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TV

The Untouchables (1959)

Show FAQ
How many episodes were based on cases of the real life Untouchables?
Only the two-part pilot episode, released theatrically as "The Scarface Mob" and the Season Four episode enititled "Cooker in the Sky" were based on real life cases of Eliot Ness and the Untouchables. All the rest came from the imaginations of the screenwriters.
 
How many of the Untouchables actors are still alive?
Steve London, Nick Georgiade, Chuck Hicks, and Abel Fernandez are still alive to the best of my knowledge. Paul Picerni and Bruce Gordon both passed away in January of 2011.
 
What did the real Eliot Ness think about the show?
The real Eliot Ness passed away in May of 1957 while his book, "The Untouchables," was in galley proofs. He never saw himself immortalized in print or on-screen.
 
I seem to recall some Untouchables movies. What were those?
The two-part pilot episode was edited and released theatrically as "The Scarface Mob." The two-part episode entitled "The Unhired Assassin" was released as "Gun of Zangara" and the two-part "The Big Train" was released as "The Alcatraz Express."
 
What about the real Frank Nitti? Did he really die in a blazing gun battle as was depicted on the show?
The real Frank Nitti committed suicide on March 19, 1943 one day after being indicted on numerous racketeering charges stemming from a massive extortion scheme against the major Hollywood studios.
 
Was there really a mob contract put out on Desi Arnaz whose studio produced the Untouchables?
That one is spurious at best. If there were ever plans to bump off Arnaz they never got past the discussion phase in Mob circles. The Mob did, however, provide financial backing to various Italian-American protest groups which sprang up to protest how their fellow ethnics were depicted on the show.
 
Did protests from various groups cause the show to be cancelled?
Not really. Although protests did lead to a watering down of the show's content which resulted in a drop in ratings, ABC wanted to renew the show for a fifth season. However, star Robert Stack's contract was up and he was tired of the grind of a weekly series and wanted out. Without Stack, everyone realized there could be no show so The Untouchables breathed its last in the summer of 1963.
 
What are some of the better episodes of The Untouchables which will provide me with good TV viewing as well as give me an overall flavor for the series?
You can't go wrong with any of the following episodes:

1. The Empty Chair
2. The Tri-State Gang
3. The Dutch Schultz Story
4. The Unhired Assassin
5. The Frank Nitti Story
6. The Rusty Heller Story
7. The Purple Gang
8. The Big Train
9. The Underground Court
10. The Troubleshooter
11. Power Play
12. Tunnel of Horrors
13. Loophole
14. Man Killer
15. The Seventh Vote
16. Element of Danger
17. Murder Under Glass
18. The Antidote
19. A Fist of Five
20. Globe of Death
 
Will the show ever be released on DVD?
Yes, the first three seasons of the series have been released on DVD.
 
How many episodes of The Untouchables were filmed?
118 episodes of the show were filmed plus the two hour pilot which was released theatrically as "The Scarface Mob." In 1991, a reunion movie entitled "The Return of Eliot Ness" aired on NBC with Robert Stack reprising his series role.
 
Are any stations currently airing The Untouchables?
The show currently airs on MeTV at 12:30 a.m./11:30 p.m. In recent years the show has aired on stations in Chicago, Omaha, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Scranton-Wilkes Barre, and Norfolk-Virginia Beach. The show is also reportedly very popular in Australia. It aired briefly on TV Land in 1999 though on the less than enviable timeslot of 7:00 a.m. on Saturday mornings. So yes, the show is still floating around in syndication and could be airing on a station near you sometime in the future.
 

Warning: The Untouchables (1959) guide may contain spoilers
Classification: Scripted
Genre: Action | Crime | Drama
Status: Canceled/Ended
Network: ABC ( USA)
Runtime: 60 Minutes
Premiere: October 15, 1959
Ended: September 10, 1963
This guide is currently edited by:
Mad_Buck (Challenge)