20 September 1957
| 8.6/10 |
21 June 1960
Lee Marvin, Paul Newlan
| Main theme by
Incidental music and arrangements by
John T. Williams
Orchestra conducted by
Maxwell Shane, Robert Bassler
Hawaiian Eye, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Chicago PD, The Lawless Years, State Trooper
M Squad is an American crime drama television series that ran from 1957 to 1960 on NBC. It was produced by Lee Marvin's Latimer Productions and Revue Studios. Its main sponsor was the Pall Mall cigarette brand; Lee Marvin, the program's star, appeared in its commercials during many episodes. Alternate sponsors were General Electric (GE), Hazel Bishop and Bulova watches.
M Squad Wikipedia
Set in Chicago, Illinois, it starred Marvin as Detective Lieutenant Frank Ballinger, a member of "M Squad", a special unit of the Chicago Police, assisting other units in battling organized crime, corruption and violent crimes city-wide. Paul Newlan co-starred as his boss, Captain Grey. Although Marvin had been appearing in feature films since 1951, it was this series that made him a star, and he later went on to an even bigger film career afterward. Nelson Case was the announcer. The popularity of M Squad was proven in the ratings wars by the NBC network choosing a Thursday night time slot opposite Frank Sinatra's ABC variety show in the fall of 1957 and Phil Silvers' long running CBS comedy, Sgt.Bilko, in 1958. Both series were eventually cancelled.The theme music for the first season was composed by Stanley Wilson, who won the 1959 Grammy Award for the Best Soundtrack Album and Background Score from Motion Picture or Television. In the second and third seasons, the new theme was composed by Count Basie.
A soundtrack album, Music from M Squad, with liner notes by Lee Marvin, was released by RCA Victor Records in 1959 during the last season of the show.
The TV series Police Squad! was a spoof on police series in general, and M Squad in particular. The opening sequence of Police Squad! spoofed both the opening sequence of M Squad, and the openings of Quinn Martin's various police shows, and both the opening of the 1966 Police series N.Y.P.D.and the closing credits from the first season of Hawaii Five-O.
Similarly, the 1994 music video directed by Spike Jonze for the song "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys directly parodies the opening sequence of M Squad, amongst other police shows.
A novel was published in 1962, M Squad: The Chicago Cop Killer, by David Saunders. It was published by Belmont Books, New York.
Lee Marvin carried two Colt Cobra revolvers, the lightweight variant of Colt's "Detective's Special" revolver, which was popular with detectives at the time.
Timeless Media Group released M Squad: The Complete Series on DVD in the Region 1 on November 11, 2008. This release has been discontinued and is out of print.
On November 4, 2014, Timeless Media re-released the complete series on DVD in a new 16-disc special edition collection that contains an entire disc of bonus content.