This television episode was part of a summer replacement series, ADVENTURE SHOWCASE, put out by the CBS network. The series featured four stand-alone pilot episodes of shows CBS was thinking of buying. They wanted to see what the viewing public might think of the various shows. Alcoa Theatre picked it up for re broadcast under the title, FORCED LANDING the following year. Same episode, just different titles.
This particular one stars Scott Brady and Richard Erdman as ex Air Force pilots. The pair are trying to make a go of a small charter and cargo service. They are lucky to stay one step ahead of the bill collectors and will fly anything anywhere.
Brady and Company have just been pestered by a man about their overdue fuel bill, when a nice swinging pair of hips enters the office. Of course the hips are attached to an impressive upper-works and a very pretty face. The woman, Valarie French, wants them to fly a cargo for them up country. She tells the men that she needs to get a supply of medical serum to a small town. There has been bad outbreak of influenza. She offers to pay them, 200 dollars up front, and 200 at the other end.
Brady and Erdman jump at the cash and agree to the terms. They use the 200 to fuel up for the trip. The entire cargo is only a small wooden box, which Miss French say must be handled very carefully. They strap the cargo down and head off for up-state.
Half way to their destination they hit rough weather, rain, fog and strong winds buffet the aircraft. Brady leaves the cockpit to look in on Miss French. The woman looks terrified as she just stares at the wooden box. Brady smells a rat here, and asks what is wrong. French just continues to stare at the box.
Brady grabs a screwdriver and goes to said box for a look inside. French lets out a scream as Brady opens the wooden crate. Inside, is not the vials of serum French said it contained, but two large bottles of nitro-glycerin packed in sawdust.
Needless to say the colour drains from Brady's face. He carefully closes the box lid and screws it down tight. "What on earth do you think you were doing, asking us to carry this stuff!" Brady growls at the woman. French sobs as she tells Brady that the nitro is needed to put out a fire at her father's oil rig. It was the only way for her to get the stuff quickly to the fire site. Brady just shakes his head and heads back to the cockpit. He fills Erdman in on what the real cargo is.
The aircraft has managed to outrun the storm and is nearing their destination. Now of course other problems rear up as the field is socked in with fog. The fuel is also starting to get dangerously low. The men contact the airport about their dilemma.
The controller offers to try and talk them down through the fog. Not really having another choice, they agree. After several near crashes, they manage to make a perfect touchdown. Miss French quickly has the cargo loaded onto a waiting truck, and vanishes into the night without paying Brady and Erdman. The two borrow a car and head to the oil rig. They arrive just in time to see the nitro put to good effect, blowing out the fire. Miss French now gives the two their cash, and a kiss each.
This is a watchable little episode, with several nice curves, (Miss French) and some suspense. The series though never took flight.
IMDb has Margaret Field (Sally's mother)listed for the female role. The print I have clearly credits Valarie French. A quick look at some photos on the internet, confirm the female lead is indeed Miss French. The London UK born French's accent seals the deal.
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