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A man who tries to stop a mugging finds himself accused of murdering the criminal after the victim and witnesses fail to corroborate his story. A young reporter believes the man and tries to find out why the parties involved are trying to frame the man.Written by
Twenty-nine year old Christopher Connelly ("Peyton Place") played an idealistic young reporter in this 1971 Quinn Martin pilot. The "also starring" roles in the resulting series would have been filled by Tim O'Connor (also a "Peyton Place" veteran) as Connelly's editor and Dean Jagger as the paper's publisher. The pilot was on the ABC Sunday Night Movie.
Connelly was good, but he was overshadowed by Richard Kiley's performance as a "good Samaritan" in big trouble. Kiley (I think without toupee) made a very appealing everyman. Leslie Nielsen also gave a forceful performance as a smart police lieutenant. This was Nielsen's first role after "Bracken's World" was canceled in mid-season.
The script by Robert Dozier ("The Young Stranger") was intelligent. Dozier was later a producer of "Harry O". Dozier is married to the marvelous Diana Muldaur.
Director Don Medford ("The Organization") made fine use of the San Francisco location.
Two previous series had followed the adventures of an idealistic young reporter. One was "Saints and Sinners" (1962) with Nick Adams and the other was "The Reporter" (1964) with Harry Guardino. Both of those shows had strong writing and dazzling guest stars along with fine lead actors. But neither show could figure out how to plausibly get their reporter hero in the center of the action. "Lou Grant" finally showed how to make a great newspaper drama in 1977.
Quinn Martin revamped the premise of "Incident in San Francisco" a year later with "The Streets of San Francisco" pilot. His protagonists were now cops instead of a reporter. Leslie Nielsen and Christopher Connelly might have been interesting as the two cops on that show. Or maybe Richard Kiley could have played the older cop. Quinn Martin, of course, went instead with the great Karl Malden and Michael Douglas.
Christopher Connelly starred with Jodie Foster in a series version of "Paper Moon" in 1974. The series was based on the Ryan O'Neal-Tatum O'Neal movie directed by Peter Bogdanovich. Connelly had played Ryan O'Neal's younger brother on "Peyton Place".
Christopher Connelly died from cancer in 1988 at the age of 47.
Quinn Martin made two other pilot movies in 1971 in addition to "Incident in San Francisco". Both were for CBS. One was "Travis Logan, DA" with Vic Morrow and the other was "Cannon" with William Conrad.
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