Saturday, December 6, 2008

Who's Almost Who In Knickerbocker Village History: Gene Barry

Gene Barry was born in Brooklyn, however he does qualify for the "who's almost who label." The next post will explain why
Burke's Law is a detective series which ran on ABC from 1963 to 1965 and was revived on CBS in the 1990s. The show starred Gene Barry as Amos Burke, millionaire Los Angeles Chief of Detectives, who was chauffeured around to solve crimes in his Rolls-Royce. There were stylistic similarities to Barry's previous series, Bat Masterson, in which he had played the debonair dandy Bat Masterson in the Old West. During the opening credits, as the title flashed onscreen, a woman's voice was heard seductively pronouncing the words "It's Burke's Law!" The title also reflected the character Burke's habit of dispensing wisdom to his underlings in a professorial manner, e.g. "Never ask a question unless you already know the answer. Burke's Law." The title of each episode started with the words "Who Killed..." with the name or description of the victim (who died in the show's opening minutes) completing it.
In the original series, other characters were Detective Tim Tilson (Gary Conway), Detective Les Hart (Regis Toomey), Sergeant Ames (Eileen O'Neill), and Henry, Burke's Asian chauffeur Leon Lontoc. The character of Tilson was that of a go-getting young man whose ability to find clues and trace references didn't result in his solving the murders, being always outflanked by Burke's cool intuition.
In several episodes Anne Francis appeared as female detective Honey West, which led to a short-lived spin-off series.
The musical score for Burke's Law was largely the work of Herschel Burke Gilbert, whose middle name was coincidentally the same as the character of the series.

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