R.I.P., Stephen J. Cannell: Production bumper through the years

There sure haven’t been many giants of TV like Stephen J. Cannell. The master of the 1970s and 1980s action drama, Cannell was behind “Rockford Files,” “The A-Team” and “Greatest American Hero.” And he was also loved by critics for “Wiseguy” and “Profit” (considered by some to be one of the best shows ever quickly canceled by a network).

Cannell was also known for his closing credits production bumper — which featured him at his typewriter, yanking a sheet of paper out (which then turns into his iconic “C” logo). That bumper changed quite a bit through the years: Sometimes Cannell was smoking a pipe, sometimes his several Emmys were sitting on a shelf, sometimes he was wearing a rather casual shirt. But it was always cool, at the end of a fun, rocking hour of Cannell-produced TV, to end it with that shot.

Cannell was also the last of a breed in TV: The independent producer. It’s been more than a decade since the repeal of fin-syn effectively ended businesses like Cannell’s (and MTM, Carsey-Werner, etc.) But back in the day, Cannell was a mega producer of his own control.

Cannell died Friday at the age of 69.


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