| 24 October 1973 (USA)

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  • Reviews

    hyped garbage

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    Great Film overall

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    if their story seems completely bonkers, almost like a feverish work of fiction, you ain't heard nothing yet.

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    Jonah Abbott

    There's no way I can possibly love it entirely but I just think its ridiculously bad, but enjoyable at the same time.

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    Telly Savalas, a film,stage,and television actor whose career span more than four decades with television guest appearances ranging from "The Twilight Zone",to "The Virginian","Combat!","The Fugitive","Wagon Train",and "Hawaii Five-O" all the way to his Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actor for the 1962 motion picture "Birdman of Alcatraz",to his roles in such movie classics as "The Greatest Story Ever Told",his villain role as Blofeld in the James Bond film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" to box office movie gold with "The Dirty Dozen","Kelly's Heroes","Pretty Maids All In A Row","Battle of the Bulge",and "The Scalphunters",and "Terror Train",to name a few.In 1973,Telly Savalas premiered in a weekly crime drama series that would change everything on television. On Tuesday October 24,1973,the television series "Kojak" premiered on CBS-TV with Telly Savalas as title character,New York City Police Department Detective Lieutenant Theo Kojak. A total of 118 episodes were produced in color. When it premiered in 1973,the show was on Tuesday nights at 10:00e/9:00c where it took the time slot of "Cannon" which was moved one hour earlier for all of Season 1. From Season 2 onward,CBS moved the series from Tuesday nights to Sunday nights for the remainder of its entire run where it was placed at the 10:00e/9:00c time slot until its cancellation on March 18,1978. Out of the 118 episodes that this series produced,only 35 episodes were produced for Season 1. For Season 2 thru 5,a total of 83 episodes were produced. Filmed entirely on location in New York City and in some segments on the Hollywood backlot of Universal Studios.The show was created by Abby Mann,who was an Oscar winning film writer for such classics as "Judgment at Nuremberg","A Child Is Waiting",and for "The Detective". Mann was also known for his best known work for such television drama anthologies as "Robert Montgomery Presents",and "Playhouse 90" Creator Abby Mann along with executive producers James Duff McAdams and James Moser set the television series "Kojak" around the daily operations of the New York City Police Department's Eleventh Precinct in Manhattan's South Patrol Borough with Telly Savalas as the tough and incorruptible Lieutenant Theo Kojak who have a knack of solving crimes and murders in his investigation of crimes with a tendency to break the rules to bring the criminals to justice. Theo not only had a sense of solving mysteries but Savalas also did it with a fashion statement with displaying a dark cynical wit to the role. In the early episodes of the series,and this was during its first season,Kojak is seen smoking thin brown More cigarettes. He substituted cigarettes for lollipops as an alternative where the lollipop made its debut in the Season 1 episode "Dark Sunday" that aired on December 12,1973:where Kojak lights a cigarette as he begins questioning a witness,but thinks better of it and sticks a lollipop in his mouth instead to cut his habit of smoking.His supervisor was Capt. Frank McNeil(Dan Frazer). Later in the series McNeil was promoted to Chief of Detectives in Manhattan where Kojak is the commander of the Manhattan South Precinct's Detective Squad. His squad consists of Detective Bobby Crocker(Kevin Dobson),Detective Stavros(played by Telly Savalas' real-life brother George Savalas),who originally used the name "Demosthenes" in the screen credits. Others were Detective Saperstein(Mark Russell,Season 1),and Detective Rizzo(Vince Conti,Season 1)who all gave Kojak support. Roger Robinson appeared in 12 episodes of Season 1 as Detective Gil Weaver. Only actors Telly and George Savalas along with Dan Frazer and Kevin Dobson remained throughout the show entire five-year run.The guest star roster consisted of new talent where future up and coming actors like James Woods, Harvey Keitel,John Ritter,David Proval,to Paul Michael-Glaser,Christopher Walken,Danny Aiello,and Richard Gere,and Kathleen Quinlan where making their marks where as other guest stars ranging from Lynn Redgrave,Forrest Tucker,Ann Jillian, Haywood Nelson, Eli Wallach,Shelley Winters,Ruth Gordon,Jess Walton,Tina Louise,Blair Brown,Paul Benjamin,Robert Hooks, Antonio Fargas, Janet DuBois,Hector Elizondo,Sheree North,along with former Bond girl Maud Adams,Paula Kelly,Isabel Sanford to Marla Gibbs,and Danny Thomas.The scripts were for this series outstanding,especially in the first three seasons were pinned by Abby Mann,Jack Laird,Robert Foster,and Halston Wells with superb direction from the likes of Jeannot Szwarc, Joel Oilansky,Charles S. Dubin, Leo Penn, Christian Nyby and Russ Mayberry. Even Telly Savalas directed several episodes of this series.Several episodes from this series as memorable classics from the premiere episode "A Siege of Terror",to "Dead On His Feet","Therapy In Dynamite","Last Rites For A Dead Priest",to "Halls of Terror","Web of Death","Cross Your Heart And Hope To Die","Lady In The Squadron",to the two-part episodes "A Shield of Terror",and "Kojak's Days" to others like "Where Do You Go When You Have Nowhere To Go",to the final episode of the series "In Full Command" as one of the great cop shows to come out of the 1970's. After the success of this series and 11 years after it was canceled by CBS, ABC-TV revised the series with Telly Savalas returning as Theo Kojak for a number of made for television mystery movies that ran from 1989 until 1992.

