THE MANIPULATORS (1970) – The words “gritty” and “streetwise” seem never to be used when describing vintage television programs from Canada but they certainly apply to The Manipulators (Originally the title was to be The Clients).
If you enjoyed underrated Canadian shows like The Beachcombers or Police Surgeon you might like The Manipulators, an hour-long dramatic series about parole officers and the men and women they were responsible for. Compared to 21st Century television, which seems infested with law enforcement procedural shows 24/7, this program would have seemed much less derivative for early 70s viewers.
Many adult themes were dealt with on The Manipulators since the parolees often faced dreary, limited futures in unsavory environments. Sometimes it’s almost quaint how issues like prison cell sodomy, drug addiction and child exploitation were explored via guarded euphemisms on the show. To my 2017 eyes it lends those topics a bit more dignity and empathy than the jaded, explicit approach we see today.
The Manipulators lasted eleven episodes and starred Marc Strange as Rick Nicholson and Roxanne Irwin as Maggie Campbell. Sadly, the black & white format will probably drive away many younger viewers but to oddballs like me that format lends a sort of neo-Noir air to the show.
Typical of the Canadian Cultural Curse, periodic guest-stars went on to much greater international fame than the regular cast members. Margot Kidder, Donnelly Rhodes, Susan Hogan, Walter Marsh, William Nunn and Chief Dan George showed up in individual episodes.
Blame Canada for not packaging DVD collections of their huge back-catalog of interesting shows like The Manipulators. If the powers that be are worried about a lack of demand that is easily fixed by first releasing these old programs to content-starved streaming or cable outlets, then putting video versions on the market after there is some name recognition.
People shouldn’t have to go to the psychotically obsessive lengths I go to in order to track down and see lost treasures like this.
FOR MORE FORGOTTEN TELEVISION CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/category/forgotten-television/
FOR WASHINGTON IRVING’S 1809 depiction of an invasion from the moon click here: https://glitternight.com/2014/05/05/ancient-science-fiction-the-men-of-the-moon-1809-by-washington-irving/
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