Johnny Staccato (1959-60)

johnny staccato

The show tries really hard to be oh so hip that it’s a complete embarrassment. You can’t question John Cassavetes acting ability but he can’t save the silliness of overdoing it to make a character look cool. Johnny is a combination Jazz pianist and private detective. Talk about a stretch.

He spends a lot of time at his friend Waldo’s (Eduardo Ciannelli) club in Greenwich Village. There are some great musicians appearing as the house band:Barney Kessel, Shelley Manne, Red Mitchell, Red Norvo, Pete Candoli and Johnny Williams. Anyone whose heard the “Star Wars” soundtracks knows Johnny aka/John.

Opening episode: September 10,1959 – “The Naked Truth” with Michael Landon, Stacy Harris and Ruta Lee – The show opening tries to establish what a hip character Johnny is and ends up looking beyond stupid.

Johnny gets a call from “Senator” Bly. He manages singer Freddie Tate (Michael Landon). Freddie has spent hours in the recording studio but can’t get a decent take. He’s worried that an incident from his past will end up in the scandal sheet The Naked Truth. Bly wants Johnny to straighten it out.

Johnny goes to the tabloid’s office and flirts with secretary Dee Dee (Ruta Lee). He gets past her and goes into the office of publisher A.J.Templar (Stacy Harris). He currently taking a fencing lesson from Phil Kovac. He laughs off Johnny’s attempt to get him not to publish anything. Freddie is paying him two thousand a month to keep the story out of the paper.

His next stop is a health club at Grand Central Station. He and Freddie go into the steam room for a talk. Templar sent Kovac out to take care of Johnny. He pretends to be an attendant. Because of the steam Johnny and Freddie change seats. Kovac comes in and can’t see much in the steam and Freddie ends up with a knife in his back instead of Johnny.

With Freddie in the hospital Johnny is on the warpath. He  waits until after dark to break into Templar’s office. While he’s going through the files looking for the info on Freddie, the night watchman (Frank Sully) calls Templar. While Templar talks on the phone there’s a blonde in the background trying to do a sexy dance. The scene is sheer stupidity and her movements are a sure sign she’s a dancing school drop out. Templar and Kovac race down to the office building. It’s not long before bullets fly.

The show tries way too hard to be in some kind of in crowd and calling it dumb is too kind.


About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
This entry was posted in Crime-Mystery-Spy, TV-Crime-Mystery-Spy Shows, vintage TV and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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