Jump to content
Kromm

Barney Miller

Recommended Posts

Scanlon sets up a trap with an Internal Affairs cop playing a drug dealer who offers the detectives a bribe.

 

Barney calls Dietrich and Harris in his office after the dealer offers him a bribe.

 

Harris: That's funny, on the way over here, he offered me the same deal.

Dietrich:  Me too. 3,000.

Harris: 3?  He offered me 2.

Dietrich:  Oh. Well, I'd be willing to split the difference with you.

Harris: Oh hey, well that's decent of you Arthur.

 

as Harris leads him to the cell:  C'mon chintzy.

 

Later...

 

Soo: In all the years I've been on the force, I've never been once offered a bribe.

Dietrich: Does that bother you?

Soo: I wouldn't take the money but sometimes it's just nice to be asked.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Just watched the "Chinatown" episodes last night, in which Scanlon attempts to pitch woo to a sophisticated blonde, resulting in a harassment complaint, Jeez, what an ass. Great acting, though-- Murdock was a scream.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Just watched the "Chinatown" episodes last night, in which Scanlon attempts to pitch woo to a sophisticated blonde, resulting in a harassment complaint, Jeez, what an ass. Great acting, though-- Murdock was a scream.  

So creepy.  He played that well.  I get squicked out all these years later watching it on screen as if I am in the same room.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

The detectives bust a local 'dance' hall.  Wojo takes a shine to a new hoofer (which he spells as hooker).

 

Wojo to Mrs. Miller:  She's not a lady.  A lady doesn't take money from a man.  What are you here for Mrs. Miller?

Mrs. Miller:  I came to get money from Barney.

 

She really had some of the best lines.

 

 

One thing that was interesting is that I can't recall ever seeing another shift.  Barney always mentions the next shift coming on, but the detectives leave before anyone else comes in.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Antenna TV just aired episode 7.22, "Liquidation," the last episode of season 7, in which Harris spends the episode being very drunk. Harris has been told by a judge that there will be no more appeals to his lawsuit (brought against Harris by a sleazy lawyer for defamation of character in Harris' book, Blood on the Badge, based on his real life police experiences) and that Harris now owes $32,000, which Harris does not have, and so he is ordered to show up at court the next afternoon with all of his worldly possessions. During Harris' drunken rant, he declares that he himself is "one mad n-----." I was surprised it didn't get cut in 1981, and even more surprised it didn't get cut today. I wonder if they thought that was the series finale, or if they knew it was renewed for one final year.

Share this post


Link to post

I remember that episode and was let down by that part. However, seeing as i watch the show everyday, it has become noticeable of just how extremely politcally incorrect things were. Most of them made me laugh but that one, no.

 

And then there was the one where two men had businesses near each other. One was a Jew and the other Palestinian. They constantly threw cultural insults at each other throughout the show until one came up missing. That's when it became clear they loved to hate each other.

Share this post


Link to post

I remember that episode and was let down by that part.

Did you see it (and feel let down) for the first time back when it first aired in 1981? Or did you see it for the first time recently?

I didn't have a TV or watch TV from 1967 to 1997, so I'm just asking because I don't know what something like that meant back then? Was Ron Glass being edgy? I might try to do some research to see if I can find any newspaper or popular magazine commentary on the show from that time.

Share this post


Link to post

I saw it first run. I don't remember any discussion on it but that doesn't say there isn't.

One other African American used it and that was Redd Foxx. He used it twice and one of those episodes was on earlier this week.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I saw it first run. I don't remember any discussion on it but that doesn't say there isn't.

One other African American used it and that was Redd Foxx. He used it twice and one of those episodes was on earlier this week.

This online article documents the use of the word on Sanford and Son and a few others, but not Barney Miller: http://www.tvparty.com/70-n-word-on-tv.html

Even though I stated above that I didn't watch TV when Sanford and Son was airing, I actually do recall seeing parts of episodes at my parents' home, and I can imagine hearing Redd Foxx using the n-word, pronounced without the "r" as is mentioned in the article, so maybe I did.

