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Henry Mancini - Mr. Lucky (1960)

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November 27, 2019: Originally published at YouTube on April 28, 2015, this revised version is practically a new video although some of the original footage from 2015 remains for the time being. Most of the new, higher quality footage appears from 1 minute 16 seconds to the end.

April 28, 2015: Mr. Lucky was the follow-up series to Peter Gunn, written and produced by Gunn's creator Blake Edwards and Jack Arnold. Loosely based on the Cary Grant film of the same name from 1943, it concerned a successful professional gambler (Mr. Lucky, played by John Vivyan) and his floating gambling casino aboard a luxury yacht. Criminals of various stripes plague Lucky's enterprise, making for some rough Mike Hammer type action, episode after episode. The show also featured Ross Martin as Lucky's sidekick Andamo, who had also been a character in Peter Gunn (Martin would go on to play Artemis Gordon in "The Wild Wild West") and Pippi Scott as Lucky's personal secretary and Girl Friday. Guest stars included a young Jack Nicholson, Richard Chamberlain, Barbara Bain, Frank Gorshin, Joi Lansing, and Yvette Mimieux.

The highly successful and popular show, one of the highest ranking shows on CBS at the time, only ran for one season, October 24, 1959 to June 18, 1960, for a total of 34 episodes. In a mind-boggling display of monumental blundering, the show's sponsors pulled out and "Mr. Lucky," lacking other sponsors, was cancelled. To add insult to injury, it never went to syndication and after a few decades the memory of the show faded into obscurity. Unless you actually were a fan of "Mr. Lucky" at the time it was on television and hardly ever missed an episode it is likely you have only heard of it, partly due to the enduring theme song. Thus the bizarre situation that followed: Henry Mancini's musical theme for the show (the single itself is simply called "Mr. Lucky" with no mention of it being a theme in the title) reached #21 on Billboard and #20 on Cash Box on May 7, 1960 ... a month before the show completed its first and only season. The theme song remains among the most popular easy listening classics of all time. Chances are good your parents or grandparents have the Mancini album stuffed somewhere in a cabinet, along with his follow-up LP, Mr. Lucky Goes Latin. I know my parents played both their albums to death for years.

The production of the show was slick and top notch, and a lot of promotion went into its release in 1959, which included incredible art design work for the opening credits and Mancini's smooth, romantic, and elegant composition (the first five notes of which played whenever Mr. Lucky opened his gold watch). The roulette wheel, dice and cards represented Mr. Lucky's good "luck" at gambling while the one-eyed scrap cat signified that Mr. Lucky, like a cat, seemingly had nine lives (another form of "luck"). Judging from the violence in the shows, he probably needed more than nine. On October 16, 2012, Timeless Media Group released Mr. Lucky - The Complete Series on Blu-ray DVD for the very first time. The 4-disc set features all 34 episodes of the series, and a bonus CD featuring Henry Mancini's soundtrack.

This WAS my first attempt at doing a music video about a action/drama television program (TV shows certainly being a part of retro). Already owning the soundtrack, I spent a lot of time getting the visual material I needed ... so I hope you enjoy my little promotional music video for the now-resurrected TV series "Mr. Lucky" ... from 1959 and 1960, music by Henry Mancini!

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