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What's New?Vintage Press InformationAn 'Ironside' Title and Airdate ListingOriginal NBC Stills ArchiveVintage Magazine Features'Ironside' CollectablesEditorials and Analytical FeaturesLinks
What's New?Vintage Press InformationAn 'Ironside' Title and Airdate ListingOriginal NBC Stills ArchiveVintage Magazine FeaturesIronside' CollectablesEditorials and Analytical FeaturesLinks
 THE WASHINGTON EVENING STARWednesday, March 29, 1967 
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ON THE AIR
 
A Switch for Raymond Burr
 
By BERNIE HARRISON

 
Star TV Critic
 
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That new character of Raymond Burr's, a wheelchair-bound detective, is going to take some getting used to. A lot.
 
NBC gave viewers a preview look last night at the movie that triggered the series for next season, and while the switch from Mason, an investigating attorney, to a police detective named Ironside (the title of the movie) is slight, the characters are quite different. Ironside is a gruff, cantankerous tough-talking police veteran, and that's quite a switch from the urbane, never-a-wrong-word Perry Mason. Frankly, I didn't think it worked. I wasn't convinced either by Burr or by the story and the script device of employing the adjective “flaming” as a substitute for profanity was irritating. The only actor who gets by with that is Australian Chips Rafferty.
 
The story dealt with the paralyzed Ironside's efforts to track down the person who had put him in the wheelchair and during the course of the film, introduced the three characters who will be helping him at his sleuthing work. Two are on the force: one, a handsome young lad, the other a pretty society girl. (That takes care of the romance.) The third is a bitter young Negro whom Ironside once arrested and who takes on the job of being his “legs.” If the series catches on, he and Burr are going to develop a batch of new muscles from pushing that chair.
 
Immobilized or handicapped detectives are nothing new, of course. Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe rarely leaves his house and orchids and there have been several blind detectives. I've got nothing against the device itself, but a police series is a police series no matter where the location and that isn't enough.
 
I think Burr was talked into this one. A sitting-down role? Dean Martin, maybe. Burr, no.
 
By the way, there was a credit for a Tad Mosel script, and I had the feeling throughout that I'd seen this done before on television. I can't remember the detective, but didn't Elsa Lanchester play Geraldine Brooks' role of the artist?
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