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The Fugitive is an Americanmarker television series produced by QM Productions and United Artists Television that aired on ABC from 1963 to 1967. David Janssen starred as Richard Kimble, a doctor from the fictional town of Stafford, Indianamarker, who is falsely convicted of his wife's murder and given the death penalty. En route to death row, Kimble's train derails and crashes, allowing him to escape and begin a cross-country search for the real killer, a "one-armed man" (played by Bill Raisch). At the same time, Dr. Kimble is hounded by the authorities, most notably by Stafford Police Lieutenant Philip Gerard (Barry Morse).

The ambience

The series premise was set up in the opening narration, but the full details about the crime were not offered in the pilot episode, which started with Kimble having been on the run for six months.

This narration, as read by William Conrad, was heard from the first episode of the second season through the last episode of the series:

It was not until episode 14, "The Girl from Little Egypt," that viewers were offered the full details of Richard Kimble's plight. A series of flashbacks reveals the fateful night of Helen Kimble's death, and for the first time offers a glimpse of "the one-armed man."

The Fugitive aired for four seasons, and a total of 120 one-hour episodes were produced. The first three seasons were filmed in black and white, while the final season was in color.

Inspirations and influence

The series was conceived by Roy Huggins and produced by Quinn Martin. It is popularly believed that the series was based in part on the real-life story of Sam Sheppard, an Ohio doctor accused of murdering his wife. Although convicted and imprisoned, Sheppard claimed that his wife had been murdered by a "bushy-haired man." Huggins denied basing the series on Sheppard.

The plot device of an innocent man on the run from the police for a murder he did not commit while simultaneously pursuing the real killer was a popular one with audiences. It had its antecedents in the Alfred Hitchcock movies The 39 Steps, Saboteur and North by Northwest. The theme of a doctor in hiding for committing a major crime had also been depicted by James Stewart as the mysterious Buttons the Clown in The Greatest Show on Earth.

The concept proved to be perfect for television programming. While shows like Route 66 had employed the same anthology-like premise of wanderers finding adventure in each new place they came to, The Fugitive answered two questions that had bedeviled many similar series: "Why doesn't the protagonist settle down somewhere?" and "Why is the protagonist trying to solve these problems himself instead of calling in the police?" Casting a doctor as the protagonist also provided the series a wider "range of entry" into local stories, as Kimball's medical knowledge would allow him alone to recognize essential elements of the episode (e.g. subtle medical symptoms or an abused medicine) and the commonplace doctor's ethic (e.g. to provide aid in emergencies) would naturally lead him into dangerous situations. Several television series have imitated the formula, with the twists being mostly in the nature of the fugitives: a German Shepherd dog (Run, Joe, Run 1974); a scientist with a monstrous alter ego (The Incredible Hulk, 1978); a group of ex-US Army Special Forces accused of a war crime they committed under orders (The A-Team, 1983); a husband and wife (Hot Pursuit, 1984); a young man afflicted with lycanthropy (Werewolf, 1987) and a reinstated detective (Life, 2007).

In its debut season, The Fugitive was the 28th highest rated show in the US (with a 21.7 Rating), and it jumped to 5th in its second season (27.9). It fell out of the top 30 during the last two seasons. However, the show's finale in 1967 held the record at that time for the highest share of American homes with television sets to watch the finale of a series, at 72%, and learn the fate of Dr. Richard Kimble.

The show also came away with other honors. In 1965, Alan Armer, the producer and head writer of the series, received an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for his work. And in a 1993 ranking, TV Guide named The Fugitive the best dramatic series of the 1960s.

Characters

Dr. Richard Kimble

The series lead, and the only character seen in all 120 episodes, was Dr. Richard David Kimble (Janssen).

A respected small-town Indiana pediatrician, it was generally known around Stafford that Richard and his wife Helen had been having arguments prior to her death. Helen's pregnancy had ended in a miscarriage, and this event had also apparently rendered her infertile. The couple were devastated, but Helen refused to consider adopting children as Richard wanted. The night of Helen's murder, the Kimbles were heard arguing heatedly over this topic by their neighbors. Richard later went out for a drive to cool off; as he was returning home, he nearly struck a one-armed man with his car who was fleeing from the Kimble home. He then entered the house to find that Helen had been killed. No one had seen or heard Dr. Kimble go out for his drive, or seen him while he was out and he was convicted of Helen's murder. This story was enlarged upon in the first season episode: The Girl From Little Egypt.

