With all respect to Andy Griffith and Don Knotts, the Andy Griffith Show was not my absolute favorite TV show when I was a young boy. Yes, I watched it consistently, enjoyed it, and continue to be a fan but the show I adored, couldn't wait to see, scheduled my week around, and stayed glued to the screen when it came on was Mannix. If we were ever out on a Saturday night I remember pleading with my dad and mom to make sure we got home before Mannix came on ... this being the dark ages prior to any means to record it.
The show ran from 1967 - 1975 and starred Mike Conners in the lead role. He was joined by Gail Fisher who played the role of Peggy, his secretary who kept his life and private eye practice in order. Her role was actually groundbreaking in that she was only the second African American actress to have a major role in a dramatic hour-long TV series (the first was Nichelle Nichols in Star Trek). She actually went on to become the first black actress to win an Emmy for acting (1970 - Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Drama) and the first black actress to win a Golden Globe (1971 and 1973). Mannix served as a template of sorts for several other private eye shows that popped in the following years - Cannon, Barnaby Jones, McCloud, The Streets of San Francisco, Longstreet, Rockford Files, etc. Perhaps the most memorable thing about Mannix was the theme song ... truly one of the greatest theme songs for a TV show in all history.
I recently found a channel that ran about 20 something Mannix episodes back to back and I recorded as many as I could! What joy it's been to my heart to come home, sit down, grab the remote, and watch an episode. The theme song starts up, the action starts, the mystery begins, and this brilliant private eye and his secretary eventually figure it out despite being stalked, chased, attacked, and beaten.
Obviously TV production has improved since the mid-70's when Mannix finished it's run of 194 episodes. Writing, acting, cinematography, editing, etc is all vastly improved since those days but my adrenaline will forever get pumping when I hear that theme song and see the action start!
There is actually one thing that HAS NOT improved since those days ... that would be the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was during those same years (early '70's) that I came to know Christ and understand the amazing grace of God's gift of salvation to sinners like me. I professed faith in Jesus Christ and was absolutely thrilled with the idea of being a follower of Jesus Christ. But like most folks, and like every TV series, that excitement died down and I started looking for something else to captivate my attention and fulfill my desires. Yet God in His covenant grace maintained His pursuit of me, continued His work of sanctification in me, and kept reminding me of the simple beauty and joy of what I understood when I first came to know Christ. He's still reminding me that everything I could possibly ever want or need is found in Jesus and it can't get any better than enjoying life in union with Him.
There are seasons in life when the joy of our salvation seems to disappear like an old forgotten favorite TV show. But then God graciously uncovers it, puts it before you, and allows you once again to be thrilled by the grace that originally excited you when you were converted. My recent work in evangelism has truly helped me to recover the joy and excitement of salvation and I thank God for allowing me to enjoy this. So like Mannix, the simple truth of salvation which was an old favorite, has also become my new favorite! I pray for you today that God would graciously restore to you the joy of your salvation. Please let me know how He is doing that in your life.