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Series / Barbary Coast

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Barbary Coast is an American television series starring William Shatner and Doug McClure that aired on ABC. The pilot film first aired on May 4, 1975 and the series itself premiered September 8, 1975note ; the last episode aired January 9, 1976.

19th-century government agent and master of disguise Jeff Cable operates out of a secret room in a San Francisco casino owned by his best pal Cash Conover. Conover is sort of a dandy, and would rather avoid trouble at all costs, but Cable's persuasiveness coupled with Cash's sense of duty and a weakness for the fairer sex shared by both men usually leads them into dangerous missions.

This was the first Paramount Television-produced series to lead into ABC's Monday Night Football, and it didn't even do so for the entire season. Several other Paramount productions led into MNF over the years (as part the good relations between ABC and PTV that lasted almost a quarter-century), but only MacGyver was able to do so for multiple seasons (1986-91). This also marked William Shatner's reunion with PTV 6 years after Star Trek: The Original Series was canceled.


  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: In "Sauce for the Goose", Cable disguises himself as a gypsy Fortune Teller with a gift for prophecy to goad crooked gambler Austin Benedict into a poker game with Cash: Benedict's diary wagered against the Golden Gate Casino, winner take all.
  • Affectionate Pickpocket: During the opening credits, a prostitute lifts the wallet off a client as she sends him into a saloon.
  • Alliterative Name: Cash Conover
  • Bad Habits: Cable disguises himself as a priest in the pilot movie.
  • Bar Brawl: In the pilot movie, Cable starts a brawl inside the Golden Gate Casino as a distraction to allow him to escape the police.
  • Battering Ram: The Crusaders use a battering ram to break down the doors of the police station when they drag Diamond Jack Bassiter out and lynch him in the pilot movie.
  • Body Wipe: Finishes off many of the closing credits, as the guy that gets tossed out of the bar brushes himself off and heads right into the lens, in a silhouette effect.
  • The Boxing Episode: In "Arson and Old Lace", fishermen on the Barbary Coast are paying protection money to The Shark, though no one seems to know who he is. Cable eyes a handful of suspects, arranging a boxing match to smoke out the Shark...a match that pits the champion against Cash.
  • The Casino: Cable operates out of a secret room inside Conover's Golden Gate Casino.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: In the pilot movie, Jeff Cable (in his disguise as 'Joe Hook') smashes a chair over the head of a croupier in order to start a Bar Brawl in the Golden Gate.
  • Counterfeit Cash: In "Funny Money", Jeff's plan to find a stash of counterfeit money goes sour when the counterfeiter is killed. His solution is to enter a reluctant Cash in a high-stakes poker game.
  • Dirty Cop" Most of the cops in San Francisco are on the take.
  • Firing In The Air Alot: A group of drunken cowboys do this, shooting out the streetlights on the way, during the opening credits of the pilot movie.
  • Fortune Teller: In "Sauce for the Goose", Cable disguises himself as a gypsy with a gift for prophecy to goad crooked gambler Austin Benedict into a poker game with Cash.
  • Hook Hand: Jeff Cable sports in his disguise as 'Joe Hook': a disreputable dock rat.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: This exchange in "Funny Money":
    Jeff: If they yhink you're a beady-eyed killer...
    Cash: What do you mean 'beady-eyed'?
  • The Klan: In the pilot movie, government undercover agent Jeff Cable recruits wanted man and casino owner Cash Conover to help him take down a Klansman running a massive extortion scheme.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: In the pilot, Lt. Tully arrests Barringer for murder, even though he knows he will be acquitted at trial. Barringer is later seen sitting in his cell with the door open, eating a luxurious meal, including a bottle of champagne. He even attempts to send Tully out to buy him a fresh bottle.
  • Morally Bankrupt Banker: In "Funny Money", banker Emory Van Cleve purchases $100,000 in Counterfeit Cash, which he plans to distribute through his bank while he pockets the equivalent amount of real cash.
  • New Old Flame: In "Guns for a Queen", a load of rifles is hijacked, and Cable has Cash put out the word that he know an interested buyer: Jeff in disguise. The plan is complicated by the arrival of a girl from both their pasts, who, with her new husband, is seeking to buy the guns herself for a proposed revolution in Tahiti.
  • The Place: The title is taken from the setting, "a square-mile section of San Francisco called the Barbary Coast, a wide-open, rip-roaring district whose inhabitants ranged from flashy ladies to sourdoughs."
  • Press-Ganged: During the opening credits of the pilot movie (and the later series), a bartender feeds a sailor a drink and then drops him through a Trap Door into the arms of a press gang waiting below. This is later revealed to be a common practice at Shanghai Kelly's.
  • Prison Episode: In "The Ballad of Redwing Jail", in order to recover stolen money stashed in a jail cell, Jeff masquerades as a crook and has himself arrested. A jail break interrupts his search, and it's up to Cash to save his friend from a gang of outlaws before an old flame blows Jeff's cover.
  • Red Light District: The series takes place in 1870's San Francisco's Barbary Coast district.
  • "Shut Up!" Gunshot: In the pilot movie, Lt. Tully quells a Bar Brawl in the Golden Gate by firing a shot into the ceiling.
  • Staged Shooting: In "Funny Money", Jeff stages one: tricking the mark into thinking he shot killed and him. Arrested by a Dirty Cop as he tries to flee, the banker collects Counterfeit Cash from his stash to pay off the cop, and is busted by the Secret Service.
  • Work Off the Debt: In "Funny Money", a young gambling addict who owes money to Cash quits gambling and goes to work at Cash's casino as a bookkeeper to pay off his debts.