Lean and Mean

I've been watching Lee Marvin in M Squad, the half-hour 1957-60 TV Chicago crime show. The complete series, 117 episodes, is now out on DVD. There are lots of second unit shots of Lee Marvin wandering around The Loop. (The 1982 comedy series Police Squad borrowed a lot from M Squad.) Marvin plays a weary police detective named Frank Ballinger. He narrates the stories, somewhat like Joe Friday did in Dragnet, but with a lot less moralizing. The characters in M Squad tacitly acknowledge the presence of organized crime and police corruption in the city. This apparently upset Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, who banned almost all filming of TV and movies in the city for 20 years. Of course, the Chicago Outfit was then and is now active in the city. Anyway, M Squad is entertaining, and I love the lean and mean half-hour format. Oh...and it has a jazzy score. Below are some Life magazine photos of the real CPD from that era.

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