What was so Great about Cop Shows of the 70s by Contrast to Today – an Australian Perspective
AUSSIE COP SHOWS OF THE ’70S – an Excerpt from Goodbye Crackernight by Justin Sheedy
This was the seventies, the golden age of cop shows requiring only one title to stand up, with wonderful Australian productions like Matlock Police, Division 4, Homicide, and many others, and each show with a killer theme song. As they were all filmed in Melbourne, half the thrill of riding down the alleyways of Prahran with my friend, Juliette, had been the promise they held that, around any corner, you might bump into Homicide’s Leonard Teale or George Mallaby in hot pursuit of a baddie! The Homicide theme was too hard for me to hum as I peddled, but the Division 4 one sure wasn’t: ‘Dah-da-dahh … Dah-da-dahh …’
Can you honestly hum the themes to any current cop shows? Ever since Hill Street Blues (a good show, but the thin end of the wedge), instead of theme music, they’ve had insipid Kenny G saxophone wailings instead. Elevator music!
Cop shows back then were about cops and baddies, not cops and their intensely soulful and searching interpersonal relationship crap. And these days, the shows of my childhood would need to have two titles instead of one each, wouldn’t they: Matlock Police – Special Victims Unit. Division 4 – Murderous Intent. Homicide – Life on the Streets. Hey, hold on, there is one called that … And they’d all feature acronyms, wouldn’t they: Matlock Police – SVU. D4 – MI. Homicide – LOTS.
Sometimes I wish the current nightly American tripefests would feature their complete scripts in acronym format. They’d be much slicker and over much quicker that way. By the time the opening credits were finished, so would be the program. As it is, the opening credits to Law and Order or CSI only last half the length of the show. If you didn’t understand English, you’d think they were subtitles for the hearing impaired. Better still, I say speed up these American low-lit bumpy-cam pieces of shit into fast motion. Imagine! Tonight at 8.30: The Keystone Cops – Frenzy of Forensics! Program starts. Over in three minutes. Phew. Perhaps, in my lifetime, with the pace of technology being what it is, the speed of light will have been attained and these shows will be over before they have started.
“GOODBYE CRACKERNIGHT” BY JUSTIN SHEEDY NOW AVAILABLE AT AMAZON AND VIA ALL GOOD BOOKSTORES & ONLINE SITES