My memory of Mike Conners as Mannix is that he reminded me of my Dad. An everyman. Been to war, no nonsense, physical, dark haired.
I had forgotten that the first season of Mannix focused on his square peg / round hole setting working at a Detective Agency named Intertect. They relied heavily on computers (heh, 1967 computers. A bunch of punch cards and reel to reel tapes!). Our boy Joe Mannix did not fit that mold, and he solved investigations his own way. An against the grain antihero.
Following that first season, Desilu Chief Lucille Ball ordered the computers and Intertect nixed. She felt they were just too modern and confusing to the TV audience (at least she didn’t jump in the way of tech with Star Trek, another Desilu product!).
So, from the second season forward, Mannix was on his own at his own Agency. Joe’s always helpful secretary Peggy Flair (the lovely Gail Fisher) was on his side, as were some Police Force contacts like M*A*S*H’s Larry Lindville and Mr. Brady himself, Robert Reed. But he always had some old Army buddy that was after him. I don’t know what Mannix did in the Army that got so many of his comrades ticked off at him, but it seemed that every 4 or 5 weeks one of them was after him. Maybe he stuck them with the KP duty once too often, or was the platoon trouble maker, getting leave canceled…
Best thing evah about Mannix was the veritable fleet of cars he went through. Let’s see, he drove:
66 Mercury Comet Caliente convertible (muy caliente!!)
67 Mercury Comet Cyclone convertible
67 Ford Galaxie 500 four-door
67 Ford Fairlane 500 four-door
67 Oldsmobile Toronado roadster (built by George Barris, because Olds never made a Toronado ragtop)
68 Dodge Dart GTS 383 convertible
69 Dodge Dart GTS 340 convertible
70 Plymouth Cuda 340 convertible
71 Plymouth Cuda 340 convertible
73 Plymouth Cuda 340 convertible (which was actually the 71 Cuda that they put the 73 front end on)
74 Dodge Challenger 360 Coupe
And finally a 75 Chevy Camaro LT
Poor Gail had to make due with Dodge Colt and a Chevy Vega.
Mannix was mas macho! Always ready to throw down when necessary, and the ladies loved him.
At the tender age of 8, I grew to appreciate the Twirling Tennis Skirt, seen here in the show open.
Unbelievably, Mannix ran from 1967 through 1975. Eight years! Oh my.