Jack Webb fought to keep Adam-12 alive through the power of Kent McCord's popularity
The show's creator wanted to keep the show going with a new partner — Bing Crosby's kid!
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When Adam-12 star Martin Milner (Officer Pete Malloy) got signed to play the dad in Swiss Family Robinson, it was 1975, and his previous show Adam-12 was still hugely popular — and still on the air.
It was uncertain what this would mean for the fate of the show, but true fans know 1975 was the year that Adam-12 ended with a riveting two-part finale called "Something Worth Dying For."
For Milner's co-star Kent McCord, who played his partner Officer Jim Reed, the show was just getting back to its roots again when Milner's departure swiftly pulled the program from schedules.
"I'm enjoying my work more this season than any time since the first year," McCord told The Morning Call in 1975. "I think the reason is that we're getting better scripts. We've gone back to the original concept of the show — a single concept, just a day in the life of two cops out cruising in a black-and-white — and we had sort of gotten away from that concept in the last few seasons."
Adam-12 creator Jack Webb agreed with McCord that the show still had legs, and he apparently approached McCord in 1975 to see if he would agree to continue starring on the show with a new cast.
Webb's plan was to plug in Bing Crosby's son, the singer and actor Gary Crosby, to replace Milner, and according to The Intelligencer-Journal in 1975, Webb felt strongly about it, saying, "He's not going to allow his Adam-12 series to go down without a fight."
When the show ended anyway despite Webb's fighting spirit, it was a disappointment to Webb and fans, and of course, to McCord.
Before Adam-12, nobody knew McCord unless they happened to be fans of The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, but after Adam-12, no part seemed to fit the actor like his Adam-12 uniform. Adam-12 had a reputation as the most realistic portrayal of police work, and McCord in that role made the most convincing cop.
"You could put Kent in a LAPD squad inspection group, and I don't think that even the chief would spot him as an actor," Milner joked to The Atlanta Constitution in 1976.
However, three days before the finale episode of Adam-12 aired, McCord experienced a "big event" that distracted him from the show ending, when he welcomed his new son into his family. For the next year, he became consumed in caring for his family and making his home the way he wanted.
"Before and after that big event, I tackled projects that had piled up at home," McCord said. "Remodeling, painting and landscaping. I hadn't had time to do half the things I wanted to do around the house."
He was much more interested in being at home right then than acting, turning down a major studio pilot and other roles. After patrolling for seven seasons on his popular and critically acclaimed show, he wasn't too worried his fans would forget him.
"I don't want to do run-of-the-mill roles," McCord told The Tampa Times in 1976. "Adam reruns are on the tube all over the country six nights a week. So, I don't have to remind viewers that there's a Kent McCord."