There are many exploitation genres in the world of television and film. For example, entries from the blaxploitation genre focus on African American characters (usually made for African American audiences) who wade through just about every stereotype in the book (just ask Tyler Perry). Dwarfsploitation films feature little people dealing with the big problems of an even bigger world. Sexploitation — well, I’m pretty sure you can figure that one out on your own.
But of all the various exploitation genres made available to us by TV and filmmakers around the world, none is as ignored as “fatsploitation.” And, while I’m not entirely positive that such an offshoot even technically exists, fatsploitation deserves some recognition. Take the television classic Cannon for instance. Each week, producer Quinn Martin (the brain behind The Fugitive and The Invaders) delivered to us the weekly standalone adventures of an overweight-ex-cop-turned-private-investigator named Frank Cannon.
Playing Frank Cannon was one William Conrad. Although he was the butt of many a fat joke (who could ever forget the epic invention of the William Conrad Fridge Alert on Mystery Science Theater 3000?), William Conrad was a marvelous actor (with an equally marvelous voice) and played every part to the hilt. With Cannon, William Conrad found himself playing a part written specifically for him: no one is all that shy about commenting on his physique. He loves to indulge in rich, elegant foods, too — and loves preparing meals for his clients and friends.
Seeing as how William Conrad was a big guy, the series (which lasted five seasons from 1971-1976) wisely worked around that. Scenes of Cannon pursuing criminals on foot were few while other “exotic” quests were toned down considerably (such as an unforgettable nightmarish scene of William Conrad scuba diving in a wetsuit in season one). Instead, Frank Cannon almost wholly operated out of his faithful Lincoln Continental Mark IV — and would just as soon run the bad guys down with that as opposed to chasing them. Who could argue with that technique? Why, even the industry‘s current overweight good guy, Steven Seagal, would be proud of it!