After his escape from custody, Kimble moved from town to town, always trying to remain unobtrusive and unnoticed as he searched for the one-armed man while also trying to evade police capture. He usually adopted a nondescript alias and toiled at low-paying menial jobs (i.e. jobs that required no ID or security checks) in order to survive. Though Kimble tried to keep a low profile, circumstances often conspired to place him in positions where he would be recognized or forced to risk capture in order to help a deserving person he had met in his travels.

He is incredibly smart, usually able to perform well at any trade he encounters. He also displays considerable prowess in hand to hand combat.

The One-Armed Man

Like Kimble, the one-armed man (Raisch) used a variety of aliases while on the run - in the episode "A Clean And Quiet Town" he is credited as "Steve Cramer". In this episode, Kimble catches the one-armed man and takes him to the police, confessing his own identity but the police are under control of the Mob. In "The Ivy Maze" he poses as "Carl Stoker." He went by the name Fred Johnson in several episodes, notably "Escape Into Black," "Wife Killer" (where it is found he had donated blood for some money and wrote down his real name on a Red Crossmarker card) and the two-part series finale "The Judgement." Thus Fred Johnson is generally regarded as his "real" identity by fans of the show, although a case could be made for his actual name being Gus Evans—as revealed in "The Judgment", Gus Evans was the name the one-armed man used before he killed Helen Kimble, when he would presumably have had no need to adopt an alias.

Whatever his name, the one-armed man was rarely seen on The Fugitive, appearing in person in only ten episodes and also in a photograph in the episode "The Breaking Of The Habit" with Eileen Heckart. A shadowy figure, the one-armed man was a drifter who was both crafty and almost superhumanly strong. A number of times, he tips the police off as to Kimble's whereabouts.

Lt. Philip Gerard

While Johnson was being pursued by Kimble, Kimble was being pursued by the relentless police detective Lt. Philip Gerard (Morse). A formidably intelligent family man and a dedicated public servant, Gerard made for an interesting anti-hero: while his utter devotion to tracking down someone he believed to be a cold-blooded murderer made him thoroughly admirable, his unrelenting pursuit of an innocent man made him equally detestable.

Morse did portray Gerard as a man duty-bound to capture Kimble, but who did appear to have some doubts as to his guilt, something the shrewder screenwriters seemed to pick up. In one episode, when a woman witness remarks that Kimble killed his wife, Gerard simply replies "The law says he did", with a tone of doubt in his voice; in the episode "Nemesis" the local sheriff states, "You said he's a killer," to which Gerard sharply replies, "The jury said that!" betraying doubt in his own mind as to Kimble's guilt. However, in "Wife Killer" he states with certainty that the one-armed man did not exist and that Kimble was guilty, though this is presumably more to intimidate newspaper editor Herb Malone (Kevin McCarthy) than out of complete and utter conviction.

The angle of Gerard being gnawed by doubt about Kimble's guilt was augmented as Kimble rescues Gerard in episodes such as "Never Wave Goodbye," "Corner Of Hell," "Ill Wind," "The Evil Men Do," and "Stroke of Genius." "Evil" in particular played on the respect that had developed between the two men when Gerard is pursued by former Mob hitman Arthur Brame (James Daly) who was rescued from a runaway horse by Kimble; Kimble rescues Gerard from Brame, and in their dialogue Gerard makes clear he knows Kimble didn't hire a hitman; it is also interesting that Kimble escapes from Gerard but the lieutenant does not pursue Kimble, instead going after and killing Brame. In the epilogue Gerard explains his decision to Brame's wife Sharon (Elizabeth Allen) by noting Arthur's career as a killer while "Kimble, he's done the one murder he'll ever do," in reference to Helen Kimble's murder, but stated with little conviction on Gerard's part that Kimble in fact has ever killed anyone.

