Starring Raymond Burr, Barbara Anderson
Available Now; $44.99
When Perry Mason ended, Raymond Burr was amongst the most popular television actors. It wasn’t long until they found another vehicle for Burr, and Ironside was that vehicle. On the surface, the premise was pretty implausible. Ironside, the Chief of Detectives in San Francisco, was paralyzed by an assassin’s bullet and was confined to a wheelchair. Did that stop him from fighting crime? Heck, no. He assembled a crack team, featuring a beautiful policewoman, an ex-con who was studying law, and a straight-laced detective sergeant. He also rode around in a modified paddy wagon so he could travel to the crime scenes and question the bad guys. Like Perry Mason, he knew the answers even before he asked the questions. And he ate — he ate a lot! (No kidding, in every episode Burr chowed down once or twice).
The show touched on all of the hot topics of the late 1960s: drugs, racism, youth, abortion, civil rights, and so on. It was quite popular, as much of a cultural touchstone as Adam-12 and Dragnet. However, because of its hour-long length, it hasn’t lasted in syndication, so it’s not as well known as those other shows. Recently, reruns have shown up on TV Land.
However, if you need an Ironside fix, Shout! Factory has released the complete Season 2 on DVD. There are 26 hour-long episodes in the seven discs and they are filled with guest stars that are familiar to us all, but yet typical of late 1960′s TV fare. Ed Asner, Ricardo Montelban, Bill Bixby, Burgess Meredith, and Gary Collins all take turns as guests.
This DVD set has no extras, just each and every episode of Season 2. Is it worth it? It is if you are a die-hard Ironside or Burr fan (or just love the funky theme song by Quincy Jones). However, Ironside seems more like a show that you stop on to watch when flipping channels. The acting and plots are pretty predictable late-60′s cop-show fare.
I don’t know if I’d pay full price for this, but I am pleased that companies are now making DVDs of long lost TV shows.