Friday, February 27, 2009
Before Monk and Magnum, before Rockford and Columbo, there was a television private investigator that set the standard. Peter Gunn was a smooth son of a bitch. Hard boiled like Spade and Marlowe, but cool as ice and dressed as dapper as Draper.
When I named my son Peter, my dad went out and bought me the first 2 seasons of the show on DVD. My step-son and I watched them intently, one episode after another. We were captivated. They say that cat Shaft is a bad mother f*#@er, but he’s got nothing on Gunn. He can go toe to toe from theme song to right hook. He digs jazz, has a gorgeous lady, a flawless look, and a steel persona. TV detectives typically fall neatly into the grizzled gumshoe, jet-setting playboy or the quirky character categories. Peter Gunn is his own line: Hipster bad-ass.
Starring Craig Stevens and produced by Blake Edwards, Peter Gunn stands up pretty well. If I were remaking the show, I’d keep the music, the clothes and the black and white. It has an almost timeless quality. And the title character is every bit as timeless. Tough as nails and smooth as silk. A true gentleman who knows how to get things done without shorting refinement. In my opinion, he’s the closest American counterpart to James Bond. Theme song and all.