Mr. Novak: An Acclaimed Television Series 2017 by Chuck Harter
Chuck Harter’s incredibly detailed book provides a complete history of “Mr. Novak” and its place in history. When I began reading this book, I was immediately struck by how the show was a training ground for a generation of actors such as Walter Koenig, Beau Bridges, Tony Dow, Mark Slade, Kim Darby, Shelley Fabares, and Don Grady. The show was anchored by veteran actors James Franciscus, Dean Jagger, and later Burgess Meredith. Many of the show’s cast contributed input into Mr. Harter’s book and give an in-depth background that is rarely seen.
This book is punctuated with an Introduction by Richard Donner, who directed seven episodes, a Forward by the late Martin Landau, who starred in two episodes, and an Afterward by future “Star Trek” actor Walter Koenig, who starred in three episodes.
In the main body of the book, Mr. Harter’s book gives an in-depth history of the show. He is not afraid to present controversial issues of the production and, while this is clearly a labor of love, it is in no way one-sided. This book has an amazing collection of both studio and behind-the-scenes photographs. The volume included a very helpful index as well.
The core of the book is packed with information, but I find the extremely detailed Episode Guide to be one of the best parts of the book for understanding the evolution of the show. Greater understanding of the show can be gleaned by reading the Writers’ Guide section. The show’s importance in social history is shown in the inclusion of the “Mr. Novak” game and the Rejected Episode.
I would highly recommend this book be added to the collection of any show fan and anyone wanting to understand the evolution of television’s social drama. Mr. Harter has done a remarkable job collecting this comprehensive volume of information about an important television show.