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National News / Book Review

Wednesday, 4 March, 2009 6:28 PM

Book Review: 'Hardcastle and McCormick: A Complete Viewers' Guide to the Classic Eighties Action Series'

Photo credit: bearmanormedia.bizland.com

"Hardcastle and McCormick: A Complete Viewers' Guide to the Classic Eighties Action Series"

 

by Garrett Godwin
ggodwin82@yahoo.com

 

 

Stephen J. Cannell has proven through his career that he has the Drive to succeed as creator, writer, and executive producer on the small screen and as an author of several books. Throughout the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, he put some of the most popular action/adventure and crime shows on television such as The Rockford Files, 21 Jump Street, and Wiseguy. In 1983, following the mega-success of The A-Team, Cannell went Back to Back with his next series, Hardcastle and McCormick. Now, fans of the show can celebrate its 25th anniversary with the release of the book called Hardcastle and McCormick: A Complete Viewers' Guide to the Classic Eighties Action Series, set to be released next month.

H&M followed both the adventures and the relationship between crusty yet honorable ex-judge Milton C. "Hardcase" Hardcastle (Brian Keith) and wisecracking ex-con, ex-racecar driver Mark "Skid" McCormick (Daniel Hugh Kelly), as they teamed up to go after 200 defendants that were released on technicalities while Hardcastle was on the bench. Like The Dukes of Hazzard, Knight Rider, and The A-Team, Hardcastle and McCormick put the pedal to the metal in creating some of the most incredible car chases/stunts on television throughout its ABC run from 1983-86. Though fans remember the Cody Coyote, they also remember the budding relationship between the two male protagonists, as it developed into a father-son relationship over the course of the series.

The book includes an exclusive look on how the series came to life as well as an episode guide, pictures, interviews with the cast and crew, life after Hardcastle and McCormick; an unfilmed script from future CSI writer and executive producer Carol Mendelsohn, who joined the writing staff in the series' third and final season, and much more.

The light-hearted detective/action series continues to develop an online following, as fans download clips of car chases with the Coyote from the first season and post them on YouTube (www.youtube.com). It has even influenced the late-night CBS series Dark Justice, which ran from 1991-94, and concerned Nick Marshall (played by Ramy Zada and then Bruce Abbott), a judge by day and vigilante by night who recruits a team of small-time criminals to go after "the ones that got away".

You could say that the premise of the series pays tribute to The Lone Ranger and Tonto; Batman and Robin; The Green Hornet and Kato - a modern-day Western crimefighting duo patrolling the streets to dispense justice. And this book pays tribute to one of the most underrated and fan favorite shows of all time. Hardcastle and McCormick: A Complete Viewers' Guide to the Classic Eighties Action Series will be released on Amazon March 15, but you can pre-order it directly through publisher BearManor Media or through the authors' own site.

Also, if you want more Hardcastle and McCormick, you can find seasons 1-3 also at Amazon - including a box set of the entire series. So, you better Drive and push it to the floor 'til the engine screams!

 

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