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Naked City (TV series)

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Country of origin
United States

First episode date
30 September 1958


Created by
No. of seasons

Naked City (TV series) wwwgstaticcomtvthumbtvbanners449307p449307

Paul Burke (1960–63)Horace McMahon (1959, 1960–63)Harry Bellaver (1958–59, 1960–63)James Franciscus (1958–59)John McIntire (1958–59)

Opening theme
"This is the Naked City"by George Duning (1958-59)"Somewhere in the Night"by Billy May (1960-62)"The {New} Naked City Theme"by Nelson Riddle (1962-63)

George Duning (1958–59)Billy May (1960–63)Nelson Riddle (1960–63)(incidental music)

American Broadcasting Company

Narrated by
Herbert B. Leonard, Lawrence Dobkin


Naked city 1958 tv series abc

Naked City is a police drama series from Screen Gems which aired from 1958 to 1959 and from 1960 to 1963 on the ABC television network. It was inspired by the 1948 motion picture The Naked City and mimics its dramatic "semi-documentary" format. As in the film, each episode concluded with a narrator intoning the iconic line: "There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them."


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The Naked City episode "Four Sweet Corners" (1959) served as a backdoor pilot of sorts for the series Route 66, created by Stirling Silliphant. Route 66 ran on CBS from 1960 to 1964, and, like Naked City, followed the "semi-anthology" format of building the stories around the guest stars, rather than the regular cast. In 1997, the episode “Sweet Prince of Delancey Street” (1961) was ranked #93 on TV Guide’s “100 Greatest Episodes of All Time”.


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Filmed on location in New York City, the series centered on the detectives of NYPD’s 65th Precinct, although episode plots usually focused more on the criminals and victims portrayed by guest stars, characteristic of the "semi-anthology" narrative format common in early 1960s TV (so called by the trade paper Variety). For the first season, the primary writer was Stirling Silliphant, who wrote 32 of the season's 39 episodes. Silliphant nurtured a focus on intelligent drama with elements of comedy and pathos, leading to significant critical acclaim for the series and attracting film and television actors of the time to seek out guest-starring roles.

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Many scenes were filmed in the South Bronx near Biograph Studios (aka Gold Medal Studios), where the series was produced, and in Greenwich Village and other neighborhoods in Manhattan. The exterior of the “65th Precinct” was the Midtown North (18th) Precinct, at 306 West 54th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, in the second and the third season, and the current 9th Precinct, at 321 East 5 Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues before it was renovated, in the first and in the fourth seasons.

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Naked City first aired in the 1958–59 season, with the title The Naked City, as a half-hour series starring James Franciscus and John McIntire playing, respectively, Detective Jimmy Halloran and Lt. Dan Muldoon — the same characters as in the 1948 film. (Although in the film the duo was played by Don Taylor and Barry Fitzgerald respectively.) Harry Bellaver played the older, mellow Sgt. Frank Arcaro, and the narrator for the first season was the producer, Herbert B. Leonard, identifying himself as "Bert Leonard". While critically acclaimed, the series did not garner high ratings. Midway through the season, McIntire quit the show because of his desire to leave New York and move back to his Montana ranch. He was replaced with Horace McMahon, who was then introduced in the same episode as Muldoon's curmudgeonly replacement, Lieutenant Mike Parker.

Naked City (TV series) Naked City 1958 TV Series ABC YouTube

The cast change did not help the show's ratings; ABC cancelled Naked City at the end of the 1958–59 season. One of the show's sponsors (Brown & Williamson), along with production staff, successfully lobbied the network to revive the show as an hour-long series, which premiered in 1960. The 1960 version featured Paul Burke as Detective Adam Flint, a sensitive and cerebral cop in his early thirties who does much of the legwork in the episodes. Horace McMahon returned as Lt. Parker as did Harry Bellaver as Sgt. Arcaro. Nancy Malone appeared regularly (ending up in about half the newly produced episodes) as Adam Flint's aspiring actress girlfriend, Libby Kingston. The hour-long version of the show was broadcast on ABC in the 10:00 p.m. slot on Wednesday nights.

For this iteration of the series, writer Silliphant was forced to cut down his involvement considerably, as he was simultaneously working as the main scriptwriter on Route 66 which launched in October 1960. Silliphant wrote the first three episodes of Naked City's second season, then did not pen any further episodes until he wrote three episodes in season four. Those who stepped forward as writers of Naked City episodes during seasons 2, 3 and 4 included veteran TV writer Howard Rodman (who also served as story editor), blacklisted screenwriter Arnold Manoff (writing under the pseudonym "Joel Carpenter"), and Shimon Wincelberg, amongst others. Noted science-fiction TV writers Charles Beaumont and Gene Roddenberry also each contributed one episode.

Guest stars

The series was notable for featuring younger and/or lesser-known/little-known actors, some of whom became major stars, including Alan Alda, Michael Ansara, Ed Asner, Martin Balsam, Barbara Barrie, Orson Bean, Robert Blake, James Caan, Godfrey Cambridge, Joseph Campanella, Diahann Carroll, James Coburn, Michael Constantine, William Daniels, Sandy Dennis, Bruce Dern, David Doyle, Keir Dullea, Robert Duvall, Peter Falk, James Farentino, Peter Fonda, Conard Fowkes, Eileen Fulton, Harry Guardino, Gene Hackman, Barbara Harris, Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Hopper, Diana Hyland, Richard Jaeckel, David Janssen, Salome Jens, Jack Klugman, Shirley Knight, Piper Laurie, Diane Ladd, Audra Lindley, Jack Lord, George Maharis, Nancy Marchand, Sylvia Miles, Vic Morrow, Barry Morse, Robert Morse, Lois Nettleton, Leslie Nielsen, Carroll O'Connor, Susan Oliver, Marisa Pavan, Suzanne Pleshette, Robert Redford, Doris Roberts, Mark Rydell, Telly Savalas, George Segal, William Shatner, Martin Sheen, Jean Stapleton, Maureen Stapleton, Rod Steiger, Mel Stuart, Rip Torn, Cicely Tyson, Jon Voight, Christopher Walken, Deborah Walley, Jack Warden, Tuesday Weld, and Dick York.

