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Series / Peter Gunn

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A Private Eye TV show created by Blake Edwards that ran from 1958–61, updating the Hardboiled Detective ideals of the 1930s with 1950s notions of jazz cool. It featured the crime-solving skills of the title character (Craig Stevens), who got equal portions of help and hindrance from Lieutenant Jacoby. He hung out in a nightclub where his girlfriend was the singer; the owner often provided tips and clues to the crime.

Well executed, but mostly forgotten... except for the fact that Henry Mancini's theme music is legendary, and still popular today.



  • Action Prologue: The episode's crime to be solved would take place before the opening credits.
  • Always Murder: Episodes usually start with someone being killed, which Peter Gunn will be hired to investigate.
  • Chiaroscuro: Unsurprisingly, as it was shot in black and white and rather Noir in style.
  • City with No Name: It's never stated what city the series is set in, only that it has a waterfront.
  • Leitmotif: The Instrumental Theme Tune becomes this for Bally's Spy Hunter video game.
  • The Movie: Gunn (1967). There was also a made-for-TV movie made in 1989 as a pilot for a prospective revival series that didn't get picked up.
  • Music of Note:
    • The series was notable for its music. (Unusually for the time, every episode had original music written for it.)
    • Reaches the point of Awesome Music for the title theme, which has become one of the iconic themes of all time, up there with Mancini's other famous work The Pink Panther.
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  • No Export for You: It didn't get sold to British television due to concerns over its violence. (That wouldn't be a problem today.)
  • Starving Artist: In "Let's Kill Timothy," Peter visits Vladmir to ask some questions. Vladmir is an artist who is behind on his rent and recently embraced the medium of "sound paintings," decidedly non-musical recordings that Peter Gunn does not understand (Vladmir accuses Peter of "listening" when he ought to be "see, with your ears"). He humors Vladmir for a little while before cutting to the chase.


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