Feuilleton: Simon & Simon

Caught in passing, in a NYT obit for Don Mankiewicz, a reference to his writing scripts for many tv shows, including Simon & Simon, which was a great favorite of my guy Jacques.

On the show, from Wikipedia:

Simon & Simon is an American detective television series that originally ran from November 24, 1981 to January 21, 1989. The series was broadcast on CBS and starred Gerald McRaney and Jameson Parker as two brothers who run a private detective agency together.

The show revolves around the polar opposite Simon brothers, Rick (McRaney) and Andrew Jackson, a.k.a. A.J. (Parker). Rick was a United States Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and had much more street sense, while A.J. went to college and had book smarts. Rick’s tastes were viewed by his brother as lower class, like pickup trucks (Rick’s Dodge Power Wagon is notable for its dull paint and large metal bumper used in one episode to crush the engine of a car), while A.J. took care of his money and could afford to be more fashionable (A.J. often drove a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible, and later, a customized Chevrolet Camaro Z28 and also drove a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro RS convertible in the two-part episode, “Pirate’s Key”). A.J. was a practicing Catholic; Rick was not. Rick lived on a boat in A.J.’s yard. A.J. preferred to first try to do things by the rules, while Rick was much more of a free spirit, using a classic P.I. type of justice. Even their guns are different: Rick has a .44 Magnum revolver, and A.J. has a .357 Magnum revolver.


The intro to the show:

Differentiation. The brothers are differentiated from one another in a number of ways: age, of course (though the actors themselves are very close to the same age); social class (it’s not uncommon for brothers to end up differing in the social class they project, via their speech, dress, interests and activities, and so on); temperament; and hair color (A.J. is the blond brother).

In “partner” tv shows, the two characters are customarily sharply differentiated. By race (among other things) in I Spy; by sex (among other things) in Silk Stalkings; by social class, temperament, and hair color in Cagney & Lacey and Rizzoli & Isles (where two women are the partners). Simon & Simon is right in this tradition.

The actors. Brief notes from Wikipedia:

Gerald Lee “Mac” McRaney (born August 19, 1947) is an American television and movie actor. McRaney is best known as one of the stars of the television shows Simon & Simon, Major Dad, and Promised Land. He was a series regular for the first season of Jericho, and the final season of Deadwood. (link)

Francis Jameson Parker Jr. (born November 18, 1947) is an American actor, best known for his role of A.J. Simon on the 1980s television series Simon & Simon. … in 1987, [he] starred alongside Donald Pleasence and Alice Cooper in John Carpenter’s horror movie Prince of Darkness [and has made guest appearances on a number of shows]. (link)

Both men are physically fit and proud of it. Here they are shirtless in the show:


Parker, especially, displays his body in a number of his roles.

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