In the current issue of our sister publication The Hollywood Reporter, Stefanie Powers and Robert Wagner revisit the days of their ABC-TV series Hart to Hart. Their remarks are part of an oral history of mega-producer Aaron Spelling.
Powers talks about about how the New York newspaper strike of 1978 was instrumental in her being able to do the pilot (she was headed for a Broadway run of Cyrano de Bergerac, which was derailed by the sudden removal of leading theater critics from the equation). Meanwhile, Wagner said this:
“Sidney Sheldon wrote the original script and I didn’t like it. I said I wanted to have the feeling of watching William Powell in The Thin Man. So we stole everything from Nick and Nora Charles – total plagiarism. We even had a dog and a butler. And in one episode, I wound up in a motorized bed driving across the Golden Gate Bridge with Stefanie.”
Coincidentally, NBC has just announced plans to revive ABC-TV’s Hart to Hart with a pair of gay male characters (an attorney named Jonathan Hart and his partner, investigator David Hartman). Many commenters at Deadline, which broke the news, have voiced their displeasure with the idea and bemoaned the fact that Hollywood has run out of fresh ideas. But perhaps it’s worth remembering, per Wagner above, that Hart to Hart wasn’t exactly 100 percent original out the late 1970s gate.