The pilot intro of Vega$
|Created by||Michael Mann|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||69 (list of episodes)|
Douglas S. Cramer|
E. Duke Vincent
|Running time||55 Minutes|
|Production company(s)||Aaron Spelling Productions|
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution|
|Original release||April 25, 1978 – June 10, 1981|
Vega$ is an American detective television drama series that aired on ABC from 1978 until 1981. It was produced by Aaron Spelling. The series (with the exception of special episodes filmed in Hawaii and San Francisco) was filmed in its entirety in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is believed to be the first television series produced entirely in Las Vegas.
The show stars Robert Urich as private detective Dan Tanna, who drove around the streets of Las Vegas in a red 1957 Ford Thunderbird solving crimes and making Las Vegas a better place for residents and tourists alike.
Dan Tanna is a private detective whose clients include Phillip Roth (Tony Curtis), aka Slick, the owner of multiple hotel casinos including the Maxim Hotel and Desert Inn Hotel & Country Club, in Las Vegas. Tanna is always called to investigate criminal cases or more absurd situations, such as a nun who claims to own the land on which the Desert Inn stands.
Tanna lives on the Las Vegas Strip next to Circus Circus Hotel/Casino, in the theatrical props warehouse owned by the Desert Inn Hotel and Country Club, which he converted into his living place. The design of Tanna's pad allows him to park his T-bird in his living room. Tanna also uses gadgets that were very high-tech for the time such as a car-phone and an answering machine that physically picks the phone up off the hook and into the microphone of a tape recorder).
Tanna often does battle with many of the various criminal element that would threaten the desert oasis.
Tanna is a veteran of the Vietnam War. This is illustrated through flashbacks in various episodes.
Phyllis Davis played Beatrice Travis, Tanna's assistant, who is a single mom and a former showgirl. There is evidence that she was married before, but her husband had died. Although she and Tanna made a dashing couple, their relationship seemed to be purely platonic. Greg Morris played Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Lt. David Nelson. Nelson was a no-nonsense cop who often had Tanna's back and vice versa. While Nelson was never one to breach protocol, he often secretly assisted Tanna in cases Metro Police couldn't officially touch. Naomi Stevens played police sergeant Bella Archer, who also assisted Tanna and Nelson. Bart Braverman played "Binzer," a college student who did Dan Tanna's leg work and usually provided comic relief. In the beginning of the series, Binzer was a petty thief who fled to Vegas to escape his former partners in crime from back east, as described in one episode, where his real name is revealed to be Robert Borso. Tanna seemed to have taken him under his wing and used his knowledge and connections of the street. Judy Landers played Dan Tanna's other assistant, Angie, who was also a showgirl, but unlike the savvy Beatrice was usually an airhead and would get things screwed up. She appeared only during the first season. Despite being initially billed as a co-star, Tony Curtis appeared infrequently during the first season, and only made a few appearances in subsequent years.
The series featured numerous performances and cameos by notable guest stars including: Muhammad Ali, Morey Amsterdam, Eve Arden, Kim Basinger, Demi Moore, Barbi Benton, Shelley Berman, Savannah Smith Boucher, Dick Butkus, Captain & Tennille, Kim Cattrall, Sid Caesar, Michael Cole, Shelley Fabares, Lola Falana, Erin Gray, Lorne Greene, Melanie Griffith, Lisa Hartman, Jack Kelly, Kurt Krakowian, June Lockhart, Gary Lockwood, Robert Loggia, Randolph Mantooth, Dean Martin, Maureen McCormick, Heather Menzies (Urich's real-life wife), Wayne Newton, Leslie Nielsen, Eleanor Parker, Slim Pickens, Pernell Roberts, Tanya Roberts, Cesar Romero, Isabel Sanford, Johnny Seven, Doc Severinsen, Alex Trebek, Mamie Van Doren, Abe Vigoda, Rudolph "Minnesota Fats" Wanderone, Shelley Winters, Lynda Day George,and Wolfman Jack.
In the Season 3 premiere of Charlie's Angels titled "Angels in Vegas", Robert Urich does a cameo as his Vega$ character Dan Tanna at the end of the episode. This episode aired the week before the Vega$ series premiere.
In Region 4, Madman Entertainment has released the first season on DVD in Australia.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Dates|
|Region 1||Region 4|
|The First Season, Volume 1||11||October 20, 2009||July 14, 2010|
|The First Season, Volume 2||12||February 9, 2010||September 27, 2010|
|The Second Season, Volume 1||11||December 7, 2010||TBA|
|The Second Season, Volume 2||11||March 29, 2011||TBA|
|The Third and Final Season, Volume 1||11||May 8, 2012||TBA|
|The Third and Final Season, Volume 2||12||August 14, 2012||TBA|
- Las Vegas – 2003 TV series with Las Vegas as setting
- Vegas – 2012 TV series with Las Vegas as setting
- Dan Tanna's '57 T-Bird, TV Acres.com Retrieved on 5 April 2014
- Vega$ at the Internet Movie Database
- Vega$ at TV.com
- Review of 1st Season DVD set and production history of series