Christopher Knight made his screen debut in this curious Mannix episode
There's a lot about "Coffin for a Clown" that makes it a must-see Mannix. For starters, there's that attention-grabbing title. (Not to be confused with The Mary Tyler Moore Show's "Chuckles Bites the Dust.") This early entry in the Mannix series — it was just the 10th episode — comes from the "Intertect" era of the show, when Mannix worked for an agency.
Let us count the other curiosities in this "Coffin for a Clown."
For starters, this episode was the first to reveal Mannix's Armenian heritage. The detective speaks Armenian, actually. Leading man Mike Connors, born Krekor Ohanian Jr., was Armenian himself. In fact, he does a scene in Armenian — without subtitles.
The episode also guest-stars Frank Campanella alongside his brother, first-season regular Joseph Campanella. But here's the thing — they don't play brothers in the story. Confusing!
Norman Fell (Mr. Roper of Three's Company) and Star Trek beauty Diana Muldaur also appear in this tale of a custody case gone wrong. You might remember "Doctor" Muldaur from both Star Trek: The Original Series (as Dr. Ann Mulhall and Dr. Miranda Jones) and Star Trek: The Next Generation (Dr. Pulaski).
Speaking of Muldaur and Star Trek, there is another fascinating link between these two franchises. Look at Muldaur's earrings in this episode. Do they earring a bell?
Her character is wearing Uhura's fashionable spiral earrings!! They do look great with red.
Let's see, what else… this episode also serves up the awesome dune-buggy chase that is repeatedly shown in the opening credits in subsequent seasons.
Oh, right, and the subject of this post — Christopher Knight! The future Peter Brady made his screen debut in this episode! He plays with a set of fake teeth.
How could you miss out on any of that?