During my teen years, I was a little unfocused about my musical tastes. Actually I was unfocused about most everything in those days, but we’re talking about music here and one thing I do remember is how much I liked the Henry Mancini brand of jazz on the TV’s Peter Gunn. The music from that show earned Mancini the first of his many Grammys, and it also made him a natural to furnish the music for a new program from the same producer.
Mr. Lucky, a show about the operator of a casino ship, debuted in 1959. It was another Blake Edwards creation, one that had the same title as a previous Cary Grant movie and was even based on the same story, but the Mr. Lucky TV show was quite a bit different. However, in the same pattern as Peter Gunn and its star Craig Stevens, it did feature a Cary Grant lookalike — sort of.
John Vivyan was pretty smooth and suave as the title character and the show ended up doing very well for one season, but was not renewed. Sponsor pressure had already caused the floating casino to be turned into a floating night club midway through the season. Apparently the softer-edged version wasn’t as appealing.
But back to the music. Mancini’s approach with Mr. Lucky was to kick up the strings and provide a much lusher sound. You can hear it in the iconic theme song in the video below, or with this one.