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What's New?Vintage Press InformationAn 'Ironside' Title and Airdate ListingOriginal NBC Stills ArchiveVintage Magazine Features'Ironside' Books and ToysEditorials and Analytical FeaturesLinks
What's New?Vintage Press InformationAn 'Ironside' Title and Airdate ListingOriginal NBC Stills ArchiveVintage Magazine FeaturesIronside' Books and ToysEditorials and Analytical FeaturesLinks
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 FeaturesThe “World Premiere” Paddy Wagon 
 
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The 'World Premiere'Paddy Wagon
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Prior to “Ironside’s” return to British Television in 1987, if you had asked me to provide a list of the things I remembered about the show, I would—after mentioning the characters, and the iconic building that was their home—have spoken with considerable relish about The Chief’s distinctive mode of transport: a sleek, stylish van containing a miniature elevator-platform that enabled The World's Greatest Detective to get to a crime scene in record time.
 
I loved that van, and the fact that Mark Sanger got to drive it made him even more of a hero in my eyes than he was already…
 
It came as a shock to me, therefore, when the series reappeared on BBC Television in the mid-eighties, and I beheld the lumbering behemoth that was “The Paddy Wagon”, to realise that our heroes had ever employed anything else. Even though I had watched “Ironside” from the beginning in the 1960’s, I had no recollection whatsoever of the team’s first choice of vehicle—and it was only when I acquired (at unreasonable expense) the Corgi Toys miniature diecast model of The Paddy Wagon, that I recalled I had been the proud owner of one during the series' first screening.
 
The original “World Premiere” feature was absent from the daytime reruns that reintroduced me to Ironside and his team, and when I finally did get to see the pilot, some years later, I was interested to see that beneath its coat of gloss black paint, the 1940’s Ford “Black Maria” that was introduced to us appeared to be an entirely different vehicle to the one used in the series—although the interior seemed to be the same.
 
Beyond that, when I was able to obtain a copy of the script for The Chief’s inaugural adventure, I discovered that the concept for The Paddy Wagon’s design and features varied considerably from what eventually ended up on screen:
•  Instead of an elevator, the Wagon contains a mechanised ramp to enable The Chief to exit swiftly. (I presume this was abandoned because a considerable amount of clearance would have been required at the rear of the vehicle to allow the ramp to be effectively deployed.)
 
•   The colour of the vehicle is described as being "civil service green", instead of black.
 
•   The vehicle is adorned with an N.Y.P.D. crest—presumably a joke on behalf of The Chief.
 
•   The script describes the Paddy Wagon’s "side door"—a feature which is absent from the actual vehicle.
 
•   At one point, Commissioner Randall is described as "Cahill"—presumably this was the original name for the character.
For reference, I’ve transcribed the appropriate sections of the script, and reproduced them below.
Mark
April 13th, 2001
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Rev. 10/27/66
 
     
91    INT. VEHICLE ENTRYWAY - PAST RANDALL’S CAR
 
As it arrives, the Commissioner is let out by his driver. The driver DISAPPEARS. Nearby, in a work area, is an ancient paddy wagon. WHEELS MONTANA, an elderly, bull-necked gent, is working over the engine. Randall starts towards the elevator, does a mild take at the paddy wagon, heads for Wheels Montana.
 
    91
RANDALL
 
 
        (to Wheels)
Hey!  You!
        (as Wheels turns)
What are you doing with that antique?
 
 
 
WHEELS
 
 
        (obviously by rote)
This vehicle is the property of Chief Ironside.
        (remembering the rest)
By authority of Commissioner Randall.
 
 
 
    Randall thinks this over, realises nothing further is to be gained by further questioning of Wheels, turns away, strides purposefully toward the elevator.
 
    
92    INT. IRONSIDE’S QUARTERS - DAY - MED. SHOT - IRONSIDE
  
    92
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Rev. 10/27/66
 
     
97    CONTINUED
 
    97
IRONSIDE
 
 
That’s a pretty good shot.  We better get a list of criminals who’ve used rifles.
 
 
 
BROWN
 
 
I don’t think there is one.
 
 
 
    Commissioner Randall comes THROUGH the door, moves toward them. He is obviously upset. Eve sees him, tries to call Ironside’s attention to him.
 
    
EVE
 
 
Chief ---
 
 
 
IRONSIDE
 
 
        (to Brown)
Then we’ll have to make one.
 
 
 
    Now Ironside sees Randall, turns to face him.
 
    
IRONSIDE
 
 
Welcome, Commissioner.
 
 
 
RANDALL
 
 
About that patrol wagon ---
 
 
 
IRONSIDE
 
 
Isn’t she a beauty?
 
 
 
RANDALL
 
 
        (angry)
We put all those relics into a surplus sale.
 
