An unlikely duo came to the small screen in 1980 to solve mysteries in the one hour drama Tenspeed and Brown Shoe.
Created by Stephen J. Cannell, the show starred EL “Tenspeed” Turner, played by Ben Vereen, and Lionel “Brown Shoe” Whitney, played by Jeff Goldblum.
Turner was a hustler who was court-mandated to be a detective to satisfy his parole requirements while Whitney was a straight-laced accountant who wanted to become a detective, emulating his favourite author Mark Savage and his 1940s tough-talking PI.
This was the first series that came from Cannell as he launched his independent production company and was sold to ABC Television.
The debut episode had Turner trying to steal diamonds from the Mob and hiding them in a limousine rented by Whitney who was on the way to his wedding.
The duo become partners and comedic moments lightened the hour long drama as the twosome tried to solve mysteries, murders and crimes, combining street smarts and analytics to figure out the problem.
Airing on ABC TV, the series started in January 1980 and was promoted heavily by the network. The first few episodes did ok, but by June the series was cancelled by the network after 14th episode aired.
Despite this series failure, Cannell used Vereen’s character in a consequent series J.J. Starbuck, where Turner appeared on five episodes.