is a short-lived, light-hearted detective TV series starring George Peppard
George Peppard, Jr. was an American film and television actor.Peppard secured a major role when he starred alongside Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's , portrayed a character based on Howard Hughes in The Carpetbaggers , and played the title role of the millionaire sleuth Thomas Banacek in...
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...
from 1972 to 1974. It alternated in its timeslot with several other shows but was the only one to last beyond its first season. It was later rebroadcast on the A&E Network
The A&E Network is a United States-based cable and satellite television network with headquarters in New York City and offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, London, Los Angeles and Stamford. A&E also airs in Canada and Latin America. Initially named the Arts & Entertainment Network, A&E launched...
The show had a mixture of humor combined with rather intricate plots that never generated strong ratings. Despite this, the show was well received by critics and was picked up for a third season. However, before the third season could start production, Peppard quit the show in order to prevent his ex-wife Elizabeth Ashley
Elizabeth Ashley is an American actress who first came to prominence as the ingenue in the Broadway play Take Her, She's Mine, which earned her a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Play.-Early life:...
from receiving a larger percentage of his earnings as part of their divorce settlement.
The Polish American Congress
The Polish American Congress is a U.S. umbrella organization of Polish-Americans and Polish-American organizations.Its membership is composed of fraternal, educational, veterans, religious, cultural, social, business, and political organizations, as well as individuals.As of January 2009, it lists...
gave the series an award for portraying Polish Americans in a good manner.
Peppard played Thomas Banacek, a suave, Polish-American freelance investigator based in Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...
, who solved seemingly impossible thefts (see locked room mystery
The locked room mystery is a sub-genre of detective fiction in which a crime—almost always murder—is committed under apparently impossible circumstances. The crime in question typically involves a crime scene that no intruder could have entered or left, e.g., a locked room...
). He then collected from the insurance companies 10% of the insured value of the recovered property. One of Banacek's verbal signatures was the quotation of strangely worded yet curiously cogent "Polish
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...
" proverbs such as:
- If you're not sure that it's potato borscht
Borscht is a soup of Ukrainian origin that is popular in many Eastern and Central European countries. In most of these countries, it is made with beetroot as the main ingredient, giving it a deep reddish-purple color...
, there could be orphans working in the mines.
- Though the hippopotamus has no sting, the wise man would prefer to be sat upon by the bee.
- A truly wise man never plays leapfrog with a unicorn.
- If a wolf is after your sleigh throw him a raisin cookie—but don't stop to bake him a cake.
- Just because the cat has her kittens in the oven doesn't make them biscuits.
Another recurring gag was for other characters to mispronounce his name, often (particularly in the case of rivals) deliberately. The name "Banaczek" (as pronounced in the show) is actually very rare in Poland. The closest Polish names in common use are Banaszak (bah-NAH-shack) and Banasik (bah-NAH-sheek). In fact, Banáček is a Czech surname.
Also featured were Ralph Manza as Banacek's chauffeur Jay Drury, Murray Matheson
Murray Matheson , born Sidney Murray Matheson was an actor who had appeared on stage and in films and television programs until 1983....
as rare-bookstore owner and information source Felix Mulholland and Christine Belford
Christine Belford is an American television and film actor.- Early life :Christine Belford was born January 14, 1949 in Amityville, New York...
as Carlie Kirkland, Banacek's sometime-lover and always-rival.
Season 1 (1972–1973)
Season 2 (1973–1974)
Arts Alliance America has released the entire series on DVD in Region 1. Season 1 was released on May 15, 2007, without the series pilot. Season 2 was released on January 22, 2008 and included the pilot episode. On September 30, 2008, Arts Alliance released Banacek: The Complete Series
, a 5-disc boxset featuring all 16 episodes.
In Region 4, Madman Entertainment
Madman Entertainment is an Australian company that distributes international films as well as Japanese anime and manga in Australia and New Zealand. The company is owned by Funtastic Limited and is one of the major entertainment companies in Australia. It employs 130 people and has an annual...
released Season 1 on DVD in Australia on April 21, 2010. Season 2 will be released on September 15, 2010.
The episode titled "If Max Is So Smart, Why Doesn't He Tell Us Where He Is?" was shot on location at the California Institute of the Arts
The California Institute of the Arts, commonly referred to as CalArts, is located in Valencia, in Los Angeles County, California. It was incorporated in 1961 as the first degree-granting institution of higher learning in the United States created specifically for students of both the visual and the...
around the time the school first opened. "Ten Thousand Dollars A Page" was filmed at the Pasadena Art Museum, later known as the Pasadena Museum of Modern Art and now the Norton Simon Museum of Art.
A customized 1969 American Motors
American Motors Corporation was an American automobile company formed by the 1954 merger of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and Hudson Motor Car Company. At the time, it was the largest corporate merger in U.S. history.George W...
AMX was built by George Barris
George Barris is a designer of custom cars.-Early history:George and his brother Sam were born in Chicago in the 1920s. After the deaths of their parents, they moved to Roseville, California as children to live with relatives. Both were good students, interested in drama, music, and design...
for the second regular season episode. The car became known as the AMX-400 and it is now owned by an automobile collector. Other continuing cars in the series were a 1941 Packard 180
The Packard 180 was introduced for the 1940 model year by the Packard Motor Car Company to replace the discontinued V-12 as their top-of-the-line luxury model. Correct name of the model was Custom Super Eight One-Eighty...
with a Victoria body designed by Howard "Dutch" Darrin (license plate number 178344) and a 1973 Cadillac Fleetwood
Lawrence P. Fisher was the Fisher brother most closely involved with Cadillac in its early years. In 1916 he joined the Fisher Body Company which had been formed by two of his brothers in 1908. Larry was one of four of the seven Fisher brothers who brought Fisher Body Corporation under the General...
A limousine is a luxury sedan or saloon car, especially one with a lengthened wheelbase or driven by a chauffeur. The chassis of a limousine may have been extended by the manufacturer or by an independent coachbuilder. These are called "stretch" limousines and are traditionally black or white....
(mobile telephone number KL 17811).