DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Ironside - Season One

By Jeff Swindoll Apr 24, 2007, 20:20 GMT

DVD Review: Ironside - Season One

Confined to a wheelchair by a sniperís bullet, former Chief of Detectives Robert T. Ironside (Emmy-winner Raymond Burr of Perry Mason) consults for the San Francisco police department, solving major crimes with a crack team of investigators, including Detective Sergeant Ed Brown (Don Galloway of Arrest & Trial), policewoman Eve Whitfield (Emmy-winner Barbara Anderson of the original Mission Impossible) and ex-con Mark Sanger (Don Mitchell). ...more

Raymond Burr portrays the wheelchair bound, gruff detective who wheeled around the airwaves for nearly a decade (1966-1975).  Itís easy to dismiss it as Perry Mason in a wheelchair but itís more than that, but this season also has a definite 1960s feel. 

San Francisco Chief of Detectives Robert T. Ironside (Raymond Burr) is getting away from things at his friends chicken farm when heís shot by a sniper.  Heís paralyzed from the waist down but his determined nature gets him a job as a consultant on the police force and the use of an empty room in the police headquarters that he sets up as his base of operations.  He also requisitions Det. Sgt. Brown (Don Galloway) and Officer Eve Whitfield (Barbara Anderson). 

His handicap has in no way destroyed his bravery has he confronts the potential suspects in his shooting.  He confronts angry young black man Mark Sanger (Don Mitchell) as a suspect, but when Ironside exonerates him he hires him as his driver.  He has the department outfit a special armored car to transport him around to the scenes of the crimes (I thought of it as the Ironside-mobile) and has to use his brains to solve crimes since his brawn was taken by a sniperís bullet (well, not really since heís a tough old bird). 

Disc 1:
Ironside Ė World Premiere: A unique chapter was written in the annals of television programming when viewers were given an opportunity to see a new show before it went on the air as a series.  The feature-length Ironside drew 24 million American viewers when it aired in 1966 and began a trend in introducing new series that continues today.  In this ďpilot,Ē San Francisco Chief of Detectives Robert T. Ironside is left paralyzed by a sniperís bullet.  Look for an appearance by singer Tiny Tim. 
Message from Beyond: A racetrack robbery spoil Ironsideís bet on a sure winner, but itís the thief who turns out to be the biggest loser.  Guest stars James Gregory. 
The Leaf in the Forest: An elusive strangler concentrates on lonely old ladies.  Guest stars Barbara Barrie.

Disc 2:
Dead Manís Tale: A gangland murder is hidden from the press to flush out the syndication kingpin.  Guest stars Jack Lord.
Eat, Drink and Be Buried: A husband faces death threats to his wife, a malicious gossip columnist.  Guest stars Lee Grant and Farley Granger.
The Taker: Only a dead policeman can prove that he was not ďon the take.Ē   Guest stars Robert Alda and William Schallert.
An Inside Job: Two killers force Ironside to plot their escape from the police building.  Guest stars John Saxon, Don Stroud, and Norman Fell. 

Disc 3:
Tagged for Murder: Five ex-GI s plot a murder involving their dog tag numbers.
Let My Brothers Go: A pro-football player puts his reputation and his future on the line to save his worthless brother from prison.  Guest stars Ivan Dixon.
Light at the End of the Journey: A blind girl is the bait to stop a killer.  Guest stars Robert Reed.
The Monster of Comus Towers: Theft and murder in a skyscraper tower prove that an acquisitive collector knows the high price of art. 

Disc 4:

The Man who Believed: A beautiful folk singer dies as dramatically as she sang.  Did she jump or was she pushed?  Guest stars John Stockwell.
A Very Cool Hot Car: A sudden rise in car theft leads to a ring of wealthy hippies.
The Past is Prologue: An escaped convictís past is revealed after 17 years as a solid citizen.  Guest stars Victor Jory. 
Girl in the Night: Det. Sgt. Brown falls in love with a beautiful girl whose tragic life ends in murder.  Guest stars Susan Saint James.

Disc 5:
The Fourteenth Runner: A Russian track star in the U.S. disappears.  Is it for love of country or for love of a woman?  Guest stars Edward Asner. 
Force of Arms: A self-appointed patriot forms a vigilante group to ďaidĒ the police. 
Memory of an Ice Cream Stick: Ironside wants his aide to stay away from a boyhood friend who is now a parolee.
To Kill a Cop: Det. Sgt. Brown plays some hunches against heavy odds to capture a cop-killer.  Guest stars Pernell Roberts and Ruta Lee.

Disc 6:
The Lonely Hostage: A moonlighting cop heists $150,000, but itís not enough to pay the fare to freedom.
The Challenge: A chance remark in the last conversation gives Ironside the clue he needs to a friendís murder.
All in a Dayís Work: In the line of duty, Officer Eve Whitfield kills a 17-year-old boy during an armed robbery.
Something for Nothing: Loan sharks have teeth sharp enough to kill.  Guest stars James Farentino and Susan Saint James.

Disc 7:
Barbara Who: A nurseís aide with amnesia, in love with Ironside, is afraid to find out her real identity.  Guest stars Vera Miles.
Perfect Crime: An elusive sniper terrorizes a college.
Officer Bobby: Ironside turns babysitter when an abandoned infant provides the clue to a would-be plane bomber.

Disc 8:
Trip to Hashbury: A teenage hippy dies of a beating and Det. Sgt. Brown is accused of brutality.  Guest stars William Windom.
Due Process of the Law: While investigating a murder, Ironsideís aide goes too far and finds himself the suspect in the crime.  Guest stars Dwayne Hickman and David Carradine. 
Return of the Hero: Ironside cannot withhold evidence and a friend gets the death penalty.  Guest stars Gary Collins.

Itís hard to dismiss Ironside as just Perry Mason in a wheelchair.  Burr makes him a completely different character altogether with his gruff, demanding, tough demeanor.  I canít imagine Mason being such a hardass.  Burr also surrounds himself with a trio of fine actors as his team.  I especially liked how he confronted Mark Sanger and turned him from potential shooter into right-hand-man. 

The mysteries are okay, but they have the quality of a time capsule since theyíre heavily influenced by the culture and fashion of the 1960s (at least in these season one episodes).  Several of them feature hippies.  If you can get past that, it causes some laughs, then youíll find some interesting characters and plots.

Ironside is presented in fullscreen as they originally aired on television.  The only special feature is the inclusion of the opening telemovie.  Itís a nice touch and most welcome. 

A fine series with a great performance from Raymond Burr, but he also surrounds himself with a team of interesting actors.  If youíre a fan then youíll be delighted that Ironside has made it onto DVD.  If you want some interesting characters working out the mysteries and can put aside the hippy-dippy 1960s settings then youíll enjoy Ironside.

Ironside is now available at Amazon. As of yet, there is not a release date for the UK. Visit the DVD database for more information.

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Ironside - Season One

Confined to a wheelchair by a sniperís bullet, former Chief of Detectives Robert T. Ironside (Emmy-winner Raymond Burr of Perry Mason) consults for the San Francisco police department, solving major ...more

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