The show also featured more established and/or better-known actors, including Luther Adler, Eddie Albert, Robert Alda, Louise Allbritton, Kirk Alyn, Richard Basehart, Theodore Bikel, Nancy Carroll, Lee J. Cobb, Gladys Cooper, Hume Cronyn, Ludwig Donath, Diana Douglas, Betty Field, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Nina Foch, Ruth Ford, Martin Gabel, Peggy Ann Garner, Vincent Gardenia, Eileen Heckart, Barnard Hughes, Kim Hunter, Sam Jaffe, Glynis Johns, Kurt Kasznar, Abbe Lane, Eugenie Leontovich, Al Lewis, Viveca Lindfors, Ross Martin, Walter Matthau, Myron McCormick, Roddy McDowall, Burgess Meredith, Jean Muir, Meg Mundy, Mildred Natwick, Cathleen Nesbitt, Jeanette Nolan, Nehemiah Persoff, Claude Rains, Eugenia Rawls, Aldo Ray, Ruth Roman, Mickey Rooney, Albert Salmi, George C. Scott, Sylvia Sidney, Jan Sterling, Beatrice Straight, Akim Tamiroff, Lawrence Tierney, Jo Van Fleet, Eli Wallach, David Wayne, Jesse White, Cara Williams, Roland Winters, and Keenan Wynn.

Many of the actors listed above played multiple roles on different episodes, i.e., as different characters.

Sanford Meisner, the noted acting coach, made a rare celluloid performance in an episode of the series. Acting coach and actress Peggy Feury also made an appearance, in a different episode. Rocky Graziano made an appearance during his relatively brief post-boxing acting career. Actors such as Conrad Bain, Dabney Coleman, Ken Kercheval, Burt Reynolds and Jessica Walter appeared in bit roles, long before attaining any measure of fame.

Several actors played recurring roles, e.g. Suzanne Storrs (as "Janet Halloran" in nine episodes during the series' first version, featuring Franciscus and McIntire), Jimmy Little as "Desk Sergeant", Robert Dryden as "Police Surgeon", and Richard Kronold as "Detective Dutton."

Tie-in book

A tie-in collection of short stories was written to capitalize on the success of the TV series; it was titled The Naked City and was published as a mass-market paperback by Dell in 1959. While it was credited on the book's cover solely to series creator Stirling Silliphant, it actually consisted of writer and newspaperman Charles Einstein's prose adaptations of eight Silliphant stories from the series' first season of half-hour episodes. Einstein is the half-brother of comedian Albert Brooks. The cover featured an evocative photo montage by photographer David Attie. While the book is highly regarded by fans of the series, it has long been out of print.


Naked City ran for four seasons starting in late 1958. A total of 138 episodes were produced during the four season run.

Season 1 (1958–1959)

Naked City premiered on ABC as The Naked City on September 30, 1958 with the episode Meridian. This first season ran as 30 minute episodes from September 1958 through June 1959 and contained 39 episodes. The series was cancelled after the first season. This original 30 minute version was sponsored by Viceroy cigarettes.

Season 2 (1960–1961)

The series was revived as an hour-long show in 1960 with the title, Naked City. The first episode of the revived series was A Death of Princes and premiered on October 12, 1960. This season ran until June 1961 with 32 episodes.

Season 3 (1961–1962)

The third season of Naked City premiered in September 27, 1961 with the episode Take Off Your Hat When a Funeral Passes. This season ran through June 1962 and comprised 33 episodes.

Season 4 (1962–1963)

The fourth season was the last for Naked City and started on September 19, 1962 with the episode Hold for Gloria Christmas. A total of 34 episodes were produced for this last season, which ran from September 1962 through May 1963.


Naked City also received Emmy nominations for Best Dramatic Series - Less Than One Hour in 1959; Outstanding Program Achievement in the Field of Drama in 1961, 1962 and 1963; Paul Burke for Outstanding Continuing Performance by an Actor in a Series in 1962 and 1963; Horace McMahon for Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role by an Actor in 1962; Arthur Hiller for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Drama; Nancy Malone for Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role by an Actress in 1963; and Diahann Carroll for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in 1963.


Between 2003 and 2006 Image Entertainment, under license from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, released a series of single-disc releases containing four of the hour-long episodes per disc, followed by three releases billed as "Box Set" 1 to 3, each of which contained three discs and 12-hour episodes, with their original commercials and sponsors' slots included as bonus features. These releases are now out of print. Early 2013 saw the release of a 10-disc "Best of Naked City" set containing 40 episodes, all of which had been included on the earlier DVDs, and "Naked City: 20 Star-Filled Episodes", a five-disc set with 10 more re-releases and 10 previously unreleased shows. It included two half-hour episodes, the earlier series' first appearance on DVD. None of these releases attempted to present the show in chronological order; their contents appeared to have been selected for the episodes' famous guest stars, whose names were prominently featured on their covers and other packaging.

In July 2011, Retro Television Network started airing episodes of both the 30- and 60-minute versions of Naked City. In October 2011, Me-TV started carrying the hour-long show airing it weekly overnight, and in mid-2013 started showing two of the 30 minute episodes back to back.

On November 5, 2013, Image Entertainment released Naked City: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1. The 29-disc set contains all 138 episodes of the series.


Naked City (TV series) Wikipedia