Jack Webb fought to keep Adam-12 alive through the power of Kent McCord's popularity

The show's creator wanted to keep the show going with a new partner — Bing Crosby's kid!

Read to Me

When Adam-12 star Martin Milner (Officer Pete Malloy) got signed to play the dad in Swiss Family Robinson, it was 1975, and his previous show Adam-12 was still hugely popular — and still on the air.

It was uncertain what this would mean for the fate of the show, but true fans know 1975 was the year that Adam-12 ended with a riveting two-part finale called "Something Worth Dying For."

For Milner's co-star Kent McCord, who played his partner Officer Jim Reed, the show was just getting back to its roots again when Milner's departure swiftly pulled the program from schedules.

"I'm enjoying my work more this season than any time since the first year," McCord told The Morning Call in 1975. "I think the reason is that we're getting better scripts. We've gone back to the original concept of the show — a single concept, just a day in the life of two cops out cruising in a black-and-white — and we had sort of gotten away from that concept in the last few seasons."

Adam-12 creator Jack Webb agreed with McCord that the show still had legs, and he apparently approached McCord in 1975 to see if he would agree to continue starring on the show with a new cast.

Webb's plan was to plug in Bing Crosby's son, the singer and actor Gary Crosby, to replace Milner, and according to The Intelligencer-Journal in 1975, Webb felt strongly about it, saying, "He's not going to allow his Adam-12 series to go down without a fight."

When the show ended anyway despite Webb's fighting spirit, it was a disappointment to Webb and fans, and of course, to McCord.

Before Adam-12, nobody knew McCord unless they happened to be fans of The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, but after Adam-12, no part seemed to fit the actor like his Adam-12 uniform. Adam-12 had a reputation as the most realistic portrayal of police work, and McCord in that role made the most convincing cop.

"You could put Kent in a LAPD squad inspection group, and I don't think that even the chief would spot him as an actor," Milner joked to The Atlanta Constitution in 1976.

However, three days before the finale episode of Adam-12 aired, McCord experienced a "big event" that distracted him from the show ending, when he welcomed his new son into his family. For the next year, he became consumed in caring for his family and making his home the way he wanted.

"Before and after that big event, I tackled projects that had piled up at home," McCord said. "Remodeling, painting and landscaping. I hadn't had time to do half the things I wanted to do around the house."

He was much more interested in being at home right then than acting, turning down a major studio pilot and other roles. After patrolling for seven seasons on his popular and critically acclaimed show, he wasn't too worried his fans would forget him.

"I don't want to do run-of-the-mill roles," McCord told The Tampa Times in 1976. "Adam reruns are on the tube all over the country six nights a week. So, I don't have to remind viewers that there's a Kent McCord."

Watch Adam-12 on MeTV!

One Full Hour

Weekdays at 5 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Post a comment
Andybandit 9 days ago
I am glad they didn't use Gary Crosby as Martin Milner's replacement. It would not have not worked out. I like Kent McCord. He was good looking. He reminded me of Ricky Nelson.
Wilbur88 10 days ago
They made the cops out to be Goody Goody by the book.
MichaelEasterwood 11 days ago
The show would have died without Milner.He was Adam12.Crosbys character was annoying.A whole season with him in full episodes would have been a disaster. The show ended at the right time,on a high note.
HerbF 11 days ago
Webb liked McCord so much, that when he was writing his 2nd revival of DRAGNET in the early 1980's before his death, he wanted McCord to play the partner role - However, it's unknown if McCord would be playing Jim Reed - who had 15 years or so at this point - now a Detective, or if it would be a new character in the Smith/Gannon mode of a good lighthearted Detective as a counterpoint to Friday. (and would he have reinstated Friday's rank back to Lt. as it was at the end of the 1950's series, but back to Sgt. in the 1960's - would be kind of odd for a Detective with over 30 years with his gold shield to still be a Sgt!)

Word is 4 scripts were written, but they have never surfaced, and supposedly NBC was interested...But what type of DRAGNET would we have gotten - the 50's Style or the 60's style - or perhaps a bit of both updated to the 1980's.
OldTVfanatic HerbF 11 days ago
Most likely adapted to the new-wave style of the early 80s. But I don’t feel Dragnet would have worked in that context, since 1983 made everything so computer and digital oriented. In other words, we entered the future in ‘83 and basically, Dragnet wasn’t able to do so.
Barry22 12 days ago
.....and yet he ended up on Galactia 80.
Moody Barry22 11 days ago
Yeah, that was a real stinker of a show. I'm surprised he took on that role.
stephaniestavr5 12 days ago
This Adam-12 story reminds me of what another NBC show tried to do. Like Adam-12, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. in its final season, also tried to "get back to its roots." It didn't work, either. But it had to do with being "too little, too late," and the fans having drifted away from the show. Also, the Spy fad was petering out.
What Kent wound up doing "between acting gigs," is the same as what Bob Denver did: remodeling. Only according to this story, it doesn't mention all the mishaps/problems BD encountered when he was remodeling. So maybe KM's were problem/mishap free.
Very much agree. U.N.C.L.E.'s 3rd season just became too campy and just too hard to come back from that. The rest of that 4th season would've been good too!
UTZAAKE stephaniestavr5 11 days ago
Love that you stated "the Spy fad was petering out." Have always thought that espionage was a popular sport from 1961 to 1966.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?