In "Nemesis", Kimble unintentionally kidnaps Gerard's young son Philip Junior (played by 12-year-old star-to-be Kurt Russell). Though as concerned as any father should be, Gerard is confident that Kimble will not do his boy any real harm. After his experience with Kimble, Philip Junior questions whether or not he is guilty and his father openly admits that he could be wrong, though it changes nothing in that Kimble has to be brought in. The epilogue also hints at the respect Kimble has for Gerard the man. Earlier he'd confiscated some football cards which Phil Jr. was using in order to leave a trail; in the epilogue Kimble puts the remaining cards in an envelope and mails them back to the Gerards.

The doubt that gnaws at Gerard about Kimble's guilt begins to get the best of him in "The Judgement, Part One" (early on he tells LA Police Lt. Ralph Lee (Joseph Campanella), "I've lost a lot of things these last four years, starting with a prisoner the State told me to guard") when he interrogates Johnson and finds discrepancies in his story, to where he grabs Johnson and demands to know if he killed Helen Kimble. There is a script error here: In an earlier episode, it says in a newspaper Kimble is reading that Helen was killed on "SEPTEMBER 17th". In the final episode, Gerard asks Johnson, "Where were you on SEPTEMBER 19th, the day Helen Kimble was murdered?" Later he captures Kimble, but in arresting him he actually apologizes to him for performing his duty ("I'm sorry. You just ran out of time"). Building on the twin themes of Kimble's respect for Gerard and also his exhaustion with running, Kimble makes no effort to escape here.

There are parallels to be seen between Gerard's pursuit of Kimble and the pursuit of Jean Valjean by Inspector Javert in Les Miserables, though Javert never let go of his obsession to follow the letter of the law and hunt down his fugitive, even killing himself when he could not reconcile the justice Valjean dishes out. Gerard, on the other hand, was portrayed externally as a man like Javert, willing to even risk his own loyal followers to catch his man, but internally was more of a thinking man who could balance justice and duty.

According to some of those who worked on the show, these parallels were not coincidental. Stanford Whitmore, who wrote the pilot episode "Fear in a Desert City," says that he deliberately gave Kimble's nemesis a similar-sounding name to see if anyone would recognize the similarity between 'Gerard' and 'Javert'. One who recognized the similarity was Morse; he pointed out the connection to Quinn Martin, who admitted that The Fugitive was a "sort of modern rendition of the outline of Les Misérables." Morse accordingly went back to the Victor Hugo novel and studied the portrayal of Javert, to find ways to make the character more complex than the "conventional 'Hollywood dick'" Gerard had originally been conceived as. "I've always thought that we in the arts ... are all 'shoplifters,'" Morse said. "Everybody, from Shakespeare onwards and downwards ... But once you've acknowledged that ... when you set out on a shoplifting expedition, you go always to Cartier's, and never to Woolworth's!"

Others

William Conrad provided voice-over narration for each episode but never appeared in the credits. Kimble's murdered wife Helen was portrayed in flashbacks in several episodes by Diane Brewster. In the first such episode, "The Girl From Little Egypt", flashbacks illustrate the actual murder and circumstances surrounding it. Also seen very occasionally were Kimble's married sister, Donna Taft (Jacqueline Scott); his brother-in-law, Leonard Taft (played by several actors in different episodes, including Richard Anderson, James B. Sikking and Lin McCarthy); and Gerard's superior at the Stafford police department, Captain Carpenter (Paul Birch). Only the character of Richard Kimble is present onscreen in every episode; off-screen narrator Conrad is also heard at the beginning and end of each episode, while a separate voice, the announcer, speaks the title of the episode and the names of the episode's guest stars in the opening teaser. This announcer (an uncredited Dick Wesson) also says, "The Fugitive" aloud at the end of the closing credits. Quinn Martin's previous show, The Untouchables, also contained both a narrator (Walter Winchell) and an announcer.

