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This series follows up a great episode with a very good one. Kimble is
working for a trucking company run by Edward Binns, who warns him to
stay away from his sister, (Diana Hyland) and Kimble's otherwise
friendly co-worker, (Joe Campanella), tells him the same thing. Hyland
turns out to be not only amorous but crazy and she won't let Kimble
alone. Also, she has a strange relationship with Campanella's son,
(Clint Howard), whom she plies with gifts, placed below a straw-filed
scarecrow, which he calls "The Strawman".
Diana Hyland seemed to have a line in obsessed females. She was the woman who was on the lam with the child who was not hers in "When the Bough breaks" from Season 2.
Leslie Nielsen is back, again a scientist, (as he was in "A Fury
Slinging Flame"), and so is the theme of women under-mining men.
Nielsen is trying to find a cure for high cholesterol and the various
diseases it can impact and needs the liver of a certain type of shark
for his experiments. He hires Tod and Buz to collect them, (which at
first puts them off). But the sharks aren't the problem- his
self-centered wife, (Joanne Linville) is. Joanne puts her needs in the
guise of concern for their son, (Ron Howard), but it's pretty clear
she's the one starved for attention. She wants him to give his research
and just set up a normal medical practice where he can be home more. He
wants to have more of an impact on the world.
The boys try to stay out of it but are concerned about Ronny who gets caught in the middle. After much conversation they get the family back together and we see them smiling beatifically from a balcony while the family gets together on the beach. I did have to wonder how this family which, according to the wife is starving for funds because of Nielsen's obsession, got the money for what looks like a large and comfortable beach house.
One of the best episodes of the series, well -acted and brilliantly
directed by Walter Grauman. It starts out in a heavy rain. A weary,
water-logged Kimble shows up for work only to find that when he signed
in, he wrote his name as "Richard Kimble", instead of "Steve Carver",
the alias he is using at the moment. It's a product of his fatigue. The
long search/chase is really starting to get to him. It's also starting
to get to Lt. Gerard, who interrupts a vacation with his wife to check
out the lead- and makes the mistake of bringing his wife, (played by
Barbara Rush) along. She's even more weary of the chase than even
Kimble or Gerard. It's like she's in a love triangle and on the losing
Grauman has a lot of good touches, including a scene where Kimble hides from a police car next to a building that, per the sign behind him, has been "condemned". He manages to escape by hitch-hiking on a truck with an unsympathetic driver who eventually boots him out at the site of a bus crash- a bus that has Mrs. Gerard, who has left her husband in it. She has a concussion and is temporarily blind. Kindly Mr. Carver helps her and get into a pick-up truck, (it's a construction site and they drive off to the nearest town for medical help. The town proves deserted because of a flood warning. They have to deal with some ner-do-wells who harass them in the town but are then left alone again.
Kimble doesn't know that this is Mrs. Gerard, (she's using her maiden name), and she doesn't know that he is Richard Kimble. They begin to relax and talk to each other and develop a relationship. Meanwhile, Gerard has figured out she was on the bus and is on the way to rescue and re-unite with her. Slowly, she realizes who her new friend is and becomes determined to get him to stay so that her husband can capture him and end his obsession. It's still another episode where someone initially friendly to Kimble turns out to be an antagonist.
In Mel Proctor's book on the show, Producer Alan Armer complains that Barbara Rush "cried all the way the way through the thing. It just ruined the character. This was not a cry-baby, wimpy woman." Again, I couldn't agree less. She's playing a woman who has just lost her sight, gets harassed by some thugs and then finds out she's with Richard Kimble, the murderer her husband is after. I think she's great. And so is Barry Morse, confronting the cost of his quest and David Janssen who plays a played-out Kimble who gets to relax and profits from his conversations with the lady- until they realize who they are.
Armer tells a story that David Janssen "was always good-naturedly grousing to us that we never put beautiful women in his shows, that we always gave him actresses with coke-bottle glasses." So Quinn Martin let him pick the actress to play Mrs. Gerard and he picked his old friend Barbara Rush, Rush, of course, was superb." I wonder how Vera Miles, Patricia Crowley, Susan Oliver, Ruby Dee, Brenda Vaccaro, Geraldine Brooks, Gail Kobe, Sue Randall, Elizabeth Allen, Pamela Tiffin, Ruta Lee, Lee Grant, Madlyn Rhue, Joanna Moore, Gloria Grahame, Shirley Knight, Bethel Leslie, Suzanne Pleshette, Lois Nettleton, Diana Hyland, Carol Rossen, Tuesday Weld, Elizabeth MacRae, Brenda Scott, Angie Dickinson, Katherine Crawford, Sharon Farrell, Norma Crane, Celeste Holm, Jacqueline Scott, Marion Ross, Fay Spain and Sheree North, (all of whom had guested on the show by this point), felt about being described as wearing "Coke bottle glasses"?
A can't miss episode for "Fuge fans". Ed Robertson declared it the best episode of the entire run of the show.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
We're back in Chicago where Buz gets another chance to fall in love
with a dying woman, (see "A Month of Sundays", which opened Season 2).
Fortunately here, he gets to know about it ahead of time- but nobody's
told her. Here the doomed lady is Madlyn Rhue whose father, (Jack
Kruschen), a builder of roads, the boys work for. He offers to pay them
to keep her daughter company in her last days. They turn him down but
her brother, (Robert Drivas), doesn't know this and when Madlyn seeks
Buz out he gets the wrong idea and starts feuding with Buz, even going
after him with a big wheel loader.
