Premiere episodes can certainly make or break a TV series. I’ll use these posts to let you know some of the premieres (new and old) that I loved and kept me watching a certain TV show through all the seasons.
Adam-12 is a police procedural crime drama television series created by Robert A. Cinader and Jack Webb. It was aiming to be realistic in its depiction of police and helped to introduce police procedures and jargon to the general public in the United States. It follows a 7-year veteran officer Pete Malloy, Badge 744, and his new partner, fresh out of training, Jim Reed, Badge 2430.
In the pilot episode, Adam-12 used a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere; for the rest of the first season, a 1968 Plymouth Belvedere was used instead, later updated to a 1969 Plymouth Belvedere for the second and third seasons. In the fourth season, Adam-12 used a 1971 Plymouth Satellite. Starting with the fifth season, and for the rest of the series, Adam-12 used a 1972 AMC Matador.
The premiere episode, “Log 1: The Impossible Mission”, was written and directed by Jack Webb (Joe Friday in the “Dragnet” franchise). Officer Pete Malloy (Martin Milner) plans to retire after his partner is shot and killed while attempting to arrest an armed robber.
On what is to be his last day in the LAPD, he is assigned to take rookie Officer Jim Reed (Kent McCord) out for his first patrol. Reed shows tremendous potential but, like all probationary officers, still has much to learn.
Calls include a pursuit through Tujunga Wash, a baby not breathing, a lady who thinks she felt something, and a demonstration that turns violent. During the demonstration shooting, Reed disobeys Malloy’s orders and rushes into the darkness, eventually returning unharmed with all three suspects in custody.
With encouragement from Lieutenant Moore, Malloy agrees to stay with the LAPD and guide Reed through his probationary period. The show would run 7 seasons from September 21, 1968, to May 20, 1975. The action is in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Rampart Division.
Premiere Episode Cast
- Milner, Martin as Officer Pete Malloy – (December 28, 1931 – September 6, 2015) Sands of Iwo Jima, Halls of Montezuma, Last of the Comanches, Dial M for Murder, Mister Roberts, Francis in the Navy, On the Threshold of Space, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, 13 Ghosts, Valley of the Dolls, The Swiss Family Robinson, TV episodes of The Lone Ranger, Dragnet, Science Fiction Theatre, Wagon Train, Rawhide, Route 66 (116 ep), The Virginian, Adam-12 (174 ep), Columbo, The Swiss Family Robinson, Murder She Wrote
- McCord, Kent as Officer Jim Reed – (born September 26, 1942) Kissin’ Cousins, Viva Las Vegas, Airplane II: The Sequel, Predator 2, Return of the Living Dead Part III, TV episodes of Dragnet, Adam-12 (Ep. 174), Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, Galactica 1980, SeaQuest DSV, Silk Stalkings, Farscape
- Gilmore, Art as Lt. Val Wangsgard – (March 18, 1912 – September 25, 2010) Voice actor in Mission to Moscow, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Rear Window, The Gallant Hours TVVVVVVVVVVVV Dragnet (12 ep.), Shower of Stars, The Roy Rogers Show, Climax!, Men of Annapolis, Mackenzie’s Raiders (Narrator), Highway Patrol, The New Breed (Narrator), Emergency!, Adam-12 (15 ep.), The Waltons
- Guilbert, Ann Morgan as Ruth Elkins – (October 16, 1928 – June 14, 2016) Grumpier Old Men, TV episodes of My Three Sons, Millie on The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show, Adam-12, I Dream of Jeannie, The Partridge Family, Cheers, Newhart, Blossom, Seinfeld, Empty Nest, Home Improvement, The Nanny, Modern Family
- Hartman, Ena as Mrs. Fred Warner – (Born April 1, 1935) Airport, TV episodes of Bonanza, Adam-12, It Takes a Thief, Ironside, Dan August
- Burton, Julian as Mac Jeffries – (June 4, 1932 -March 27, 2006) TVVVVVVVVV Dragnet, Seahunt, The Aquanauts, Tales of Wells Fargo, Laramie, Rawhide, The Outer Limits, Get Smart, Mission: Impossible, Mannix, Adam-12
- Nolan, John as Harold Mason – (April 30, 1933 – April 7, 2000) TV episodes ofPeter Gunn, Dragnet, McHale’s Navy, F Troop, Kojak, Adam-12, Emergency!
