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"Matt Houston" The Showgirl Murders (1983)

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Love Boat In Vegas?

Author: Jason Daniel Baker from Toronto, Canada
12 August 2011

Houston's alcoholic wreck of an entertainer friend Johnny Foster (Robert Goulet) calls him up from Las Vegas and begs Houston to stop him from killing again. Foster can't remember killing any Vegas showgirls but assumes he did based upon the flimsy circumstantial evidence of his shirts being bloody after he blacks out drunk. Houston thinks he is being framed even though similar murders also happened in Atlantic City while Foster was performing there.

There are other suspects around including fastidious misogynist creep director/choreographer Bret Cole (George Chakiris) who runs the touring revue Foster headlines. Byron Stevens (Michael Cavanaugh), the stage manager has a criminal record for assault. Sometimes the people who look the most guilty really did do it in these mysteries and sometimes they didn't. A good mystery has plenty of red herrings.

George Chakiris who guest starred here as Bret Cole would return to appear in the 14th episode of the second season "Waltz of Death", just 18 episodes after this one, as a completely different character but in yet another mystery with a serial killer of women as plot line. There are few things I hate more about TV than guest stars who appear on shows playing different characters in later episodes. But it looks like they even used stock footage of the Las Vegas skyline from this episode for "Waltz of Death".

This one isn't bad and offers us an out of town setting in which Houston does not have access to his motorpool of cars so he has to rent one which gets destroyed, only to be replaced with another one which gets destroyed to be replaced with another one which is such a wreck it looks like it already has been destroyed. A shame he doesn't own the rental car company but he does own it's insurance company.

That is Fred Grandy (Gopher from the Love Boat) as the infantile comedian who does the impressions. Series stars Lee Horsley and Pam Hensley as well as guest stars Robert Goulet, Renee Taylor and Tim Rossovich would all appear on the Love Boat at various times in their careers and many Love Boat stars and guest stars would appear on Matt Houston.

Again George Wyner who portrayed Houston's neurotic accountant Murray Chase didn't make it out for this episode (Though he is mentioned in passing) or any of the remaining first season episodes after Episode 16 - "The Visitors". Instead Murray's brother Myron Chase (John Moschitta Jr.) made his final appearance of three episodes in which he would guest star. Murray and Myron are presumably meant to be interchangeable.

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