Longstreet (TV Series 1971–1972) Poster

(1971–1972)

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The irony of television: another great show that did not make it
mroselli26 October 2004
Longstreet was only on the air for one season. In my memory it stands out as a truly great series despite the fact it was short-lived, as sometimes happens with television. The premise was intriguing: a blind detective. The part of Mike Longstreet was wonderfully portrayed by James Franciscus, well remembered for his run in the earlier hit series, Mr Novak. Unfortunately, Longstreet did not catch on in the same way. Franciscus was perfectly believable as a blind person. He was the right person to carry off this part: handsome, smart and charming. The stories were interesting and intelligent with strong acting in the supporting character parts. Hopefully a DVD set of Longstreet will come out in this age when old and recent television series are being made available on the latest technology.
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8/10
you mean others remember it???
hamlet-1614 September 2007
This series was a cut above the rest of the TV detective series of the day but somehow didn't find an audience.

The idea of a blind detective may not be totally new but added so much to the story. And who could forget Pax, the beautiful guide dog in the series!

Whilst the stories themselves may have been no better than the average series, the settings , in New Orleans, the acting and the music (I note the comment about the music score in other comments ...I remember that clearly) all work to make a good television series even better!

Well you never know ...one day Paramount might just dig into its archives and release it on DVD!
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An excellent series that should be repeated.
graeme-6216 April 2004
A series that wasn't just about cops and robbers but also looked at how a man struggles with the handicap of being blind and overcomes. No silly, superhuman ,unrealistic stuff about mega-hearing, but well thought out scripts that were exciting and also developed the characters. Superbly acted by James Franciscus, you believed he really was blind. Bruce Lee had a small bit part, which added to Longstreet's developing character but fortunately Jeet Kune Do was only a small part. Also fine were the co- stars; Peter Mark Richman and Marlyn Mason. Even the music was great, the score was by the talented Oliver Nelson, whose music in the episode "Elegy in Brass" was superb. This should be repeated again!
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Maybe a victim of scheduling
bpatrick-85 August 2011
I remember that for the fall of 1971 NBC moved "Ironside" from its longtime Thursday slot to Tuesday, and ABC decided that another show about a physically-challenged detective could fill the Thursday slot. As it turned out, "Ironside" ran into ratings problems against "Mod Squad," also on ABC, while "Longstreet" got as high as fifth in the Nielsen ratings. NBC quickly put "Ironside" back on Thursdays. Maybe Raymond Burr's snarling, intimidating personality made more of an impression than the more laid-back James Franciscus, best known at the time as English teacher Mr. Novak.

But that doesn't change the fact that "Longstreet" was a good show that happened to meet an early end; not only did we get to see the hero, who was blind, at work, but also learning how to cope with his new handicap. Maybe people didn't tune in week after week to get lessons on how to cope with blindness but I think it added a dimension to the show. And add to that the great supporting cast: Marlyn Mason as Longstreet's Braille teacher and assistant; Peter Mark Richman as his co-worker at the insurance company; Bruce Lee on the few occasions he appeared; and one of the most beautiful dogs I've ever seen--Pax, Longstreet's German shepherd guide dog. The characters on this show are likable, the violence is held to a minimum, and it's a shame ABC didn't give it a second season, maybe on a different night.

And just how does a sighted actor play a sightless character? Franciscus once said he had to learn to unfocus his eyes, and I remember an article in the Atlanta Constitution shortly after the series ended that said he suffered from real vision problems for a time because of this.

The only question I've always had is how Longstreet, even with the use of an electronic cane, always knew when to tell Pax to make a left or right turn.

