Tenspeed and Brown Shoe TV Show  » TV  »
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  • He wanted to be a private eye, to do some good

    • by Orrymain

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      As a series, Tenspeed and Brown Shoe was abnormal. It was filmed in 1980 under the banner of Stephen J. Cannell’s talents. It co-starred two prolific actors. Ben Vereen had made big time waves in the mini-series Roots. He was also known for great stage work. He received top billing. Newcomer Jeff Goldblum was his co-star. They made an odd looking pair of partners, but that oddity worked for them.

      Vereen was a con man, an intelligent and savvy man of the streets who was still on parole. In the TV movie pilot, he runs into a

      tall and lanky Lionel Whitney. Whitney was from the east and had no street sense, but in some ways, he was Clark Kent, believing in truth, justice, and the American way. He wanted to be a private eye, to do some good. I loved that character.

      A series followed, but it only lasted for 12 episodes. They were a mixture of drama and comedy. I’d actually refer to the series as a dramedy. Vereen’s schemes were sometimes over the top, but each episode gave him a showcase in which to display his range of comedic ability. Goldblum ...

      • wasn’t a straight man, either. What drove the character beyond wanting justice to prevail was his dry wit. He was naive in a sense, but that gave him a vulnerability.

        Cannell did a lot of self-promoting in this series. Whitney loved to read private eye books by a character named Mark Savage. The picture on the back of the book was of Cannell, indicating he was Savage. It was cute in a way, but to see it almost every week probably wasn’t a good idea.

        Another bad idea were the horrendously long and nonsensical titles for the episodes. How

        could a reviewer even take the show seriously or write about it when the title takes up half of their copy space? Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but most of the titles are extremely long.

        I’m not sure why this show didn’t survive a full season. I watched it when it aired originally and just loved it. Vereen and Goldblum were different and they had excitement to them. Perhaps the stories were a bit too campy in tone. That said, as a whole, they were good and enjoyable.

        The movie is sometimes seen on TV, and the 12 episodes are now out on DVD.

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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in May, 2010. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 1027051110310231/k2311a0527/5.27.10
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