Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The day the chasing stopped

Someone posted a notice over at the In the Balcony bulletin boards that actor Barry Morse has passed away. He was 89.

Growing up, I was more familiar with Morse’s role as Professor Victor Bergman on the syndicated sci-fi series Space: 1999, a show that also starred former Mission: Impossible players Martin Landau and Barbara Bain. Space developed a huge cult following at that time (which hasn’t let up since) but the show was never my cup of tea (I found it kind of silly) and my only wish was that Landau and Bain were well-paid for the work. (Morse was lucky; his character disappeared after the first season.)

No, if Barry Morse achieved any sort of TV immortality it was as Lieutenant Philip Gerard, the Javert-like pursuer of (wrongly) convicted murderer Dr. Richard Kimble (David Janssen) on the 1963-67 adventure The Fugitive. TDOY readers are, of course, familiar with my fondness for what I consider to be one the best dramatic series ever on TV…and Morse was nothing short of fantastic as the long arm of the law. The great thing about Barry and his character was that even when he wasn’t on the show that particular week, his presence was so strong that you were always fearful he was going to step out of the shadows and pinch Kimble right on the spot.

Morse also guest-starred in such classic series as The Twilight Zone, Wagon Train, Naked City and The Defenders, to name only but a few.

R.I.P.. Mr. Morse. You most certainly will be missed.


Stu Shiffman said...

...and of course the new Filmfax has an except from Morse's memoir on his experience with Space: 1999.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

So what's the verdict, Stu? (I haven't had the opportunity to go by the newsstand to get a copy.)