Definitely well-written, well-acted, and a winner no matter if ABC didn't give it a second chance.
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10/10
Very underrated and inappropriately forgotten series
crmfghtr17 August 2012
A series that truly had depth and got you into the character more then any series today. Brilliantly scripted, directed and acted. Anyone having issues coping with life on any level will find the show inspiring. Yes the mystery aspect was well done, but more well done is the portrayal of a man overcoming impossible odds to strive and persevere. Add to this some bonus episodes of the incomparable Bruce Lee and you have a winner of a series. It's a true crime that the series did not continue, because it had a depth rarely found in series of the time, or in fact on TV today. Longstreet is one of those rare treasures waiting to be found by those who wish to dig.
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10/10
Longstreet and Ironside
Rumjal4 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I enjoyed Longstreet, which followed in the steps of Raymond Burr's successful Ironside TV series and was intended to give it competition. But this show was canceled after one season because it was decided--I believe wrongly--that Longstreet was not able to compete with Mr. Burr's Ironside.

I may add that the pilot for this show was especially well done and very memorable. I hope that a box set of Longstreet will appear.

Writers should note that this story idea was only briefly explored here and that much more could and should be done to show the play and interplay of disabilities on TV.
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7/10
A strong lead performance and a good supporting/guest cast made Longstreet worth watching.
GMJames31 August 2013
From the 1960s and 70s, there were numerous detective series where the lead character had a unique characteristic: wheelchair-bound Ironside, trench coat-wearing Columbo, senior citizen Barnaby Jones, etc. In the case of the watchable series "Longstreet", James Franciscus played the New Orleans-based insurance agent whose was blinded by an explosion that killed his wife and is determined to continue investigating cases despite his affliction.

The priorities "Longstreet" developer/executive producer Stirling Silliphant had were similar to his earlier shows ("Route 66" and "Naked City", in which Franciscus appeared in the first season): character studies over plot. This is not to say that the show's plots were uninteresting. Franciscus' compelling performance kept my interest, as well as support from Marlyn Mason as assistant Nikki and Peter Mark Richman as Duke.

Most martial arts fans remember the series less for Franciscus and more for Bruce Lee, who played Li Tsung, Longstreet's Jeet Kune Do instructor for just four episodes. Lee made such a strong impression, it's a shame that the producers/writers were unable to incorporate Lee in more episodes. At the same time, if Lee were made a regular, he may have not signed on for "Enter the Dragon" in his tragically short film career.

"Longstreet" was an early success in the show's only season on ABC. Unfortunately, it was overshadowed in mid-season when NBC's "Ironside" moved into the same time slot. ABC canceled "Longstreet" at the last possible moment despite having better ratings than a number of ABC shows.

There are many short-lived series like "Longstreet" that deserve to be rediscovered. I hope CBS/Paramount will consider releasing the series from their large vaults to DVD and web streaming.
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10/10
"Don't charge in blindly."
poe4265 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
"The Way of the Intercepting Fist" (a literal translation of jeet kune do), by student Stirling Silliphant, offers us our first real glimpse into Bruce Lee's fighting philosophy and espouses his "no-nonesense" approach to hand-to-hand combat beautifully. (Pierre Burton would refer to this episode during his interview with Bruce Lee because it just so happens to be one of the finest presentations of jeet kune do ever committed to film. The philosophical aspects of this LONGSTREET episode wouldn't turn up, per se, in any of the feature films Lee would do.) One can't help but smile when star James Franciscus is impaled by one of Lee's patented sidekicks and sent sprawling clear across the room. He jumps up and excitedly exclaims: "This guy's fantastic!" And indeed he was.
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10/10
Desrved to Last Longer
Clintessence9 March 2017
This was probably my favorite show of the 70's. I don't think I've ever seen an actor portray a blind person than James Franciscus. He was constantly tilting his head to hear better, rather than staring straight ahead with a blank stare like most actors portraying blind people. The stories were interesting, and there were great supporting actors, most notably Marlyn Mason, seeing-eye dog Pax, and of course Bruce Lee. I was originally drawn to this show because of Bruce Lee, but soon found I was really into the plight of this man and his struggles. Unfortunately, this was another good series that wound up on the chopping block way too soon.
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9/10
USE YOUR SENSES
kirbylee70-599-52617924 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Another great series resurrected and provided with new life thanks to the folks at Visual Entertainment Inc. (VEI). One can only offer sincere thanks to companies like this who have found new life for series that some may have forgotten and others have sought out with little hope of ever seeing them again. Now those of us who are fans of older TV series can rejoice that they've found yet another gem. This time around the series is LONGSTREET and it's still as enjoyable as it was the first time around.

