October 1st, 2010


Remembering Stephen J. Cannell

The TV Nerd mourns the death of Stephen J. Cannell. Cannell was the writer/producer responsible for some of the best television of my youth, including The Rockford Files, Ironside, Adam 12, Baretta, The Greatest American Hero, The A Team, and so many more. (You can see the full, astounding list of his credits here.) He was most recently seen playing himself on ABC's Castle as Richard Castle's poker buddy and mentor.

I can remember quite vividly from my childhood the "produced by Stephen J. Cannell" clip at the end of many of my favorite shows. It showed Cannell sitting at his desk in his sweater-and-pipe writing ensemble, tapping away at his typewriter. Then he would tear out the page and toss it over his shoulder, where it would land on a pile of other pages and curl up into a big animated C, which was the logo of his production company, Cannell Entertainment, Inc. I can still hear the music that accompanied it, too. To me, it remains as iconic as "Sit, Ubu, sit. Good dog." Or, for that matter, "Grrr. Argh."

They called James Brown the hardest working man in show business, but as the producer of more than 70 TV series, the great majority of which were hits, that crown might more rightfully belong to Cannell.

Rest in peace, Stephen J. Cannell. As per your advice, I'll be sure to keep my eye on the sparrow.