- Boland, Gene as Fred Warner – (unknown) I Dream of Jeannie, Daktari, Adam-12, CHiPs
- Boyett, William as Sgt. MacDonald – (January 3, 1927 – December 29, 2004) Forbidden Planet, Francis in the Haunted House, Airport, Gemini Man, Space Raiders, The Rocketeer, TV episodes of The Life of Riley, Space Patrol, The Cisco Kid, Wagon Train, Tales of the Texas Rangers, Maverick, Dragnet, Highway Patrol, Bat Masterson, Sea Hunt, Death Valley Days, Laramie, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Gunsmoke, Perry Mason, Batman, Get Smart, Gomer Pyle: USMC, The Invaders, That Girl, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., My Three Sons, Family Affair, Mission: Impossible, Mannix, The Six Million Dollar Man, Adam-12, The Bionic Woman, The Rockford Files, Emergency!, The Incredible Hulk, CHiPs, Spider-Man, Whiz Kids, Family Ties, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Simon & Simon, Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Culver, Howard as George Morrison – (June 4, 1918 – August 4, 1984) The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, Halloween II, TV episodes of Space Patrol, Dragnet, Perry Mason, Zane Grey Theatre, The Untouchables, The Time Tunnel, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Land of the Giants, The Brady Bunch, Gunsmoke, Adam-12, Project U.F.O., Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
- Stewart, Don as Officer One – (November 14, 1935 – January 9, 2006) TV episodes of McHale’s Navy, The Virginian, Adam-12, Guiding Light, Knots Landing, The X-Files, Profiler
- Deemer, Ed as Officer Bill James – (born October 29, 1937) TV episodes of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, My Mother the Car, Petticoat Junction, Combat!, The Fugitive, Batman, The Invaders, Family Affair, Adam-12, Mod Squad, Bewitched, Mission: Impossible, The F.B.I., The Streets of San Francisco, David Cassidy – Man Undercover, Project U.F.O., The Rockford Files, The Greatest American Hero
- Warick, Rick as Desk Officer – (April 9, 1915 – May 2, 1986) TV episodes of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Rifleman, Bonanza, Adam-12
- Claridge, Shaaron as Dispatcher(voice)(uncredited)
- Daheim, John as Green Buick Driver(uncredited) – (June 22, 1916 – September 22, 1991) Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Great Locomotive Chase, Jailhouse Rock, Silver Streak TV episodes of The Lone Ranger, Soldiers of Fortune, The Magical World of Disney, Wagon Train, Have Gun Will Travel, Peter Gunn, Rawhide, The Untouchables, The Beverly Hillbillies, Bonanza, Adam-12, The Virginian
- Pollack, Murray as Police Officer(uncredited) – (August 29, 1918 – May 10, 1979) A Star Is Born, White Christmas, Cult of the Cobra, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, Jailhouse Rock, The Lost Missile, North by Northwest, The Three Stooges in Orbit, How the West Was Won, Son of Flubber, TV episodes of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Untouchables, Dennis the Menace, Maverick, The Twilight Zone, Have Gun – Will Travel, Perry Mason, Combat!, The Donna Reed Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Jack Benny Program, My Favorite Martian, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Munsters, Batman, My Three Sons, The Monkees, The Lucy Show, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Bonanza, The Invaders, The Flying Nun, Mod Squad, Here’s Lucy, Family Affair, It Takes a Thief, Ironside, Get Smart, Adam-12, I Dream of Jeannie, Mannix, Mission: Impossible, Hogan’s Heroes, Bewitched, The Doris Day Show, McMillan & Wife, McCloud, The Partridge Family, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Kojak, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, The Bob Newhart Show, Columbo, Starsky and Hutch, Charlie’s Angels, The Love Boat
- Sheldon, Jerome as First Student(uncredited) – (Born February 8, 1942) Paint Your Wagon, TV episodes of The Red Skelton Hour, Cavalcade of America, Adam-12
- Van Sickel, Dale as Green Buick Passenger(uncredited) – (November 29, 1907 – January 25, 1977) Duck Soup, Cobra Woman, King of the Rocket Men, Mighty Joe Young, Flying Disc Man From Mars, Zombies of the Stratosphere, The War of the Worlds, Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, A Star Is Born, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, The Monster That Challenged the World, Spartacus, Birdman of Alcatraz, The Great Race, Cyborg 2087, The Gnome-Mobile, The Love Bug, Duel, TV episodes of Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe, Soldiers of Fortune, Adventures of Superman, The Sheriff of Cochise, Harbor Command, Wagon Train, State Trooper, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Mike Hammer, Zorro, Bonanza, Maverick, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Peter Gunn, Cheyenne, The Untouchables, The Virginian, The Wild Wild West, Perry Mason, The Lucy Show, The Green Hornet, Batman, Mannix, Adam-12
The first and second seasons are not in chronological order, with Reed’s stated time in the LAPD varying in each episode. Starting with the third season, the series was chronologically organized and Reed completed his probationary period, becoming a permanent police officer.
