Jul 23, 2016
David Cassidy: Man Undercover
David Cassidy, whose last charting single was in 1972 in the U.S. (though he was still selling records in Germany and the U.K.), tried to reinvent himself as a serious dramatic actor. In 1978, he played a cop who goes undercover as a high school student in "A Chance to Live", an episode of Police Story.
Unfortunately, they didn't learn from the example of Bobby Sherman in Getting Together. They made a lot of mistakes.
Mistake #1: The title. Everybody thought that David would be playing himself, a sort of teen idol secret agent.
Mistake #2: the wife and kids. Teen idols should be single, so the fans can fantasize about getting them for themselves.
Mistake #3: his costumes. All tight jeans and shirts unbuttoned to the navel. It was the style in 1978, and it was nice to see a basket, but it didn't mesh with the androgynous shoulder-length hair.
Mistake #5: instead of going undercover in a high school, Dan went undercover as a different ludicrous character every week, to snoop out a different ludicrous crime. See if you can tell which is which:
He went undercover as a: biker, college student, drifter, high school student, hot rodder, junkie, medical patient, pimp, prisoner, trucker, weapons buyer.
To crack the crime of: baby selling, biker gang, drugs, homicide (several times), and supermarket break-ins.
Eight episodes aired during the Thanksgiving-Christmas season 1978, and another two were burned off in the summer of 1979, and David Cassidy: Man Undercover went into the records of "worst series ever."
David Cassidy found the experience painful. After 1979 he concentrated on his music, and limited his tv and film work to occasional guest star spots. Recently he starred in Ruby and the Rockits with his brother Patrick and current teen idol Austin Butler.
See also: David Cassidy's Comic Book Career