rocky nelson

TV Tuesday: Half Nelson 1985

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Half Nelson Image One
Image Credit: imdb.com & amazon.com

Thirty-five years ago, today, the television series Half Nelson debuted on NBC with a two hour pilot TV movie. Created & written by Glen A. Larson and Lou Shaw, it starred Joe Pesci, Fred Williamson and Victoria Jackson with Dean Martin (as himself) in the movie pilot, adding Bubba Smith, Dick Butkus and Gary Grubbs as main cast in the series. Notable guest stars were Morgan Brittany, George Kennedy, Gary Lockwood, John Saxon and a dog listed as Spuds MacKenzie but, credited as Tony in the TV show. Curiously, the image reflects actors Tony Curtis and John Matuszak as guest stars but, they aren’t on IMDB and Television Obscurities states that Rod Taylor was in the pilot but, his name was also not listed on IMDB.

Movie Summary:

Rocky Nelson is a New York City cop who, after making a major bust and selling the rights of his story to Hollywood, decides to try his luck out as an actor. However, when he gets there, the directors think that he is too short to be an actor. He is, then, approached by someone who offers him a job at a Hollywood security agency because he would fit in there being an ex-cop and, while working there, he could come in contact with some Hollywood heavyweights who could give him the break he needs. [At] the same time, he gets to live in Dean Martin’s guest house.

Half Nelson Image Two
Image Credit: imdb.com & amazon.com

Series Summary:

Rocky Nelson is a former New York cop who is trying to make it as an actor in Hollywood. However, like most actor wannabees, he is still looking for his big break and his lack of stature doesn’t endear him to the directors. So, he is currently working for Beverly Hills Patrol, a private security agency that caters to the needs of the Hollywood elite and, who also try to keep things quiet for their clients. [Every] now and then, Rocky comes across a case which requires him to slip into his old mold of cop, which doesn’t make his boss or the police lieutenant that he encounters, happy.

Trivia Bits:
♦ This was Dean Martin’s final acting role.
♦ Martin, playing himself, is the owner of Beverly Hills Patrol and Joe Pesci’s Rocky provides him security.
♦ The series replaced the low rated V TV series.
♦ After the pilot movie, only six episodes aired before being cancelled and replaced with Misfits of Science in the new season.

Additional Reading:
Episode List (IMDB)
TV Obscurities (Website)

Opening & Rod Taylor’s Scenes