Cannon TV series


1971 - United States

To become a top telly private eye in the 1970s it was almost essential to have a disability. Longstreet was blind, Ironside was a paraplegic and Frank Cannon was - well, plain obese. 

That may not seem too much of a disability, but it didn't take the villian of each episode too long to work out that when confronted by the heavyweight, middle-aged, balding PI, all they had to do! That's why Cannon always needed to be one step (or several yards in a chase) ahead of his suspects. And for his services, clients would pay top dollar which allowed Frank to indulge in his personal luxuries such as food, expensive cars and food. 

Cannon was created by Quinn Martin for the actor William Conrad who up until then was better known for his voice than his face. In the 1950s he was Matt Dillon in the radio version of Gunsmoke but physically unsuited to the part when the series transferred to television. In the 1960s his was the voice heard at the beginning and end of each episode of The Fugitive

The series was developed from a 100-minute TV movie and Cannon frequently crossed over to appear on Barnaby Jones, another QM Production which ran concurrently with Cannon on CBS between January 1973 and the latter's cancellation. Conrad returned to our TV screen again in Jake and the Fatman - he didn't play the part of Jake! He returned once more as the rotund PI in the aptly titled The Return of Frank Cannon

Some distinguished guests appeared in Cannon - among them Roy Schneider, Martin Sheen, David Janssen, Jay Silverheels (Tonto in The Lone Ranger) and Leslie Nielsen. 

Published on December 2nd, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.

Read Next...


A truly defining early entry in the annals of the embryonic genre of US television police drama series, Dragnet became the seminal template from which all later successful cops shows drew a measure of guidance and inspiration...

Also tagged Us Cops

All In The Family

British critics have called 'All In The Family' "a reworked, far less provocative version" of the show it was based on, BBC's 'Till Death Us Do Part'...

Also released in 1971

Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer

A wisecracking anti-hero detective who lives tough in a tough world of murderers, kidnappers, drug dealers and extortionists.

Also tagged Us Cops

I Spy

Spy thriller - the first to feature an African American alongside a white actor in a lead role.

Also tagged Us Cops

Behind the Fridge

A one-off special featuring a series of sketches portraying the eccentricities of the British courtesy of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

Also released in 1971

The Naked City

Semi documentary style police procedural series.

Also tagged Us Cops

Elizabeth R - Glenda Jackson

"...Glenda Jackson totally submersed herself in the role by reading everything she could find about Elizabeth in order to get a deep understanding of the Queen. And this shines out from her performance as she delivers each line with an authority of a true monarch."

Also released in 1971

Highway Patrol

1950s TV police series made on a shoestring budget

Also tagged Us Cops