(Reviews taken from or adapted from TV Guide.)
11/21/1967 – The Outsider telefilm/pilot: Hollywood private eye
David Ross is hired to find out if a young woman is embezzling company funds. He
finds more trouble than evidence; he’s almost strangled by the girl’s boy
friend and when she is murdered, Ross – who served six years on a murder rap
– becomes the chief suspect. Written by Roy Huggins, creator of "Run For
Your Life." And "The Fugitive." (2 hours)
Mrs. Kozzek Ann Southern
Wagner Ossie Davis
Honora Dundas Nancy Malone
Bishop Audrey Totter
Grimes Joseph Wiseman
Delgado Mario Alcalde
Early Notices: "It appears that the private eye guy is with us in a
complete reversal from the usual smooth, well-dressed Rolls Royce runabout of
former seasons. This time, Darren McGavin as The Outsider, will go
to the opposite end of the spectrum as a character living in a run-down
apartment with a beat-up car and who’s scrounging for change. McGavin
says, "My David Ross is a loser, but so is most of the world today."
Our only question is: Will audiences identify?"
"A new NBC series, The Outsider, also stems from a ’67 telefilm
(of the same name). It has Darren McGavin who, in his younger days, was
TV’s Mike Hammer, as a Los Angeles private eye. Of present, 1-hour TV series,
The Outsider seems to me to be the best-scripted. It’s non-violent, deals less
with detective matters than with human relationships, and has examined, unsensationally, such subjects as charitable trusts and Red Chinese in the US.
It is producer and sometimes directed by Gene Levitt. Other good directors: Alex
Singer and Charles S. Dubin. Outsider’s one fault is its subcredits
crawl, which is a steal from the movie Harper."
"David Ross was not a stereotypical glamorous private detective. He did
not make much money, lived in a run-down Los Angeles apartment building, drove a
beat-up 10-year-old car, and often got beat up himself while on cases. Ross was
a loner who had never finished high school and had been orphaned as a small
child. As an adult, he had served six years in prison on a trumped-up murder
charge, before being pardoned. In short, Ross had found the world a very
unfriendly place – he was an "outsider." Nevertheless, he turned
private eye to tackle other people’s problems, and proved an extremely
thorough and productive investigator."***********************************************
"Losing Can Be Fun and Profitable
He explains further: "President Nixon only got 43
percent of all the votes in the November elections. That makes losers out
of 57 percent of the voters. (Final totals by the Associated Press give
Mr. Nixon 43.40 percent of the 73,177,821 votes.)
By Lawrence Laurent
The News American Weekly Magazine, Feb. 23, 1969
The Outsider is a loser and Darren McGavin, who
plays the title role, is glad that he is.
McGavin has had his share of "winners" on
television with such programs as Crime Photographer, Mike Hammer and
Riverboat. The difference, to him, is that "the public identifies
with a loser."
"Besides, the country has been built by losers; guys who
failed and kept on going; guys who were losers in the east and decided to move
West, and, before that, guys who were losers in their native countries and
decided to come to America."
The Outsider portrayed by McGavin is a private
investigator named David Ross. In each episode, he is likely to be
intimidated by a racketeer, embarrassed by a crooked sheriff, shot at by a
hoodlum, chased by gangsters or beaten by one or more musclemen. Often, he
is outwitted by some cool corporate executive, and sometimes, beautiful women
take advantage of David Ross.
"He's just like most people," argues McGavin.
"He's just trying to make a living. He picks up a buck here and
there, enough to pay the rent and to keep gasoline in the 1957 Plymouth that he
drives." (The car is sorely in need of fender repairs but losers,
apparently, can't afford such a luxury.)
Like most actors, McGavin claims to have worked -
always briefly - at every job. Darren insists that he once worked
for a private detective agency. It wasn't the least bit glamorous.
"I learned the hard way," he says, "that life
isn't all moonlight and roses for a private detective. I remember nights
when I'd stand outside a building while the temperature dropped to freezing,
waiting for a man to come out of a warm apartment or a good restaurant."
McGavin took the role of David Ross for the simplest
of reasons: "If you're not working, you're not an actor."
Even so, the character underwent several changes from the time it was conceived
by Roy Huggins and when it arrived on TV last September.
