Sept. 8, 2015
Yesterday the thing that I worried about since I became a fan of Adam-12 happened. I knew it was inevitable, I knew there was no way to avoid it, I just wished that it would not happen for many more years. Yesterday, Martin Milner died.
|I didn't create this, but I thought it was a lovely tribute.|
My first thought this morning when I woke up was, "This is a world without Martin Milner." The realization that his effervescent, smiling, freckled face will no longer light up some small corner of this planet hit me hard. I was probably more aware of the world's loss as I lay in my dark and quiet bed this morning than I was yesterday when I was distracted by the continual news reports and tributes pouring forth on social media. I have been saddened by other celebrity deaths, but Martin's passing has probably affected me most of all, after all he is the reason I am sitting here writing a blog.
Before I discovered Adam-12 less than two years ago I had never heard of Martin Milner. But, his delivery of the "car speech" during the pilot episode flipped some switch inside my brain that instantly hooked me on the show. I can definitely say that Adam-12 changed my life. There is a clear line that separates my life before Adam-12 and my life after Adam-12 and without Martin's depiction of Pete Malloy, that line would have never been drawn. His subtly nuanced "depiction of a professional and tough yet compassionate cop" inspired me in ways I never imagined and opened my eyes and life to new experiences.
Prior to discovering Adam-12, I thought the police only existed to (gleefully) give me speeding tickets. But, after watching a melancholy Pete deliver the closing speech in "Log 71: I Feel Like a Fool, Malloy", I realized something.
Marty's performance showed me that cops are human beings affected by the countless tragedies they see while performing their thankless duties. I decided to learn more about the job our guardians in blue perform everyday, so I enrolled in our local Citizens' Police Academy. It was a wonderful experience that I would have never considered before I saw Adam-12.
|"People die everyday, ADW, hit and run, murder, most of the time we're involved. Somehow you learn to live with it. But, I'll tell you something, when it happens to a child, you never get used to it."|
As I continued watching the series, I was introduced to more new and fascinating things. The "Killing Ground" episode quickly became one of my favorite episodes, thanks in large part to Milner's performance of a cop playing a role in order to gain the trust of his captors. I found out that this episode was based on a true story that had been told in the book "The Onion Field" by Joseph Wambaugh. I quickly checked the book out of my local library and devoured every word of it; I am now reading a fifth book about the LAPD written by Mr. Wambaugh.
I also discovered that while my husband, relatives, and co-workers may not share my passion for Adam-12, there is a whole network of similarly obsessed (and I say this lovingly) weirdos out in the world who do understand my passion for the show. Through the internet I was able to form friendships with other fans in far-flung locations like North Dakota and Massachusetts. Yet another thing I would have never done if I hadn't ever seen Pete Malloy tell a young rookie officer that their patrol car had an "electronic siren capable of emitting three variables: wail, yelp, and alert".
Of course, I also began watching anything I could find on my Roku box that had Martin Milner's name in the credits. I discovered some great movies, like Compulsion, and some real stinkers. No matter what the subject material, though, Milner always gave a great performance that stuck with me long after the credits rolled.
Finally, when my addiction to Adam-12 showed no signs of waning and my husband got sick of me talking about the show, he suggested (perhaps facetiously) that I start a blog about the show. He may have been joking, but I took this idea seriously. I, who hadn't written anything longer than an e-mail since college, decided to write about all 174 episodes of Adam-12 and I'm so glad that I did. While I hesitate to call myself a writer, I will call myself a blogger and I would never be able to do that had Mr. Milner not drawn me in with that speech delivered with passion, conviction, and a little bit of humor.
Thank you, thank you, Mr. Milner for everything you have given me! I am sad that you are no longer on this earth, but I also find great peace in knowing that you lived your life to the fullest and filled it with love and passion and adventure. I am happy that you were able to spend fifty-seven years with your beautiful wife, Judy, and fill your home with the love of four children. I am happy that your legacy will live on in the countless men and women who were inspired to become police officers after watching your portrayal of Pete Malloy. But, I am most happy that the play "The Ninety Day Mistress" did not turn into a runaway Broadway success. For if it had, we would have never seen you portray Officer Peter J. Malloy. Marty's watch has ended now, but Pete will always be on patrol teaching Reed and the rest of us what a truly great police officer and man should be.
Rest in Peace