Anyway, that whole episode on Barney Miller seemed a little off--like maybe they thought they were being canceled. At work, I have access to the Readers Guide to Periodicals covering that time period, so if I have time, I'll see if I can find anything.

Edited by shapeshifter
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Your reasons why sound reasonable.

I try to be reasonable, heh. Like Barney. And like Barney, sometimes I rant instead. I love the looks on his face when other characters say outlandish or foolish things to him. His reactions might be recycled, but they seem to stay fresh.

I wonder if Wojo had such a bad wig because it was a comedy, or what? William Shatner's hairpiece wasn't that bad. I keep thinking if they cast this show today, they would have a hotter, younger guy play Wojo. Maybe it was because they didn't want him to outshine Hal Linden/Barney? The episode in which they had a montage of Jack Soo's scenes (after JS died), Max Gail/Wojo didn't wear the wig, so I don't think he was vain about it himself.

Edited by shapeshifter
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Arnold Ripner I think was the ambulance chaser that Harris owed $320,000 to.  I didn't see the episode when it first ran but I saw it last year and again today. 

 

There is so much about the show that would not fly today.  It's so very politically incorrect but I think it mirrors the times.  There isn't a minority that doesn't get skewered.  Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Arabs, Polish, Irish, Italian, Asians, Germans, fat people, short people, and most of all --- women.

 

Always thought it was funny that Wojo was supposed to be a stud - I thought that was a joke but he was supposed to be one.  The 70s were an odd time.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

That was during the series' "edgy" period, with season-long arcs about making porn and so on. It has a different "adult" atmosphere that wasn't an altogether welcome change for some (like me, I'll admit).

 

As for the word, as recently as 15 years ago it was understood as something usable for dramatic emphasis in the proper context (or in quotation marks in historical discussion). Now it has become literally unsayable.

 

I don't recall any danger of being canceled at that point. It was Danny Arnold's to end the series when they eventually did, it wasn't a network cancellation.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

It was Danny Arnold's to end the series when they eventually did, it wasn't a network cancellation.

Thanks for this bit. It does seem like his name is the key to research on the series. Here's an interview with him (the Barney Miller pertinent talk starts after the 8 minute mark): http://www.bobclaster.com/radioshows/Danny%20Arnold.mp3

As for the word, as recently as 15 years ago it was understood as something usable for dramatic emphasis in the proper context (or in quotation marks in historical discussion). Now it has become literally unsayable.

I wondered if the President's saying the word in an interview last month would change that (http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2015/jun/22/obama-n-word-wft-marc-maron-audio), and when I saw the Barney Miller "Liquidation" episode, I even wondered if it would've been bleeped or not aired at all if Obama hadn't spoken the word a month prior. ethalfrida mentions upthread that they also just aired the Sanford and Son episode with that word too. I guess you'd have to be a fly on some network wall or even a mind reader of some network exec or censor to know for sure. Or maybe there will be a casual mention of censors' decision making processes on NPR's show, On the Media, sometime soon that mentions this week's airing of the episode. Edited by shapeshifter
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

One thing that I find interesting is how the stories from the 70s are very much relevant today.  They just had an episode a couple weeks ago of when people were calling in fake robberies so they could shoot at the cops.  The hasidic riots.  Political corruption (OK, that's always relevant).  Favoritism, cronyism.  Etc etc.

New York is New York, no matter the century!

 

Actually joking aside, New York is pretty different from then, but the human condition overall doesn't change much.

 

That said, the show as I recall treated issues like homosexuality, race, drug use, etc. with a lot more respect than a lot of other shows in those days.  I seem to recall jokes aimed at transgender though that in my recall weren't as nice (although they might have simply been people in drag or straight up cross-dressing--shows in the 70s didn't do a very good job of distinguishing any of these things from the other--they just drag in some man they'd arrested dressed as a woman and milk it).

