Incident on a Dark Street is a 1973 feature-length pilot for a proposed television series that was (thankfully) never picked up. It was ultimately broadcast as a one-off TV movie instead. It is set in the annals of the District Attorney's office of Los Angeles County, focusing on several Justice Department lawyers - some freshmen - prosecuting all manner of cases.
The plot, to quote an Imdb.com reviewer:
...involves two law school grads (David Canary of "All My Children" and Robert Pine) who take on their first big cases as prosecutors for the federal government. David Canary's case involves convincing a marked mobster to blow the whistle on local politicians on the take from organized crime. Robert Pine's case is about whether or not to prosecute a seemingly clean cut family man of being the bag man in a drug deal.
Bill Shatner has a "guest star" role as Deaver G. Wallace, the corrupt head of the Utility Authority, making deals with the Mob for his own self-enrichment. He's under surveillance by the good guys...
How this piece of dreary garbage managed to make its way onto DVD at all remains something of a mystery.
Evidently, no-one involved in this production (NBC and/or Fox) has bothered to attend to the copyright of a low-quality print of this TV movie and so all manner of strange-looking DIY DVDs have been released, mostly with odd and deceptive packaging. There's a reason for that - the pilot is, frankly, dreadful. Years later, Bill Shatner remains its only conceivable selling point. Ironic, since the movie represents the absolute nadir of his "Lost Years" period during the mid-1970s.
There's something about bad pilots that is almost universal: the over-earnest two-dimensional characters; the cookie-cutter-constructed bland ensemble (there's even a "token black guy" that gets a few lines), with each cast member forcefully being assigned their own "interesting" quirks; the utter lack of chemistry between the performers...yes, Incident on a Dark Street serves as a textbook example of how not to put together a prospective TV series.
The direction is awful, with the actors lost as to the emotions or point of any given scene; the pacing is dreadfully slow - the movie feels far, far longer than it actually is; the script is so bad, one wonders how it was ever filmed in the first place. Add to that a lack of action, poor performances, bad dialogue and a dull story and you have Incident on a Dark Street. None of the main cast elicit any interest from the viewer. Indeed, Bill Shatner and the other guest star Richard S. Castellano manage to outshine the proposed regular cast - which isn't a good sign at all for a pilot.
Let's move quickly on to the hair...
Firstly, Bill Shatner's hair is very, very thick in this show. In fact, it is so thick that one wonders if it should be categorized as a wig (or treacle) rather than a toup. The hair-line is particularly high up on the forehead, and we also have sideburns and a mustache. The entire construction is clearly serving as a critic of this TV movie, telling us not to take it seriously.
Years before Christopher Reeve was cast a Superman, Bill Shatner wears an S-curl in one scene (another example of this can be found here):
In another scene, Shats scratches the toup:
There's also a fight with some bimbo over a bear, perhaps a there's a toupee metaphor there of some kind:
And at the end, the hair gets knocked around a little - alas the framing conceals the true extent of what is underway. Why waste a great toup moment on a bad film, right?
Anyway, Incident on a Dark Street is available on DVD, but we recommend that you stay away from this deceptively-marketed turkey. It really isn't "so bad it's good" - it's just plain awful.
UPDATE: A reader correctly points out that Incident on a Dark Street's Robert Pine is the father of Chris Pine, who portrayed James T. Kirk in the recent Star Trek (2009) movie.