March 23, 1959)
  • "Breakout" (March 30, 1959)
  • "Pay Now, Kill Later" (April 6, 1959)
  • "Skin Deep" (April 13, 1959)
  • "February Girl" (April 20, 1959)
  • "Love Me to Death" (April 27, 1959)
  • "The Family Affair" (May 4, 1959)
  • "Lady Wind, Bells Fan" (May 11, 1959)
  • "Bullet for a Badge" (May 18, 1959)
  • "Kill from Nowhere" (May 18, 1959)
  • "Vendetta" (June 1, 1959)
  • "The Coffin" (June 8, 1959)
  • "The Portrait" (June 15, 1959)
    .
  • 2nd Season (NBC)
  • "Protection" (September 21, 1959)
  • "Crisscross" (September 28, 1959)
  • "Edge of the Knife" (October 5, 1959)
  • "The Comic" (October 12, 1959)
  • "Death Is a Red Rose" (October 19, 1959)
  • "The Young Assassins" (October 26, 1959)
  • "The Feathered Doll" (November 2, 1959)
  • "Kidnap" (November 16, 1959)
  • "The Rifle" (November 23, 1959)
  • "The Game" (November 30, 1959)
  • "The Price Is Murder 7 December 7, 1959)
  • "The Briefcase 14 December 14, 1959)
  • "Terror on the Campus" (December 21, 1959)
  • "The Wolfe Case" (December 28, 1959)
  • "Hot Money" (January 4, 1960)
  • "Spell of Murder" (January 11, 1960)
  • "The Grudge" (January 18, 1960)
  • "Fill the Cup" (January 25, 1960)
  • "See No Evil" (February 1, 1960)
  • "Sentenced" (February 8, 1960)
  • "The Hunt" (February 15, 1960)
  • "Hollywood Calling" (February 29, 1960)
  • "Sing a Song of Murde" (March 7, 1960)
  • "The Long, Long Ride" (March 14, 1960)
  • "The Deadly Proposition" (March 21, 1960)
  • "The Murder Clause" (March , 1960)
  • "The Dummy" (April 4, 1960)
  • "Slight Touch of Homicide" (April 11, 1960)
  • "Wings of an Angel" (April 18, 1960)
  • "Death Watch" (April 25, 1960)
  • "Witness in the Window" (May 2, 1960)
  • "The Best Laid Plans" (May 9, 1960)
  • "Send a Thief" (May 16, 1960)
  • "Semi-Private Eye" (May 23, 1960)
  • "Letter of the Law" (May 30, 1960)
  • "The Crossbow" (June 6, 1960)
  • "The Heiress" (June 13, 1960)
  • "Baby Shoes" (June 27, 1960)
    .
  • 3rd Season (ABC)
  • "The Passenger" (October 3, 1960)
  • "Mask of Murder" (October 10, 1960)
  • "The Maitre D" (October 17, 1960)
  • "The Candidate" (Oct 24, 1960)
  • "The Judgment" (October 31, 1960)
  • "The Death Frame" (November 7, 1960)
  • "Death Across the Board" (November 14, 1960)
  • "Tramp Steamer" (November 21, 1960)
  • "The Long Green Kill" (Nov 28, 1960)
  • "Take Five for Murder" (December 5, 1960)
  • "Big Dream, Deadly Dream" (December 12, 1960)
  • "Sepi" (December 19, 1960)
  • "A Tender Touch" (December 26, 1960)
  • "Royal Roust" (January 2, 1961)
  • "Bullet in Escrow" (January 9, 1961)
  • "Jacoby's Vacation" (January 16, 1961)
  • "Blind Item" (January 23, 1961)
  • "Death Is a Sore Loser" (January 30, 1961)
  • "I Know It's Murder" (February 13, 1961)
  • "A Kill and a Half" (February 20, 1961)
  • "Than a Serpent's Tooth" (February 27, 1961)
  • "The Deep End" (March 6, 1961)
  • "Portrait in Leather" (March 13, 1961)
  • "Come Dance with Me and Die" (March 20, 1961)
  • "Cry Love, Cry Murder" (March 27, 1961)
  • "A Penny Saved" (April 3, 1961)
  • "Short Motive" (April 10, 1961)
  • "The Murder Bond" (April 24, 1961)
  • "The Most Deadly Angel" (May 1, 1961)
  • "Till Death Do Us Part" (May 8, 1961)
  • "Last Resort" (May 15, 1961)
  • "A Matter of Policy" (May 22, 1961)
  • "A Bullet for the Boy" (May 29, 1961)
  • "Death Is a Four Letter Word" (June 5, 1961)
  • "Deadly Intrusion" (June 12, 1961)
  • "Voodoo" (June 19, 1961)
  • "Down the Drain" (June 26, 1961)
  • "Murder on the Line" (September 18, 1961) .
  • PETER GUNN
    (1989, ABC)
    Originally broadcast April 23, 1989
    Written and directed by Blake Edwards
    Music by Henry Mancini
    Starring Peter Strauss as PETER GUNN
    With Peter Jurasik, Barbara Williams, Jennifer Edwards, and Pearl Bailey as Mother

NOVELIZATIONS/TIE-INS

  • PETER GUNN
    (1960, by Henry Kane)
    An original story, using characters created by Edwards, written by Henry Kane, creator of Peter Chambers, another suave private eye.

COMIC BOOKS

  • PETER GUNN
    (1960, 4-Color #1087, Dell)
    1 issue only, tie-in to TV show

FILM

  • GUNN (1967, Paramount)
    Written by Blake Edwards and William Peter Blatty
    Directed by Blake Edwards
    Music by Henry Mancini
    Produced by Owen Crump
    Starring Craig Stevens as PETER GUNN
    and Helen Traubel as Mother
    Also starring
    Laura Devon, Ed Asner, Albert Paulsen, Sherry Jackson.

DVD

  • Peter Gunn on DVD!...Buy DVD Set 1 ...Buy DVD Set 2
    Each 2-disc set contains 16 episodes of possibly the most stylish P.I. show to ever grace the airwaves. Catch Craig Stevens in all his black and white glory as the snappiest gumshoe to ever follow a lead or snap his fingers to some cool jazz at Mothers. Set one features an interactive trivia game, and bios on Craig Stevens, creator Blake Edwards, and Henry Mancini, who did the theme and the background music. It doesn't get much cooler than this. Essential viewing.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Edmund for the spell check.


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