As with their release THE IMMORTAL this one began as a movie of the week that then transformed into a series. Though short lived (just one season) the series was innovative with its premise and the inclusion of a guest star for 4 episodes who went on to larger fame. That single season meant the series would never be part of a syndication deal and that is why it's been lost all this time. No longer.

James Franciscus stars as New Orleans insurance investigator Mike Longstreet. In the pilot he and his wife are celebrating his latest success when she opens a bottle of champagne left for him while he gets glasses. The bottle though was a bomb that explodes killing her and leaving Mike blind. The pilot goes through his learning how to deal with his disability, developing the senses he's been left with. Unwilling to be a victim Mike uses those senses to find the killers responsible for his wife's death and his blindness.

The series picks up with Mike still working for the insurance company helping them solve various cases in ways no one else can. With the help of braille teacher and friend Nikki (Marlyn Mason), white German shepherd guide dog Pax and friend and insurance company man Duke Paige (Peter Mark Richman) Longstreet continues to take on those cases.

He also realizes that it's going to take more than just his senses to exist in the world. In the first episode after being attacked by a group he's investigating a stranger comes to his aid. Realizing he needs to learn self-defense he hires this man to train him. The man in question is Li Tsung and he's played by the legendary Bruce Lee. As I stated earlier, Lee was in 4 episodes of the series and this has been another reason why it's been sought after for so long. Now fans of Lee and the series can add it to their collection.

Murderers, thieves, staged suicides and more became the focus of various episodes in the series. In addition to that it featured some fairly high end guest stars of the time as well including Brock Peters, Leif Erickson, Claude Akins, Neville Brand, Lee Meriwether, Shelly Fabares and Bernie Casey to name a few. Why the series only lasted a single season is beyond me but at least we have that to enjoy.

VEI once more releases the series with no extras but includes the pilot and every single episode to enjoy. One thing I didn't mention in my review of THE IMMORTAL but will here is the image quality. Some might be concerned that the quality of image doesn't match that of series being made today or restored series that have been released of other shows. That's not something that should be held against anyone offering series like these. The quality is based on what is available, not what we are now used to. If the original negatives or prints of a series are high end then they are likely to reflect that, but not all shows were shot that way. That being said these series may look much like they did in the past so expect that. It doesn't reflect poorly on VEI or the series themselves. Step back in time to how they looked then and enjoy them as they were.

As with THE IMMORTAL this series is priced low enough that I for one was stunned. Here again the complete series is just $22.99. When you consider that a single movie being released these days runs that same suggested retail price then you can tell what a tremendous bargain something like this is. A TV movie AND 23 full episodes for that price? Take advantage of it and make sure you pick up this fantastic series worth watching once again.
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Only reason to remember this series: Bruce Lee
peter0731 July 2002
Like the film "Marlowe," the only claim to fame of this rather insignificant series is its inclusion of aspiring actor Bruce Lee as a recurring character.

Nobody seems to remember it for anything other than that. Still, a special DVD with all of the episodes starring Lee would be worthwhile.
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Some promise here
Wizard-81 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I feel that I should mention first of all that apart from watching the movie-length pilot for this series recently, I never got the chance to watch the regular show, being much too young when it was first broadcast and the fact that Paramount seems to have permanently shelved the actual series. While I do think that the production was more than inspired by the TV show "Ironside" - another show about an investigator who was handicapped - from what I saw there was some promise. In this pilot, the scenes showing the title protagonist investigating are very interesting, and show that someone investigating without the use of sight could have lead to some very interesting investigation. However, since what I saw was a pilot, there is far more stuff involving the hero learning how to cope without sight, and this leads the actual investigation to be very little of the movie. Worst of all, the hero is never given the opportunity to confront the criminals that made him blind - their trackdown and arrest happen offscreen! I'm sure that the subsequent series didn't have these problems, so I would have given the show a chance had I been around to - ahem - see it.
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