First, the .38-cal. revolver Ross carried had to be
removed. Then, in the changing conception, Ross stopped having a torrid
love affair in each episode. "That," declares McGavin,
"was cheap and chintzy." And he had to quit being a physical
superman who won every physical or mental encounter with badmen.
Darren's so successful that he can now deny,
comfortably, his own early press agentry. "I wasn't really a tailback
at College of the Pacific," he said. "Actually, I was a left end
on the scrub team and I wasn't on the team very long."
The Outsider series
1) 09/18/68 "For Members Only"
Ross is hired to ferret out an exclusive cardshark who's fleecing members of an
exclusive social club. Ross infiltrates the club by posing as a gambler
and prospective member. The
subterfuge enables Ross to check out Richard
Chase and his girlfriend, Ellie. But a chance meeting with Anne proved the
stakes are higher than Ross thought.
Anne DuBois Kathie
Richard Chase Warren
Kenneth Conrad G.D. Spradlin
Ellie Francine York
Max Timothy Carey
Mason Arthur Space
"The debut of NBC’s hour-long television show, The Outsider,
which screened last night was marked by excellent acting throughout. Darren
McGavin, the star of the show, breezed through the sixty minutes in a most
convincing and delightful fashion. The story, reminiscent of the recent Friar'’
Club gambling scandal in Beverly Hills, was timely and well-paced. From where we
sit, it looks as though The Outsider will be around for a while.
Mrs. Darren McGavin (Kathie Browne) said, "The first time I
met Darren was in bed! I was working in the very first scene of a film
called "The Outsider," which called for me to be waiting – gun in
hand – in a darkened bedroom waiting for someone to enter.
"I wasn’t expecting Darren and he came in expecting someone
other than myself.
"In the dark, not knowing whether I was male or female, he grabbed me,
threw me on the bed, where we began to struggle and wrestle around.
"We did the scene a number of times and finally it was a take, after
which the director asked, ‘Say, have you two been introduced, yet?’ So he
2) 09/25/68 "What Flowers Daises Are"
A routine missing persons case gets Ross embroiled in a million-dollar con game
and murder. Detective David Ross is hired to investigate the strange
disappearance of an attractive model and uncovers evidence of murder. One
of the model's boy friends, Kurt Anderson, an executive with a local research
foundation, is a prime suspect. Tracing Anderson to the rural site of a
research group, Ross enlists the help of Daisy, a guide for the
organization. Daisy takes Ross on a tour, which proves not only enlightening, but nearly fatal.
Edith Yvonne White
Miller Clay Tanner
3) 10/02/68 "Along Came A
Plain-looking Helen Brunner hires Ross to retrieve $6,000. She foolishly
lent it to a younger man who promised to marry her - and then got himself
murdered. The search involves Ross with a lonely-hearts club, a tough
detective, an assortment of gangsters - and the killer.
Dorothy Kingsland Marsha Hunt
4) 10/10/68 "A Wide Place in the
Ross' search for Billy Joe Corey, a car thief who jumped bail, leads to the
boy's home town, where folks - including the local sheriff - don't take kindly
to the investigator's presence. Residents there still consider the boy
something of a hero.
Sheriff Breckenridge Peter Whitney
Corey Joe Don
George McBryde Forrest Lewis
George McBryde Jr. Michael Cartel
5) 10/16/68 "Cold as Ashes"
Oriental mystery - and murder - enshroud the investigator. Hired to
deliver a dead man's ashes to San Francisco, Ross soon finds himself being
tracked by killers for reasons he can't fathom. He is stunned to learn the
urn containing the ashes is priceless.
Matthew Garson Don Knight
Cizak Gerald York
6) 10/30/68 "A Time to Run"
Hired to locate a missing witness in a murder trial, Ross does just that , but
regrets it. Working for a defense attorney, Ross tracks down a fleeing
witness, Murphy, and by so doing, unwittingly the man's murder by Starns, a thug
posing as a friend of Ross' client. Ross is desperate to get his new
evidence to the courtroom where the trial is underway, but first must elude two
men who are out to silence him. Wounded in the chase, Ross solicits the
aid of two runaway "hippies."
7) 11/06/68 "Love is Under 'L'"
Ross undertakes a job for self-made millionaire Lyman Barr. Haired to find
Barr's missing girl friend, Ross finds the young lady hiding out. Not only
does she not want to be found, Ross finds himself constantly under attack.
