Matt Houston: Season 1, Episode 17

Here's Another Fine Mess (6 Mar. 1983)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama
5.3
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Two men dressed like Laurel & Hardy try to kill C.J. Houston learns that some of her former sorority sisters have already been victims, and that the man that they had been dating could be responsible. But others are marked for murder, too.

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Title: Here's Another Fine Mess (06 Mar 1983)

Here's Another Fine Mess (06 Mar 1983) on IMDb 5.3/10

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Lee Horsley ...
...
...
Penny Santon ...
...
Buster Ryan
Larry Harmon ...
Richard Hunter / Stan Laurel
Rebecca Holden ...
Carol LeMaster
...
Elisabeth Davis
...
John Moschitta Jr. ...
Myron Chase
...
Jonathon Renfield
...
Maureen Flanders
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Danielle Aubry ...
Freddie Lopez ...
Maureen O'Connor ...
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Storyline

A couple of men who are dressed like Laurel and Hardy try to kill C.J. Houston tries to figure out what's going on. And he learns that a couple of her friends have had some close calls. And he thinks it stems from the death of another friend of theirs who may have been killed by the man she was dating. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

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Crime | Drama

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Release Date:

6 March 1983 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Larry Harmon was the copyright holder of the Laurel and Hardy characters and had voiced them previously in animated cartoons. This would be his last performance as Stan Laurel, and his last performance on TV. His company is given a special credit in the end credits sequence. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Let's Show The Supporting Actors How Replaceable They Are
11 August 2011 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

C.J. is targeted for death at the hands of a rather unlikely duo i.e. Laurel & Hardy impersonators. Driving Lamar's stationwagon she is run off the road, rolls down a cliffside and is nearly killed.

Her would be assassins blow up the car to be sure not knowing she has rolled out of it and they right her off as dead (Subtle way to tell a series star that her character could easily be killed off?).

Having overheard Laurel & Hardy before they blow up the car they thought she was in, C.J. deduces they are trying to kill her sorority sisters as well as her in the lead up to a wedding they have been invited to. The absurd motive which I would explain if it were even worth discussing is one of the most scatterbrained things ever alluded to in the entire series.

My inner conspiracy theorist suggests to me that what we are seeing is not merely meant to hint to the supporting cast members how replaceable they are but to warn actors in general of the same thing i.e. that lookalikes can be hired to portray similar roles to popular characters particularly if they are in supporting roles.

We are still in the realm of light satire/fantasy here in keeping with much of what we see in episodes from the first season of this series. Houston remains this dreamlike figure. We see him refuse a lucrative deal to convert an apartment complex into condominiums because the tenants who already live there won't be able to afford them which implodes his credibility as a self-made billionaire a status which already makes his sideline as a private investigator absurd.

We begin the episode poolside at Houston's ranch tying the show back in to the contrived elasticity of the setting which could easily be on the outskirts of the Houston suburbs, like a number of the fictional towns we see depicted in the series which look like they might be in Texas.

The main character is from Houston, his surname is Houston, everyone calls him by that name and the 100 Century Plaza South building he works out of has a Houston Inc. (Though in this episode the lobby of the the building has a wall which inexplicably reads "Houston Industries") sign on the side of it. While much of what we are seeing was shot in West Hollywood the casual viewer might mistake the setting for the city of Houston and I don't think that is an accident.

Rebecca Holden who guest starred here as one of C.J.'s sorority sisters would return to appear in the premiere of the second season, just 7 episodes after this one, as a completely different character. There are few things I hate more than guest stars who appear on shows playing different characters in later episodes.

George Wyner as Murray Chase didn't make it out for this episode (Though he is mentioned in passing and his muffled voice is heard on the telephone) or any of the remaining first season episodes after Episode 16 - "The Visitors". Instead a similar character dressed like Murray and meeting his general description was introduced as Murray's brother Myron Chase (John Moschitta Jr.). Moschitta reprised the character in two other episodes. The reasons for this are not readily apparent.

Wyner came back to play Murray multiple times in future episodes up until the series final season. My guess would be that the producers either didn't think the show would be picked up and didn't lock Wyner into a contractual agreement for the whole season and he had work lined up that he had already agreed to do or they were negotiating his contract for the second season and wanted to show him how replaceable he was.

There is also other deceptive casting. Cis Rundle who portrayed Houston's secretary Chris on 26 episodes of the series from the pilot to the end of the 1983-84 season was the stand-in for Farrah Fawcett and Cheryl Ladd on Charlie's Angels. Fawcett and Ladd would be too expensive to get as supporting characters but their stand-in could suggest their presence in a minor role particularly when Rundle was seen from behind.

The comic relief ranch hands Bo (Dennis Fimple) and Lamar (Paul Brinegar) were no longer on the show though they had not been written out at this time. Lamar is referenced here when C.J. borrows his car. When she radios for help it is Myron (Doubtless doing something Bo or Lamar would have if they'd still been around) who tells Houston she is in trouble.

Penny Santon who played Mama Novelli on all 23 episodes of the first season likewise was not written out of the show. But she wasn't brought back for season 2 or 3.


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