Joe Adams (Mr. Lucky)

Developed for televison by Blake Edwards
(1922-2010)

Andamo (left) and Mr. Lucky pose for a publicity still.

No, Mr. Lucky wasn’t a private eye show, though it bore more than a passing resemblance to Peter Gunn, right down to the same creative team, a snappy Henry Mancini theme and a good-looking, suave kinda guy in the lead.

And whether he liked it or not, trouble was often Mr. Lucky’s business.

JOE ADAMS (played by John Vivyan) was a professional gambler who earned his nickname when he won a swank gambling ship, The Fortuna, and made it his home. Forced to stay beyond the 12-mile limit, Mr. Lucky nonetheless took no chances. He also swung a deal with the L.A. cops, agreeing to passing along info gathered during business operations to keep them off his back. Good thing, too, because, besides a steady stream of customers, he also attracted more than his share of trouble. It also may have marked the first time a television show owed so much of its premise to police corruption.

Fortunately, Mr. Lucky had his right hand man, Andamo, a clever master of disguise, to help him keep on the sunny side of trouble. Andamo was played by Ross Martin who went on to play a very similar character, Artemus Gordon, in The Wild, Wild West. Rounding out the cast were Tom Brown as Lucky’s L.A.P.D. pal Lieutenant Rovacs, Jed Scott as the ship’s maitre d’, and Pippa Scott as Lucky’s long-suffering girlfriend Maggie Shank.

The show developed a loyal following, but halfway through its first season, the sponsors, Lever Brothers, felt a change in image was called for. Mr’ Lucky’s slightly shady occupation as a gambler was scrapped, and he became a land-based restaurant owner. The change didn’t sit well with fans, and the show’s ratings plummeted. It wasn’t renewed for a second season.

The series was actually based on a 1943 film of the same name, starring Cary Grant, the epitome of the good looking suave kinda guy, as the owner of the boat with the illegal casino. Laraine Day co-starred. But once Edwards got through with it, the entire premise had been retooled.

The Mancini theme and score spawned two successful soundtrack albums, The Music from Mr. Lucky and Mr. Lucky Goes Latin.

UNDER OATH

  • “The most excellent theme was another sleek, warm, sophisticated melody, instantly recognisable as a Mancini piece. The theme–Hammond organ & orchestra–was and is still lovely.”
    — Michael Price, Vancouver, Canad
  • “I loved the show as a child, I wanted to be a professional gambler with his own gambling ship. I can still hear that theme in my head with every swell, especially at the end.”
    — Bob Cox

TELEVISION

  • MR. LUCKY | Buy this DVD set
    (1959-60, CBS)
    34 episodes
    Based (loosely) on the 1943 movie of the same name
    Adapted by Blake Edwards, Gordon Oliver and Jack Arnold
    Writer: Blake Edwards
    Directors: Blake Edwards, Jack Arnold, Lamont Johnson, Boris Sagal, Alan Crosland Jr.Producers: Gordon Oliver, Jack Arnold
    A Spartan Production
    Starring John Vivyan as JOE ADAMS (aka “MR. LUCKY”)
    and Ross Martin as Andamos
    Also starring Tom Brown, Pippa Scott, Joe Scott
    Guest stars: Nehemiah Persoff, Gavin MacLeod, Yvonne Craig, Jack Elam, Jackie Coogan, Yvette Mimieux
    • “The Magnificent Bribe” (October 24, 1959)
    • “They Shall Not Pass” (October 31, 1959)
    • “Bugsy” (November 7, 1959)
    • “The Money Game” (November 14, 1959)
    • “That Stands for Pool” (November 21, 1959)
    • “My Little Gray Home” (November 28, 1959)
    • “The Gordon Caper” (December 5, 1959)
    • “Little Miss Wow” (December 12, 1959)
    • “A Business Measure” (December 19, 1959)
    • “Hijacked” (December 26, 1959)
    • “Aces Back to Back” (January 2, 1960)
    • “Maggie the Witness” (January 9, 1960)
    • “The Two Million Dollar Window” (January 16, 1960)
    • “The Leadville Kid Gang” (January 23, 1960)
    • “The Sour Milk Fund” (January 30, 1960)
    • “The Brain Picker” (February 6, 1960)
    • “The Last Laugh” (February 13, 1960)
    • “The Parolee” (February 20, 1960)
    • “The Tax Man” (February 27, 1960)
    • “The Gladiators” (March 5, 1960)
    • “Big Squeeze” (March 12, 1960)
    • “Cold Deck” (March 19, 1960)
    • “His Maiden Voyage” (March 26, 1960)
    • “I Bet Your Life” (April 2, 1960)
    • “Hair of the Dog” (April 9, 1960)
    • “Vote the Bullet” (April 16, 1960)
    • “Hit and Run” (April 23, 1960)
    • “Taking a Chance” (April 30, 1960)
    • “Last Journey” (May 14, 1960)
    • “Operation Fortuna” (May 21, 1960)
    • “Stacked Deck” (May 28, 1960)
    • “Odyssey of Hate” (June 4, 1960)
    • “Dangerous Lady” (June 11, 1960)
    • “Election Bet” (June 19, 1960)
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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