Robert H. Harris
Cyclist Ron Russell
8) 11/13/68 "The Twenty-Thousand
While investigating the death of a pretty girl's boy friend, Ross detects a
monumental insurance fraud and goes after bigger game. Ross returns from
Mexico the break the news to his client that alleged accident victim Tod Elkins
is alive and apparently staged a $200,000 insurance coup. Seeing a chance
to make some big money himself, Ross offers insurance company executive Daniel
W. Border to return the culprit and the money in exchange for a percentage of
the total amount. No studio sets were used on this on-location
episode. Director Michael Ritchie also did the series pilot.
Gloria Gronowski Bonnie Beecher
9) 11/20/68 "One Long-Stemmed
The death of one-time dancing star Leroy Rollins from an overdoes of alcohol and
tranquilizers prompts a suspicious casting department to employ David Ross for
an investigation. The strange behavior of Rollin's landlady, the cold
indifference of his former girl friend and attempted bribery by a producer have
Ross wondering whether or not Rollins was murdered. But by whom?
There are plenty of suspects - and all of them females.
Richard Van Vleet
10) 11/27/68 "I Can't Hear You
Private Investigator David Ross involves himself in a final-hour bid to save a
hoodlum from the gas chamber. Despite the objections of a police
lieutenant and a strong case against the convicted man, Ross decided to move on
new evidence which hints of a frame-up. The trail leads to a known gambler
and a former associate of the condemned man.
Murphy Myron Healey
John J. Fox
11) 12/04/68 "Tell It Like It Was...
And You're Dead"
The news that a former burlesque queen intends to "tell all" in her
memoirs has a lot of highly placed people on edge. Ross must find out
which one might be nervous enough to kill her.
Sergeant Dallas Mitchell
Carl Gordon Jump
12) 12/18/68 "The Land of the
Ross makes with the sane-and-sun set as he tries to locate a witness to a
hit-and-run killing, then finds he's falling for a girl who holds the key to the
case. Susan Oliver portrays Diane, one of the "beautiful
people," populating California beaches, who finds herself involved in a
hush-up, but her evidence proves worthless when thugs move in.
13) 12/25/68 "There Was A Little Girl"
Twelve years ago, industrialist George Harrington paid a $250,000 ransom for his
kidnapped daughter, who was never seen again. Now, Sadie Burch claims the
girl she raised as her own is the millionaire's missing daughter.
Margaret Harrington Dorothy Green
George Harrington Simon Scott
Mary Jo Kennedy
Rogers Paul Lambert
Harry Harvey, Sr.
14) 01/08/69 "The Girl From
Mary Smith, plain-spoken and naive, enlists Ross' help to track down her
missing brother. The detective soon learns that Smith is involved with
some very unsavory types, who don't take kindly to people asking questions.
Paye P. Morgan
Will J. White
15) 01/15/69 "The Secret of
Ross hits a wall of resentment and hostility as he searches for Marion Bay's
least-loved citizen. Novelist John Bedford disappeared shortly after
returning to the area, and the residents are unanimous in whishing him dead.
Grace Lee Whitney
Floyd Hendricks Lawrence
16) 01/22/69 "The Old School
David Ross is in prison on The Outsider, and it's as realistic a
prison show as you'll see in a long time. Actually, this is a series of
flashbacks showing him when he was in prison and how his life was saved during a
savage fight, by another convict, played by Aldo Ray. When his
prison-buddy is released, he contacts Ross, to tell him of a big, money-making
plot he has devised, which is actually extortion. Ross declines, but his
Max Davenport Len
17) 01/29/69 "A Bowl of
David Ross offers to help the son of an old friend, only to become enmeshed
in a homicide. When Ross learns that young Joe Andrade has been beaten up
and is out to get the man responsible, he intervenes. The embittered
Andrad's target, however, is found murdered.
18) 02/05/69 "Behind God's
In Acapulco, Mexico, Ross mixes in with the jet set as he tries to convince a
millionaire's runaway daughter that her new-found playmates are up to no
good. Ross finally locates the girl in the company of a self-styled
archaeologist Fred Rhodes. When Ross begins to check Rhodes out, he's
arrested by Mexican police as the suspect in a jewelry theft.
Jean Daniels Ortega Virginia Mayo
19) 02/12/69 "Take the Key and
Lock Him Up"
While investigating the shooting of a convict in a backwater town, Ross is
arrested on the charge of selling marijuana.
