BARETTA (ABC 1975-78) RARE!!! Robert Blake, Tom Ewell, Dana Elcar, Edward Glover
Tony Baretta (Robert Blake), badge number 609, was a tough and unconventional streetwise cop with the 53rd Precinct. He drove a car called ‘the Blue Ghost’, was a master of disguise and because of his Italian heritage and tough appearance, he was able to infiltrate criminal groups, motorcycle gangs and even the mafia. He always worked alone, refusing to have a partner assigned to him.
Tony lived in Apartment 2C of the King Edward Hotel, an old establishment managed by his elderly friends and ex-cop Billy Truman (Tom Ewell). Tony usually wore a T-shirt, jeans, and a cap.
His original boss was Inspector Schiller (Dana Elcar) – later replaced by Lieutenant Brubaker (Edward Glover). The humorous interludes in the show were provided by Tony’s extravagant informant/friend Rooster (Michael D. Roberts) and by his talented pet cockatoo named Fred who liked a little liquor now and then and thought he was a chicken.
Baretta actually started out as the series Toma in 1973, a show starring Tony Musante and based on the adventures of a real-life cop who used his wits and imaginative disguises. But Musante left after one season, leaving a show with reasonable ratings and nowhere to go.
It was revived in 1975 with former Our Gang child star Robert Blake as Baretta, faring badly at first despite the name change. Then it was moved to Wednesday nights…and ratings soared and Baretta demolished Cannon over on rival network CBS to become an ABC mainstay, as well as earning Blake an Emmy for Best Actor.
Robert Blake (real name Michael Pubatosi) had mostly played American Indians until he hit fame with Baretta. He failed to go on to much greater things but did star in NBC’s Hell Town (1985) as Father Noah ‘Hardstep’ Rivers, an ex-con turned Catholic priest and guardian angel in a tough East Los Angeles neighborhood.
Please Note: This is not the complete series - 64 out of 80 episodes.