Barney Miller Pilot Episode (1975)

The best music, movies and TV shows have all been made, we’re here to help you remember them all. Barney Miller is another stellar example of that.

Let’s go back to 1975

Barney Miller was set in a New York City Police Department police station on East 6th St in Greenwich Village. Great characters and always featuring great guest stars make a series and this show had an abundance of both. Oh, and a groovin’ theme song is just icing on the cake.

The series was born out of an unsold television pilot, The Life and Times of Captain Barney Miller, that aired on August 22, 1974, as part of an ABC summer anthology series, Just for Laughs. Linden and Vigoda were cast in their series roles; no other eventual cast members were present.

Abby Dalton played Barney Miller’s wife, Liz, while Val Bisoglio, Rod Perry, and a pre-Hill Street Blues Charles Haid rounded out the cast of the pilot. Guest stars included Mike Moore, Chu Chu Mulave, Henry Beckman, Buddy Lester, Michael Tessier and Anne Wyndham.

The pilot script was later largely reused in the debut episode Ramon. For this reworked episode, Bisoglio’s lines were more or less evenly split between the new characters of Yemana and Chano, while Haid’s character of Kazinski became Max Gail’s Wojciehowicz.

Rod Perry’s character, Sgt. Wilson, was replaced by Harris in the reworked episode, although Wilson would reappear one more time in the first-season episode Experience before disappearing from the series entirely.

Abby Dalton was replaced by Barbara Barrie as Liz, and Henry Beckman’s character of Uncle Charlie was dropped entirely. The rest of the guest cast (Moore, Malave, Lester, Tessier and Wyndham) reprised their roles in the debut episode.

Unlike the remainder of the series, the pilot was shot on film at CBS Studio Center, where the sets of the 12th Precinct and the Miller apartment were originally built.

When the show went into regular production in late 1974, it was recorded on videotape. The sets were moved to the ABC Television Center in Hollywood, where they remained until production ended in 1982

The series had a great run from January 23, 1975, to May 20, 1982 totaling 170 episodes on ABC.

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Source: Sal Amato