These days every network is out to revisit the swinging, simpler times of four years ago, when AMC’s Mad Men arrived with its clean, midcentury lines and equally unfussy sexism. Now NBC has The Playboy Club, ABC has Pan Am, and CBS is developing Ralph Lamb, a drama directed by James Mangold (Walk The Line) and based on the former Clark County sheriff who ruled Las Vegas during the aesthetically pleasing years of 1961 to 1979—having tussles with famous gangsters, run-ins with the Hell’s Angels, and chance meetings with other recognizably 1960s signifiers. Promisingly, the project will be written by Nicholas Pileggi, who knows a thing or two about Las Vegas, the mob, and nostalgia, as evidenced by his scripts for Goodfellas and, more pertinently, Casino.
Of course, the fact that Lamb will be on CBS means that, for once, Pileggi will have to watch his own mother-fatherin’ F-bombs and tone down the violence—although the latter should be ameliorated by the fact that Lamb, sort of the Gunsmoke’s Matt Dillon of Vegas, was a former cowboy who mostly solved problems with his fists, and reportedly never shot anyone in his 18-year career. Anyway, there’s no mention yet of an ever-present bevy of curvy showgirls, but surely CBS knows how to complete the formula.