45th Anniversary of SEARCH

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One season wonder SEARCH premiered 45 years ago today in 1972. The NBC drama starred Hugh O’Brian, Tony Franciosa and Doug McClure as agents working for World Securities. Specifically, they were agents of the Probe Division, charged with investigating, recovering, protecting, tracking, and more.

The three actors rotated as lead each week and never appeared together on screen. Burgess Meredith co-starred as the director of Probe Control, who oversaw their missions.

An NBC World Premiere movie called Probe, starring Hugh O’Brian, served as the pilot for SEARCH. It originally aired in February 1972.

Despite writing a lengthy article about the series back in 2009, I’ve never seen a complete episode of SEARCH. Back then, it wasn’t available. I had to rely on contemporary reviews and newspaper articles, episode summaries, and e-mails from fans. The series maintained a cult following long after its cancellation. Warner Archive released the pilot telefilm in 2011 but the series itself didn’t come out on DVD until 2014. It’s on my (long) list of TV shows to one day purchase and watch.

Here are the opening credits, courtesy of Warner Archive’s YouTube channel:


Are you a fan of SEARCH? Which of the actors is your favorite Probe agent? Hit the comments with your memories.


9 Comments

  • Patrick McNamara says:

    I think I caught the Probe movie when it came out, or at least the start of it. I recall a thief with a robot arm with attachments. I didn’t watch the series at the time since I didn’t know about it and the change of name didn’t help. (And I didn’t exactly have control over a TV at the time either.)

    Looking up the names I see Tony Franciosa went on to star in Finder of Lost Loves, another one season show that replaced Fantasy Island. It’s probably best remembered for Dionne Warwick singing the theme song. The show doesn’t appear to have ever been released on DVD or even re-aired.

    Angel Thompkins went on to do a number of bit parts on shows like Simon and Simon, T.J. Hooker and Knight Rider.

    • Tim Warneking says:

      Angel Tompkins once ran for SAG President under the name Angeltompkins. She figured that she would be the first one on the ballot spelled that way.

      • PB says:

        Don’t forget Tony Franciosa somehow landed this part after recently being fired from the wheel series NAME OF THE GAME.

  • Jon says:

    I’ve never seen this show, other than the opening that you posted above, but I remember the cast member sharing a TV GUIDE cover in Nov. 1972:
    http://www.tvguidemagazine.com/archive/suboffer/1970s/1972/19721125_c1.jpg.html

    I see a couple former BEWITCHED cast members guest-starring, Maurice Evans & David White. BEWITCHED had just left prime time for good the previous spring.

  • Jim Alexander says:

    Thank you so much for remembering this series’ 45th Anniversary. I was strongly impacted by the show as an impressionable 13-year-old, and have never forgotten it. Creator Leslie Stevens was certainly ahead of his time.

    Anyone interested in learning a bit more about the series (it’s NOT the one that Patrick McNamara is thinking of) ;) … can go here:

    https://www.facebook.com/Search1972TVSeries/

    It’s a Facebook page I created, and I’m proud to say that it’s got nearly 850 members from around the world. Enjoy!

    SEARCH LIVES!

  • Ray Glasser says:

    I always LOVED this theme song, and the series as well. Bought it the day it was released by Warner, although I already had a few episodes on tape, with horrible quality.

  • Stephen says:

    Loved the show so then Hi Tech vs today, Be rather mundane for Today BUT set std for Spy Tech beyond 007.
    Classic for the ages & could have done better.
    Better screenplays, ideas etc.
    I guess 2 new at time.
    Love to see new Search on the Big Screen, IE 700mm 70mm size.
    Be awesome

  • michaels says:

    Sorry if I am late here, but awhile back I did a TV review of SEARCH breaking it up in four parts.
    First the TV Movie pilot called PROBE
    http://mysteryfile.com/blog/?p=16030

    The series featured three leads who rotated week to week.

    Then I reviewed the Hugh O’Brian episodes.
    http://mysteryfile.com/blog/?p=20990

    Then I reviewed the Tony Franciosa episodes.
    http://mysteryfile.com/blog/?p=21076

    And finally the third star Doug MClure.
    http://mysteryfile.com/blog/?p=21130

    Oh, and the series Patrick was remembering was A MAN CALLED SLOAN starring Robert Conrad. In the pilot TV Movie DEATH RAY 2000 the star was Robert Logan. The villain with the metal Swiss army knife-like arm proved popular enough to become the hero’s sidekick in the series.

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