The A-Team (1983–1987)
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Uncle Buckle-Up 

Now Hannibal no longer gets horror monster parts, he's excited when Sydney, the chipmunk-dressed presenter of the TV show Uncle Buckle-Up, is looking for an actor to replace his ... See full summary »



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Episode complete credited cast:
Bruce Solomon ...
Eric Lawson ...
S. Marc Jordan ...
Lewis Dauber ...
Designer (as Lewis Dawber)
Axel (as Anthony McLaughlin)


Now Hannibal no longer gets horror monster parts, he's excited when Sydney, the chipmunk-dressed presenter of the TV show Uncle Buckle-Up, is looking for an actor to replace his good-for-nothing, generally drunk relative who plays Uncle's main sidekick, Ruff the Bear, who was in Sid's car when it had an accident. The team, dragged along to the zoo for bear research and to the studio for moral support and actual advice from lifelong fan Murdock, finds out that was no accident but a failed attempt, but not the last, on Sid, which has something to do with the dodgy Asian toy producer whose scandalous rubbish -the heads snap off- was enforced upon him, who has build up his great reputation by promoting everything that makes his young audience safer. Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

17 December 1985 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The blue car in first crash changes from sedan to coupe when flipping over. See more »


Hannibal: Well, this is it guys, an actor can tell when his career is coming to an end. You can only play the Aquamaniac a certain number of times before you've explored every aspect of his character. That was my chance at television immortality.
Face: But Hannibal, it was just a bear. They weren't looking for the definitive Hamlet, they just wanted a guy who wouldn't sweat too much in a fur coat.
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References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »

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Great Metrano week: day six
27 September 2014 | by See all my reviews

It was Art Metrano's birthday earlier this week, so this reviewer is looking at 7 guest starring roles from the 70's & 80's by the man also known as The Great Metrano. Today is day five: The A-Team: Uncle Buckle-Up.

This episode is not particularly well appreciated among A-Team fans, but at the time it first aired, Art Metrano was better known than ever after playing Mauser in the second and third Police Academy movies. It also puts Metrano up against his near-namesake Arte Johnson in the title-role. Still, we could have done without that opening sequence in a toy store that appears to have come straight out of Santa Claus the Movie.

So, Uncle Buckle-Up is a man in a chipmunk suit who has been teaching kids all about safety on TV since 1956. But he's upset that his formerly quality toy-line has been reduced to cheap knockoffs made in Japan. The man responsible for this, sleazy manufacturer Nick Gretch is of course played by Art the Great Metrano.

The A-Team gets involved because Hannibal has set his eyes on getting the supporting part of 'Ruff the Bear'. Seems he's become tired of playing monsters such as the Aquamanic all the time. Murdock, who is of course an Uncle Buckle-Up expert, poses as Hannibal's manager. There is surprisingly little action for an A-Team episode. We don't get a chase scene until 16 minutes have past (instead we see several men wearing Bear masks practicing a stupid dance). And even then this chase is rather lackluster as it doesn't feature any close-ups of the people involved, hence no witty one liners. The second action sequence is not much better: it's a brief shoot out in a convention hall filled with stuffed toys (but without any innocent bystanders, so there's no danger).

What we do get are no less than three scenes set at a zoo (because Hannibal has to study the bears to get into character). In the third of these, one of the evil henchmen is being held over a lion's den by B.A. Apparently Stephen J. Cannell really wanted to make the most out of their one day visit to the Zoo since all three scenes were obviously filmed on the same day. Not that you could tell by the A-Team since they never change their costumes during the episode anyway (except for Hannibal's bear outfit).

So, the A-Team, with Uncle Buckle-Up replacing Faceman, barge into The Great Metrano's office to point a gun at him and confront him about his falling apart toys. Along the way we get a throw away line by one of the toy manufacturers saying that B.A. would make a great doll. I'm a bit surprised they didn't sneak any of the A-Team toys into this episode actually, since the Six Million Dollar Man and Charlie's Angels got to plug their dolls on their show...

By now viewers of the episode and readers of this review who are paying attention might be wondering why Face is missing during the big Metrano confrontation. It's because he was fighting off all of Metrano's henchmen on the Uncle Buckle-Up set on his own (must have been filmed on one of the infamous days when both George Peppard and Mr. T. decided to leave early). The henchmen capture Faceman and Uncle Buckle-Up's assistant (also secretly his daughter) and they all get locked up in a toy warehouse.

Now I can see why this episode is not high on any A-Team lover's top ten favorites lists, but at least the requisite "A-Team building a tank out of nothing" scene here is an admirable piece of self-parody. The guys make an arsenal out of toy planes, remote control cars, rockets and firecrackers (and remember that Nick Gretch's toys were supposed to be complete rubbish). Armed with all this, they manage to blow up all the bad guys cars and defeat them utterly.

As for Art, he end up like all unscrupulous A-Team villains do: he gets knocked out by B.A. personally. And deservedly so: he was smuggling heroine in stuffed toys.

6 out of 10

The Great Metrano week will conclude tomorrow with Hill Street Blues: Falling from Grace.

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