Classic TV Shows on DVD

Get it here!


TV Commercials on DVD Lost In Space on DVD Mr Peabody on DVD Carol Burnett Show on DVD Carol Burnett Show on DVD Mary Tyler Moore Show on DVD Rat Pack Golddiggers Book RAT PACK GOLDDIGGERS
/ / / Classic TV Blog / / / TV Shows on DVD / / / TV Show Reviews / // / TV on BLU-RAY


TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!

"I seem to remember that there was a Shaft TV show that was part of the CBS Mystery Theater (or whatever the hell it was called).

"Can you shed any light on it? Was Richard Roundtree in it? How could he possibly portray Shaft in the "Mofo-less" environment imposed by TV censorship?"

- Joe Jasmine

Shaft -  can you dig it?

Richard Roundtree as television's Shaft

The Fall Preview for SHAFT

TV Guide's Shaft Page, with TV Listings, Photos, Videos, Exclusive News and More.

Classic Commercials on DVDTV Commercials on DVD

Holiday Specials on DVD
TV Commercials on DVD
TV Shows on BLU-RAY

Shaft on TV
by Billy Ingram

Shaft -  can you dig it?In the early-seventies, the hottest shows on television were detective shows. It's hard to believe, but by 1973 there had been every kind of detective that you can imagine on TV - young, old, fat, thin, rich, poor, smart, dumb, uniformed, undercover, slacker, hipster, befuddled, cowboy, Indian, computerized, paralytic, Polish, Italian, bald - basically, everything but black.

In fact, there hadn't been a one-hour drama featuring a black lead character since 'I-Spy' went off the air in 1968, and that was the first such show ever. When CBS wanted to schedule TV's first black detective, they looked to the successful movie series, Shaft.

In the three Shaft movies ('Shaft', 'Shaft's Big Score' and 'Shaft in Africa'), Richard Roundtree portrayed streetwise detective John Shaft, a man willing to do anything to protect the values of ghetto life against the drug dealers, pimps and crooked cops that infested the neighborhoods.

ShaftThe "Theme from Shaft," composed by Issac Hayes, won the Oscar Award for Best Song and was a top-ten hit in 1971.

The enormous crossover success of the first Shaft film jump-started the whole "blackspoiltation" craze of the Seventies resulting in a flood of low-budget morality plays starring black actors, many of which are considered cult classics today.

Shaft -  can you dig it? Some network exes were not crazy about the idea of bringing a strong, militant black image into American homes - busing was a major issue in the country at the time and the bloody Watts riots were still fresh in everyone's minds.

I remember when Soul Train' debuted in 1971, my father was convinced that, sooner or later, Don Cornelious would give the signal on the show and the nation's blacks would rise up as one and kill whitey. It was only after I explained to him that the show was shot weeks in advance that I was able to convince him it couldn't happen, but that was the thinking of many whites at the time.

The revolution, as we eventually learned, would not be televised - no one picked up the pilot and no sponsor could be found.

Still, black characters were coming into TV vogue on a number of popular television comedies in 1973, and network executives knew that it was only a matter of time before audiences would accept - nay, demand - an Afican-American lead in a crime show. Besides Shaft was a proven commodity.

'Shaft' the TV series premiered in October of 1973 as part of CBS's 'New Tuesday Night Movies' - a rotating 'wheel' consisting of 'Shaft', 'Hawkins' and the 'Tuesday Night Movie'. The show ran from 9:30-11:00 with Richard Roundtree reprising his role as New York detective John Shaft.

Shaft -  can you dig it? To make the character 'fit' for broadcast, Shaft needed to be toned down. Now he would be working with the man instead of against him. Whenever Shaft was in a jam, he could call on Lt. Al Rossi (Ed Barth) of the police department and he would provide Shaft with the back-up he needed to solve the more complex crimes he was now faced with.

Shaft -  can you dig it? Cries rang up from 'Shaft' fans that Richard Roundtree had sold out, that this new mellow-er Shaft was no Shaft at all. Because of this, the series never found a substantial following and was canceled when the season ended on September 3, 1974.

'Coincidentally', NBC unveiled their own black detective series (the night after 'Shaft' debuted) called Tenafly. No, not 'Super-Fly', just the opposite - Tenafly was a devoted family man that lived in the suburbs of Los Angeles and considered metropolitan crime fighting just a job. This show rotated with three others on 'The NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie'.

'Tenafly' only lasted one season and starred James McEachin as Harry Tenafly, Lillian Lehman as his wife Ruth.

In 1998, the "Theme from Shaft" was used to sell french fries for Burger King, with Mr. Potatohead playing the Richard Roundtree role. A new movie version of Shaft appeared in theatres in 1999 and did moderately well.

