Image: Everett Collection
Few TV shows epitomized the late 1960s like The Mod Squad. At a time when Westerns, rural sitcoms and fantasy series reigned supreme, The Mod Squad pushed the boundaries to reflect the attitudes and trends of the times.
It's the show that did the near impossible — successfully combine aspects of counterculture and law enforcement to create a critically acclaimed drama. Can you dig it? Here are nine things you never knew about the '60s grooviest action series.
It was created by a cop.
Series creator Buddy Ruskin was a former Los Angeles Police Officer, and he drew inspiration from his experience as the leader of an undercover narcotics unit in the 1950s to create the show.
It took almost a decade to be created.
Ruskin wrote the script for the pilot in 1960, but network executives took eight years before they gave the series the green light in 1968. The long wait may have worked in the show's favor, as audiences were more accepting of youth counterculture in the late '60s as opposed to a decade earlier.
Aaron Spelling was an executive producer.
Before Aaron Spelling was part of television royalty by producing hit shows like Charlie's Angels, The Love Boat and Dynasty, he produced The Mod Squad. The success of the show allowed Spelling to take on bigger projects, helping create some of the most successful TV programs in history.
Image: Associated Press
Peggy Lipton is incredibly cool.
After finishing The Mod Squad, Lipton married music producer Quincy Jones. During their marriage, Jones produced Michael Jackson's smash albums Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad. She's also the mother of actress Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation).
Image: AP Photo/Barfield
Lipton released an album, too.
At the same time the show premiered in 1968, Lipton recorded and released a self-titled psychedelic soft-rock album. Now that's mod. Take a listen to the album's single, the Laura Nyro–writtern "Stoney End."
Clarence Williams III was a stage actor before appearing on TV.
Lipton isn't the only cast member with a musical background. Williams' father was a musician, as was his grandfather and grandmother. Before he joined The Mod Squad as Linc, Williams had a successful career on Broadway. Years later, he appeared on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine under heavy makeup as Omet'iklan.
There was a remake, of course.
Like any series with a hint of popularity, Hollywood decided to remake it into a feature film. Alas, people in 1999 weren't feeling as groovy as they were in the late '60s. The film flopped at the box office, earning only $15 million.
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It has cool names in other languages.
The Mod Squad is certainly a cool name for any TV show, and it translates into equally cool titles in other countries as well. In Mexico, it's called Patrulla juvenil, or "Juvenile Patrol." In Venezuela, it's called El escuadrón audaz, or "The Audacious Squad."
Harrison Ford appeared in the first episode.
The Mod Squad boasts some spectacular guest stars, including Andy Griffith and Richard Pryor, but none are more surprising than Ford. The up-and-coming actor appeared on the premiere episode, "The Teeth of the Barracuda."