The Morning Call (Pennsylvanie) 15 février 1977

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The Morning Call (Pennsylvanie) 15 février 1977 - Television III ill f : v -f JAMES FRANCISCUS...
Television III ill f : v -f JAMES FRANCISCUS Best bets Now 'Mr. Novak's' a .secret -agent By CHARLES WITBECK HOLLYWOOD r- Series star Jim Franciscus has played a schoolteacher ("Mr. Novak"), a blind insurance investigator ("Longstreet"), a cop ("Naked City") and a country doctor ("Doc Elliott"). Now he becomes a secret agent, along with pretty Linda Evans, reporting to the President of the United States" In "Hunter," the new CBS action series replacing "Executive Suite" on Friday nights, beginning Feb. 18. This is the show the network boss disparaged in public as not ready for airing while speaking to the press in early January. And presto, here it is. Franciscus shakes his head over the advance knock. "I'm a wirvivor," he says. If one series bombs he will hunt around for another. Losing his temper over bad time slots, poor publicity, or shows that just don't work, is not his bag. Jim was filming. with Linda in TV movie director Howard Hawk's old estate nestled in the canyons Just behind Westwood, winding up episode number 13. Next week he will be in Australia for a movie titled "Puzzle." The actor was not looking beyond a 13-week winter-spring run for "Hunter." The Lorimar Productions property received the green light last spring, but CBS didn't care for the pilot. Jim Franciscus and Linda Evans passed muster, but not the format about an ex-con out for revenge, aided by lady of the evening, Linda. It was to be a reverse "Fugitive," with the hero doing the chasing. During revisions, the hunting angle was retained, and the characters were cleaned up to become high-level government intelligence sleuths, James Hunter and Marty Shaw. In the first show, Hunter and Shaw match wits with a Communist agent Bluebird, supposedly working under an alias in a nuclear plant. For Franciscus, the assignment is a cinch. In shape partly because of charity tennis matches with Chad Everett, Charlton Heston and pick-up pros around the country, a series of sets sponsored by a liquor company with ads in national magazines, slim Jim can tense the jaw muscles in closeups, give the steely blue-eyed look, and run without effort in the long-shot action scenes. After all, it's work; and Jim doesn't fit in those pilots calling for leggy, lovely girls running about after bad guys. So you play a high-level intelli gence agent and move on. For a while, Jim was in the produc lng business with Fred Brogger, film ine TV classics. The first "Heidi," with Maxmilian Schell and Jean Simmons, is famous for coming on the air before the end of a pro football game in Oakland, Calif. All stations, according to the actor, now have a "Heidi button for use when sports events run over, or stations want to cut in for bulletins After "Heidi," the Franciscus- Brogger product got better each year. Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir Ralph Richardson appeared in "David Cop-perfield," "Jane Eyre" followed with George C. Scott and Susannah York, then "Kidnapped" and finally Henry Fonda in "The Red Pony." Then the partnership dissolved and Jim went back to acting. "It became a grinding hassle," he explained. "Raising money is not my cup of tea. All the wheeling and dealing turned my stomach. I'm not that greedy I guess." far A A I. i fr. Y ' v v if; ' J LINDA EVANS Tuesday, Feb. 15 9 to 9:30 p.m. on your Public Television Channel Tonight: "There's No Business Like Big Business." Is Big Business as good as it likes to think it is? Or as bad as some people believe it is? Why not tune in for half an hour and decide for yourself? Check local listings

Clipped from
  1. The Morning Call,
  2. 15 Feb 1977, Tue,
  3. Main Edition,
  4. Page 6

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  • The Morning Call (Pennsylvanie) 15 février 1977

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