Tales of the Unexpected: Season 8, Episode 3

Nothin' Short of Highway Robbery (21 Jul. 1985)

TV Episode  -   -  Horror | Thriller
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Newt and Marcie are driving through the desert and stop off at a gas station. They are told by Harry, the proprietor, that their car is in need of extensive repairs and suggest that, while ... See full summary »



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Title: Nothin' Short of Highway Robbery (21 Jul 1985)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Jennifer Holmes ...
Bettye Ackerman ...


Newt and Marcie are driving through the desert and stop off at a gas station. They are told by Harry, the proprietor, that their car is in need of extensive repairs and suggest that, while he fixes it, they have a meal at his wife's cafe. When the couple are presented with the bill for the repairs and the meal they are shocked at the expense, declaring it "nothin' short of highway robbery". The tables are about to be turned because Newt and his wife were on a journey to do something highly illegal and they have come prepared. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Horror | Thriller





Release Date:

21 July 1985 (UK)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Warren Oates' final role. See more »

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Only the actors, but not the characters that they played, were credited for this episode. See more »

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Warren Oates last role.
17 January 2013 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Nothing' Short of Highway Robbery – 1985 This is an episode of, "Tales of the Unexpected". This UK series ran for 112 episodes between 1979 and 1988. Production was divided between the UK and the US.

This particular episode was one of the US made productions. It is also the final role for actor, Warren Oates.

A young couple, Bud Cort and Jennifer Holmes are driving through the desert country of Southwest America. They are on their way to a job in New Mexico. Cort sees that the gas is running low. They pull over at a rather weather beaten old, "Last Chance for Gas" station. The owner, an equally weather beaten, Warren Oates, comes out of the garage and says. " Howdy." Holmes asks him to fill the tank while Cort goes looking for the restroom. Holmes notices that the gas prices are 15 cents a gallon higher than average. She mentions this to Cort when he returns. Cort just says that Oates is trying to make a living out here in the middle of nowhere. "Nickel and dime stuff." Oates is now checking the oil and calls Cort over to show him something under the hood. "Your fan belt is loose and needs to be replaced. You would not make it another 40 miles like this. The desert is nowhere you would want to breakdown. $30 bucks and 20 minutes and I'll have you on the road again." Cort agrees to the deal.

The pair, Cort and Holmes, head to the small café attached to the side of the garage. They order some coffee from the woman, Bettye Ackerman, and look at the menu. Holmes comments that the prices are outrageous. Again Cort just smiles and answers, "It is just nickel and dime stuff. They have to make a living. We'll just have some coffee and eat later." After they pay for the coffee, they check on Oates and their car. Oates it seems, has also changed their water hose and several other parts besides the fan belt. " I took it on myself to change these as the old ones were shot. It will add another $60 bucks on top of the other bill." Holmes tells Cort she thinks that Oates is taking advantage of them. Cort just smiles and tells her to calm down. "It is better to be safe out on the highway." He says to her. Oates now adds that Cort should have the front shocks changed. They are also shot and could give out any minute. "We don't have the time right now. We need to get to town for some work." Cort just pays the bill and pulls Holmes into the car. "We need to get to that job." Off they go and not a mile down the road the car starts shaking. Cort turns around and heads back to the station.

"I guess the shocks were bad." He says to Oates. "Would you please replace them and anything else that needs work." Oates has the car up on the hoist and starts pulling parts out of everywhere. "You know he caused the car to screw up?" Holmes mutters to Cort. Again, Cort just smiles and answers, "Lets hope he finishes the repair in time so we can make the job in Albuquerque." Oates finally come out from under the car and grins at the pair. "Everything is done. Here is a bill for all the parts and labour. Sorry it took longer than I thought it would." Cort smiles as he reads the huge bill total. "Just let me grab my wallet from the car glove box." He then asks Holmes if they have time to get to Albuquerque for the, "Job." Holmes responds in the negative. "The hold up job would have gotten us $20,000." Cort reaches in the glove box and pulls out two revolvers. He pockets one and hands the other to Holmes.

Cort points at the café, nods to Holmes, then heads over to Oates to "settle" their bill.

What a great little episode of what was, for me at least, an unseen series.

The director was veteran television director, John Peyser. Peyser worked in TV from 1949 to 85 on series such as, STUDIO ONE, THE MAN BEHIND THE BADGE, MEET MCGRAW, CRUSADER, THE RIFLEMAN, PERRY MASON, THE UNTOUCHABLES, BONANZA, COMBAT, HAWAII 5-0 and BAA, BAA BLACK SHEEP.


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