Here are some of the best cop shows that aired during the 1970's.
Television in the 1970’s was so much different than it is today. Before cable television, you had on three networks, a local channel or two, and public television. Remote controls were non-existent. In my house, my dad would say “Hey, can you please get up and change the channel”. I would turn the knob for my dad without complaining (I knew better).
Programming went through genres, with each network vying for it’s share of the audience. During the 1950’s Westerns and variety shows ruled the airwaves. While the variety show still existed in the 1960’s, rural based sitcoms and fantasy sitcoms were the shows viewers sat down to watch.
In the 1970’s, police dramas ruled the airwaves. Cops and detectives would solve the most heinous of crimes in an hour time slot, only to repeat the same thing the following week.
During that era, the opening theme songs caught your attention and drew audiences in. Many shows would end with “A Quinn Martin Production”.
During the early 1970’s I was in elementary school in New York City, yet my parents let me watch these programs (shocking by today’s high octane parenting standards!). Later in the decade I was in junior high and watched even more of these shows. The tough streets were not the ones I played in, but I enjoyed watching these programs.
In no particular order, here are the best cop shows of the 1970’s that I used to watch.
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There series starred Steve Forrest, Robert Urich, Mark Shera, Rod Perry and James Coleman.
The tagline of the Tootise Roll Pop sucking Greek detective, Theo Kojak, is one remembered by fans. A lieutenant in the New York City Police Department, he was a no-nonsense cop who bent a few rules when necessary to bring the bad guys to justice.
Among the cast was Savalas’ real-life brother, George Savlas, Dan Frazer, Mark Russel, Vince Conti, and Kevin Dobson. I used to watch this show every Sunday night.
Dickinson’s character worked for the Criminal Conspiracy Department (the vice squad) for the Los Angeles Police Department. Many times she had to use her femininity to get her out of sticky situations.
The series also starred Earl Holliman, Ed Bernard, Charles Dierkop and John Crawford. I used to get special permission to stay up late and watch this program. I just loved it and the clothes she wore!
The Rookies starred Gerald S. O’Laughlin, Kate Jackson, George Stanford Brown, Sam Melville, Michael Ontkean (for one season) and Brian Fairbain.
The Rockford Files
Jim Rockford, who was wrongfully imprisoned and then pardoned, lives in an old mobile home in Malibu. He is a private investigator who prefers to use his words rather than his weapons. His father, played by Noah Beery, Jr., was always trying to get his son to find more stable employment. Stuart Margolis played his friend, Angel Martin, a former cellmate from San Quentin who oftentimes gets Jim into a heap of trouble.
James Garner’s laid back charm is what made this series a hit from the get-go.
The theme song, Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow, (Baretta’s Theme) was sung by Sammy Davis, Jr.
Also starring in this 70’s crime drama were Michael D> Roberts, Tony Ewell, Dana Elcar and Edward Grover.
The cast always wore the best clothes of the era, and showed as much cleavage as the censors of the day would allow. It made a superstar out of Farrah Fawcett Majors, and launched the careers of most of it’s cast members. Other stars of the program were David Doyle, John Forsythe, Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith, Cheryl Ladd, Shelly Hack and Tanya Roberts.
I remember watching this show in middle school and pining for the long haired feathered look the stars wore.
The Streets of San Francisco
I loved watching this show with my mom! Just check out the sideburns in this series!
There were many other hit cop shows that aired during the 1970's, this is just a list of the ones I loved to watch. What were your favorites?