20) 02/26/69 "The Flip Side"
Newcomer Carrie Snodgrass plays a difficult double role. The
psychological drama involves Ross with a plain sister who hires him to find her
missing sister, a glamorous model involved in an underworld ring dealing in
narcotics, and gets involved in an extortion racket.
Dr. Sam Gaynor
Telephone Operator Alice Backes
21) 03/05/69 "Handle With
Posing as a drifter with the alias Leo Martin, Ross joins a gang of
hijacking truckers, whose operation is hurting an insurance company.
22) 03/12/69 "All the Social
Good support is offered to Darren McGavin on The Outsider by
the acting talents of Lloyd Bochner and Geraldine Brooks. McGavin is hired
by a diamond-in-the-rough millionaire who is slain before the detective has any
idea why he was hired. His investigation leads him to an elegant tennis
club, which considered the millionaire too "low crust" for
membership. (Tennis scenes were filmed at the Encino Racquet Club.)
George Jenkins Lloyd Bochner
(from the episode "One Long-Stemmed American Beauty")
23) 03/26/69 "A Lot of
Ross takes up the cudgels for a tough, unbending cop who's facing indictment
on a bribery charge. Probing a possible frame, Ross begins to sort out the
man's many enemies - ranging from a bartender to a high city official.
Michael Cameron James Gregory
Patricia Cameron Susan O'Connell
Richard Twining Kenneth O'Brien
James Reardon Lawrence
24) 04/02/69 "Periwinkle
Ross is alternately beguiled and bedeviled by April Endby, a winsome widow
who has buried two husbands. Ross can't help wondering, did she do them
in? Her current husband wonders the same thing and hires Ross to
investigate. Director Richard Benedict appears as a photographer.
25) 04/09/69 "Through A Stained
Ross is hired to tail a paroled convict, who supposedly is the only person
who knows the hiding place of a stolen fortune of $250,000. Kooks and
heavies crowd Ross as he searches a crumbling section of Los Angeles.
Jayne Meadows makes a cameo as Lil.
Chauncy James Mickey
E. J. Andre
26) 04/16/69 "Service For
Ross is hired to serve a subpoena on a well-guarded millionaire who has
never been photographed. As he dogs his quarry, Ross uncovers a curious
love affair - and a murder plot. William Windom will soon be starring in
his own series, My World And Welcome To It. He guest-stars here as
a wealthy businessman whose expansions are threatening other businesses.
When one of the latter gets a court order against him, Ross is hired to serve
the papers, which proves to be a touchy task, since the man lives like a
Interview from "Scarlet Street," 1994 by Richard Valley
SS: "In (The Night Stalker, Kolchak didn't seem to have any
Darren McGavin: There's a very interesting rule about television's
running characters. I did a series called The Outsider. They
said, "We wanna give you a place to live." And I said,
"Why, He has an office; I don't think he needs anything else. He
doesn't live where he lives; he lives in the office." But they had a
set, already built, so I thought, "Well, what'll we do with the damned
thing?" We were trying to figure out the opening, the under-the-title
sequence, and I finally said, "Listen, put him a Murphy bed. He
awakens to a phone ringing, and he doesn't know where the damned phone is, so he
follows the telephone cord and finds it in the refrigerator. He opens the
refrigerator and remembers that it's breakfast, so he picks up a bottle of milk,
and it's sour." And they said, "Gee, that's terrific!
Okay, we'll shoot that." So we shot it and I got into a coat and we
went out the door - and we never went back to the apartment again!"
SS: That's great!
DM: That's the way we did it with The Outsider, which was a
wonderful shot. Unfortunately, it occurred during all the
assassinations. NBC was just scared to death. Every script they
said, "No, you can't! Do you have to see the gun?"
SS: There's a lot of talk now about trimming violence from TV.
DM: I think they should! I really do! I'm going through
a script now, that we're preparing for a Movie of the Week. We're trimming
all the violence, not because of protests, but because it's gratuitous.
You don't have to see the actual insertion of a knife into somebody's ribs, or
stomach! That's silly! It really is, and it's not needful."
Outsider Publicity Shoot
The following series of photographs were taken as "stock,"
representative pictures for distribution to magazines and newspapers.
Numerous locations, action settings and poses were shot, usually in a single