Gerard directly appears in only forty-four episodes, and Fred Johnson is seen in only ten episodes though he appears in the opening credits beginning with the show's second season.He appeared only twice in the show's first season and one time apiece in the second and third seasons, but appeared in six fourth-season episodes, a reflection of new producer Wilton Schiller's desire to steer the show toward a more action-oriented direction.

The 120 episodes of The Fugitive offered a who's who of Hollywood character actors and upcoming talent. Many guest stars reappeared in multiple episodes. For the devoted viewer, this offered the entertaining fun of guessing whether a particular reappearance by an actor would represent a character who would aid Kimble or seek to turn him in. Mel Proctor's book, The Official Fan's Guide to The Fugitive, lists all the actors and their episode numbers as Appendix 5. It is a daunting list of accomplished, well-known talent.

Musical score

Series creator Huggins insisted that Janssen star, Quinn Martin produce and Pete Rugolo compose the music for The Fugitive. All the original music used for the series was composed by Rugolo and recorded in London before the series was filmed. In fact, many episodes had Rugolo as the sole credited composer for the episode's scores. However, only a fraction of all the music heard throughout the series was original Rugolo music. As was the practice for the times, library music (either from other classic TV shows or from stock music libraries, as was the case with The Adventures of Superman) provided a majority of the episodes' scores. For example, a keen listener could find himself listening to a cue from the Outer Limits series during the climactic final episode of The Fugitive. Numerous cues from The Twilight Zone episode "The Invaders" are used to strong effect throughout the series, notably in the climax of the episode "The Witch." The old pop songs "I'll Never Smile Again" and "I'll Remember April" each appear several times in the series, often associated with Kimble's deceased wife, Helen.

What little original melody was actually written and recorded was built around a fast-paced tempo representing running music. Different variations, from sad to action-oriented, would be used, with many arrangements developed for the music supervisor to select as best suited for particular scenes. There was also an original "Dragnet"-type theme for Lt. Gerard.

A soundtrack issue containing the key music Rugolo wrote and recorded for the series is now available on CD from Silva Screen Records. About 40 minutes in length, this CD contains mono yet hi-fidelity cuts and cues that were recorded in London.

For the release of Season 2, Volume 1, entirely new musical scores (created on synthesizer and composed by Mark Heyes, with additional contributions by Sam Winans and Ron Komie) were done to replace the tracked music that had been used for original and rerun broadcasts, syndication and earlier home video releases. CBS/Paramount has yet to offer any detailed explanation for the music replacement, though a recent article on the Film Music Society's web site suggests that the use of several cues from the Capitol Music Library that may have been difficult or impossible to clear could have been the cause. Many fans of the original score wrote letters of protest and boycotted this release with the hope that CBS/Paramount would fix this debacle by reissuing the collection with all of the original music intact.

On 17 Feb 2009, CBS/Paramount announced a program to issue replacement discs for Season 2 Volume 1, with much of the original music restored. This was a significant effort by CBS to mollify outraged fans. While this was a step in the right direction, many fans concluded that the replacement discs were too little too late. Several episodes still had major portions of their original scores replaced by the new compositions, and at least one key scene in the episode "Ballad For A Ghost" was deleted entirely. Inexplicably, many of the missing cues were clearly owned outright by CBS. These cues (correctly) appeared in some scenes, yet were replaced in others, reflecting an overcautious CBS Legal Department and needless music replacement.

Final episode

The final episode of the series aired on Tuesday, August 22, and Tuesday, August 29, both in 1967, with a two-part episode entitled "The Judgment."

In the story, the one-armed man, Fred Johnson, is arrested after tearing up a Los Angeles strip bar. The event, read by Kimble in a newspaper, is the catalyst for the turn of events that will follow. By the time we get to the second part of the story, the one-armed man is out of jail and has escaped after killing the unscrupulous bail bondsman, and Dr. Kimble has been captured by Gerard in Los Angeles and is being transported back to Indiana. During the lengthy train trip, Kimble persuades the detective to provide him one final opportunity to catch Johnson.

