Our modest proposal for Harrison Ford’s next movie

Barnaby Jones main title

Harrison Ford, who turns 75 in July, has had a long run playing heroic figures, principally Han Solo and Indiana Jones.

For a time, it seemed as if Ford was taking a back seat to other actors. For example, in 2011’s Cowboys and Aliens, he was clearly a supporting player to star Daniel Craig.

Then, in 2015, Ford was a big star again with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, where he got top billing playing Han Solo once more. However, Han was killed by his son who had given into the Dark Side of The Force.

Meanwhile, there’s supposed to be a fifth Indiana Jones movie but nothing scheduled for at least a couple of years. Do we want Indy pushing 80? Or is it time to retire Indy?

Which gets us to a more practical idea: How about Ford starring in a movie version of the 1973-80 television series Barnaby Jones?

Think about it for a minute. Ford already is older than Buddy Ebsen was when he filmed the Barnaby Jones pilot. (The veteran actor was 64 when the show’s first episode aired on Jan. 28, 1973.)

Barnaby Jones out-thought his opponents, assisted by his daughter-in-law Betty (Lee Meriwether) and, in later seasons, by a much-younger cousin, J.R. Jones (Mark Shera).

It would be an opportunity for Ford to use a different set of acting skills compared with Star Wars and Indiana Jones.

Plus, audiences clearly still like Ford. As a result, a Barnaby Jones movie would still get attention in the 21st century.

Just something to think about.

The FBI season 5 on DVD: Erskine enters the ’70s

Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as FBI Inspector Erskine

Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as FBI Inspector Erskine

Warner Archive, part of Warner Bros., this week made season 5 of the Quinn Martin-produced The FBI available on home video.

Here’s part of the promo:

As the Sixties come to an end and a new decade begins, it’s business as usual for Inspector Lewis Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) and the men and women of the FBI as they continue to protect America from enemies within, in this hard-hitting fifth season collection. Inspired by actual cases and produced with the personal support of J. Edgar Hoover…
(snip)
A showcase for veteran actors as well as the up-and-coming, Season Five of The FBI shines the spotlight on an arresting lineup of guest stars including Oscar® winners Robert Duvall and Jeff Bridges, Hitchcock femmes Vera Miles and Laraine Day, Anne Francis, Sam Elliott, Jack Klugman, David Cassidy, Joe Don Baker, Cicely Tyson and Harrison Ford.

The 1969-70 season saw a major change behind the camera. Charles Larson, producer of the first four seasons, had departed. He was replaced by Philip Saltzman, who would end up as the top producer for QM Productions after founder Quinn Martin sold his production company in the late 1970s. Saltzman had big shoes to fill. Larson did many uncredited rewrites of FBI scripts and often penned a few of his own each season. Saltzman would oversee The FBI through its eighth season.

There was one other change. In the first four seasons, star Efrem Zimbalist Jr. had driven a Ford Mustang in the end titles. Starting with the fifth season, Ford had other models it wanted to promote and Inspector Erskine’s Mustang was no more.

The FBI is part of Warner Archive’s “manufacturing on demand” program, meaning the DVDs are made as they’re ordered. The price is $49.95 and it’s only available in the U.S. For more information on ordering, CLICK HERE.

Season 4 of The FBI now available

"Sorry, Arthur, no time to talk right now. I'm ordering season four of The FBI."

“Sorry, Arthur, no time to talk right now. I’m ordering season four of The FBI.”

The Warner Archive division of Warner Bros. this week brought out season four of The FBI, confirming a post we had last month.

If you CLICK HERE you’ll see ordering information as well as a sample clip of a 1969 episode called “A Life in the Balance” with James Caan as the guest star.

Here’s a description:

As the Summer of Love faded to the winter of our national discontent in the fall of 1968, Inspector Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.), Special Agent Colby (William Reynolds), and Assistant Director Ward (Philip Abbott) continue to battle the nation’s enemies, foreign and domestic. Delivering drama at the height of its powers, The FBI’s well-oiled machine of TV talent continued to draw in the star power – both the iconic and the up-and-coming, from golden age great Ralph Bellamy (as a Nazi sympathizer!) to soon-to-be TV superstar Chad Everett (as a psycho wannabe Vietnam War hero). Other faces found among the cases of extortion, espionage, kidnapping and killing include Dawn Wells, Susan Strasberg, Dorothy Provine, Cicely Tyson, Lynda Day and Gene Tierney as well as Dean Stockwell, Robert Duvall, Harrison Ford, James Caan, and a young teen Ronny Howard.

