"The Fugitive" was without a doubt the ultimate example of how a dramatic series is suppose to be done and to this day sets the example for other dramatic shows that were to follow. It was simply put one of the greatest television shows of all time,and the greatest drama ever presented in the history of prime time-television. Somehow,this series has a uniqueness about it in its own way,but in the long run was the prototype of many other shows that were to follow it("The Immortal", "The Invaders","Run For Your Life","Run,Joe Run","The Incredible Hulk"). TV Guide once called this series,"the best TV drama of the 1960's". But it became so much more as the series was frankly a combination of drama,and crime events put together along with some breathtaking suspense and cliffhanging excitement as the standard formula for this show,and it did extremely well giving the series several Emmy nominations for its excellent writing and acting for its star of the show:David Janssen. In other words,the best dramatic series of all time. The opening credits give the introduction to the character...........
Dr. Richard Kimble,an innocent victim of blind justice..... Falsely accused for the murder of his wife when a train wreck frees him on route to the death house....FREED HIM...To hide in lonely desperation and to go from town to town toling at many jobs...... FREED HIM...To search for the one-armed man leave the scene of the crime and to go after him for the murder of his wife.... FREED HIM...To run before the relentless pursuit of the Police Lt. who is obsessed with his capture...
Of course the character of Richard Kimble was loosely inspired by Dr. Sam Sheppard who was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for the 1954 murder of his wife,Marilyn,but was acquitted in a second trial in November of 1966 for a murder he did not commit. The major difference was that Richard Kimble spent four years chasing the real killer who was near the scene of the crime(a one-man armed man)while he was being framed for a murder that he didn't commit,whose wife was brutally murdered in her own home while she was alone,and he was blamed for the crimes....That is basically setting up an innocent man who had nothing to do with the crimes,but also was trying taking his life to hell in a handbasket for something he didn't do! That's wrong! That's blind justice gone astrayed! But the series "The Fugitive" was grand entertainment at its finest hour,and let me explained how......
I.)The Black and White Episodes:Seasons One Through Three:1963-1966
From its premiere episode in September of 1963,"The Fugitive",was grand suspenseful and intriguing entertainment at its finest and with the black and white episodes that came out,it works on many levels,and we are introduced to the character of Richard Kimble(David Janssen),and his adventures going from town to town as he stays one step ahead of the Police Lt. in charge of the manhunt for Kimble,Phillip Gerard(Barry Morse),and the search of the one-armed man who killed his wife,Fred Johnson(Bill Raisch). During the first three seasons of the show,it presented a good decent,and well developed main character and from there evokes emotion from the viewer by having something happening to him that he absolutely doesn't deserved,which evoke genuine emotion,plus he was a character whom viewers can empathize with. Whatever pain he was feeling,the audience felt it too. And each week there was always something happening as Kimble stumbles into each town or city for someone's help or help comes to him,and right away the trouble ensues and the suspicious party that recognizes Kimble's wanted poster from the police bulletin,are right there to call the authorities with by the way,Kimble easily escapes them with just a slip from the cops in the local town and from there drifts into a new venture where he must stay one step ahead of Gerard and to one step toward the lookout for the one-armed man. Kimble eluders his pursuers,gets away for another week while we see him walking backwards down the road,thumbling a ride with a sack over his shoulder. A car passes him,he turns around keeps walking while the legendary William Conrad's voice speaks in the background,"Richard Kimble:Fugitive. Still searching for the one-armed man". "The Fugitive" was an incredible exercise in formulatic writing when nowadays is used as a textbook on
"The Effect Screen writing Of Classic TV Shows",which as of this writing several college campuses and universities are using this format as a part of the TV writing and Journalism courses as a teaching tool for those who are interested in this venture. So college courses show this series as a backdrop on how to write,and produced standard TV shows and it works!(The Black and White episodes of this series) Back to the TV show,"The Fugitive",the show followed the standard Quinn Martin production formula of prologue,multiple,and epilogue--which is basically used in several QM produced shows to follow like,"The FBI","The Invaders","Dan August","Cannon","The Streets Of San Francisco","Barnaby Jones","The Runaways","Harry-O" and so forth.
Here is the summary formula for almost every show: 1. Prologue 2. Act One 3. Act Two 4. Act Three 5. Act Four 6. Epilogue
II.)The Color Episodes:Season Four:1966-1967. In the fall of 1966,"The Fugitive" made the transition from shades of gray(black and white)to color,and from there the show suffered in the ratings,but before the producers(Quinn Martin and Roy Huggins)let ABC bring down the axe of this show,they decided by not risking the series to be cancelled without having a finale. However,the format was basically the same with Kimble staying ahead of Gerard,but the last two episodes of the series were simply put the greatest upset in the history of television. The two-part finale of The Fugitive entitled,"The Judgment",aired on August 27,1967 and the last episode of the series on August 28,1967,after an astounding four seasons and 120 episodes. After four grueling years of chasing and being chased,Kimble finally catches up with the one-armed man,who admits to having been Helen's real killer. In the climax,Kimble chases Johnson on top of the building and from there Johnson is shot and killed by Lt. Gerard,who saves Kimble in the process and is acquitted of all charges. It went on to become one of the highest rated TV finales of all time,and still is in the top ten of the best TV finales ever made.
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