The Incredible Hulk (1978–1982)
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Never Give a Trucker an Even Break 

While hitchhiking, Banner is picked up by a young woman desperate to get her rig back from the men who stole it from her.

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
...
...
Jack McGee (credit only)
...
Jennifer Darling ...
Joanie
Frank Christi ...
Ted (as Frank R. Christi)
...
Mike (as Grand Bush)
Peggy Doyle ...
Woman At Gas Station
...
Storekeeper
Charles Alvin Bell ...
Man At Gas Station
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Storyline

Having left Las Vegas, David Banner hitches a ride with a young woman named Joanie who uses him as a diversion to steal her truck back from a gang of thieves. Banner gets caught up in a high way duel between the giant rig and it's pursuers, as he and Joanie alternate between driving the truck and the thieves' Plymouth. Written by The TV Archaeologist

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28 April 1978 (USA)  »

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4:3
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Trivia

Steven Spielberg was displeased to learn that Universal used footage from his movie _Duel (1971) (TV)_ in this episode. Unable to sue on the matter (due to the studio's ownership of both the film and Hulk series), he insisted that all his future contracts list a clause designed to protect his movies from being used as stock footage. See more »

Quotes

Man at Gas Station: Ah, the phone company around here is the pits. I've been thinking of investing in a tin can and a piece of string.
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Connections

Edited from Duel (1971) See more »

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The Incredible Hulk meets Duel. What's not to love?
7 December 2006 | by (Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

This is the infamous Incredible Hulk episode written to incorporate footage of Steven Spielberg's Duel. Some sources say Steven stumbled across it while flipping channels and was astonished to see the Hulk driving the monster truck of his 1971 hit TV movie. However, the Hulk never drives the rig in this episode. Spiel must have been thinking about another episode from the first series, '747', which saw the Hulkster trying to land the plane from "Airport 1975". Quite a few episode from the first season made similar use of stock footage from Universal movies; including one that featured several clips from "Earthquake". Although Spielberg made sure none of his movies could ever be used as stock footage again from then on, Universal still managed to recycle the skateboard chase from Spielberg production "Back to the Future" in a mid eighties episode of "The Fall Guy" (with Lee Majors jumping over Biff's car instead of Michael J. Fox).

Written by Incredible Hulk developer Kenneth Johnson, who wrote some of the most dramatic episodes in the series, 'Never give a trucker an even break' instead plays out like a comedy. The plot is pretty ludicrous to begin with. David Banner is picked up on his way from Las Vegas (where the previous episode was set, compliments on the continuity) by Joanie (petite Jennifer Darling, the secretary to the Six Million Dollar man, the Bionic Woman and Wonder Woman). She uses him as a patsy to get her stolen rig back from a gang of thieves who plan to use it to smuggle 'very expensive computer components'. These crooks also went to the trouble to dirty up her nice big truck, which sort of explains what a nice girl like her is doing with a big old disgusting rig like that.

As soon as the chase is on, composer Joe Harnell kicks in with some "Bonnie and Clyde" banjo music (as opposed to the Hitchcockian score written by Billy Goldenberg for Duel). The main bad guys, Ted & Mike (Frank Christi and Grand Bush) are the kind of comical blunderers usually confined to Disney movies. As a running gag, Bush (Slowpoke from Stir Crazy) keeps whining about his car being hit several times over. At one point, Bill Bixby even makes a joke about having to buy stretch-shirts. Best of all, the episode features one of the funniest Hulk-out's ever, when David runs out of money in a telephone booth ands shouts: I don't have 25 cents!

Of course, knowledge of Duel makes watching this episode even more amusing. First of all, we get to see inside the monster truck as Joanie and David use it to chase Ted and Mike in their red Plymouth. Notice that Ted is wearing the same blue shirt, sunglasses and mustache as Dennis Weaver did as 'David Mann' in Duel. However, since Weaver was the only Mann driving in the original, Kenneth Johnson had to come up with ways to make sure the passenger seat appeared empty in all wide angles (i.e. stock-shots). Therefore, Mike repeatedly ducks out of sight looking for bullets in the glove compartment and on the backseat. Later on, David and Joannie take turns driving the Plymouth (both of them wearing blue shirts as well) and tiny Joannie keeps slipping down her chair and out of sight during the most exciting scenes (shame on her for not wearing her seat belt).

One also wonders how much time and money was saved on this episode when whole scenes consists of two people in a mock up car with back projection out the windows, reacting to footage from a 1971 movie. They used so many shots from Duel in here (much more than the footage of Aiport 1975 and Earthquake in the other two episodes), that you might even spot Steven Spielberg reflected in the Plymouth's rear view mirror. Of course they did bring back the monster truck and the red Plymouth for some new footage, most noticeably a new stunt involving the Hulk throwing a telephone poll against the monster rig.

In later seasons of The Incredible Hulk, there were no more episodes specifically written around clips from the Universal backlog. However they did fall back on stock shots of forest fires in at least four episodes and had numerous flashbacks to older episodes, especially the pilot movie and 'The Incredible Hulk: Married'. They still did it in more original ways than the king of clip shows, "Family Ties", though.

9 out of 10


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