|Created by|| Clarence Greene |
|Written by||Frederick Brady|
Al C. Ward
|Directed by|| Abner Biberman |
Irving J. Moore
|Theme music composer||George Duning|
|Opening theme||Vic Schoen & Orchestra|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||37|
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Production companies||Greene-Rouse Productions|
|Distributor|| Screen Gems |
Columbia TriStar Domestic Television (2001)
Sony Pictures Television
|Original release||September 8, 1959 –|
September 13, 1960
Tightrope! is an American crime drama series that aired on CBS from September 1959 to September 1960, under the alternating sponsorship of the J.B. Williams Company (Aqua Velva, Lectric Shave, etc.), and American Tobacco (Pall Mall). Produced by Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene in association with Screen Gems, the series stars Mike Connors as an undercover agent named "Nick" who was assigned to infiltrate criminal gangs. The show was originally to have been titled Undercover Man, but it was changed before going to air.Actor Robert Phillips, a former Los Angeles undercover policeman and US Marine claimed the show was based on his exploits but was he was not chosen to portray himself.
Mike Connors' character would narrate the episode, echoing film noir technique. He starred as an undercover police officer, known only as "Nick" (although some sources revealed that his last name was "Stone", his last name was never shown in the series' ending credits).Only his immediate superior on the police force knew he was working undercover. Because the police often did not know that Nick was working for the law, he was often in danger from both the good guys and the bad guys, as he walked the "tightrope" between good and evil. A special gimmick was that in addition to a gun in a shoulder holster, he carried a second gun, a snubnosed revolver, in a holster behind his back; he was often searched by both cops and bad guys, but they stopped searching after finding the first gun.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"Getaway Day"||Russell Rouse||Russell Rouse & Clarence Greene||September 8, 1959|
|2||"The Casino"||Russell Rouse||Russell Rouse & Clarence Greene||September 15, 1959|
|3||"The Frame"||Abner Biberman||Story by : Robert Bloomfield|
Teleplay by : Tony Barrett
|September 22, 1959|
|4||"Stand on Velvet"||Abner Biberman||Stirling Silliphant||September 29, 1959|
|5||"The Cracking Point"||Abner Biberman||Frederic Brady||October 6, 1959|
|6||"Thousand Dollar Bill"||Abner Biberman||Al C. Ward||October 13, 1959|
|7||"Music and Mink"||Russell Rouse||Russell Rouse & Clarence Greene||October 20, 1959|
|8||"Man in the Middle"||Abner Biberman||Frederic Brady||November 3, 1959|
|9||"The Patsy"||Abner Biberman||Berne Giler||November 10, 1959|
|10||"The Money Fight"||Abner Biberman||Al C. Ward||November 17, 1959|
|11||"Black Tie Kill"||Unknown||Unknown||November 24, 1959|
|12||"The Perfect Circle"||Abner Biberman||Tony Barrett||December 1, 1959|
|13||"The Lady"||Abner Biberman||Al C. Ward||December 8, 1959|
|14||"Cold Kill"||Unknown||Unknown||December 15, 1959|
|15||"The Neon Wheel"||Irving J. Moore||Frederic Brady||December 22, 1959|
|16||"Two Private Eyes"||Don Taylor||Frederic Brady||December 29, 1959|
|17||"Night of the Gun"||Paul Wendkos||Frederic Brady||January 5, 1960|
|18||"Broken Rope"||Irving J. Moore||Frederic Brady||January 12, 1960|
|19||"Cold Ice"||John Rich||Tony Barrett||January 19, 1960|
|20||"Appointment in Jericho"||Abner Biberman||Stirling Silliphant||January 26, 1960|
|21||"Three to Make Ready"||Irving J. Moore||Steven Ritch||February 2, 1960|
|22||"The Model and the Mobster"||Irving J. Moore||Frederic Brady||February 9, 1960|
|23||"The Long Odds"||Oscar Rudolph||Frederic Brady||February 16, 1960|
|24||"The Brave Pigeon"||Irving J. Moore||Steven Ritch||February 23, 1960|
|25||"First Time Out"||Unknown||Unknown||March 1, 1960|
|26||"Park Avenue Story"||Unknown||Unknown||March 8, 1960|
|27||"Big Business"||Oscar Rudolph||George Bruce||March 15, 1960|
|28||"The Chinese Pendant"||Irving J. Moore||Steven Ritch||March 29, 1960|
|29||"Achilles and His Heels"||Irving J. Moore||Frederic Brady||April 5, 1960|
|30||"The Gangster's Daughter"||Irving J. Moore||Kitty Buhler||April 12, 1960|
|31||"The Penthouse Story"||Irving J. Moore||Sidney Marshall||April 19, 1960|
|32||"The Shark"||Sidney Miller||Berne Giler||April 26, 1960|
|33||"The Horse Runs High"||Oscar Rudolph||Steven Ritch||May 3, 1960|
|34||"The Hired Guns"||Reginald Le Borg||Frederic Brady||May 10, 1960|
|35||"Borderline"||Irving J. Moore||Al C. Ward||May 17, 1960|
|36||"A Matter of Money"||Unknown||Unknown||May 24, 1960|
|37||"Bullets and Ballet"||Allen H. Miner||Steven Ritch||May 31, 1960|
Despite the show's popularity, it was canceled after only one season. Mike Connors stated in an interview that the show's primary sponsor (J.B. Williams) refused the network's request to move it to a later timeslot on a different day. When CBS head James Aubrey stated that the show was indisputably going to move timeslot, the sponsor dropped Tightrope!, and underwrote another program on another network. Connors also did not agree with suggested changes to the show's format, that would have extended its length to one hour and added a sidekick, to be played by Don Sullivan. [ citation needed ]He thought such an alteration would eliminate the suspense element of the program. Yet another factor in the show's eventual cancellation were complaints concerning its alleged excessive violence.
Seven years later, Connors would go on to star in the successful, long-running CBS crime series Mannix .
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