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Ironside (NBC 1967-1975, Raymond Burr, Don Mitchell)

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In this iconic crime drama series an assassin tries to kill San Francisco Chief of Detectives Ironside, but the bullet leaves him paralysed from the waist down, and forces him to leave the cops. Ironside then becomes a special civilian consultant to the San Francisco Police Department. His first case is to get the guy who put him in a wheelchair.

Ironside was given his role by Police Commissioner Randall, along with an operations base in the converted attic of Police Headquarters. Helping him wage his war against crime were top-flight police officers Sergeant Ed Brown, policewoman Eve Whitfield and Mark Sanger, a black man with a history of run-ins with the law, who became Ironside’s aide, bodyguard and driver of his customised van, specially equipped with telephone, tape-recorder and hydraulic lift.

Whitfield (played by Barbara Anderson of Mission Impossible) left the series at the end of the 1970-1 season over a contract dispute and was replaced by Elizabeth Baur as policewoman Fran Belding. Sergeant Brown and Mark Sanger were given expanded roles – Brown took on more undercover work, and Mark went to law school, graduating at the start of the 1974-75 season and getting married.

The appeal of this solid, old-fashioned police series, in which the robbers and murderers were always caught, lay in the commanding, magnetic presence of Raymond Burr, who was so convincing in his role that viewers believed that Burr himself was paraplegic. Burr regarded the part as both a challenge and an eye-opener.

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TRIVIA
A very young and fresh faced Harrison Ford appeared in Ironside.

Raymond Burr had personal experience of injury having been wounded in the Second World War.

Quincy Jones, the composer of the show’s famous theme tune, appeared in an episode.

The show was known as A Man Called Ironside in the UK, but called simply Ironside in the US.

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cast
Raymond Burr as Robert T. Ironside
Don Galloway as Det. Sgt. Ed Brown
Don Mitchell as Mark Sanger
Barbara Anderson as Officer Eve Whitfield
Elizabeth Baur as Fran Belding
Gene Lyons as Commissioner Dennis Randall
Johnny Seven as Lt Carl Reese
Joan Pringle as Diana Sanger

crew details
Creator: Collier Young
Music: Monty Paich
Executive Producers: Cy Chermak, Joel Rogosin, Frank Price, Collier Young

production details
Country: USA
Network and Production Companies: NBC – Harbour Prod – Universal
Duration: 188×50 minute episodes 7×120 minute episodes
Aired From: 1967-1975

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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