Mike Connors didn't believe television shows should try to send messages to their audience

Connors was an actor, not an educator.

CBS Television Distribution

Television can serve many purposes, and not all are simply for the viewer's enjoyment. Having a television in the home is like having another member of the family there, available to share ideas and preferences. Ideally, a television episode can educate someone just as much as it can bring them joy. It's the mark of a great show.

Of course, some television series make a point not to take hard stances, so as not to alienate any of their audience.

While Mike Connors wasn't necessarily acting in a biopic when he starred in Mannix, the series was more realistic than other programs, like The Flying Nun, on television during that time. Centered around a private investigator doing his best to help others, some of Joe Mannix's shenanigans did verge into the fantastical, but it still kept one foot grounded in reality at all times.

In an interview with The Austin American, however, Connors argued that, personally, he didn't believe it was the responsibility of the medium to educate or sway opinion in any direction.

"I don't believe entertainment should have too many messages in it," he said. "The word os entertainment: a little fantasy, a little excitement."

This didn't mean he was anti-education; he believed that teaching important life lessons had its time and place.

"I would much rather go to a college and speak on what I feel than to put it under the banner of entertainment."

It was much more important to Connors to keep the two spheres of television and reality separate, with no intermingling at all, even in his personal life.

"One must realize, the millions of fans and mass adulteration for the character Mannix and not for myself," he said. "When an actor begins believing he is superhuman and is the character, he is sick. Life is better when you can talk as people to people and not as King of the Jungle."

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4 Comments

deltadart 24 days ago
Mike Connors is right on the mark!
Mannixishot 1 month ago
I will say I think the older shows had better writing to the point something could be taught without it coming across as preachy. But I also get what Mike was saying in that interview. I still feel like that's true today. Times are so rough and I know I want to come home and just watch something to take my mind off what I'm going through day to day or what the world is going through. I don't have a lot of time to watch tv but when I come home at night after work I like tuning into the Alfred Hitchcock shows, Mannix, The Fugitive. Or if it's Saturday I'll flip over and watch the Keeping Up Appearances and Are You Being Served? on my local PBS station.
Runeshaper 1 month ago
Many shows that I watched as a kid in the 80s and 90s intermingled entertainment and education and I appreciated them. However, I would say that not all entertainment needs to or should contain an element of education.
That was the one thing I hated about Mork & Mindy, the weekly reports back to Orson on Mork's home planet where he talked about what he learned in that episode.
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