Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Please Release Me!

Harry O

Do you remember Harry O?

I do. He's my all time favourite TV detective. 
Harry O was a classic American crime drama television series that aired for two seasons from 1974 to 1976.

The series starred David Janssen as Harry Orwell, a private detective living on the beach in a cottage near San Diego. He had been a San Diego policeman until he was shot in the back and forced into retirement.

Harry O is probably the best American TV crime drama of the past thirty years and the character Harry O was without a doubt one of the most compelling. It was very likely one of David Janssen’s best performances.

The series had brilliant scripts, written by Howard Rodman who created the series. They were full of humour, wit and often melancholy. The cinematography was unusual and elegant, more typical of film than TV. Harry was a well rounded character, bohemian, complex, vulnerable and memorably portrayed by David Janssen. His voiceovers were a significant part of the early shows where he philosophised about his life. Remember? 

Days happen to you... and sometimes I wish I could go back to when I was 17 again. When I was 17, I once said, “A woman is like a bus -- let her go. There’ll be another one along in five minutes.”  But that was a long time ago...
Take a trip down memory lane, listen to the great theme tune and watch a clip of David Janssen's wonderful portrayal of Harry O in part of an early programme in the first series, Gertrude. The quality isn't brilliant but it's OK.

Oh how I love those voiceovers!

I remember watching this on the BBC on Saturday evenings. It was very popular in the UK possibly because Harry O was more like the kind of TV detective we tend to prefer. Flawed, vulnerable and with a good heart! The locations in San Diego and then later in Los Angeles were a bit different for us too.

Unfortunately the series was axed after only two seasons as the demand for more violent TV programmes increased and Universal Studios who produced it went along with that.

Sadly it has never been released on DVD. Currently Warner Brothers holds the rights and has no plans to do so. There are numerous scam websites taking money for Harry O DVDs that don’t materialise and others that sell low quality materials produced from TV showings, so don't fall for the scams. So many other TV programmes of this genre, yet nowhere near the quality, have been released, but this one has not.

I have to say I'd love to see this series again and so I created a petition to send to Warner Brothers who seem reluctant to release it.

If you remember the series and would like to support this petition please sign it. If you have never seen Harry O, and you prefer more realistic TV crime dramas than the ones we are fed with today, perhaps you’d like to sign too. You would be in for a treat!

If you'd like to help promote the petition please feel free to put it onto your Blog, email to friends or put it onto Facebook. I'd be very grateful.

Post 162


  1. Janssen was too good to ever not like, but I liked George Peppard in Banacek even better. It too ran for two seasons--'73 and '74, and I've watched every episode at least ten times.

  2. I've never heard of Harry O but I was still very young in the early 70s.

  3. For some reason, I can't remember this TV series. I loved the Perry Mason shows, but yes too many people like the violet, gory type shows. I use to watch a lot of Westerns and Doctor/hospital series also. Now I watch the CSI shows, but sometimes their autopsies get a little gory.

  4. I had a crush on David Janssen and Clint Eastwood. You have to admit they were gorgeous looking men. I watched Harry O. How time flies, 35 years ago. I remember that I enjoyed the show I would love to see the series again. Thanks for the memory jolt:-)

  5. I usually relate to every TV show you mention. I never saw or heard of Harry O. The reason must be that I was caught up in divorce woes from 74 to 76. If you liked it, I would like it so now I want to lobby for it so I can see it for the first time.

  6. I don't remember Harry O as much as I do The Fugitive. I love David Janssen though and I am on Facebook so I will sign the petition. I wish I could watch reruns of The Fugitive also. He died so young. I think he was in his 50's when he passed.

  7. "Why couldn't these studios recognise they had great TV series and they just dumped them. Even loved him in the A Team."

    I don't know about Harry O, but George Peppard is said to have left Banacek on his own hook. He was going through yet another divorce at the time, and thought it wise to reduce his income.

    The Mr. T character struck me as such a buffoon that I never watched the A Team. I guess you could say that it's Banacek that I love more than it is Peppard. This devotion is a mystery to my wife who rightly observes that he was a bit of twit--especially in his relationships with women.

  8. Oh Winifred
    I loved David Jansson! I didn't watch Harry O much but I did watch the The Fugitive and he was fabulous each week.....on a mission to find the real killer of his wife while everyday pining for her lost love. Ah those were the good TV shows!
    He was a great actor.

  9. I just sat here and watched the entire show and now dinner is going to be late! I remember the show, but rarely got to watch it. It came on after my bedtime. I often followed the stories though because I could hear the TV from my bedroom. The voice overs were wonderful. They helped me follow all the action when there wasn't any talking going on!

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. Loree - You missed a treat!

    Patty - Shame you never saw this series. I liked Perry Mason & Ironside too which occasionally is shown here.

    Marjorie - Yes they were lovely looking men. Not many as good as that around now. Eat your heart out Brad Pitt!

    Grannie Annie - You must have been really caught up and such a shame you missed this. One of the best ever.

    Brenda - Yes he was good in the Fugitive but his character had more depth in Harry O and showed his acting ability more. Sadly he was only 48 when he died. Wonder what it was that drove him so hard. Apparently he was a workaholic as well as liking his drink and smoking. Not a good combination.

    Snowbrush - Sadly it wasn't David Janssen's choice to leave Harry O. It was the result of politics at the studios and the move to more violent action drama.

    Denise - Yes they were great shows. Everyone remembers The Fugitive but not so many remember Harry O. Not sure why as it was very popular in the UK.

    Quilly - So sorry I delayed your dinner but it was in a good cause!

    Thanks to everyone who signed the petition. Please pass it on to anyone you can.


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