The clue he follows is a bail bond slip from Stafford allegedly signed by Kimble's brother-in-law, Leonard Taft. Kimble and Gerard follow clues that lead them to Lloyd Chandler, a friend of the Kimbles who had been present when Johnson killed Helen but who had not helped her or said anything out of fear his momentary cowardice would be revealed; Chandler had sent the bail money to Los Angeles using Taft's name, and now Johnson is blackmailing the man he thinks is "Taft". Following Chandler, Kimble and Gerard head to an abandoned amusement park where Chandler intends to kill Johnson and where Kimble has a dramatic confrontation on a carnival tower with Johnson. This segment was filmed at Pacific Ocean Park in Santa Monicamarker. In the struggle, Johnson gains the upper hand and, finally admitting he killed Kimble's wife, is about to kill the fugitive to finally rid himself of his pursuer. At this crucial point, Gerard shoots him dead from long range with a rifle. With Johnson dead, Chandler finally agrees to testify on Kimble's behalf and Kimble is eventually cleared of all charges.

In the final scene of the episode and the series, an exonerated Kimble shakes hands with Gerard while leaving a courthouse and walks off toward his new life, accompanied by a possible new love interest in longtime family friend Jean Carlisle (Diane Baker). That Kimble's four-year instinct to run at the sight of a police car has finally been put to rest is demonstrated as he walks right past two uniformed officers, without any fears of being placed in jail, as narrator Conrad intones, "Tuesday, August 29: The day the running stopped."

The final episode on August 29 was interrupted or not shown in some parts of the country due to local baseball telecasts. "The Judgment, Part 2", was shown in those markets the following week. The William Conrad voice over was changed to, "Tuesday, September 5: The day the running stopped." (The September 5 ending was used for the VHS release of the episode, while the August 29 version has proved the more popular with classic television stations that have shown it over the years).

Part two of the August 1967 finale still holds one TV record that has never been broken. The final episode in 1967 was watched by a phenomenal 72 percent of American homes with television sets at that time! While both the final episode of MASH in 1983 and the 1980 "Who Shot J.R." episode of Dallas had more viewers in sheer numbers, the final hour of the Fugitive retains the record for the highest percentage of homes with television sets to watch a TV finale. (See Note 5)

Legacy

The theme of one or more people on the run, criss-crossing America and getting involved in the personal lives of the people they meet, has become the basis of many similar TV shows.

These have included:

In addition, British heavy metal band Iron Maiden's 1992 album Fear of the Dark features a song based on the show entitled The Fugitive.

1993 film

The Fugitive, a feature film based on the series, was released in 1993, starring Harrison Ford as Kimble, Tommy Lee Jones as Gerard (now named "Samuel" instead of "Philip" and a U.S. Marshal rather than a police lieutenant) and Andreas Katsulas as the one-armed man (now called Fred Sykes instead of Fred Johnson). The movie's success came as Hollywood was embarking on a trend of remaking old television series into features. The film remained true to its source material, in particular, the notion that Kimble's kindness led him to help others even when it posed a danger to his liberty or to his physical safety.

Gerard and his team of Marshals returned in the film U.S. Marshals, played by the same actors. Even though it was not a sequel, it had a similar plotline of an innocent man evading police to prove his innocence.

To coincide with the theatrical release, NBC aired the show's first and last episodes in the summer of 1993, and later hosted the film's broadcast premiere in 1996. Tommy Lee Jones also received the 1993 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

2000 TV remake

A short-lived TV series remake (CBS, 2000-2001) of the same name also aired, filmed in Everett, Washingtonmarker starring Tim Daly as Kimble, Mykelti Williamson as Gerard, and Stephen Lang as the one-armed man. CBS canceled the series after one season with a total of 22 episodes. The show was the very first lead in to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on Friday nights, which became a hit when it debuted the same year. This incarnation was produced by Warner Bros. Television, the TV division of Warner Bros. Entertainment which produced the 1993 film.

Home Video

Prior to home video, The Fugitive was part of the original lineup on the "Arts & Entertainment Network", commonly known as A&E, beginning in February 1984. It ran until the summer of 1994. The show also appeared on the nationwide WWOR EMI Service, on the former KTZZ-TV (now KMYQmarker) in the Seattle area and briefly on the TV Land network in 2000 before disappearing from television altogether.

