Back In the 1970s, Kojak set the standard for hard-hitting, gritty police shows, and very far from being “just another cop show”, as writer JD Savage reveals in the latest issue of Yours Retro, available now from all good newsagents and supermarkets.
Often smooth, sometimes snarling, but always sartorially splendid, Kojak, played to perfection by Telly Savalas, supported by a terrific cast, helped to clean up Manhattan’s meanest streets – but the detective was no meanie himself.
With a taste for lollipops but little taste for polite protocol he did it his own way, rarely engaging in violence. Ruthless with predators but sympathetic to outsiders, this was a new kind of TV cop.
“Theo Kojak was a TV cop as hard-boiled as his lollipops. But was this just another cop show?” asks JD Savage.
His feature, titled “Kojak: We Loved Ya, Baby!”, reveals the show’s surprising origin, to mark the centenary of Telly Savalas’s birth. He also covers some UK Kojak-mania spinoffs, including Savalas topping the charts with his William Shatner-style spoken rendition of Bread’s ‘If’!
Kojak was so popular the series even gained his own short-lived comic strip, initially Polystyle Publications short-lived action adventure title, Target, a weekly publication that lasted just 19 issues before merging into TV Comic in August 1978, continuing there for only until November, before being replaced by various humour strips, including “The Incredible Bulk”.
Rubbing shoulders with strips such as “Charlie’s Angels” and “Hazell” (drawn by Steve Parkhouse), the strip featured a variety of artists in the strip, with V for Vendetta‘s David Lloyd closing out the series in the final TV Comic-published tale.
(Presumably, TV Comic was using up inventory material, since fellow survivor of the merger “Target” vanished from the title at the same time, although “Charlie’s Angels” continued. The series adult nature, tackling many difficult issues of the day, including drug crime, must have seemed an uneasy fit with TV Comic’s target audience of younger readers, for both its editorial team and, perhaps, parents).
This feature comes side by side with a look back at a very different police shows, Britain’s homegrown BBC drama, Z Cars, celebrating its sixtieth anniversary this month. The show launched in January 1962 and ran for 12 seasons until 1978, and spun off various other series, including Softly, Softly.
While that series didn’t have a regular comic strip, tie-in merchandise during its run did include four tie-in annuals, published in the 1960s – and who could forget the wonderful spoof of the show, “L-Cars”, first seen in Sparky comic, drawn by Bill Hill?
This new issue of Yours Retro also sees the introduction of several new features for the New Year, adding, for example, “Seven Scenes and Movie Masterclass” – perfect for fans of film trivia.
By popular demand, each issue will also throw the spotlight on a British star, while “Saturday Morning at the Flicks” remembers the movie serials that kept many gripped from week to week.
In this issue you can also discover how All About Eve saved Bette Davis’ career, how Debbie Reynolds and Liz Taylor managed to patch up their differences and why a scandalous secret marriage rocked Mae West’s career.
The magazine also goes behind the scenes of Hitchcock’s masterpiece North By Northwest, and goes on location to uncover why Rome was the place to film in the 1950s.
Packed with nostalgia, Yours Retro gives you popular culture from the past. Inside you will find film, television, music, celebrities and more. You can read about the lives of your favourite actors, the inspiration for music, and inspirational stories of people you might not have heard of. This is the perfect magazine for those who love pop culture, all things vintage, or grew up in the Fifties, Sixties, or Seventies.
• Yours Retro Issue 45 is available now from all good newsagents and supermarkets or direct from the publisher via GreatMagazines.co.uk, the Bauer Media Group | Official Site www.yoursretro.co.uk
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.