Edited by Kromm

Share this post


Link to post
...the show as I recall treated issues like homosexuality, race, drug use, etc. with a lot more respect than a lot of other shows in those days.  I seem to recall jokes aimed at transgender though that in my recall weren't as nice (although they might have simply been people in drag or straight up cross-dressing--shows in the 70s didn't do a very good job of distinguishing any of these things from the other--they just drag in some man they'd arrested dressed as a woman and milk it).

There were several episodes in which each of the various squad members had to take a turn to dress in drag for the purposes of entrapping muggers. Even though this running "gag" would likely make LGBT folks literally gag, for its time, it wasn't done too insensitively, IIRC from the episodes I caught during the recent re-airing.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

The show had good writers, at least better than a lot at that time. I especially loved Marty. I think he may have been the first openly gay character who was not wrtten extremely buffoonish. 

Share this post


Link to post

Marty was written awfully broadly at the beginning of the series, and I wasn't happy about that. But his return later in the series was better, as if the writers (and the world) were wising up. And then the episode in Season 6 with Ofc. Zatelli outing himself to the squad (after an anonymous letter) was really good, as if they were trying to make amends for insensitivity in the first season. I especially appreciated that Zatelli wasn't a one-shot: he was an established (if tertiary) member of the squad who had both earlier and later appearances.

Share this post


Link to post

"The Hero," the first season finale, aired yesterday. Gregory Sierra was amazing (as was the script). I'm surprised he doesn't seem to have any Emmy noms in IMDb.

Share this post


Link to post

I just saw this episode recently - it wasn't measles.  They were waiting for the tests to show if it was chicken pox or small pox.

It re-aired this past week. Barney/Hal Linden delivers a really funny line on the phone when they are about to get the results of tests on the disease:

Is it Chicken or Little? I mean Small!

It's all in the delivery--and often depends on the audience's familiarity with idioms and cultural touchstones (in this case the fable of Chicken Little) which was probably easier to do in the 1970s.

Here's one of the few funny bits that stands on its own:

Barney [to Dietrich]: Toilet seat fell on West 10th Street from a 3rd floor window.

Dietrich: Any survivors?

Barney: Fortunately it wasn't occupied at the time.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Some boring technical trivia from American Cinematographer. Danny Arnold wanted the set to look just like a dark dreary police station. Unfortunately this was a 70's sitcom shot on videotape and networks demanded these all be brightly lit. The set designer brought the light levels on the set down but ABC said they'd just crank up the gain on the cameras to brighten everything again.

You know those little desk lights? That was Arnold's solution. If they increased the gain on the cameras, the bright desk lights would leave "trails" whenever the camera panned. ABC couldn't find a way around this so they relented. That's why Barney Miller looked different from other sitcoms on the era.

My dad was a retired police officer at the time "Barney Miller" was on, and he always said it was the most realistic of all the police shows - and it seems like the '70s was rife with 'em. He had stories that would have made perfect Barney Miller scenes.

Interesting about the set. It did have a certain realistic appearance!

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post

Unable to edit my post at the head of the topic. Shame I have to!

I just submitted that Letterman clip to the KODTTM contest. We shall see if they want to run with it (won't blame them if they don't--I suppose it could be considered morbid... a clip about a guy NOT being dead when now he is).

Letterman is off the air of course, but Conan ALSO ran numerous bits about Vigoda still being alive. I'll take bets that Wednesday's Conan show refers to Abe's death in some way.

Edited by Kromm

Share this post


Link to post

Unable to edit my post at the head of the topic. Shame I have to!

 

I can, if you tell me what you want it to say ...

 

Sad day ... sad month ...

Share this post


Link to post

I can, if you tell me what you want it to say ...

 

Sad day ... sad month ...

Nah. On second thought, lets leave it as the historical reference it now is.

