UNTOUCHABLES, THE - THE COMPLETE SERIES + BONUS & FOLLOW UP MOVIE (ABC 1959-1963) RETAIL QUALITY!!! Robert Stack, Walter Winchell, Nicholas Georgiade, Paul Paul Picerni, Abel Fernandez
In the 1930s, gangsters and G-Men alike were busy dealing with the fallout of Prohibition. Real-life government agent Eliot Ness put Al Capone in jail for tax evasion, and because he and his team of law enforcers couldn’t be bribed (and back then, practically everyone had their price), they were nicknamed “The Untouchables”. In real life, Ness and his men went their separate ways after Capone’s arrest, but the series had them stay together well into the 1940’s, going gun to gun against nearly every famous gangster of the time, with some Nazis and presidential assassins thrown in for good measure.
Desilu, the production company owned by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, started it all when they produced a two-hour TV movie based on the 1947 novel co-written by Ness. The pilot for the series, a two-part episode entitled "The Untouchables", originally aired on CBS’s Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse on April 20 and 27, 1959. Later retitled "The Scarface Mob", these episodes, which featured Neville Brand as Al Capone, were the only episodes in the series to be more-or-less directly based on Ness's memoir and ended with the conviction and imprisonment of Capone.
Arnaz had had a long business relationship with CBS, which had aired many Desilu programs, including I Love Lucy and The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. Following the success of the pilot film, Chairman William S. Paley rejected it on the advice of network vice president Hubbell Robinson. Several networks vied for the rights to air The Untouchables, but ABC won the bidding war and insisted that each episode was as action-packed as the pilot. The series premiered on October 15, 1959.
By the end of the second season, The Untouchables was a ratings hit, and the producers claimed that real-life shady sorts called in with praise and even suggestions for story ideas. But unfortunately, Ness and the gang had also attracted plenty of controversy.
In the show’s last years, its violence was toned down substantially, and gangsters of various non-Italian ethnicities popped up – there was even a Russian villain named Joe Vodka.
Finally, heard in every episode, but never shown onscreen: announcer Les Lampson and the terse narration by gossip columnist Walter Winchell, in his distinctive New York accent, was a stylistic hallmark of the series. Along with its ominous theme music by Nelson Riddle and its shadowy black-and-white photography, which was influenced by film noir, The Untouchables was a dynamic, hard-hitting action drama, and a landmark television crime series.
This stunning retail quality set contains 32 DVDs. It includes the two-parter pilot, later combined into one seamless version and shown in movie theaters under the name “The Scarface Mob”. This version is accompanied by the Desi Arnez and Walter Winchell introductions that preceded parts one and two of the original Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse broadcast; all 118 episodes; plus two additional bonus offerings: a 1966 episode of The Lucy Show called “Lucy the Gun Moll" featuring guest star Robert Stack and the 1991 NBC TV movie The Return of Eliot Ness, set in 1947, after Capone's death. It depicts Ness (Stack) as he investigates the death of an Untouchables agent named Labine.