The Adventurer was an ITC Entertainment TV show during the 1972-1973 TV schedule. Gene Barry, known from Burke’s Law TV series in America, plays the aptly named Gene Bradley, whose fame as an actor, skills as a business man and importance as a government agent creates a character that balances on the arrogant/narcissist fence and tends to get the girls and save the day. Even with the consideration of the time period, Gene Bradley epitomises wish fulfilment for the ageing male viewer or even producers.
Dennis Spooner and Monty Berman created this series late in ITC Entertainment’s hayday and nearly single handedly show the demise of the classic spy fi television genre. The show follows Gene Bradley on his adventures around Europe whether to help a friend out, or to save his own neck from those eager to cash in on the Gene Bradley name. The uptight government representative played masterfully by Barry Morse adds a light hearted and a character with some class to counteract Bradley’s smooth and calculated devil may care style.
The series only lasted one season with twenty six 30 min. episodes. The main cast was Gene Barry (Gene Bradley) and Barry Morse (Mr. Parminter) with the addition of Mr Parminter’s team of Diane Marsh, relaxed and chill sidekick, played by a favourite of mine, Catherine Schell and Gavin Jones, the ready to move and ready to fight driver, Garrick Hagon.
Most in the UK would have not heard of Gene Barry even though he would have at that time a large filmography. So the decision to add him was a clear indication that ITC Entertainment wanted to shop this series to the USA. Gene’s over-tanned, slightly overweight body and not to mention the awkward interactions with women are hopefully unintended consequences to Gene Barry being recruited. The James Bond idealise character would spur on many kind of characters for ITC and The Adventurer is no exception.
The music is fantastic! John Barry whom would himself be famous for his music scores creates a theme song that speaks European and the 70’s. I find myself humming it and it does provide imagination a good soundscape for the location. Also, the incidental music throws in brassy jazz, urban soul drumbeats and bachelor pad ambience which to me is the strongest point to make in favour of this series.
Seventies realism was replacing sixties optimism which translated to more substance paired with style rather than only style. The jet set lifestyle was slowly looking more incongruous to the low economic times of the 70’s and the idea of a infallible smooth male character that gets his way with women and men alike came off as elitist and unequal. When watching this series, I see the shows through the eyes of a male living in the new Millenium and I regularly cringe at the displays of mild forms of sexism and intense male bravado. What this also does is shows me the progress that has been made in the plight for equality.
For an enthusiast, The Adventurer would be a must watch to complete the collection from ITC Entertainment however if this is not important to you, you might want to give this one a miss. Yes, the music is great and however limited, the views of early 70’s Europe is exciting for me to see, it is my time machine. The Adventurer is still a great piece of tv history, there are many guest appearances of some quite famous actors and the writers and producers would still go one to create notable television and films.
Episode 2 Poor Little Rich Girl
Episode 3 Thrust and Counter Thrust
Episode 4 The Bradley Way
Episode 5 Return to Sender
Episode 6 Counterstrike
Episode 7 Love Always, Magda
Episode 8 Nearly the End of the Picture
Episode 9 Deadlock
Episode 10 Has Anyone Here Seen Kelly?
Episode 11 Skeleton in the Cupboard
Episode 12 Target!
Episode 13 Action!
Episode 14 Full Fathom Five
Episode 15 I’ll Get There Sometime
Episode 16 To the Lowest Bidder
Episode 17 Going, Going…
Episode 18 The Not-So Merry Widow
Episode 19 Mr. Calloway Is a Very Cautious Man
Episode 20 Double Exposure
Episode 21 The Case of the Poisoned Pawn
Episode 22 The Solid Gold Hearse
Episode 23 Make It a Million
Episode 24 Icons are Forever
Episode 25 Somebody Doesn’t Like Me
Episode 26 The Good Book