 
 
IRONSIDE
 
 
It’s all right. I told everybody you authorized me to take it.
 
 
 
RANDALL
 
 
You what?  I ---
 
 
 
97    NEW ANGLE - CAHILL, IRONSIDE, EVE, BROWN
 
    97
    Our VIEW is now from somewhere near the kitchen area, and there is a trace of smoke in the air.
 
    
IRONSIDE
 
 
Well, you said I should pick up whatever I needed.
        (suddenly aware of the
         smoke and the smell)
 
 
 
    CONTINUED    
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Rev. 11/2/66
 
     
98    CONTINUED
 
    98
IRONSIDE (Cont’d)
 
 
What numbskull forgot to turn off the chili?
 
 
 
BROWN
 
 
I’ll get it.
 
 
 
RANDALL
 
 
        (as Brown goes)
There’s an ordinance against cooking in these rooms, Chief.
 
 
 
IRONSIDE
 
 
        (following Brown)
I’m going to forget you ever mentioned that, Commissioner.
 
 
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119    INT. VEHICLE AREA, POLICE HEADQUARTERS - DAY - FULL SHOT - PATROL WAGON
 
    119
    The same ancient Black Maria we saw before, and parked in the same place, but considerably spruced up.  Our VIEW is from behind.  The rear doors are closed; “Dept. of Correction” has been painted out; “N.Y.P.D.” has been substituted.  Now the doors fly open, and a machinery-operated two-track ramp emerges, tips itself down so it makes a smooth contact with the cement floor.
 
    
120    OMITTED
 
    120
120A    MED. SHOT - IRONSIDE
 
    120A
    MOVING BACK WITH him, as grinning with satisfaction, he COMES rolling DOWN the ramp.
 
    
121    OMITTED
 
    121
121A    NEW ANGLE - IRONSIDE
 
    121A
    He is going too fast when he hits the bottom of the ramp, seems likely to crash into a wall beyond, but Wheels, coming from the front of the wagon, intercepts him, prevents the crash.
 
    
IRONSIDE
 
 
Thanks.
        (gesturing with
         his cane)
Let’s see the engine.
 
 
 
122    OMITTED
 
    122
122A    NEW ANGLE - IRONSIDE, WHEELS
 
    122A
    Wheels pushes Ironside to the front of the wagon, lifts the hood, moves quickly away, toward cab.
 
    
123    OMITTED
 
    123
123A    IRONSIDE, ENGINE
 
    123A
    It is a monster, its spectacular appearance enhanced by its setting, the gleam of its superchargers and platinum heads accented by the civil-service green of the wagon itself.
 
 
    CONTINUED 
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Rev. 10/27/66
 
     
123A    CONTINUED
 
    123A
IRONSIDE (Cont’d)
 
 
Nice.
 
 
 
WHEELS’ VOICE
 
 
It’s the greatest!  Full power
V-8. High cam, super-charger. Engine’s been squared. Fuel injection. Want to know where I got it?
 
 
 
IRONSIDE
 
 
Definitely not.
 
 
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131B    INT. PATROL WAGON - IRONSIDE, MARK
 
    131B
    Mark pushes him far forward in the wagon.  WE MOVE WITH them, NOTICING the remarkable features of this vehicle as Mark does.  INCLUDED in the tour are Ironside’s two phones, which include an intercom to the driver, two dome lights, a stationary work table, a mount obviously designed to hold his wheelchair steady when the vehicle is in transit.  There are hinged panels, behind which are various gadgets, such as fingerprint equipment, slide projectors, etc., and Ironside opens several of them, finally finds the one he wants, which contains a whiskey bottle, a glass, and an ice bucket.  As he prepares a drink:
 
    
IRONSIDE
 
 
Well?
 
 
 
MARK
 
 
I’ll think it over.
 
 
 
IRONSIDE
 
 
You’ve done that.
 
 
 
131C    NEW ANGLE - PAST IRONSIDE
 
    131C
    Toward the partition, dividing the work area from the driver’s cab.  WE SEE that there is a door in it, at the right, behind where the passenger’s seat would ordinarily be.  Ironside’s cane taps sharply on the partition and, as if in response, the engine goes on again, in a great, vibrating, pounding surge. 
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Rev. 10/27/66
 
     
135    NEW ANGLE - PAST IRONSIDE, MARK
 
    135
    Ironside pushes a button, not sure he is guessing right, is delighted when the side-door opens and the steps go down. As Mark goes down the steps, we CLOSE ON Ironside as he dials a single digit, waits a moment, starts talking:
 
    
IRONSIDE
 
 
Eve, you and Ed come on down here.  Bring all the physical evidence with you.
        (an afterthought)
We’re going to take a little field trip.  Along the way, we’ll drop in on Baby Peggy.
 
 
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