The weekly adventures of Frank Cannon, an overweight, balding ex-cop with a deep voice and expensive tastes in culinary pleasures, who becomes a high-priced private investigator. Since Cannon's girth didn't allow for many fist-fights and gun battles (although there were many), the series substituted car chases and high production values in their place.
Frank Cannon is an overweight, balding ex-cop with a deep voice and expensive tastes in culinary pleasures; he becomes a high-priced private investigator.
"Cannon", one of the many gimmick-driven series produced by Quinn Martin Productions in the 60s and 70s, was an inspiration for every 'weight-challenged' fan who ever fantasized of chasing down bad guys, solving crimes, and even, occasionally, winning the girl. The series' star, short, rotund William Conrad (as Frank Cannon), suffers the humiliation of being discharged by the police for being overweight, yet has the last laugh, as he frequently solves cases law enforcement agencies have given up on.
William Conrad (1920-1994) had built a long career around his low, powerful voice, and was best-known for his radio work as the original 'Matt Dillon' in the long-running series, "Gunsmoke" (the role James Arness would inherit, when the series moved to television). A successful character actor in many films of the forties and fifties (including a flashy role as Kasar, one of John Wayne's brothers, in the infamous THE CONQUEROR), the bulk of Conrad's TV work, prior to "Cannon", was as an off-screen narrator ("Rocky and Bullwinkle", "The Fugitive", "The Invaders"). "Cannon" was created specifically for Conrad, not only acknowledging his physical stature, but his skills as a chef, his occasionally prickly temperament, and his child-like joy of solving puzzles. Living well in a beautiful balconied apartment, he still spent most of his time behind the wheel of his sedan, en route to another case requiring his special skills.
With a bouncy, upbeat theme song (featuring a tuba, yet another 'reference' to his girth), "Cannon" was a lighter series than "Mannix" or "Barnaby Jones", but still provided occasional opportunities for Conrad to use his fists, and to even do a climactic foot chase, or two (the least believable moments of the series!).
While the actor would enjoy another successful detective series, as the more abrasive, slovenly 'J.L.' McCabe, in "Jake and the Fatman", "Cannon" remains Conrad's best-loved role, and a popular series in syndication, to this day. While it could not be said of Cannon that he was suave and handsome, it could be said that he was a very caring person, unlike the heavies that William Conrad portrayed in years previous to this time. He could be mean: though he did not engage himself in many fistfights, he used good judo chops occasionally,and the fat man was capable of bouncing people if he felt he had to do it. And he was mean and at the same time compassionate: he could be very mean toward the thugs, but he was so hurt when an innocent person was killed and/or wounded terribly. At the same time, he seemed to know how to relate to young kids. He did do well at solving crimes, and, thus, definitely, earned his high pay. Because he was a crime-solver and a fighter for innocent people who were being harassed horribly, I was drawn to this series which I watched many times. a5c7b9f00b
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