|Car 54, Where Are You?|
Opening title sequence
|Also known as||Car 54|
|Created by||Nat Hiken|
|Directed by||Al De Caprio|
|Starring||Joe E. Ross|
|Theme music composer||Nat Hiken|
|Opening theme||"Car 54, Where Are You?"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||60|
|Cinematography||J. Burgi Contner|
|Running time||30 minutes|
National Telefilm Associates (1973-1986)
Republic Pictures (1986-1997)
Worldvision Enterprises (1997-1999)
Paramount Domestic Television (1999-2006)
CBS Paramount Domestic Television (2006-2007) CBS Television Distribution (2007-present)
|Original release||September 17, 1961 -|
April 14, 1963
Car 54, Where Are You?, an American sitcom that aired on NBC from September 1961 to April 1963, is the story of two New York City police officers based in the fictional 53rd precinct in The Bronx. Car 54 was their patrol car. The series was filmed in black-and-white and had a rotating group of directors, including Al De Caprio, Stanley Prager, and series creator Nat Hiken -- who helmed several episodes. Filming was on location, and at Biograph Studios in the Bronx.
The series follows the adventures of New York City Police Department officers Gunther Toody (badge #1432) (Joe E. Ross) and Francis Muldoon (badge #723) (Fred Gwynne), assigned to Patrol Car 54. Toody is short, stocky, nosy, not very bright, and lives with his loud, domineering wife, Lucille (Beatrice Pons). College-educated Muldoon is very tall, quiet, and more intellectual; a shy bachelor, he lives with his mother and two younger sisters and eschews the notion of being married.
Many of the scripts were written by Nat Hiken, who won an Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Emmy Award for his work on the series. Hiken had previously produced The Phil Silvers Show, which featured Joe E. Ross and Beatrice Pons as a married couple.
Car 54 was originally sponsored by Procter & Gamble.
So that they would not be mistaken for actual police cars during location filming, the cars used for the series were painted red and white, which appeared as the proper shade of gray on black-and-white film to replicate NYPD cars of that era, which were black and green, with a white roof and trunk.
There's a holdup in the Bronx,
Brooklyn's broken out in fights;
There's a traffic jam in Harlem
That's backed up to Jackson Heights;
There's a Scout troop short a child,
Khrushchev's due at Idlewild;
Car 54, Where Are You
The line, "Khrushchev's due at Idlewild", referred to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev arriving a year before the series began in September 1960 at New York's Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International Airport), to attend the United Nations General Assembly.
Car 54, Where Are You? was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards, earning one.
Car 54, Where Are You? first entered into syndication in January 1964. It began airing on the cable channel Nick at Nite in 1987 and ran on the network until 1990. It was seen for less than one year on the short-lived Ha! Channel in 1990-91 and also aired on another Viacom-owned cable channel, Comedy Central, in the early 1990s. In 2016, the show aired early Sunday mornings on MeTV, and also aired occasionally on its sister network Decades.
Car 54, Where Are You? was made into a 1994 film, shot mainly in Toronto, starring John C. McGinley as Muldoon, David Johansen as Toody, and Rosie O'Donnell. The film was made in 1990 but not released until 1994 due to the bankruptcy of Orion Pictures. It was a box office bomb when it was first released and was poorly received by critics. Original cast members Al Lewis and Nipsey Russell appeared in the film.
In the early 1990s, Republic Pictures Home Video releases some episodes on VHS.Shanachie Entertainment announced in the fall of 2010 it was releasing season one on DVD Region 1 on February 22, 2011. The second and final season was released on April 24, 2012.
The show had two seasons, each with 30 episodes.