Part 1...for those who need their appetite whetted a bit, here's Matt's intro:
Under the byline Evan Hunter, legally adopted in 1953, Salvatore Albert Lombino (1926-2005) was the original author and/or screenwriter of such films as The Blackboard Jungle (1955), adapted by director Richard Brooks; John Frankenheimer’s The Young Savages (1961); and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963). His scripts and stories were seen on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Kaiser Aluminum Hour, and Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre.
As Ed McBain, he was the acknowledged master of the police procedural, his 87th Precinct mysteries comprising 55 books over half a century, possibly inspiring Hill Street Blues. Cop Hater, The Mugger, and The Pusher (all 1956) were filmed between 1958 and 1960; the following year, NBC’s 87th Precinct debuted. Robert Lansing, carried over from The Pusher (1960), played Det. Steve Carella, and later Gary Seven in the Star Trek spin-off manqué “Assignment: Earth” (3/29/68).
In a 1989 introduction to Cop Hater and afterword to The Pusher, McBain discussed his innovation of a “conglomerate hero in a mythical city...[that] was like New York but not quite New York,” with analogs for each borough. “[O]ne cop can step into the spotlight in one novel, another in the next novel [as when Carella is honeymooning in The Mugger], cops can get killed and disappear from the series, other cops can come in, all of them visible to varying extents…” The show standardized the duty roster to Carella and three colleagues, replacing “Isola” with its model, Manhattan.
Ron Harper--later astronaut Alan Virdon on Planet of the Apes--co-starred as Bert Kling, promoted from patrolman after cracking a murder in The Mugger. The landlord on Three’s Company, Norman Fell played sardonic family man Meyer Meyer, per McBain “a Jew whose father had a hilarious sense of humor.” Immortalized in Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space (1957), Gregory Walcott was the sanitized Roger Havilland, whose prose original tried to break up a street fight; broken in four places by a lead pipe, his arm had to be re-broken and reset, said ordeal rendering him a violent cynic.
● Of the 30 episodes, 11 were based on McBain’s works, including all nine novels following The Pusher; “The Floater” (9/25/61) was adapted from The Con Man (1957), previously dramatized on Climax! as “The Deadly Tattoo” (5/1/58). The 87th Precinct premiere was written by Winston Miller, who went on to co-produce the series with Boris D. Kaplan, while Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Thriller workhorse Herschel Daugherty directed the first and last episodes. This introduced Carella’s deaf-mute spouse, Teddy (Gena Rowlands), and medical examiner Dr. Tom Blaney (Paul in the novels; Dal McKennon).
And the first of many YouTube links: here is Season 1, Episode 2, featuring stalwart TV noir matron Constance Ford in a typically intense performance: