It's the little touches that make a DVD. There are no extras on "Ironside Season 1" (Shout Factory, 1967, $59.98). But the menu cursor is...
It’s the little touches that make a DVD.
There are no extras on “Ironside Season 1” (Shout Factory, 1967, $59.98). But the menu cursor is a rifle-scope crosshair like the one you see in the credits that cripples the show’s groundbreaking hero, played by Raymond Burr.
This is probably in bad taste somehow; it reminds me of Bill Hicks’ controversial routine about how Jesus might not be tickled when he returns to find that people are remembering him with crosses. Imagine a rifle as the cursor on the menu for the “Old Yeller” DVD.
Anyway: The box set includes 28 episodes and the pilot, which shows what comic geeks would call Ironside’s origin. He’s a cranky chief of detectives who gets crippled by a sniper during a vacation that his boss forced him to take. And because the police won’t take him back in a wheelchair — how times and lawsuits have changed — he works for free as a “consultant.”
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Looking at the shows 40 years later, Ironside seems like a forebear of “House” — an abrasive handicapped savant who runs his three protégés through the ringer: Sgt. Ed Brown (Don Galloway), policewoman Barbara Anderson (Eve Whitfield) and assistant Mark Sanger (Don Mitchell). The configuration’s the same as that of Greg House’s gang — white guy, white woman, black guy. And Ironside even grills them about clues he writes on a chalkboard.
“When you stop improving my character, young lady,” he snaps at Barbara, “perhaps you’ll have some time for police work.”
Among the celebrity guest stars, look for Bruce Lee in “Tagged for Murder.” And recall that Quentin Tarantino used Quincy Jones’ immortal theme song to wonderfully preposterous effect in “Kill Bill Vol. 1.”
Mark Rahner: 206-464-8259 or firstname.lastname@example.org