A total of 42 episodes have been released on VHS by NuVentures Video, with selected shows from the 42 later issued by Republic Pictures. 12 episodes were also released on laserdisc.

Currently, Republic Pictures and CBS Paramount Television own the copyrights to the series (while CBS themselves now own distribution rights); CBS Home Entertainment (with distribution by Paramount) released Season 1, Volume 1 on DVD in Region 1 in late 2007. Reviews of the first DVD set have been very positive as the show appears uncut and uncompressed, re-mastered from the original negatives and magnetic soundtrack, although a disclaimer by CBS mentions some episodes are "edited from their original broadcast versions" and some music changed for home video. (Incidental music was altered in at least two episodes, "Where the Action Is" and "The Garden House".) There are no subtitles or alternate languages, and the "liner notes" consist merely of TV-Guide-style episode synopses inside the four-disc holder. Season 1, Volume 2 was released on February 26, 2008. [138257] Season 2, Volume 1 was released on June 10, 2008. [138258] Many reviews of this third DVD set were highly negative due to the replacement of the original used music tracks with the aforementioned synthesizer music (see 'Musical Score above for details.) Season 3, volume 1 was released on October 27, 2009 [138259] and Season 3, volume 2 will be released on December 8, 2009. [138260], with the original music intact!

CBS's rights only cover the original series, the later productions were handled by Warner Bros. Entertainment.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Season 1, Volume 1 15 August 14, 2007
Season 1, Volume 2 15 February 26, 2008
Season 2, Volume 1 15 June 10, 2008
Season 2, Volume 2 15 March 31, 2009
Season 3, Volume 1 15 October 27, 2009
Season 3, Volume 2 15 December 8, 2009
Season 4, Volume 1 15 TBA
Season 4, Volume 2 15 TBA


There is also another box set being sold, though the contents and quality is unverified. Unlike the set being sold by CBS, this set is complete with all 120 episodes.

Spoofs and parodies

Spoofs and parodies of The Fugitive appeared in many TV shows and movies, including Alf, The Simpsons, Get Smart ("Don't Look Back"), It's Garry Shandling's Show and the film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. On Late Night With David Letterman, Chris Elliott played the eponymous character in a skit called "The Fugitive Guy."

MAD magazine published a satire called "The Phewgitive" in its 89th issue (September 1964) in which both Kimble and Gerard don't dare catch their respective quarries for fear that the series would end right then and there.

On an episode of a variety show, the late actor-turned-comedian Frank Gorshin once parodied The Fugitive in a diner spoof by ordering a cup of coffee—to go.

In one episode of the 2000 TV series remake, titled "DrRichardKimble.com," there is a scene that shows a series of wanted posters. One of the posters is a cameo of none other than Dr. Sam Sheppard, the Ohio physician who was imprisoned for killing his wife in 1954 and who most people believe was the real life inspiration for the TV series. Another poster shows the face of David Janssen.

David Lynch included a one-armed man in Twin Peaks as an homage to Fred Johnson. The one-armed man's name is Phillip Michael Gerard, a reference to Lieutenant Philip Gerard in The Fugitive. [138261] Coincidentally, CBS now owns the rights to both Twin Peaks and The Fugitive - in both cases with Republic Pictures.

One episode of Saturday Night Live featured a skit entitled "The Liberal", set during the Reagan era of the late 1980s, where the last known Liberal is being hunted down relentlessly.

At the beginning of a series two episode of Life on Mars DC Chris Skelton has a fear of going to prison for murdering his wife even though he does not have one. DI Sam Tyler initially believes he means Harrison Ford, even though he knows the film hasn't been produced yet.

In The Mask, the main character is captured by the police officer, Kellaway. He then protests that, "It wasn't me, it was the one-armed man!"

In an episode of the TV series Kappa Mikey, Mikey Simon is accused of stealing an invisible coat, although he claims that it was stolen by the 'one-armed man.' At the end of the episode, the one-armed man is revealed to have merely had one arm under the coat, making it seem as though he only had one arm.

Notes

5. Wikipedia: List of most-watched television broadcasts

External links




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