I will say I hope the editors/head mods put up some kind of Vigoda tribute. While there are a LOT of celeb deaths this month, I think Abe is a big deal simply because his death has been an ongoing story/urban legend for 30+ years.

 

Oh, while I'm personally not into Condolence Tweets/Facebook messages, if you are someone who is, this is Abe's daughter Carol.  There are a number of media articles with pictures of her next to Abe (for example this one), and you can see it's definitely the same woman: 

 

https://www.facebook.com/carol.vigodafuchs

https://twitter.com/carolvigoda

 

Oh, if anyone out there assumes TV stars and their descendants are all automatically rich, the same search that found those links for Carol also found this: https://www.gofundme.com/j8ye6g  She's had to crowdfund surgery for her son, so I'd say that if any fans want to honor Abe rather than waste money on flowers, I'd instead donate to there to help his grandson. 

Edited by Kromm
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

‘Barney Miller’ star Hal Linden remembers the late, great Abe Vigoda: 'We lost a great character today'

BY HAL LINDEN NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Tuesday, January 26, 2016, 4:22 PM

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/exclusive-barney-miller-hal-linden-remembers-abe-vigoda-article-1.2510318

Abe Vigoda was part of my life for 50 years.

The first time I met him was filming a car commercial in the '60s, about 10 years before we starred together in "Barney Miller." We were both breaking our backs trying to make it on Broadway and I remember pushing a car with him, though I don't remember what kind of car it was.

His death lets Rona Barrett off the hook. When we did the last episode of "Barney Miller" in 1982, we had a wrap party, and Abe wasn't there, having left the show already. So the next day Rona wrote in her gossip column that everyone was there except the "late Abe Vigoda." He never lived that down, so to speak.

Part of it was the way he looked: Abe was just 53 when he first started Barney Miller. But he just had that demeanor that made him look tired and old and he played it so well that you believed he was actually old.

He wasn't. We were the first two hired for Barney Miller and when we came out to Los Angeles, we actually did two pilots. When we came out to do the first pilot, a press agent took us to the gym to work out for some publicity photos.

We were working out on treadmills one next to the other and lifting weights, and there was a four-wall handball court next door. Abe said, "I used to play a little handball, do you want to play?" So we walked into the handball court and he handed me my ass. I don't know that I got a point.

I'm doing a concert show on the road right now and it has these clips of "Barney Miller," and I'm telling you, it really was hard finding material that did not involve Abe. He was probably more popular than I was, and I played the lead.

And that's a tribute to Abe. He was a young actor in his prime and he created this old-soul character, Sgt. Fish, totally out of thin air.

One of the last times I saw him was at this 90th birthday party a few years ago, I happened to be in the neighborhood. He was the same, you still couldn't get him off the microphone.

We lost a great character today. Boy, did we ever.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

I never watched the show live, but I now record the reruns to watch the next day.

I admire Abe Vigoda's keeping a straight face for the punch lines--whether his or in response to his lines. Few comics do that well..

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I know after decades of being declared dead, he's no longer with us. However; there were few if any performers who could take the least funny lines and make them sidesplitters the way Mr. Vigoda did just by a look or a pause.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

I'd like to make a shout out to the late Ron Carey! He first attracted their attention playing a cat burglar who makes a very rank entrance to the  One Two after his unsuccessful attempt to evade capture from Harris and Wojo via crawling through the sewer. Loved how everyone in that room immediately got violently ill at the first stench of him [as well as the two soiled cops] and how he complained about how being a cat burglar wasn't panning out for him. Mr. Carey had been a stand up prior to this and his complaints did seem drawn from that.

   Of course, it seemed that they thought he was too good to be a one-shot so it wasn't too long before they permanently recast him as the hapless uniform Levitt who was sure that his short stature was the ONLY thing keeping him from making detective. 

