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American Hot Wax (1978)
The two things I like about this film is the music and the 1950's re-creations, plus seeing a young Jay Leno who really grew up during the next 14 years before replacing Johnny Carson. But from there it's all downhill. The chronology is positively awful and those who lived in the 1950s as well as fans of such will spot it instantly. The movie begins around the late Buddy Holly's birthday (referenced twice) so that would make it September 7, 1959. That part would pass as Freed was still on the air until November. But then we hear supposedly new songs being rehearsed which wasn't so at all. Songs like Tweedlee Dee, Come Go With Me and I Wonder Why were from 1955,'57 & '58 respectively. Then later we hear "Stay" being played which of course didn't not come out until the fall of 1960 which by then, Freed was long gone. Frankie Ford is showed recording Sea Cruise which in reality hit the charts in February. To really mess things up, it shows that school being out for the summer, so are we going back to May or fast forwarding to 1960? The part of Jerry Lee Lewis performing at the festival in front of a cheering crowd could be authentic as Freed was the one DJ who still played his records but highly unlikely as most were not ready to forgive Jerry just yet. The advertisement in that this was the beginning of that era was in fact totally the opposite as by latter 1959, the 1950s rock & roll party was about over. Lewis was pretty much done in latter 1958. The deaths of Buddy Holly and two others was a blow that proved difficult to recover from. Chuck Berry went to jail towards the end of the year and with the payola scandal knocking Freed out of the picture, the party was indeed over and the music would mellow out for the next four years into the so-called "innocent years".
Relatively good episode
For Los Angeles Rams football fans, this episode has some minor historical significance as there are several cameos by the 1965 Rams. The team would have a poor season in '65 but that would change the following year and the nucleus of this team would go on to a 7 year competitive streak. One close up shot is of signal caller Roman Gabriel who would lead the team during those years.
The irony of this episode is several aspects of it would actually come true a little less that 14 years later when the real LA Rams owner Carroll Rosenbloom died in a supposed drowning and the team would get a lady owner, being his widow Georgia Frontiere. That year they would go on to the Super Bowl.
There have been some theories over the years that Rosenbloom's death was not accidental but 38 years later nothing has ever been proved otherwise.
Beautiful Mona Freeman was excellently cast as both the widow and suspect and she really does look like a football team owner!
Dragnet 1967: The Big High (1967)
We literally screamed at the end when first showed
I can no longer watch this episode. It was hard enough to swallow when it was new and later in reruns. Then about 5 years ago I finally met the love of my life after years of trying. Like the little girl in the episode, her name is also Robin.
Maybe they didn't know back then the true story and effects of marijuana and that it is now overblown but the same thing would have likely happened if the parents simply got very drunk. More of a likely scenario if hard drugs were involved.
I wonder who the little girl who played Robin was? She was only on camera for less than a minute but a lovely child. Perhaps a child of one of the crew? She'd be about 50 now or close to it. Jack Webb could sure pick the right ones, for sure.
My Favorite Mason episode
I won't go into a synopsis of it as the 3 previous reviews do so and nicely. Rather I'll reflect on it from a personal viewpoint. This one does not have the usual storyline of PM episodes as it is a combo of both humor & drama. This was one of a number of 1963 to 1966 episodes that were withheld from syndication for a number of years until 1987 when WTBS started showing them, albeit heavily edited. After watching it a second time, I can tell that Brooks is a bit emotional when he sees the photo of little Caleb and his mother. Later when he points out other things that Ernest Stone didn't previously tell him, that said more than meets the eye (if one has a photographic memory, it is not uncommon to remember things at age 5) The scene at the Catholic school really brought it home to me as at the time I was in one and we dressed the same as the kids in the scene(uniform pants & white shirt/blouse) Sister Theresa (Irene Tedrow) was a dead ringer for one of the nuns there at the time. Highly unusual for 1963 is the revealing of a long standing, rock solid friendship between a white and a black man. This was the height of the civil rights era. As usual, Mason's battering cross examination revealed the real culprit. At the end, both Caleb & the two elderly ladies summed it up correctly, the former mentioning love and the latter having faith. Virtually forgotten today is Kate Manx (who plays Mrs. Ernest Stone) She only had a few film & TV credits and died about a year later at age 34. Very little is written about her.
I'm just partial to B movies !
I lived in Phoenix at the time when this was filmed and recognize some things that are now long gone, so watching this movie holds a lot of sentimental nostalgia for me. Some of the scenes were filmed right in the parking lot of the downtown Phoenix police station (built in 1974) The garage where Richard Jaeckel's character works (located at 9th Avenue & Jefferson) was a real auto repair facility called Paul's. Some of the street scenes look like they were filmed in Tucson as well. The antique auto show scenes are right near City Hall. I watch this at least 4 to 5 times a year. Not bad for something I paid $3 for at a truck stop!
The race track scenes were filmed at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix which was an icon for local racers starting in the 1950s. Sadly it closed in 2014 another victim of overzealous redevelopment that has been going on for decades now. I long since moved away from there.
This episode is a tad scary if you think about it. The police do indeed have a lot of power for one and second, a bad cop can really create a nightmare for anyone involved. The soundtrack music gives the aura of suspense when Perry & Paul are in the hotel room before stumbling onto the victim. Douglas Kennedy performs excellent as Jaffrey. Tragg is understandably upset and will stop at nothing to solve the case as it is linked to a cop killing a year back and even more so when he finds out who the real killer is. A scene which shows a license plate with a 1956 tag on it tells that the episode was filmed a year before it was aired.