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Arts & Culture

PIONEERS OF TELEVISION: Crime Dramas

Angie Dickinson as Sgt. "Pepper" Anderson in the award-winning series "Police Woman."
Courtesy of PBS "Pioneers of Television."
Angie Dickinson as Sgt. "Pepper" Anderson in the award-winning series "Police Woman."

Airs Friday, July 19, 2013 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

They were the stars of the small screen in the early years of television, and much of the nation came to a halt whenever their shows aired. They strolled, sprinted, fought, laughed, cried and loved through worlds that took viewers to places past, present and future. As the originators of these innovative television formats, they provided an essential escape for millions of viewers who eagerly waited to watch them each week.

PIONEERS OF TELEVISION returned to PBS for a second season in January 2011, offering the inside stories of these formidable visionaries who recall the fledgling medium they shaped with their creativity, foresight and wisdom.

Classic TV Trivia Quiz

If you're starved for classic television trivia that will keep you guessing, give this quiz a try.

This series once again transports viewers behind the scenes for a revealing look at the inception of four of the most popular genres in television: science fiction (July 5), westerns (July 12), crime dramas (July 19) and local kids’ TV (July 26).

"Crime Dramas" - As viewers reveled in being transported to shadowy underworlds, creative geniuses emerged in the forms of Jack Webb (“Dragnet”), Desi Arnaz (“The Untouchables”) and Bruce Geller (“Mannix” and “Mission: Impossible”).

Groundbreaking actors Bill Cosby (“I Spy”) and Angie Dickinson (“Police Woman”) reveal the methods behind their successes as the first African-American and breakthrough female lead characters in a television series.

Barbara Bain and Martin Landau share the secrets behind the innovative hit “Mission: Impossible”; Peter Falk’s friends and colleagues recall the evolution of his “Columbo” character; and James Garner and series creator Stephen J. Cannell recount the success of the “The Rockford Files.”

This episode originally aired in 2011.

Robert Culp on Bill Cosby
Tribute to James Garner