Not the James Caan series. You can get that. This is the vintage show starring (Toronto, Ohio native) Robert Urich, which fans have wanted on DVD for ages. The announcement:
Charismatic and charming private detective Dan Tanna returns to Las Vegas in his red vintage Thunderbird when the Golden Globe-nominated series VEGA$ arrives on DVD for the first time ever October 20 from CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment. Available as a three-disc set, VEGA$: The First Season, Volume One features the first 11 action-packed episodes from the series' classically cool premiere season.
Led by two-time Golden Globe nominee Robert Urich, VEGA$: The First Season, Volume One follows Tanna on his quest to make Las Vegas a safer place for residents and tourists alike, cracking a new case each episode with the help of his loyal staff. Created by Michael Mann and legendary television producer Aaron Spelling, VEGA$ features a supporting cast that includes Judy Landers, Greg Morris and the iconic Tony Curtis.
Highlighted by guest appearances from a veritable who's who of top Hollywood stars including Kim Basinger, Cesar Romero, Isabel Sanford, Abe Vigoda, and Sid Caesar, VEGA$: The First Season, Volume One will be available for the suggested retail price of $39.99 US and $42.99 CAN.
VEGA$: The First Season, Volume One is a three-disc set presented in full screen with English Mono. The DVD is not rated in the U.S. and rated PG in Canada. The total running time is approximately 566 minutes.
In his memoirs, Aaron Spelling calls it one of his favorites among the many shows he produced. (He also says that, while Mann created the series, Spelling's producing partner Duke Vincent "felt Michael's concept was too dark. It was about the underbelly of Las Vegas, with many scenes in dark alleys and bookie joints. Duke worked on it and added glitz and glamour, so it was more like the Vegas that people know or have heard about." At least Mann got to do some of the dark-underbelly stories later on "Crime Story.") Tom Selleck was considered for the role of Dan Tanna, but it went to Urich because, Vincent says in Spelling's book that a big, handsome guy who could act "is hard to find."
All this reminds me what a good guy Urich was; I had a chance to talk to him a few times before his death in 2002, and he was one of those guys who had been around long enough to be quite direct when talking about show business. After the jump I have pasted a 1997 interview I did with Urich, to give you a sense of the man.
Ask Robert Urich what was fun about his latest acting job and he says, "Absolutely nothing.
"Well, kissing Annette O'Toole was all right," he added. "But other than that, I spent five weeks in a mock cockpit, doing dialogue about decompression and 'Zulu nine seven point nine,' and getting up at 4 a.m. so a makeup artist can apply bits of fake glass to me.
"I would think, some actors get 20 million dollars to do this sort of thing, and it's still not enough."
The Toronto, Ohio, native is still happy to have made Final Descent, a new airplane-disaster movie premiering on CBS at 9 p.m. Sunday. He thinks it will give his career a boost.
"It's most likely to be one of those TV movies that will get a rating," Urich said in a telephone interview. "For some reason, my phone has been ringing a lot since I made it. I've been getting calls from CBS like I just finished Gone With the Wind. Somebody told me that jaded CBS executives were cheering at a screening."
Final Descent has moments that seem lifted entirely from other airplane-disaster movies, and it can get very silly. (In a scene involving bitter cold, everyone runs around without gloves.) But once the premise is set, it moves briskly and its climactic moments have enough energy to make you forgive some of the more preposterous plot turns.
Urich stars as a veteran airline pilot whose aircraft is damaged early in a flight. The accident makes it impossible for the airplane to descend, so it rises ever higher in the air. Someone has to figure out how to get the plane down, saving the pregnant woman, the embittered combat veteran and the elementary-school band on board, not to mention Urich's co-pilot, who is also the woman he loves.
Urich is pleased by the buzz at the network because, even though he's been a reliable leading man with more than a dozen TV series behind him, he knows "in this business, you always need a hit. You always need to be associated with successful things."
Urich seemed to have that success last year with Lazarus Man, a western series shown on cable and in syndication. Then he was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare form of cancer attacking the joints. Lazarus Man was canceled, and Urich underwent treatment that left him hairless.
It's growing back, although he joked that the new hair was at first "like Brillo. I looked like William Shatner on a bad day."
Urich was a very public cancer patient, doing interviews, going back to work as soon as possible and declaring in December that "I am not ill anymore."
But even as he's lined up new projects as an actor and a producer, Urich is not sure if he wants to keep sitting in a makeup chair early in the morning.
"I have a real decision to make," he said. "Do I want to take some time off and try to get some good roles on the big screen, while it's still not too late? Or, do I just not want to do that anymore?
"When actors sit and talk shop with other actors, I nod off. Most of the time, when I drive past a movie location, my blood runs cold. And maybe it has to do with the material, but I find myself going to the movies less often."
And if he gets out of acting -- which may not happen anytime soon, given all his plans -- what would he do instead? For one thing, he's trying to develop a talk-variety show.
Since his illness, Urich has been giving a couple of speeches a month (including one in Akron last spring) and "I get a dozen requests every day." And as he carries his message about surviving cancer to the public, he's learned something about his relationship with the public.
"There's a certain kind of approachability to me," he said. "I've been coming into people's homes for 25 years, and they like to come up and say, 'Hey, Bob, howya doing?' That's a huge plus. I love talking to people."