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Chapter 16  -  HARRY O  (Jul 1974-Feb 1976)
    "gorilla lovemaking & marriage-one last time"

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jul 23

"Harry O", the 4th TV series to star David Janssen, begins production in San Diego. It will premiere on ABC in September. Despite the fact that both pilots filmed in LA, it was the network's idea to shoot out-of-town as there had been success with "Streets of San Francisco" and "Hawaii Five-0". First episode to be filmed is 'Guardian at the Gates'.

David rents a beachfront house in Del Mar and is assigned a studio driver who he hits it off with. Elliot Shapiro will be with him for the rest of his career and made part of his contract on future shows. Driving was not even his strong suit. He was the star's comedic straight man, the discrete keeper of secrets, the bartender inside the Silver Bullet. Yes, drinking was known to occur during working hours, but it seemed not to impact David professionally. He knew his lines and was prepared. David had had such a driver/buddy in the past. Bud White had been with David since "The Fugitive" but their relationship had recently soured. (ask Victor why/when?)


"Harry O" filming continues in San Diego with 'The Admiral's Lady', 'Gertrude', 'Mortal Sin', and 'Coinage of the Realm'.

'Gertrude' marks creator Howard Rodman's return to writing for the character. It becomes a strong episode which is selected as the broadcast premiere. When asked why he returned to series television, Janssen recites the opening narration Rodman wrote for this show:


David explains, "A character that thought that way was a character I wanted to play. I thought it would be a helluva lot of fun."

Janssen did have ideas on how to put his own indelible stamp on the role. He saw Orwell as a character of the 1940’s operating in the 1970’s. This will manifest itself in subtleties like the choice of wardrobe--the button down shirt, a thin tie, narrow lapels in the sports coat. Rodman found it strange to watch him work once he'd inhabited these clothes: "Harry Orwell came out of my head to begin with, but after David took the part over, there was never any question about who knew Orwell better. David did.”

early sep Filming in San Diego continues with "Shadows At Noon".

sep 12

Premiere broadcast on ABC. Variety approves and calls Janssen “an authoritative actor who knows what he’s doing....it’s Janssen’s show and he carries the major weight without any sign of strain.”

sep 20

While shooting episode seven, "Eyewitness", there is an accident on set and Janssen is hit on the head by a large arc light. He receives 8 stiches and the planned next-day Saturday filming is cancelled.

Janssen is presented the following week with a large headshot photo blowup with a Band-Aid attached. The crew good-naturedly signs the photo with comments like 'Next time, it won't be an accident'. As usual Janssen has developed a great working rapport with his technicians. Janssen will go on Carson joking that they hit him with a light because they wanted the 2-day weekend.

end sep “Accounts Balanced” episode films in San Diego.
oct “Ballinger’s Choice”, “Second Sight”, “Material Witness”.

During the filming of the 2-part "40 Reasons To Kill" episode word comes down that a decision has been made to relocate the show to Los Angeles to reduce production costs. The episode in progress, plus one more, "The Last Heir", will be done in San Diego.

Janssen is not bothered by the move home explaining the scripts weren’t really indiginous to San Diego. He adds, “we do the scripts they didn’t sell to 'Mannix'."

nov 22

"Harry O" begins production in Los Angeles just before Thanksgiving. For this episode, "For the Love of Money", another major change is made. A new character Lt. Trench, played by Anthony Zerbe, is introduced. The San Diego Lieutenant Manny Quinlan (Henry Darrow) is phased out. He will be killed off in a later 1st season LA episode.

Trench injects new life into the series as the on-screen Orwell-Trench relationship is endlessly entertaining to viewers. Zerbe had nothing but praise for his on-screen sparring partner: "The first time I shot a scene with David, we were at a table in a bar. What I noticed after we had shot was, 'Where did the scene go?'. I mean the man had just walked off with the scene and I didn’t know how it happened. David, just in his timing and his moves, had obliterated me! It was so interesting. I was just not even there. And it was like I had to go round a corner then, and hitch up my pants and tighten my belt and and think, ‘You know, kindergarten is over, because he’s really there, really present’.

dec 2 additional LA episodes are completed.



continues shooting season one episodes of "Harry O".

jan 11 appears on the cover of TV GUIDE in Harry Orwell garb.
jan 15 guests on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson. Speaks about his September set accident on “Harry O”, his fight scene with Kirk Douglas on “Once Is Not Enough”, and his 1967 Africa trip for “American Sportsman”.

feb 13

end of season one production on "Harry O". He finishes with the show's renewal status uncertain. If picked up, Janssen has 4 months free to pursue other work.

