Sunday, September 17, 1961: 'Car 54, Where Are You?'

Starring Joe E. Ross (left) as Gunther Toody and Fred Gwynne as Francis Muldoon, the comedy about New York City policemen debuts on NBC. The theme song proved as memorable as the show itself:

There's a holdup in the Bronx
Brooklyn's broken out in fights
There's a traffic jam in Harlem
That's backed up to Brooklyn Heights
There's a scout troop short a child
Khrushchev's due at Idlewild ...
Car 54, where are you?

From the book "The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present": "One unusual aspect of this series was the partners' patrol car, which looked identical to those used by real-life New York City police -- but only because the show was filmed in black and white. The car was actually painted red and white to distinguish it from real police cars during the shooting (all of which was done on location). On the home screen the red and white car looked identical to the dark green and white of genuine New York City police cars."
* Show summary (from "St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture"): @
* Watch show's opening: @
* Fred Gwynne biography (from biography.com): @
* Joe E. Ross biography (from wfmu.org): @

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