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CANNON opened up its 3rd season top top CBS through a distinct two-hour illustration filmed on location in the tiny town the Grass sink in northern California. Based on David Delman’s 1973 novel, “He that Digs a Grave” enabled executive producer Quinn martin (THE UNTOUCHABLES) and producer Adrian Samish (THE F.B.I.) come splurge on production values and guest actors, many notably David Janssen.A major television star with stints top top the hit collection RICHARD DIAMOND, private DETECTIVE and also THE FUGITIVE and one season on Jack Webb’s flop O’HARA: UNITED claims TREASURY, Janssen was well above doing episodic guest shots by 1973. The hadn’t worked in that capacity because a 1963 naked CITY, and would do just one more—an episode of the anthology POLICE STORY—before his 1980 death. So obtaining Janssen to appear as a distinct guest star in “He who Digs a Grave” was a actual coup because that Martin, who had additionally been the executive, management producer of THE FUGITIVE.

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Stephen Kandel, among the era’s most an innovative television writers, adjusted Delman’s publication for the tiny screen and remained quite faithful to it, maintaining most of the plot points and character names intact. The course, the teleplay’s major divergence is the duty of Los Angeles exclusive detective candid Cannon, that obviously didn’t exist in Delman’s variation (his character to be a Jewish Manhattan cop named Jacob Horowitz). Wilhelm Conrad, who deep baritone and portly structure revealed his past as a leading male in radio dramas, ended up being a surprised TV star together the urbane and intelligent Cannon, who is fondly mental by secret fans for his an abilities behind the wheel of his Lincoln Continental, as well as in the kitchen.Janssen plays Ian Kirk, an alcohol addict writer who is arrested and charged v the killing of his well-off young wife (Cathy Lee Crosby) and also her even younger lover. Tossed right into the slammer the a small town (Mercer, California) the mistrusts strangers and also resents him because that marrying into Irene’s well-regarded family, Kirk calls ~ above his old military buddy open minded Cannon for help.Kirk claims his mam left a suicide keep in mind at your house, yet it isn’t found. Cannon, who the townspeople likewise regard as a big-city instigator, is received hostilely at almost every step of his investigation, appropriate down come the mischievous brothers who own Mercer’s lone hotel (played by the historic Holbrooke Hotel). Favor other little towns in secret stories, Mercer has a most ugly secrets, and the town doesn’t want Cannon snooping around, especially to assist Ian Kirk dodge a murder rap.
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Richard Donner, that would soon graduate to big-budget features like THE OMEN and SUPERMAN, was the perfect an option to helm this episode. Taking benefit of Martin and also Samish’s souped-up manufacturing values (it’s most likely this season opener had a larger-than-usual budget) and also the wealthy tapestry that characters and subplots emerged in Kandel’s script, Donner moves the plot follow me at just the best pace. The activity scenes, consisting of a equine stampede and also an amazing shootout in a picturesque flow bed, flow well. The extra time accorded a two-parter permits the story to breath a little in scenes the don’t advance the plot, but carry out color and also characterization (such together Cannon’s sparring through the hotel owner out to make the stranger’s remain as unpleasant as possible). Janssen spends many of the present locked in a cell and projects the appropriate ambivalence. Barry Sullivan as the self-righteous sheriff, Tim O’Connor as Irene’s attorney, and Murray Hamilton as an impotent cracked shot provide most the Cannon’s opposition, but the detective finds crucial ally in city mayor ann Baxter. Lee Purcell, imperial Dano, R.G. Armstrong, Robert Hogan, Lenore Kasdorf, Dabbs Greer, and also Bill Quinn loan support. In Delman"s book, Baxter"s character was the sheriff, not the mayor, and Sullivan"s sheriff was her deputy.

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Kandel"s greatest contribution was the enhancement of activity scenes and also an illegal cockfighting arena run by Armstrong. A year later, Kandel created a similar two-part bother O the took Janssen’s harry Orwell come a little California city to investigate a friend’s murder.