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    Kojak was fast-paced and the subtle clues and plot twists whizzed by me when I saw this show back in the 70's. Thank goodness for the DVD's - now I can back track and follow the plot without getting lost. Kojak was a very intelligently produced drama - all the characters were real and the fast- paced show had plenty of suspense and action. Telly Savalas was a master at his craft and his charismatic portrayal of Kojak conveyed a man who was respected by his peers and who was very dedicated and tenacious. The run- down precinct house - chipped and peeling green paint everywhere , dirty, paper-strewn desks, worn-down staircases, confusion...all added to the realism. The on-location shots of NY streets had you immersed in the inner city - all the crime, grime, pimps, junkies, etc. He was like a hipster Sherlock Holmes, sucking a tootsie pop or having a smoke - and he dressed to the hilt, in custom-made suits and expensive ties. Theo - we love ya, Baby.

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    When I saw I could get season one of Kojak (used) for about 20.00 I was all over that. I was on the young side when Kojak aired but it was filmed in the streets of New York City where I grew up and I actually saw them using my favorite pizzeria after school for an episode so it was like rooting for your home team for me to be a fan of Kojak. I just watched episode one Siege Of Terror and I was not disappointed, the show holds up VERY well. I counted over 100 bullets shot, 3 wounded or dead people, realistic street scenes, realistic (to me) action, the things you can appreciate in a police action show. Also, the ending was not all happy and was actually sad, thats what good TV drama is all about in my book. So yeah for the price I paid I'm going to get all of my money's worth watching Kojak's 22 season one episodes. The show was great and won many awards, to me I guess it was a bridge between the Hawaii Five O/ Mannix type show and the next period which I think started with Hill Street Blues. Kojak was street smart like a Hill Street but didn't have much continuity from episode to episode just as the shows Mannix/ Hawaii 5 -0 didn't. You could watch an episode of Kojak in mid season and it was fine, where as if you missed the first half season of Hill Street Blues you'd have missed a lot of character development. So I guess thats why it didn't last past 5 seasons, but in TV years thats a long time. Great show 5 stars. *******Now about this Universal DVD set it has been released on. After watching episode one on disc one, I checked the episode guide online and found out it was NOT the first Kojak made. There was a pilot episode that aired the TV season earlier as a TV movie. That is NOT on this set. Maybe Universal didn't make it and thats the reason why it's not here, but it is a pretty major letdown. I found it on region 2 and will probably get it as I am always curious to see a good shows roots and how it's introduced to the audience. There are also no extra's that I spotted like interviews and that stuff, I know Telly is gone but maybe his brother who was also on the show (if he is still alive) could have given the fans some stories about Telly, I think that would have been great to listen to. Fans of Kojak are undoubtedly fans of Telly so something in the way of a commentary would have been nice. Other TV DVD sets have those extra's and I know Universal is not known for extra's but I'm just mentioning this for those who don't know these things. 3 stars for the packaging, 5 stars for the show. I've seen whole run's of Mannix and Barnaby Jones (!) among others being sold on the internet, I'll be looking for the rest of Kojak (even if it is old VHS transfers) since Universal has decided not to release the other 4 seasons on DVD (are you listening Universal?).

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    Overall, this disappointed me because it wasn't the Kojak remembered until the final few episodes of this first season: you know, the "Who loves ya baby?" Kojak played so well by Telly Savalas.It took half the episodes before Kojak even sucked on his first lollipop. In other words, the "Theo Kojak" as we remember him, took almost a year to develop and that took up most of this disk. I am hopeful that more seasons will come out on DVD because those would all be what I was looking for in the first place. So far, I haven't heard any word of that happening. Maybe this first season DVD did not sell well.The last month of this season, when the shows got a lot more entertaining, were so not only because Kojak came to life but humor was injected with "Stavros" (George Savalas) and his pet plant "Shirley," as well as a few other neat touches.One of the episodes in this first set interested me because it starred Lola Albright, the blonde who was a knockout on the old Peter Gunn television series. It was interesting to see her after a long absence. Speaking of women, this was the first look I had of Kojak's girlfriend who was something else - a great looker - but suddenly disappeared and never came back with no explanation!The most interesting of the earlier shows was the one that featured James Woods as a student in a crime class. If you know Woods, you know he wound up playing an intense, evil guy.The cast in here is good. Kojak's boss, "Frank" (Dan Frazer) was a good guy as was one of Kojak's assistants "Crocker" (Kevin Dobson) who got more screen time as the series went on. Stavros was always fun to watch, especially Kojak calling him "Curly" or "Fatso" or "Baldy."Now that everything is on a roll, please, give us the rest of the series!

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