Monday, June 8, 2020

This Day in TV History: Bill Conrad IS Turnover Smith!

Turnover Smith.

Say it again: Turnover Smith.

Now say it in ALL CAPS as we can all imagine William Conrad saying it: TURNABOUT SMITH!

On this day in 1980, ABC aired an hourlong pilot for a series called Turnover Smith with Conrad. Note this is not to be confused with the novel Turnover by Thone Smith. Is it a football show? A light comedy/drama about a pastry chef?  Whatever the reason for it, the name is spectacular! 

I know without even seeing a frame of footage, nor without even knowing the premise of the series, that I want to watch a television program called Turnover Smith. Let's go to Lee Goldberg's The Best TV Shows that Never Were for more info. 

Wait, it's not in here! D'oh! Tons of pilots listed, including one with Conrad as a "cop-turned-college-security-chief and part-time football coach at a Hawaii university." THAT intrigues me. I want to know about Turnover, though, so it's time to go to the definitive source: People magazine's Picks and Pans column:

William Conrad is a delightfully cranky criminologist trying to checkmate a chess-obsessed strangler. The pace of this TV movie is fast, and James Darren is fine as the calculating killer even if, from opening to end game, none of it makes much sense.

Also starring: Belinda Montgomery, Hilly Hicks, Nehemiah Persoff, james Darren, Cameron Mitchell, and Nita Talbot.

TCM's database has more info:

Criminology professor William Conrad uses scientific methods, advanced computer technology, his expertise in chess, and the leg work of several of his students to track down a crazed killer in San Francisco. Pilot to another series which Conrad (as executive producer as well as star) hoped would put him back to work regularly following the retirement of "Cannon" several years earlier, it was filmed in 1978.

His expertise in chess! Looks like ABC just burned this off (along with a Glen A. Larson cop show pilot with Doug mcClure, Nightside) on a Sunday night distinguished by the Tony Awards on CBS.  However, I'm kind of interested in seeing this! 

I'm more interested after finding this picture on ebay:

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