This site is a continuation of The Lonstreet Fan website.
Most of the content here is thanks to its original creator Allie Percy
This site is about the 1971-72 TV series Longstreet
starring James Franciscus
co-starring Marlyn Mason, Peter Mark Richman, and Ann Doran
An unusual blend of detective show and character study, Longstreet aired for one season on ABC during the 1971-72 television season. James Franciscus portrayed Mike Longstreet, a top-notch insurance investigator who was blinded and his wife killed in an explosion in the pilot movie. Rather than retiring, Longstreet sets out to find those responsible for the bomb. By the end of the pilot movie Mike has caught the killers and proved to himself and to others that despite his blindness he is still a top-notch investigator.
Marlyn Mason appeared as Nikki Bell, Mike's assistant, and Peter Mark Richman was Mike's friend and sometimes employer Duke Paige. Ann Doran portrayed housekeeper Mrs. Kingston. The most frequent guest star was Bruce Lee, who appeared in four episodes as antique dealer and martial arts instructor Li Tsung. The series was set in New Orleans although most filming took place in Los Angeles.
In many of the episodes, someone makes the mistake of underestimating Mike and assuming that he is somehow harmless because of his disability. Nothing makes Mike angrier than being taken for granted, however, and many a bad guy would rue the day that he underestimated Longstreet.
The investigative work tends to focus on Mike's remaining four senses, as Mike notices sounds, textures, scents, and tastes that others have overlooked. But Mike's real strength is his keen insight into human behavior, which allows him to fit together the puzzle when others fail.
Mike's skills as an investigator show only one side of this multi-faceted character. The series also explores the complexities of his frustration at his disability, his constant struggle for independence, and his anger when he is not taken seriously by the people around him.
Most episodes also had room for a bit of education about blindness. Folding paper money to keep it organized, mobility with a cane and with a guide dog, the importance of keeping everything in the house in a familiar place... viewers learn about these and many other things in the course of each episode without having the lessons overwhelm the plot.
As acknowledged in the show's credits, Longstreet creator Stirling Silliphant drew on characters and concepts developed by Baynard Kendrick for his Duncan Maclain detective novels of the 1930s-1950s. Silliphant may also have drawn on Kendrick's novel Lights Out (later made into the film Bright Victory starring Arthur Kennedy). Anyone who has read this novel about a blinded World War II army sergeant will see parallels in the protagonists' psychological struggles with redefining themselves after a traumatic change.
The series ran on ABC from September 16, 1971 to August 10, 1972 on Thursdays, 9:00 - 10:00 pm. There were 23 episodes plus a 90 minute pilot film. The pilot film aired as a Movie of the Week on February 23, 1971 and was rebroadcast on September 9, 1971, a week before the series premiere.
Mike Longstreet's address in New Orleans was 835 Chartres Street, near the corner of Dumaine Street.
Mike Longstreet's phone number was 555-2368.
In "The Way of the Intercepting Fist," Mike has a line that is reminiscent of Franciscus' recent role in Beneath the Planet of the Apes. He tells Jim Bolte "Bolte, they tell me you're a gorilla. I disagree, I figure you more for a chimpanzee. How do you feel about that?"
Awards and Nominations
Longstreet was nominated for an Eddie award by the American Cinema Editors, USA, in 1972. Joseph Dervin got the nomination for Best Edited Television Program for the episode "Spell Legacy Like Death."
Longstreet's pilot movie won an award for Outstanding Film Editing, 1970. (Special) George J. Nicholson, Longstreet, Movie of the Week on ABC.