A Year: Day to Day Men: 17th of September

Breakfast of Champions

On September, 17, 1963, the American television series “The Fugitive” premieres on the ABC station.

“The Fugitive” is an American drama series created by novelist Roy Huggins. It was produced by United Artists Television and aired from September 1963 to August 1967. David Janssen, who had starred in the Richard Diamond detective series, played Doctor Richard Kimble, a physician wrongly convicted of his wife’s murder.

“The Fugitive” presented a popular plot device of an innocent man on the run from the police for a murder he did not commit while simultaneously pursuing the real killer. This concept had its antecedents in the Alfred Hitchcock movies “The 39 Steps”, “Saboteur”, and “North by Northwest”. The theme of a doctor in hiding for committing a major crime had also been depicted by James Stewart as the mysterious Buttons the Clown, who never removed his makeup, in the circus drama “The Greatest Show on Earth”.

Casting a doctor as the protagonist also provided the series a wider “range of entry” into local stories for episodes, as Kimble’s medical knowledge would allow him alone to recognize essential elements of the episode such as subtle medical symptoms or an abused medicine, and the commonplace doctor’s ethic of providing aid in emergencies would naturally lead him into dangerous situations.

American jazz composer Pete Rugolo composed the original music for “The Fugitive. Tracking music was common at the time and this was the case with this show. A keen listener could find himself listening to scene cues from “The Outer Limits” or the “Twilight Zone” episodes. All the original music composed by Rugolo and used for the series was prerecorded in London before the series premiered. What little original melody was actually written and recorded was built around a fast-paced tempo representing running music.

Part two of the final episode of “The Fugitive” was the most-watched television series episode up until August of 1967, with more than 78 million people tuning in. According to producer Leonard Goldberg, the network was simply going to end the series with a regular episode without any kind of denouement, as network executives were totally oblivious to the concept that a television audience actually tuned in week after week and cared about the characters of a TV series.

“The Fugitive” was nominated for five Emmy Awards and won the Emmy for Outstanding Dramatic Series in 1966. In TV Guide’s 2013 list “The 60 Nastiest Villains of All Time”. the one-armed man ranked number five. In 1965 Alan Armer, the producer and head writer for the series, received the Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America for his work.