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Whirlybirds: Journey to the Past (1957)
Wrong cast credits for this episode
This episode does NOT include Sandra Spence as Whirlybird secretary Janet Culver as shown for this episode. This is the debut episode for Nancy Hale as secretary Helen Carter who would remain in that role for the balance of the series.
Interesting trivia about this episode is that several sources have Aztec Treasure as the title for this episode yet there is no known reason for that mistake. This is similar to the unsubstantiated reports that The Whirlybirds was renamed Copter Patrol in syndication. The series was always a syndicated show produced and sold by Desilu productions, it was never a network show, not even with all the clout of Desilu at CBS.
Archie Bunker Meets Our Man Flint
A most intriguing episode of the innovative and always well written series which still holds up to the test of time and remains relevant and riveting.
Carroll O'Connor and James Coburn guest star as the butler and chauffeur, respectively for a wealthy socialite who is murdered enabling her daughter, the prime suspect, to inherit the family's 100 year old home. The plot thickens as we learn Lt. Parker is a lifelong friend of the family and the butler and chauffeur conspire individually, but no worries because the butler didn't do it.
Quite intriguing the guests O'Connor and Coburn working together in 1962, a few years later James would score big as Our Man Flint and Carroll became the ground breaking TV character Archie Bunker of the early 1970s.
It's curious to note that the leading detective of the series-portrayed by Paul Burke is named Det. Flint, same as the future movie spy played by Coburn for 2 films.
I Spy: Chrysanthemum (1965)
A Top Ten episode!
This is one of the most enjoyable episodes of the entire 3 year run of the series as it captures all the elements that makes I Spy one of the best comedy-drama shows ever. The clever plot has it all, drama, intrigue, subterfuge, humor, great Hong Kong location scenes, the usual beating up of Kelly and Robinson and unexpected plot twists.
This episode has an outstanding guest appearance by veteran character actor Marcel Hillaire, a German born Jew who specialized in portraying French characters. For this episode Marcel plays the bumbling agent Maximilian de Brouget, surely based on Maxwell Smart-Agent 86 which began its run in the same season I Spy did. Marcel steals this installment from the beginning to its conclusion and his character is riveting.
In the opening bar scene, the background music heard is "Harlem Nocturne" which was composed by Earle Hagen who was also the music director for the entire series and wrote the theme song as well. "Harlem Nocturne" was written in 1947 by Hagen and its considered his biggest hit and most famous composition outside of his many TV theme songs, a bluesy jazz song recorded over 200 times.
There's a small goof in the episode, when a boat taken by Kelly, Robinson and Maximilian begins to sink as they leave the dock, the fellows are forced to swim to shore and are soaking wet, yet a few seconds later when they jump onto another boat, all 3 are dry as a bone.
Fine episode based on actual events
Max wrote <<<< I don't remember what Red Skelton did in the play, whether or not he was approached to replace Ed Wynn or had been called in to talk to the old man, but Skelton was discovered and mentored by Ed Wynn in real life. >>>>
Red had a small but pivotal role, towards the end of the play he visits Ed on the set for the final rehearsal run through and timing, When Red playing himself notices that Wynn is drunk he tries to sober him up giving him coffee dispatched by a vending machine back stage. Red also assures the directors that he'll be fine come show time and do well, which he does closing out this splendid showcase of the relationship between a father and son both in show business.
Max also wrote << Everyone in the TV version of REQUIEM was better than the corresponding actor in the film yet the film is perfect in its way too. This is a little bit of TV history seemingly lost forever. If they ever do a retrospective of Rod Serling or Playhouse 90 or issue something on whatever format that succeeds DVD they should package the TV and film versions of REQUIEM and add this to the mix. >>>
Agreed on all counts, it was almost surreal to see Rod as an actor in this play as opposed to his more customary narrator or host duties. Good thing he was a gifted writer with an distinctive voice because he wouldn't have made it as an actor, he was very robotic and seemed to have forced it.
Casa Blanca is revisited in this excellent episode
This episode of the Westinghouse-Desilu Playhouse bears many similarities to Casa Blanca. The drama takes places in a town without name in North Africa where many nationalities are vying for passports in order to leave the unspecified country. A US agent investigating the counterfeit passports mob is murdered and gaming casino & club owner Christian Hunter played to perfection by Desi Arnaz although hesitant at first, gets involved in classic cloak and dagger plots after his friend Bob Carter portrayed by Rod Taylor of "The Birds" fame is kidnapped.
Desi proves he is a fine dramatic actor as he did in the film "Bataan" in the 1940s, Desi play his role straight without accent and he's cool as a cucumber. It is hard to miss the influence of "Casa Blanca" in some of the charecterizations, casino scenes and overall ambiance. This is a shining example of the great serious television programs of the 1950s and 1960s and ranks as one of the best episodes of the 2 season run of this series from Desilu Studios
Mission: Impossible: The Brothers (1969)
Why Jim dropped a dime in the quarter slot
hhbooker asked why Jim dropped a dime in the quarter slot? This was done as a protection procedure, it avoids a passerby causing a malfunction. The coin box would not open, perhaps even explode if Jim would not drop a dime in the quarter slot before hand. He rec'd the proper technique on how to get to the recorder along with its location when receiving his orders and the key
The question should be how does Jim get instructions on obtaining each mission's information?, where is the recorder?, how does he get the key for wherever the recording device and accompanying portfolio is.
By the way, many sources cite the use of a car 8-track player giving instructions when in reality they never used an 8-track player, the many opening sequences with instructions on a car tape player always used a 4-track player or cart machine, the short lived predecessor to the 8-track
Naked City: To Walk Like a Lion (1962)
Not the best episode but has interesting guests
Although this is a episode that entertains, when compared to other Naked City eps it is slightly below their high standard of excellence.
It is a treat to see Mae Questel-the voice of Betty Boop, Olive Oyl and many other cartoon voices. Also seen is Barbara Barrie who played Mrs. Barney Miller, another NYC based cop show, as of late she's been on several Law & Order and SVU chapters. The main character Arnold Platt is portrayed by frequent game shows panelist-Orson Bean.
There's a great line in this episode, when Lt. Parker wants Sgt. Arcaro to follow Platt's girl played by Barbara Barrie, he tells him, "don't lose her or you'll be patrolling the other side of Staten Island and that's the Atlantic Ocean"
Columbo: Identity Crisis (1975)
Major plot error !!
The very murder this episode of Colombo is about makes it impossible for the Lt. to have been summoned to investigate. The murder takes place underneath the Santa Monica Pier which is in the City of Santa Monica, so since Colombo is L.A.P.D, he would not been called for this case.
Never the less, I enjoyed seeing the pier as it was in the 70s when I used to hang out there. The Santa Monica Pier is the home of the old-fashioned wooden merry-go-round, carousel that is seen as the home of Paul Newman in The Sting, it is still in use. I also enjoyed the scenes of the Long Beach Pike, (amusement park), which no longer exists as the site of the Pike is now the shopping and dining village adjacent to the Long Beach Convention Center. This area was also used in the filming of the conclusion of the chase in it's a Mad, Mad, Mad, World, which was also shot in the state park near the Santa Monica Pier where the Big W was set up and you can see the taxis driving up n down the road from PCH to the park.
Jon Jax 71