1966-67: Taking shape

Stephen Brooks and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. in 1965

Crimefighting emphasized in second season

The FBI began its second season with a change or two. Lynn Loring was most assuredly out of the picture as Barbara Erskine. More significantly, the episode began and ended with narration by Marvin Miller. Narration was already used by QM Productions’s “flagship” production, The Fugitive, which also aired on ABC. The narration provided a much-needed framing device for the episode.

The second season had both good episode, as well as some notable clunkers, especially “The Contaminator.” William Reynolds, who played SAC Tom Colby, would make his second appearance on the series, in episode # 41, “Anatomy Of A Prison Break.” He already displayed a distinctive appearance that would finally earn him his role as SAC Tom Colby in September 1967.

ABC was in third place in the ratings in 1965. The FBI was one of many series introduced that fall, and one of the rare ones to survive. Because of this, the network instituted a “Second Season” in January 1966, with Batman as the headlining series. The Avengers would be introduced to viewers on 28 March 1966. By this time, the series was well on its way to airing 31 original episodes, the most of any season.

In the end credits, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. drove a 1967 Ford Mustang convertible. This was also the second of two seasons the series was produced when Warner Brothers was under the control of Jack Warner. He sold his controlling interest in November 1966 to Seven Arts, which renamed the company Warner Brothers-Seven Arts.

Marvin Miller joins the cast!

Television audiences in the 1950s knew Marvin Miller as Michael Anthony, the man who handed out $1 million checks in the CBS-TV series The Millionaire. One guest on that 1955-60 series was a young actor named William Reynolds. By 1966, Mr. Miller had put his patrician baritone voice to use not only in voice-overs, but also in many other recorded venues. Though uncredited in The FBI, Mr. Miller provided the authoritative narration that opened and closed episode until the show’s end in April 1974.

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