   Curiously, the cat burglar's surname was Italian like Mr. Carey's original one but then when they recast him they changed his ethnicity as well as which side of the law he was on.

    Sad that he never seemed to be considered for any more permanent roles after the show ended.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
On April 28, 2016 at 5:01 PM, Blergh said:

I'd like to make a shout out to the late Ron Carey!...  Sad that he never seemed to be considered for any more permanent roles after the show ended.

At least his character finally got out of uniform and into detective status.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

I stumbled across this erudite interview with a college communications professor from February of 2014: http://www.ibtimes.com/barney-miller-forty-years-later-most-intelligent-literate-us-sitcom-ever-1556406
Ironically, even though the article focuses on the use of stereotypes in the show, there is no mention of gender roles--I guess in part because both the interviewer and the interviewee are men.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

There really are episodes I can't watch because of the sex-based stereotype and the casual way they treat men's violence against women (both rape and wife-beating). Sad that all these years later, there are still men who don't even think twice about it when they're talking about power relations in the show.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, azshadowwalker said:

There really are episodes I can't watch because of the sex-based stereotype and the casual way they treat men's violence against women (both rape and wife-beating). Sad that all these years later, there are still men who don't even think twice about it when they're talking about power relations in the show.

I wish this topic had come up in that interview because I still hope/wonder if the negative depictions of women's roles was intended to shed light on the prejudice and stereotyping.

Share this post


Link to post

I liked  it when it Barney and his unseen wife had separated how everyone rallied for him BUT he did his best not to let his personal setback overwhelm him doing his job while acknowledging that he was unhappy with the outcome.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Quote

Saw Jack Soo on an episode of Julia (late 60s),

He was a hoot in most of his pre Barney Miller appearances.  He was quite funny as Sammy Fong in "Flower Drum Song" (1961) .  He was also in the John Wayne film, "The Green Berets" (1968) in a more serious role

 

 

I'm surprised no one has mentioned a pre-Diff'rent Strokes Todd Bridges in an episode from the first season.  He played a 7 year old who tried to stick up Barney's wife, Liz, who promptly made a citizens arrest and brought him to the one-two.  

Edited by magicdog
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Let's not forget that Doris Roberts had a few run-ins with the One-Two. On two occasions she played the wife of a gold-hoarder who wanted him arrested so he would quit selling off her clothes and furniture.

 

 Anyway, she said in her Emmy TV Legends Archive Interview that she had a lot of fun playing the parts BUT she disliked having to work to their regular 2 AM quitting time.

Share this post


Link to post

Saw the "Jack Soo Tribute" one in which the regular performers appeared in their 'offstage' attire and reflected on how vital his contributions were. What was interesting was seeing James Gregory without the silly suits AND with a MUCH toned down New-York accent. Also, Hal Linden shined reiterating all the late Mr. Soo had had to overcome being as US-born child of Japanese immigrants in the years during and after World War II but used that comic edge as a way to make a difference. Yes, I could tell that everyone sincerely liked and missed him (too bad there were no post-show cast tributes to James Gregory, Ron Carey, Steve Landesburg or Abe Vigoda).

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I loved Barney Miller back in the day, and I recently discovered its run at 12:30 ET on Antenna TV. (Yes, I'm an insomniac.) It holds up so well, even after all these years.

I recently watched an episode that took place entirely in Wojo's apartment. It was a two-person playlet about Wojo and a woman who moved in to his apartment. (I don't remember this episode from its original run, and I don't recall whether this was the second of a two-part episode.) I take it that the woman had been a prostitute.

It seemed to be such a departure for the show, but then I had a vague memory of a Fish episode that took place in his apartment. (Or maybe I'm remembering the Fish spinoff.) Does anyone know?

I loved Wojo, and I did understand why he was thought to be studly back in the '70s. And I was really happy to see MG in the last season of "Mad Men," even though I didn't particularly like the episode in which he appeared. Still, it was great to see him again.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×