Monday, June 01, 2009

Quincy M.E.'s punk rock influence

My Grandma Frutosa, rest her soul, watched a lot of dark television shows. She also subscribed to those "detective" magazines with the girl on the cover, tied up and barely rescued by intrepid forces of good over evil. She had a morbid streak I guess. Every afternoon she watched The Untouchables, a 50s-era Elliot Ness series starring Robert Stack that was the most violent and disturbing show I had ever seen.

Also there was much watching of Perry Mason, with its badass protagonist Raymond Burr, forcing a confession from the murderer while the perp was on the witness stand in a court of law. Every single fucking episode. That's entertainment.

By the 70s, television detectives were all kinds of quirky. Barnaby Jones was a senior citizen. Cannon was round, like a cannonball. Kojak was bald, habitulally sucked on lollipops and called everyone, "baby." McCloud was a country bumpkin, or was he? And Columbo was well, he was, um, forgetful. Or WAS HE? There was even a blind detective and a detective in a wheelchair but those shows didn't last as long (their chase scenes were pretty compromised).

So that leaves Jack Klugman as Quincy, the medical examiner who solves crimes by performing autopsies. Let's look in on one of the most famous and influential episodes of Quincy and I'll think fondly of my grandmother and her need for syndicated crime stories and their neatly wrapped up conclusions and memorable theme songs.

First, the Quincy theme song (with lyrics!).


Quincy "Next Stop, Nowhere" teaser

Quincy "Next Stop, Nowhere" (punk episode), 1982. I lived through this era and I'm here to tell you: it was JUST like this. Except instead of a knife on the dance floor, I lost my earring and the heartless slam-dancing punks wouldn't stop bashing into each other so I could find it. That was fucked up. Also once at a show at the IBeam on Haight Street this stupid indie rock girl accidentally burned a hole in my fleece jacket sleeve with her dangling cigarette. I was angry, I tell you. ANGRY. We all were.

Quincy has been very influential in musical circles. Just ask Spoon.

1 comment:

mamiel said...

I loved this show. I wouldl ove the opening sequence when all his students would pass out one by one and he'd be the only one left standing. That was so funny.