The production of Adam-12 involved showing all aspects of correct police procedures. The show centered around police cruisers, as “Webb wanted the vehicle itself to be considered a character”, and helped reinforce “the sound of radio as an anti-crime technology.” The police vehicles used in the production of the show were purchased from local dealerships and outfitted by the prop department to accurate LAPD cruiser specifications.
The driving scenes were filmed on public streets but Webb was not happy with the glare from the windshield. They tried removing the windshield but then their hair was blowing and the audio picked up wind noise. Props then put the window back in and built an overhead shield with sides that extended enough to block the reflections. A station wagon towed this whole get-up.
“1-Adam-12” is an LAPD callsign that combines the unit’s patrol division, the type of patrol unit, and the daily assigned reporting district. Most scenes in the older seasons were filmed at the Universal Studios Lot, mostly Courthouse Square and Colonial Street. Around the third and fourth seasons, the series shifted to using actual locations in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. The garage used tow trucks from the LAPD’s North Hollywood Division, close to Universal Studios.
They were planning for the 8th season even though Milner was leaving after the 7th season. Jo Ann Pflug, Mark Harmon, and Michael Warren were all tested in police officer roles but then the birth of Kent McCord’s son (born three days before the seventh season’s finale aired) took McCord off the show as well, forcing the series to end with the seventh season.
Milner and McCord made cameo appearances as their Adam-12 characters in various episodes of the fifth season of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. Both Milner and McCord would make two appearances in a revival of Adam-12 that ran over two seasons from 1990 to 1991. In a scene from The Matrix Reloaded, “1-Adam-12” can be heard over a police radio feed.
Notable Guest Stars
- Cloris Leachman (Comedian)
- Melody Patterson (F-Troop)
- James Sikking (Hill Street Blues)
- Karen Black (Easy Rider)
- James McEachin (Play Misty For Me)
- Tim Matheson (Jonny Quest, National Lampoon’s Animal House)
- Hal Smith (Andy Griffith)
- Barry Williams (Brady Bunch)
- Dick Sargent (Bewitched)
- Harry Dean Stanton (Cool Hand Luke, Alien)
- David Cassidy (The Partridge Family)
- Tony Dow (Leave it to Beaver)
- Jodie Foster (Silence of the Lambs, Contact)
- Mark Goddard (Lost in Space)
- Trini Lopez (singer, guitarist, and actor)
- Robert I. Clarke (The Man from Planet X, The Incredible Petrified World, The Astounding She-Monster, From the Earth to the Moon
- Randolph Mantooth (Emergency!)
- Larry Linville (M*A*S*H)
- Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman)
- Ozzie Nelson (The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet)
- Barbara Hale (Perry Mason)
- Kathy Garver (Family Affair)
- Foster Brooks (comedian best known for his portrayal of a lovable drunk)
- Keye Luke (Kung Fu, Gremlins)
- Jo Ann Worley (Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In)
- Frank Sinatra, Jr. (singer, songwriter, actor and conductor)
- Dick Clark (American Bandstand)
- Edd Byrnes (77 Sunset Strip)
- Micky Dolenz (The Monkees)
- Tina Sinatra (businesswoman, film producer, Hollywood agent, and memoirist)
- Frank Sinatra (singer, actor)
- Laurette Spang (Battlestar Galactica)
- Johnny Whitaker (Family Affair, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters)
- Martin Milner’s real-life son Andrew played Whitaker’s stunt double in the minibike chase scene
- Tina Cole (My Three Sons)
- Sharon Gless (Cagney & Lacey)
- Paul Gleason (The Breakfast Club, Trading Places, Die Hard)
- Dick Van Patten (Eight Is Enough)
- Martin Milner’s real-life daughter Amy Milner as Debbie McMahon, the shopkeeper’s daughter
- Kent McCord’s real-life daughter Kristen McCord as a child named Debra, who is playing hopscotch when Reed pulls up behind Malloy’s abandoned car
- Mark Harmon (NCIS)
- Jo Ann Pflug (M*A*S*H)
- John Randolph Webb (April 2, 1920 – December 23, 1982) was an American actor, television producer, director, and screenwriter, who is most famous for his role as Sgt. Joe Friday in the Dragnet franchise, which he created. He was also the founder of his own production company, Mark VII Limited. [Back]