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In this episode, Eddie Albert once again demonstrates what a powerful
actor he was. It's a pity that so many people only know him from "Green
Acres" or perhaps "Switch". Albert was an extremely versatile performer
who could handle comedy and drama with equal ease and deftness. He
delivered such wonderful performances throughout his career. His wide
range was exemplified in so many roles; good big-screen examples
include: the cowardly Capt. Cooney at odds with Jack Palance in
"Attack", the competitive prison warden in the "The Longest Yard",
teaming with buddy Errol Flynn in "Roots of Heaven" and the "Sun Also
Rises", the insane Col. Bliss in Captain Newman M.D." the Bohemian
artist in "Roman Holiday" and a young lion tamer in the Humphrey Bogart
vehicle "The Wagons Roll at Night". Throughout his career, Albert
essayed countless roles on TV ranging from "Studio One" to "The Outer
Limits", from "Wagon Train" to "Combat!" and "Zane Grey Theater" to
In "Robin Hood and Clarence Darrow", Eddie Albert plays Earl Johannis, recently widowed father of two boys who runs a small liquor store in the 65th Precinct. In the aftermath of a robbery and the senseless shooting of a fellow liquor store owner, Johannis resolves to take matters into his own hands while setting an example to his sons that some things are worth fighting for. In Johannis, Albert coveys the confusion, fear and courage within this troubled man. Particularly effective were the monologues delivered at his dead wife's grave site where his deep thoughts and uncertainties are voiced for benefit of the audience. Albert does this with much sincerity and such a natural delivery one really relates to the inner turmoil of the character.
Besides the always-reliable performances of 'Naked City' leads Paul Burke, Horace McMahon and Harry Bellaver, it is always most interesting to watch the supporting cast. In this episode we find boisterous party girl Sylvia Miles, the smarmy chairman Henry Lascoe, victim Harry Davis, bartender Richard Castellano, the aged Austian actor Theo Goetz and of course, a young Chris Walken. Many of these fine actors also appear in other 'Naked City' episodes.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***SPOILERS*** It's when Earl Johannis', Eddie Albert, good friend and
fellow liquor store owner Harry Abraham,Harry Davis, was gunned down
and died in his arms the he came to the conclusion that life isn't
worth living unless you make something worth while of it. That's what
Earl was told by his what seemed like genius son Chris, played by a 19
year old Christopher known back then as Ronnie Walken, who seemed
totally unmoved by the news of poor Harry's murder.So unmoved that when
Earl tearfully told him what happened to his good friend Harry he just
turned over in bed and went back to sleep!
Just getting over his wife's death Earl now has to contend with the death of his good friend Harry which in fact drove the poor guy over the edge. To the point where he planned to lure out into the open or into his liquor store and exact justice on those that murdered Harry Abraham "Death Wish", some ten years before the Charles Bronson film was released, style!
It didn't take much to get Harry's killers out into the open with Earl advertising the opening of his new and more modern liquor store while he secretly got himself a gun permit from the police department to blow them away. As it turned out Earl's plan didn't work out exactly as he planned it in having his #2 or younger son Jack ,Paul O'Keefe, stay behind hiding in a closet in the store so he ended up being kidnapped by those, Harry's killers, who soon tried to rob the place.
It did in fact take the police headed by the kind and sensitive, who in fact was against Earl getting a gun permit, to the downtrodden and misunderstood of the city Det Adam Flint, Paul Burke, to come to his rescue. That's after the butterfingered Earl, in fumbling with his firearm, almost got himself killed in trying to rescue his son Jack or Jackie.
What surprised me most about this "Naked City" episode is just how easy it was back then in 1963 for a law-abiding citizen to get a gun permit from the New York City's Police Department. It took less then five minutes for Earl to be cleared and get the permit when now it's almost impossible for someone like Earl Johannis an upstanding man of the community, and man with a clean criminal record, to get it! Even if he were living in a high crime neighborhood and was the victim of over a dozen hold ups and muggings!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
THE problems of one's Constitutional Rights getting into a collision
course with the desire and responsibility of Local Municipalities in
maintaining order are age old. On the one hand, our United States'
Constitution in the Second Amendment guarantees that our rights to bear
arms for our own self protection shall not be infringed upon by any man
OFFERING a sort of contrast, we see various Municipal Governmental requiring the registration of the handguns belonging to the citizen and ultimately to their local prohibition. You say you don't believe me? You say you're dubious and think that I'm some sort of 'Gun Nut'? (What ever the hell that is!) We urge you to scrutinize local ordinances in the District of Columbia and in the Peoples Republic of Chicago, my home town.
TIME was when we would have agreed with you. That would have been about 40 years back, when just joining the Police Department, here in the Windy City. It sounded really good then, this premise that only the Cops should have guns. But, alas, reality tells us differently.
FACTUALLY and from a pragmatic point of view, a Cop cannot be everywhere at all times. Oh, sure, we could always strive to have more patrol time out there, but the almighty Radio Assignments backlog that our City Police Departments have come to hold in such high regards. In endeavoring to answer all calls for service, our powers of perception to all around us are highly handicapped.
THE vulnerability of modern man in the urban environs is a long standing item of discussion by the disgusted citizenry throughout the land. It was addressed in a very dramatic, brutally realistic and convincing manner in the Charles Bronson & Hope Lange starring feature film, DEATH WISH (Dino DeLaurentiis Productions/Paramount Pictures Corporation, 1974). It featured super graphic depiction of a most brutal and senseless Homicide and Sexual Assault. The one particular scene we are referring to was so sickeningly disgusting as to have made several veteran Cops sick to their stomach just to view it.
DEATH WISH played to some good sized audiences with some negative critical commentery; such as the usual condemnations of its being a vehicle designed to appeal to "the lynch mob mentality", whatever the hell that is! HOWEVER, a full eleven years prior to this Charles Bronson feature, we had this episode of the NAKED CITY Television Series, "Robin Hood and Clarence Darrow, They Went Out with Bow and Arrow". It gave us a look at the plight of all who are out in our society, operating businesses and providing us with the goods and services we need; while always wondering if and when they were being stalked and set up to be the next crime statistic on the Police Blotter.
VETERAN talent by the person of Eddie Albert provides the protagonist, Earl Johannis, a Minnesota transplant to New York and a business proprietor. He grows weary observing the difficulties being suffered by his fellow Bourgeois Shop Keepers and he decides to take a stand. Mr. Johannis' melancholy is aggravated by his being a single parent Father (known as a 'Widower' in the now archaic and non-Politically Correct language of our recent past.) INTERESTINGLY his two sons are grown son, Chris Johannis (portrayed by a very youthful Christopher Walken) and pre-adolescent Jake Johannis (Paul O'Keefe, 'Ross' on the PATTY DUKE SHOW).
IN SPITE of his family, Mr. Johannis arms himself and is wounded in a shoot out with the 3 person stick up crew, who also apparently are also getting some perverse pleasure in inflicting pain and emotional hurt on their victims. As the the episode comes to an end with the usual Larry Dobkin "There are 8 million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them", we see Mr. Johannis being wheeled off to the ambulance; but he is happy. Regardless of his surviving the shooting or not, he is at peaced with himself for having taken the stand for safer streets and communities. He chose to take a stand, rather than just cutting and running.
NOW maybe we could learn something here about some remedies for our real world problems. .
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