When Adam-12 hit the airwaves in 1968, it hoped to showcase police officers in a realistic way. And to do that, the series got some help from a few comedic actors.
In the procedural drama, two LAPD officers, Pete Malloy and Jim Reed, drove the beat in the iconic patrol unit, 1-Adam-12. And the series was one of the first to give a true-to-life depiction of cops. The episodes included shootouts, high-speed chases, and life-threatening crimes.
And of course, that intense drama was a far cry from other popular police series like The Andy Griffith Show.
But aside from being ahead of its time, the show was also famous for giving cameos to some of the most famous actors of the era. And though, Adam-12 was far from a sitcom, that didn’t mean that comedians weren’t welcome.
In fact, some of the most legendary sitcom stars of Hollywood past made appearances in Emmy nominated drama. But for the series, they traded in their comedic roots for more serious parts.
One of those actors was MAS*H’s Larry Linville. He played Sgt. Hugh Brasher in a 1972 episode titled The Tip. In the show, he helped Malloy and Reed track down a band of armed thieves who were evading the law through the L.A. sewer system.
It wasn’t hard for Linville to transform into a serious actor considering his MAS*H character Frank Burns was a bit of a dull stalwart. Though, he still managed to make Major Burns funny.
However, in Adam-12 Hugh Brasher didn’t make the audience crack a single smile. In fact, Hugh Brashner wasn’t even a likable guy. He fancied himself a hotshot next to the lower-level officers. And he made sure that Reed and Malloy knew that.
Elly May Clampett’s Donna Douglas Had a Part in ‘Adam-12’
Another legendary comedian to grace the screen of Adam-12 was Donna Douglas. Of course, Douglas was best known for playing Elly May Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies.
In The Beverly Hillbillies, the actress portrayed a hilariously sweet and naive southerner. But for Adam-12, she did a complete 180.
In The Beast, Donna Douglas played a stuffy millionaire named Nina Draper who called Reed and Malloy after noticing a prowler in her high-end neighborhood.
The episode originally aired in 1973, two years after The Beverly Hillbillies series finale. And the only similarity between Douglas’s two characters was deep pockets. Mrs. Draper didn’t have an ounce of charm nor a hint of a southern twang.
Some of the other notable sitcom stars who showed up in Adam-12 were Cloris Leachman from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Jackie Coogan from The Addams Family, and Art Metrano from the Police Academy movies.