Tuesday, September 19, 2006
GENE BARRY & BURKE'S LAW
He had Klass. Until he changed his last name to Barry.
The debonair Jewish actor became a star as TV's Bat Masterson, and then Amos Burke, both law-keeping dandies who regretted fist-fights if it soiled their expensive clothes.
Only Robert Vaughn made better use of 60's Hero Take #48 (mouth open, no sound coming out, followed by a mild glare and an exasperated grimace).
A closet vaudevillian, Gene Barry loved any opportunity to sing, and he did so in nightclubs, on episodes of "Burke's Law" and ultimately on Broadway in "La Cage Au Folles."
Here, you get Gene's somewhat gross version of the theme song with leaden lyrics ("Hey, Lovuhhh...") The original posting included "The Burke's Law Suite," a bombastic collage of great music from the original TV soundtrack. It's a lounge classic, and the rest of Barry's album, but it timed out via Rapidshare around Oct. 15th when they had their infamous file purging. "If nobody downloads in time, tough luck for us all." Illfolks Law.
"Burke's Law," produced by Aaron Spelling, is still great fun to watch. Ironically, the character first appeared on an episode of "The Dick Powell Show." The episode "Who Killed Julie Greer" starred Dick Powell as Amos Burke. That was in 1961. In 1963, with Powell suffering a terminal illness, Gene Barry stepped into the role and "Burke's Law" began it's two year run. When the spy craze hit TV, the show was re-tooled as "Amos Burke: Secret Agent," and retired after 17 episodes. In 1994, "Burke's Law" had a brief revival with Gene Barry once again in command, surrounded by a new team of sidekicks.
Despite the cad image, Gene Barry has had one of the longest marriages in Hollywood, and he capped his long acting career with a cameo in "War of the Worlds" (having starred in the original.)
Gene Barry is always a suave, humorous and compelling presence. Nobody has his voice or, come to think of it, those unusually sculpted ears. Your ears may get re-sculpted listening to the jaunty baritone of a man so in love with crooning he probably takes an extra shower each day just so he can sing in it.
"It's..." ...Burke's Theme sung by Gene Barry
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