Curbside Cinema: Adam-12

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“One-Adam-12, One-Adam-12…A 211 in progress. One-Adam-12 handle code three…”

Thus began one of the best police dramas of the 1960s and 70s. Adam-12. Starring Martin Milner, Kent McCord. and a host of Curbside Classics.

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Produced by Jack Webb and R. A. Cinader, the series ran from 1968 – 1975. Webb was a stickler for correct police procedure, as he was in his earlier show “Dragnet.” Adam-12 has been recognized as one of the most accurate police dramas made.

In the 7 years that Adam-12 was on the air, Officers Malloy and Reed went through the entire city of Los Angeles in 5 vehicles. They are:

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Pilot episode: Shop ID #80789 – 1967 Plymouth Belvedere.

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Season One: Shop ID #80817 – 1968 Plymouth Belvedere.

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Seasons Two and Three: Shop ID #80817 – 1969 Plymouth Belvedere (Note: The 1968 and 1969 Belvederes were so close in appearance, the producers figured they could get away with re-using the same shop number. Sharp-eyed viewers caught the differences immediately, however.

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Season Four: Shop ID #83012 – 1971 Plymouth Satellite.

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Seasons Five through Seven: Shop ID# 85012 – 1972 AMC Matador. The Matador was equipped with a 401-cid V8, and was probably the most widely recognized vehicle in the LAPD during run of the show.

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According to anecdotal information from former officers, the Matador’s high power-to-weight ratio made them an almost ideal “pursuit” unit. They did, however, require more servicing than other makes in the fleet. According to current fan polling, it is still the favored car.

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I enjoy watching this series. It’s what made me subscribe to Netflix. Having grown up in Los Angeles, it’s fun to see if I can spot any locations I remember from those early days, and also compare the city with what it has become today.

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It’s interesting when I see them start a pursuit in Long Beach, and then jump to running through the streets of Burbank, a good 45 minutes away. Not too much continuity checking went on, apparently. It’s also fun when I can spot a scene shot on a studio backlot.

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The fun didn’t stop with the police cars, however. Here are some screenshots from Adam-12 episodes.

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