The Incredible Inman: Loni Anderson, Lynda Carter were 'Partners in Crime' in 1984
Question: At a recent party, a group of us started discussing bad TV shows. One person brought up “The San Pedro Beach Bums,” and then I mentioned there was a show starring Loni Anderson and Lynda Carter as private detectives — all I remember about the show is them chasing criminals in evening gowns and high heels in the streets of San Francisco. Do you remember the name? It was on NBC in the 1980s.
Answer: The show was “Partners in Crime,” and to be fair, the whole evening gown thing was kind of tongue-in-cheek.
Anderson played Sydney Kovak, and Carter played Carole Stanwyck. Both of them were ex-wives of a detective who had been murdered. He bequeathed his agency and his rundown house to both of them, with instructions for a 50-50 split. Therefore, according to primetime TV logic, they had no choice but to become detectives themselves.
Alas, we never got to see how everything turned out, because the show ran only from September to December 1984, never to be heard from again, except at certain parties in New Jersey.
Q: There was a television series on in the 1970s about a curio shop run by an uncle, nephew and his girlfriend where they were trying to retrieve cursed items that they would store in a vault underground. Title, please?
A: So, it was kind of like “Stephen King Meets Antiques Roadshow,” huh?
Actually, it was titled (and don't ask me why) “Friday the 13th: The Series.” It had no connection to the movie, and it was a syndicated series that ran from 1987 to '90.
The team tracking down the cute little antiques of death and horror was composed of Micki (Louise Robey), Jack (Chris Wiggins) and Ryan (John D. LeMay). The items had come from their uncle's antique store, and they were cursed because he made a deal with the devil to sell as many antiques as possible. Nowadays, of course, instead of the devil there's eBay.
Q: I watched a movie in the late 1970s called “Capricorn One.” The movie was about a faked moon landing, and I was told the government “squashed” it and that is why it isn't on video. Can you tell me what you know?
A: You know, it's amazing to me how the people who claim the government can't do anything right are almost always the same people who believe that the government can carry out the most elaborate hoaxes in history.
Anyway, “Capricorn One” is on video and DVD, so if there's any great government conspiracy to “squash” it, someone's doing a lousy job.
Q: A couple of years ago, my husband and I watched a made-for-TV movie based on a true story. We started in the middle of the movie, so we don't know the name of it. When we started to watch it, the top of a plane was ripped off. We remember Erik Estrada was in it but don't remember other actors. The plane eventually made a safe landing at the end. There were some casualties, though. The acting in the movie was so horrible that actually it was funny. We would like to know if you know the name of it and if it's out on video.
A: That's the 1996 TV movie “Panic in the Skies!” which stars Kate Jackson! Robert Guillaume! And Maureen McCormick! Also featuring Kehli O'Byrne as “Other Flight Attendant!” And it's on video! And DVD!
Q: I remember a distinctive actor, in either Western movies, or more likely a Western weekly TV show. He was an older man, with white hair, and walked with a big limp. He often wore overalls, and also had a distinctive voice. Any idea what his character name was, and his real name?
A: Consarn it all, sounds like Walter Brennan, who played characters who said “consarn it all” a lot.
Brennan appeared in a ton of movies (and won three Oscars in supporting roles), but he didn't become a household name until 1957, when he starred as the overall-wearing, white-headed, big-limping, distinctive-voiced grandpappy Amos McCoy on the TV sitcom “The Real McCoys.” That show ran on ABC from 1957 to '62, and on CBS from 1962 to '63.
Brennan was a regular on a couple of other TV shows, most notably “The Guns of Will Sonnett,” which aired on ABC from 1967 to '69. On that one, Brennan played grandpa Will Sonnett, who was traveling the west with grandson Jeff (Dack Rambo) in search of gunfighter Jim Sonnett, who was Will's son and Jeff's daddy.
Q: Many years (decades?!) ago, I watched a movie on TV with David Hartman. It was about a marital fight, a missing wife, a distraught husband, and evil mother-in-law. The husband noticed something asymmetrical about the mother-in-law's dining room ceiling and suspected there was a dead body behind the false wall. Can you tell me the name of this movie and if it's on video or DVD?
A: That's the 1973 TV movie “You'll Never See Me Again,” formerly titled “You'll Never See Me Again Unless You Tear Down That Asymmetrical Wall in the Dining Room.” It's not on video or DVD.
Q: My son and I are having a friendly dispute about the television show “Monk.” I told my son that before it aired on the USA channel, it had been originally on another channel some time ago and then, as far as I could remember, I thought it was off the air. He claims it was never on any other channel and it was always on USA. Can you clear up the dispute?
A: “Monk” had its premiere on USA, and it ran on that network from 2002 to '09. But once it became a moderate hit on cable, the big TV networks started sniffing around, and ABC ended up running “Monk” reruns on its schedule in the summer of 2004, where at least one guy who'd never seen it on USA — namely, you — saw it.
Q: In a discussion about “old” TV shows, I recalled a show but not the title nor actors names, and nobody could remember such a series. The main character was a married male who lived in the (I believe) Arizona desert in an RV. He had a male sidekick, and their office was in town. He was either a private detective or a lawyer. I originally thought it was called “Delvecchio,” but upon further searching I found that there was a series by that name but with Judd Hirsch, and the actor I'm thinking of isn't Hirsch. This was a weekly series somewhere from 1973 to 1977. I am not sure how long it was on TV. Can you help?
A: That was “Petrocelli,” a series that ran on NBC from 1974 to '76. Barry Newman played attorney Tony Petrocelli, who moved from his hot-shot defense practice in the concrete canyons to a southwestern town called San Remo, where, despite the tumbleweeds, people killed people and needed smart defense attorneys just like the folks in the big decadent city!
Petrocelli and wife Maggie (Susan Howard) lived in their trailer while their new home was being built, and Petrocelli's legman was local cowboy Pete Ritter (Albert Salmi).
Write David Inman in care of The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal, 525 W. Broadway, P.O. Box 740031, Louisville, KY 40201-7431; or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions of general interest will be answered; personal replies are not possible.