As with the previous releases, this is manufactured on demand, so it’s not available in stores. The price for the season is $49.95.

The Quinn Martin-produced series had 26 episodes during the 1968-69 season. The season included a number of espionage-themed episodes, starting the opener, Wind It Up And It Betrays You (plotted by Harold Jack Bloom, who wrote an episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and was involved in the scripting of You Only Live Twice) as well as The Enemies (written by Peter Allan Fields, a leading U.N.C.L.E. writer) and Ceasar’s Wife, featuring a young Harrison Ford.

The FBI Season 4 coming soon on DVD

"Identification branch? I want information on this Harrison Ford kid who's been cast in our TV show!"

“Identification branch? I want information on this Harrison Ford.”

It not official yet, but the Warner Archive division of Warner Bros. is planning to bring out season four of The FBI soon on DVD.

We don’t have a specific date. But we quizzed Warner Archive on Twitter if season 4 of the Quinn Martin-produced is coming out. The answer: “Soon, but not yet announced.”

The 1968-69 season has a number of highlights, including Caesar’s Wife, featuring Harrison Ford, then 26, as the grown son of a retired U.S. diplomat (Michael Rennie), who’s the target of a Soviet spy ring run by a deep cover agent played by Russell Johnson. Ford’s character gets the short end of a fight scene with the one-time Professor of Gilligan’s Island. Actually, it’s a good episode but from the Ford-Johnson fight will probably get a lot of 2013 viewer attention.

Other highlights of the season include Wind It Up and It Betrays You, the first episode of the season and another espionage story, which was plotted by Harold Jack Bloom (the only writer who scripted an episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and contributed to a James Bond movie with “additional story material” for You Only Live Twice) and has Louis Jourdan as the villain; The Runaways, featuring a post-Opie Ron Howard; and Conspiracy of Silence, which has some backstory of Efrem Zimbalist Jr.’s Inspector Erskine character and whose cast includes Gene Tierney.

The fourth season was the last to be overseen by producer Charles Larson, who had been with the show from day one. It’s also the final season where Inspector Erskine drives a Ford Mustang convertible in the end titles. Ford Motor Co., the lead sponsor and supplier of vehicles, wanted to promote other models starting with season 5.

Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig square off in badassery vote

Official poster. Click for big-ass version.

Strictly speaking, this isn’t James Bond news at all, but it’s still kind of fun.

The Huffington Post is carrying an article about the upcoming sci-fi western Cowboys & Aliens, Jon Favreau’s hotly anticipated genre mashup starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig. It’s the usual pre-release publicity puff piece (to put it perfunctorily), but it affords us 007 fans the chance to vote on Who Is the Bigger Present Day Badass?, in a contest between Ford and Craig.

Ford, as Favreau pointed out, is an all-time legend; he’s played two of the most iconic action heroes of all time, in Indiana Jones and Han Solo. He also punched terrorists off of his plane as President in Air Force One, making him the toughest Commander in Chief since Teddy Roosevelt. But in present days, Craig can give him a run for his money; the Englishman helped revive and transform the James Bond franchise, and is headed into his third run as 007.

So, go read the article ‘Cowboys & Aliens’: Favreau, Howard & Spielberg Talk ‘Bad*ss’ Epic and check out the accompanying video. Then, do your duty as a James Bond fan — and vote!

Who's the bigger badass? Click to embiggin.

 

007 alumnus Vic Armstrong talks to NPR

Vic Armstrong, former James Bond stuntman and second unit director, was interviewed by NPR on May 18 about his new book. He talked about how a fellow stuntman, who was working on 2001: A Space Odyessey and unable to get away from it, helped him get a job on You Only Live Twice, his first 007 film.

From that rather humble beginning (Armstrong figures he got about $100 a week on You Only Live Twice), he would eventually be put in charge of Bond’s action unit. As a second unit director (on Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day), he was responsible for tens of millions of dollars.

Armstrong also did many other films, including doubling for Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones and Christopher Reeve’s Superman. In the NPR interview, Armstrong says Yakima Canutt was the greatest stuntman of all time (he did a memorable stunt in 1939’s Stagecoach and staged the chariot race in 1959’s Ben Hur), while also favorably mentioning long time 007 stunt arranger Bob Simmons and George Leech, another veteran 007 stuntman (and Armstrong’s father-in-law).

To listen to the interview, just CLICK HERE.