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"The Richard Boone Show" The Arena: Part 1 (1964)

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Great back-room political drama.

Author: gordonl56 from Canada
16 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a two episode story from, THE RICHARD BOONE SHOW, this anthology series ran for 25 episodes during 1963-64.

The shows all featured the same 'company" of actors in each episode with a couple guest stars thrown in. The regular cast is, Richard Boone, Harry Morgan, Warren Stevens, Bethel Leslie, Guy Stockwell, Robert Blake, Ford Rainey, Laura Devon, June Harding and Lloyd Bochner.

The ARENA was a two part story about a week of problems for big city District Attorney, Lloyd Bochner.

Bochner is running for Senator and the convention starts that day. He is also having a set to with a judge. The judge, Richard Boone, calls him in to explain a court matter. It seems he wants to know why the age of a seventeen-year old girl up for murder was withheld from the court.

Boone wants to know if it was because he is running for the Senate. Will the girl, June Harding, be charged as a youth or as an adult? The later having a possible death sentence attached. Boone feels that Bochner does not want to make a choice for political reasons. Bochner denies the charge and says he just needs more time.

Now Bochner finds out his supposed un-opposed run at the Senate seat, is anything but. Warren Stevens, his campaign manager, tells him that a former Senator, Harry Morgan, wants his daughter in-law, Bethel Leslie, to have the seat.

Needless to say, political vet Morgan is not above some back-room back-stabbing. He wants his daughter in-law to win whatever it takes.

Compounding Bochner's problems is an old time political boss and newspaper chain owner, Ford Rainey. Rainey wants to know how Bochner will decide on the murder case. He had a young grandson who had been murdered years before. He wants the girl charged as an adult or he will support Leslie.

Bochner tells Rainey the same thing he told Boone. He will only decide when he has all the facts on the case. He still needs to hear from the State psychiatrist, Jeanette Nolan.

Back to the office he goes where he has to deal with assistant DA, Robert Blake. Blake has just lost a case and wants to resign. Bochner talks him out of it and gives him another stack of cases to deal with. Michael Constantine, another A.D.A. now shows. He is there to go over the new cases for the week.

Back at the convention, the fight between Bochner and Leslie is into round 7 of voting. It is getting to be a hard week for Bochner as Nolan delivers her report on the girl Harding. Nolan suggests that the girl be tried as a youth.

Before making a final decision, Bochner interviews Harding himself. Bochner comes away from the talk knowing a case could be made for both youth and adult court. Which way will he go? Now the press from the other side is giving him grief about the girl. "She is a child and needs to charged as such." Says James Doohan, the leader of the other newspaper chain.

Bochner decides he will not be pressured one way or the other. He gives it 24 hours thought before announcing that Harding will be charged as an adult.

His announcement comes after he loses the vote to Morgan and Leslie. "At least I was not forced to do something I would regret. I can still be the DA", he tells campaign manager Stevens. So ends a week in the life of a big city D.A.

This is a much better bit of television than I make it sound.

The two episodes were both directed by Richard Boone. The d of p was vet television lens-man, William W. Spencer. The only film of note he worked on was, THE MEPHISTO WALTZ.

The story and screenplay has by Harry Julian Fink. Fink is known for several Duke films, BIG JAKE, CAHILL US MARSHAL as well as ICE STATION ZEBRA. Fink was also the man who created DIRTY HARRY. The producer was Buck Houghton of TWILIGHT ZONE fame.

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