Tightrope! is an American crime drama series that aired on CBS from September 1959 to September 1960, under the alternate sponsorship of the J.B. Williams Company (Aqua Velva, Lectric Shave, etc.), and American Tobacco (Pall Mall). Produced by Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene in association with Screen Gems, the series stars Mike Connors as an undercover agent named "Nick" who was assigned to infiltrate criminal gangs. The show was originally to have been titled Undercover Man, but it was changed before going to air.
|Created by||Clarence Greene|
|Written by||Frederick Brady|
Al C. Ward
|Directed by||Abner Biberman|
Irving J. Moore
|Theme music composer||George Duning|
|Opening theme||Vic Schoen & Orchestra|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||37|
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Greene-Rouse Productions|
Columbia TriStar Domestic Television (2001)
Sony Pictures Television
|Original release||September 8, 1959 –|
September 13, 1960
Mike Connors' character would narrate the episode, echoing film noir technique. He starred as an undercover police officer, known only as "Nick" (although some sources revealed that his last name was "Stone", his last name was never shown in the series' ending credits). Only his immediate superior on the police force knew he was working undercover. Because the police often did not know that Nick was working for the law, he was often in danger from both the good guys and the bad guys, as he walked the "tightrope" between good and evil. A special gimmick was that in addition to a gun in a shoulder holster, he carried a second gun, a snubnosed revolver, in a holster behind his back; he was often searched by both cops and bad guys, but they stopped searching after finding the first gun.
Despite the show's popularity, it was canceled after only one season. Mike Connors stated in an interview that the show's primary sponsor (J.B. Williams) refused the network's request to move it to a later timeslot on a different day. When CBS head James Aubrey stated that the show was indisputably going to move timeslot, the sponsor dropped Tightrope!, and underwrote another program on another network. Connors also did not agree with suggested changes to the show's format, that would have extended its length to one hour and added a sidekick, to be played by Don Sullivan. He thought such an alteration would eliminate the suspense element of the program. Yet another factor in the show's eventual cancellation were complaints concerning its alleged excessive violence.
Seven years later, Connors would go on to star in the successful, long-running CBS crime series Mannix.
- "Tightrope!". Broadcasting. Cahners Pub. Co. 56: 71. 1959.
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- Interview by Paul & Donna ParlaSULLIVAN’S TRAVELS IN HOLLYWOOD An Interview with ‘B’ Monster Movie Hero Don Sullivan copyright 2008 Paul Parla/Anthony Di Salvo
- Weaver, Tom (2003). "Mike Connors". Eye on Science Fiction: 20 Interviews with Classic SF and Horror Filmmakers. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. pp. 29–30. ISBN 0-7864-1657-2.
- "Tightrope". TV.com. Retrieved April 17, 2013.