Episode: Hit And Run

A TVparty! reader tells us:

"Shaft's mission was to "protect the values of ghetto life"? What in the world does that mean? Crooked cops? Don't remember a single one in the flick. As I recall, the only "crooked" characters were the mafiosi, of course, and Bumpy, who Shaft (or maybe Ben) openly derided for selling junk to his own people. In other words, he was no better than whites. Bumpy's lame defense was (to paraphrase), "everyone's sellin' somethin' - you sell blue sky and revolutionary dreams, I sell what I sell. It's all the same."

"Ernest Tidyman, who created the character and wrote the book on which the movie was based, was a neighbor of mine in Mill Valley, and here's his explanation of what was being dramatized: As of the late 1960's, perhaps as a result of the influence of the Panthers, a new conception of "masculinity" had sprung up in non-middle class black life. That conception was that a real man doesn't take orders from anyone, especially anyone white. Instead, he freelances through life, making his own rules.

"So if you're like Shaft and you're a healthy, intelligent black man who's relatively untouched by the deprivations of ghetto existence (i.e. you have an education, clothes and enough to eat), who can speak standard English and therefore could make it in the white business world without undue trouble, what you do is - turn your back on it. In real life Androzzi would hire Shaft and promote him to detective in a minute. But see, if you're black you don't want to "sell out" by joining a white organization. And since you also don't want to destroy your own people like Bumpy, this means you become a street dick mediating between the players of the various street hustles.

"Now, one would have to say that this Shaftian definition of black masculinity has had tremendous influence. It cannot be gainsaid that most blacks retain precisely this definition of masculinity today. The big joke is that while corporate America bends over backwards to usher blacks into the economic mainstream, creating and enforcing affirmative action programs on their own initiative that have no government impetus behind them whatsoever, they can't find anyone to hire because black males, finding the idea of ever working below a white man as intrinsically demeaning and punk-like, turn their backs on the education that constitutes the first step of the process or, if they do join up, end up declaring that the white business world is polluting their black "essence."

"Whatever that is.

"Here we are past the year 2000 and no black person has yet explained explicitly what it is about white life that's so corrosive to that essence. In the Wall Street Journal in 1998 one guy, who'd left IBM, said that the problem was that he was required to be "nonthreatening." So maybe that's it, people in the business world like going to to work without being threatened. I could see where that would be considered unreasonable."

Local & National TV Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Video Vault / TV Goodbyes / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog

TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!
Classic TV on the Internet!

TV's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the 1970s / The Eighties / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments


The Virginian / Men From Shilo
The Girl with Something Extra
My World And Welcome To It
Nanny & The Professor
The Smith Family
The Sixth Sense
Camp Runamuck
Run Buddy Run
Pistols N Petticoats
The Young Rebels / Lawyers
The Texas Wheelers
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
My Living Doll / Favorite Martian
The Pruitts of Southhampton
Captain Nice & Mr. Terrific
The Ugliest Girl In Town
The Beverly Hillbillies
Saturday Night Live
Shindig! & Hullabaloo
The Mothers-in-Law
Then Came Bronson
Holmes and Yo-Yo

James Garner as Nichols
Playboy After Dark
A Touch of Grace
Blue Coronet
Second Hundred Years
The New People
McKeever and the Colonel
The Rockford Files
My Mother The Car
Get Christy Love
The Magician
The Persuaders
It's About Time
Reverend Ike
Family Affair
The Gong Show
He and She
Honey West
Way Out

Requested Forgotten television Shows!
Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / 1970's TV / Lucy Shows / Classic Cars / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Rockford Files / Sea Hunt / Superman on DVD / Toy Gun Ads / Flip Wilson Show / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / 1966 ABC TV Shows / 1967 TV Shows / 1968 TV Shows / Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll / Fridays / TV Moms / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / ABC Movie of the Week / The Goldbergs / Daws Butler Commercials / Saturday Morning Commercials / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Amos 'n' Andy / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You / big brotherSonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Commercial Icons of the 1960s / Soupy Sales / The Carpenters / Route 66 / Bozo / The Carpenters Christmas Specials / Local Kid Shows / Death of TV's Superman / Wonderama / Sesame Street / Bob Hope Specials / Little Rascals / 1980's Retro Gay T-Shirts / 1980's TV Wrestling / Fess Parker / Howdy Doody / TV Blog / Lost In Space / Pinky Lee / 1980's LA Punk Rock / Alex Toth Book / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor Show / George Burns / Lucy's Lost Christmas Special / Classic Christmas Toy Commercials / Cricket On The Hearth / 1950's Holiday Shows / Amahl and the Night Visitors / A Christmas Carol on TV / The Yule Log / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More! 

GLOW on DVd Carol Burnett Show on DVD CHIPS on DVD Mary Tyler Moore Show on DVD What's Happening!! on DVD

Everything you're looking for is here:

Search Now:  
Back to the menu
Other Cool TV Sites
Contact Us / Survey