I’ve completed revisions on my article about Mr. Lucky, the high-rated CBS adventure series that nevertheless was cancelled after its first season. The complete series was released on DVD in 2012, so I’ve removed the videos from the article but added some very crisp images taken from the DVDs. They’re a vast improvement over the grainy images previously included in the article, which came from a set of VHS tapes released in the late 1990s. Here’s the new summary for the article:
John Vivyan and Ross Martin starred in this adventure drama about a gambler named Lucky, his friend and their floating casino located in international waters. Lucky was an honest man who ran an honest casino but often found himself dealing with dishonest and disreputable people. Halfway through the 1959-1960, sponsors got worried and CBS forced the producers to alter the format of the series to remove most references to gambling. The series ranked in the Top 25 for the season yet despite the good ratings CBS cancelled the series.
Prior to the revision, the article was about 1,300 words. Now it is roughly 3,400. It’s been completely rewritten, retaining perhaps five or six sentences from the original article. I was able to track down a few more critical reviews from when the series premiered as well as additional information about the format change mid-season prompted by sponsor concern about gambling on the series. Likewise, I also was able to find more information on the cancellation, including a reaction from star John Vivyan.
There are apparently two theories as to why Mr. Lucky was dropped by CBS despite ranking in the Top 25 for the 1959-1960 season. According to Vivyan, CBS cancelled the series because Jack Benny’s production company wanted its time slot. Broadcasting suggested that the network wasn’t happy with the fact that although highly-rated, the series was not doing as well as the shows airing before or after it. In other words, it was in a cushy “hammock” time slot propped up by strong shows surrounding it.
To be honest, there’s no reason both explanations can’t be true. Perhaps CBS was approached by Jack Benny’s production company and, noting that Mr. Lucky wasn’t pulling its weight, decided to cancel it. There is also the possibility that sponsors dropped out although I wasn’t able to find a source confirming this.
Like many television shows, I think there’s a lot more to tell about Mr. Lucky, if someone had the time and resources. But this article is a good start. It’s always been among the more popular articles here at Television Obscurities so I’m happy to have a revised version available. Please take a few minutes to read it.