TV’s Mannix Meets the Buffalo Springfield

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Mike Connors as Joe Mannix

Actor Mike Connors, best known for playing the title role on the TV detective show Mannix, died on January 26, 2017, at 91, of leukemia. The series premiered on September 16, 1967, on CBS and ran for eight seasons  and 194 episodes, ending its run on April 13, 1975. It performed solidly, if not spectacularly in the ratings, becoming the #7 top-rated series in its fourth season. The show, set in Los Angeles, is often grouped with other programs of the era like Ironside, Columbo and Kojak.

Connors was born Krekor Ohanian on August 15, 1925, in Fresno, Calif., of Armenian descent. He was a good enough athlete that after serving in World War II, he played college basketball at UCLA for the legendary coach John Wooden. Before landing the lead in Mannix, Connors appeared in dozens of films and TV series. But it was his role as the square-jawed private investigator Joe Mannix that made him a star. His character’s loyal secretary, Peggy Fair, was played by Gail Fisher, who became the first African-American actress to win an Emmy Award. Mannix was nominated twice for an Emmy Award for Best Dramatic Series.

Best Classic Bands reader tipped us to the October 28, 1967, episode of Mannix titled “Warning Live Blueberries,” where the PI wanders into the Lost Dimension club searching for someone. There’s a rock band playing.

But that’s no ordinary rock band. It’s the unmistakable voice of Stephen Stills. Look closely during the few times in the scene where the band is shown and there they are: the Los Angeles-based Buffalo Springfield performing “Bluebird.” There’s Stills and Richie Furay playing guitar in front. Neil Young is behind Stills. That’s Bruce Palmer on bass and Dewey Martin on drums.

Buffalo Springfield’s Palmer, Furay, Martin, Young and Stills

Related: Our interview with Richie Furay

The group’s second album, Buffalo Springfield Again, was about to be released on November 18, and they were coming off a huge success with “For What It’s Worth,” a #7 pop hit from their 1966 self-titled debut. Though they never earned another Top 40 single, Buffalo Springfield’s place in classic rock history is secure. And so is Mike Connors in TV history.

Our Classic Video…

Buffalo Springfield formed on March 3, 1966. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

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  1. Jorma
    #1 Jorma 28 January, 2017, 15:19

    Jorma Kaukonen played “Laughing Boy”.

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