series starred David Janssen as Dr Richard Kimble, who arrives
home one night to see a one-armed man fleeing from his house.
He discovers the dead body of his wife Helen and, with no-one
believing his story of the one-armed man, is arrested, convicted
and sentenced to death. On the way to the penitentiary, his train
is derailed and he escapes. He sets off to find the one-armed
man and is, in turn, pursued by a determined police lieutenant
Philip Gerard, played by Barry Morse. ‘The Fugitive’ attracted
such attention that slogans began to appear on walls: ‘Kimble
is innocent’, and a debate as to his guilt or innocence was a
regular feature in the media. Critic Barry Norman, for instance,
wrote: “I think Kimble is guilty. I think he’s a dirty, wife-slaying
rat who deserves to be strung up from the nearest lamp-post.’
Right up until the climactic two-part ending, not even the members
of the regular cast really knew how things would turn out.
series actually ended in August 1967 when millions of viewers
in America, Britain, Japan, Canada and Australia saw the conclusion
of the massive manhunt (although London was the only ITV region
which didn’t receive it – viewers had to wait 20 more weeks to
see the concluding episodes). In the final story the one-armed
man, Fred Johnson, played by Bill Raisch, is tracked down to an
amusement park, but as Richard Kimble closes in on him, he himself
is closely trailed by Lt Gerard. Kimble and Johnson battle on
an amusement park tower and just as he is about to push Kimble
over, the one-armed man admits to the killing and is shot by the
detective. During the course of the series, Dr Kimble was involved
in thirty fights, had eight gunshot wounds and four stabbings.
He was also knocked unconscious ten times, temporarily blinded
by an explosion and was run down by a car! He also suffered from
amnesia and contracted pneumonia!