A film in Switzerland is a possibilty. He has also been offered a play by a friend who hopes to stage it in London. One thing he does not do is go to the alter with Dani although there had be rumors that they would hitch on Valentines Day.

end feb

travels to Philadelphia to appear on "The Mike Douglas Show" with co-host Cybill Shepherd and guest Muhammad Ali.

mar 13

The "Harry O" episode 'Street Games' airs. Warner Brothers takes out an ad in the Hollywood trade papers to try to garner support for an Emmy nomination for Janssen. This does not occur.


Janssen accepts and films a movie role which will just fit in to his slot of time off as "Harry O" has been renewed for a 2nd season. It's the Switzerland film called "The Swiss Conspiracy" and it smells 'B' movie. The director is Jack Arnold ("Creature From the Black Lagoon") and Ray Milland, Elke Sommer, John Saxon, and Senta Berger round out the cast.

A role that slipped away was that of Clark Gable in "Gable and Lombard" which goes to James Brolin.

jun 20

former agent Jack Donaldson dies. He represented Janssen as a contract player at Universal in the early 1950's and had also been the agent to Edd Byrnes, Ben Murphy, and Isabel Sanford.

jun 23

Janssen flies in from Europe just in time to begin the endurance test of season 2 of "Harry O" which resumes today .

As he was fond of saying, starring in a TV series is a bit like making love to a gorilla: "You don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla's tired " (borrowed by Janssen from former Democratic National Commitee chairman Bob Strauss).

jul 4 No rest for the weary. On David's day off from HARRY O filming due to the Independence Day holiday he is recruited along with co-star Anthony Zerbe to take publicity photos.
jul 25 guests on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson. Speaks about his early radio work and his recent movie in Switzerland. A clip from “Once Is Not Enough" is shown.
aug-dec continues season 2 "Harry O" episode filming.
sep 11

Dani announces wedding date of Oct 4th is set and that numerology confirmed that it's was good date. Is travelling to New York City in the coming week to be fit by Giorgio di Sant'Angelo for the wedding dress.

sep 19

takes an episode of "Dinah!". He talks about his trailer during “Richard Diamond” and his leading ladies. A clip from the new season of “Harry O” is shown. But not his forthcoming marriage.

oct 4

David Janssen and Dani Crayne Greco marry at the Beverly Hills home of Edie and Lew Wasserman.

David's best man is Sid Korchak. The maid-of-honor is Dani's best friend Alison Steele, a NYC disk jockey. When asked to kiss the bride, David turned and kisssed someone else as a joke.

120 people are invited including James Caan, Gene Kelly, Joanna Pettet Cord, Michael Douglas & Brenda Vaccaro, Suzanne Pleshette (Mrs. Tom Gallagher), Cyd Charisse, Merle Oberon & Rob Wolders, Ann Rutherford (Mrs. Wm. Dozier), Janet Leigh, Darren McGavin, Paul, Lester, & Ken Ziffren and a healthy representation of studio heads: David Begelman (Columbia), Barry Diller (Paramount), Sid Sheinberg (UA), Kirk Kerkorian (M-G-M), Frank Wallas (WB), and Richard Bloch (Filmways).

David is back at work the following week.

dec 3

guests again on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson. He talks about hs recent marriage and his driver Elliot Shapiro.

end dec

on a Christmas break from "Harry O" David and Dani have a delayed honeymoon in Acupulco. Dani tragically receives word that a fire and explosion has ravaged the home of her daughter Debbie in Florida. She has survived but her husband and their infant child (Dani's grandchild) have been killed. Dani flies to Florida. David remains in Mexico with friends.


feb 5

the "Harry O" series completes production with the episode "Victim". Scenes with actress Cynthia Avila on the Harry's apartment set are the last to be filmed.

Mike Douglas has come to the Warner Brothers studio to tape an interview segment on this set in the final days of filming.




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