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Memories of Kojak

Last post 11-13-2007, 3:45 PM by PAUL ZAPPULLA. 3 replies.
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  •  03-07-2006, 5:55 PM 1028

    Memories of Kojak

    Originating with an excellent movie, "The Marcus-Nelson Murders", Kojak starred Telly Savalas as an eccentric but effective Police Lieutenant solving crimes on the mean streets of New York City. (Kojak was surely the snappiest dresser of any cop-hero of the day. ) Certainly one of the best 'cop-drama' shows, with a fine supporting cast (Crocker, Stavros, Rizzo and Saperstein, and of course his long-suffering Captain -- Stavros played by Telly's brother George) and consistently good writing -- often not happy stories, but good ones. Kojak's trademark line of "who loves ya, baby" showed up everywhere for years after (not the least in Savalas' own post-Kojak commercials. )

    My personal favorite episode was one called "Seige"; a relatively simple story of hostages and bad-guys inside and cops outside, but very, very, very well told. Kojak's trademark lollipop was actually a substitute for the cigarrettes the character smoked early on (Savalas quit smoking. )

    Although there were a passle of follow-on made-for-TV movies, the best was the first -- "The Belarus File" (a mystery of ***, government malfeasance, and revenge. )


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  •  03-07-2006, 5:55 PM 1029 in reply to 1028

    Re: Memories of Kojak

    Telly Savalas was a grizzled veteran of TV and films by 1973. This was his moment in the sun and it was richly deserved. Lt. Theo Kojak, NYPD, was a stalwart homicide detective working out of Manhattan South, battling both crime and red tape from the (then) Centre Street brass that had forgotten how to be cops once they reached the upper tier.

    The episodes were minor classics, especially the first season, when most of the series was shot on location in New York City. The scripts were penned by super talent as Jack Laird, Halstead Wells, Gene Kearney and allowed Telly to make Kojak his own: The compassion, the ethnicity, flamboyant clothes, suave charm. All became trademarks of the series that was a benchmark for CBS. Savalas won an Emmy for Best Actor in the premiere season (1973-74) and further earned a rock etched place in popular culture, especially when he spoke what was to become his trademark line (in the episode DIE BEFORE THEY WAKE): "Who loves ya, baby?"

    The series ran from 1973 to 1978 and reappeared in 1989 in a cluster of 2 hour made for TV movies on ABC. While entertaining, the latter reincarnaton couldn't equal the original which remains a stellar work of the small screen.

    --Gregory Saffady

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  •  03-07-2006, 5:56 PM 1030 in reply to 1029

    Re: Memories of Kojak

    Created by writer Abby ("Ship Of Fools", "Judgment At Nuremberg") Mann, this Telly Savalas vehicle ran from 1973 to 1978 and was one of the more successful of the "cops with personality" trend. Guest stars (F. Murray Abraham, Paul Anka) and young talent on the way up (Ralph Macchio) provided surprises. Also, the show benefited greatly from location shooting in New York City; people who knew the city of that day will find the reruns absolutely electric with memories.

    --Pete Jamison

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  •  11-13-2007, 3:45 PM 2799 in reply to 1030

    Re: Memories of Kojak

    most people remember the phrase who loves ya baby, but i liked his line tell me about it, also i recently ordered on dvd the first season of kojak and all the unkown stars at that time who made it big like harvey kietel in episode siege of terror and james woods,also john ritter
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