Kruschen's wife died of the same disease, (a brain tumor) and he remembers how the doctors "dug into her the way he digs into the earth of build roads". He doesn't want it to happen to his daughter and won't allow her to make the decision to try to survive her disease. It's all very dramatic but somehow it didn't have quite the impact on me of "A Month of Sundays". I guess it's the fact that we've been down this road before.
Arthur O'Connell returns as a quack doctor whose kindly bedside manner
has won over most of the patients in a rural area, to the consternation
of a real doctor who couldn't maintains his practice. He gently but
firmly preaches against doctors and hospitals because they have "the
smell of death' while touting the benefits of honey, which he raises
from the bees he keeps. He's even had success selling his remedies by
mail order, which is why his avaricious wife, (Sheree North, in a
wonderfully cold performance), sticks with him- she sees the dollar
signs. Staying with them is their neurotic niece, (Kim Darby).
An injured Kimble is brought to the good "doctor" after falling down a hill in flight from the police, (the doctor doesn't know about that of it). He wraps his injured ankle and feeds him so much honey he gets sick of it. Kimble is grateful but worries about the doctor's patients, including an old woman who "just needs cough medicine" and then dies of congestive heart failure.
Kimble is all set to leave when Darby falls deathly ill. O'Connell realizes that his feeble "cures" aren't going to help her but his wife doesn't want Darby taken to a hospital because it would be bad publicity for their business, which she cares more about than her niece. She has an ace in the hole: she knows who Kimble is.
Not a great episode but another example of how the writers love to use Kimble's compassionate side and his professional ethics as a "hook" to get him involved in the story and keep him there.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Zap! We're back in the series old favorite venue, Cleveland, where Buz
and Tod are attending a wedding. The maid of honor missed her train and
Tod agrees to wait for her at the train station while the wedding waits
for her to arrive. Overhearing this discussion is Ed Asner, (making his
fourth appearance on the show and his second straight fatal one- he's
also gotten killed twice on the same producer's "Naked City"), who is a
police officer taking the dangerous convict Rod Steiger to a different
prison. He's doing this alone, with Steiger handcuffed to him, (the way
Richard Kimble would be handcuffed to Lt. Gerard a year later). Steiger
wants his brother to come see him while they are waiting for their
train and has convinced the dubious Asner that that is a good thing to
do. But Asner is concerned that if they call the "brothers" number
someone may come to spring Steiger, not the brother. He wants somebody
to go to the brother's address and make sure that the person there
actually is the brother, (using some ID info he's given) and bring him
to the train station if he really is the brother. Tod at first wants no
part of it until Steiger gives him a lecture on caring. Tod then agrees
to go to the brother's address while he waiting for the maid of honor's
train to come in, (he has 3 hours to kill).
The great problem of a road show like this is implant the hero(s) into the personal stories of the people they encounter. This surely has to be the most awkward way of doing this in the history of the show. Why not simply have Asner call the brother and Tod becomes the nearest potential hostage for Steiger after the shoot-out?
But it turns out to be a memorable show anyway. The 'brother' brings two guns with him, (unbeknowest to the naive Tod) and whips them out when he gets there, giving one to Steiger. In the resulting shoot- out, Asner is killed and the 'brother' is wounded. Steiger coldly finishes him off, then explains he has no brother. This guy was just an employee who played along with the scheme in order to get a share of some hidden money which Steiger will now not have to share. He now uses Tod as a hostage and chauffeur, making this the book-end episode to "Aren't You Surprised to See Me?", where David Wayne made Buz taking him around Dallas at gunpoint. Steiger even decides he wants to attend the wedding. Having been in jail since the age of 17, he's never been to a wedding. He's not a very welcome guest, telling the bride that death is inevitable. When he leaves with Tod, Buz wonders why and takes down their license plate, (they are in the brother/employee's car), resulting in a final confrontation with the police where Steiger basically invites them to kill him.
Steiger's performance, as strong a one as he's ever given, including all his movies, makes this episode. He plays a man who is calm but ruthless. He has no normal human feelings and knows it. He wants to feel something. He's always thought that getting out of prison into the outside world would be the answer but isn't and, per a note he left, that's the reason he decides on "suicide by cop". This is one of only three appearances on episodic TV for an actor famous for his movie performances, (he was in a Wagon Train- they also have a number of other appearances by movie types- and a Ben Casey). The role must have had a special appeal for him and he certainly makes a meal of it. Acting is reacting, they say and Martin Milner does a great job of playing his victim, defiant but wary, with no attempts at nervous humor and nothing to distract the audience's attention away from Steiger's powerful performance.
Suzanne Pleshette returns but in a different role than "Worlds End",
(9/22/64). Here she's a woman who puts an ad in the paper for a man to
drive her and her daughter to California. Kimble answers the ad. They
get along fine and there are references to the family Kimble never had.
They agree not ask too many questions but she does explain why she
can't drive. She was at the wheel in an accident which resulted in her
father's death and left her with a phobia of driving, (she seems rather
relaxed in the car as long as she's a passenger).
Everybody in the car has a secret. Kimble's is that he's a fugitive from a murder charge. Suzanne's is that she's taken the child from her ex-husband, who won custody because of the nervous breakdown she had after the accident. She had visitation rights but she's illegally taking her daughter to live with her in California, meaning the police will be after them all the way. The little girl's secret is that the bunny she said her father gave her as a pet isn't a pet at all. He's a scientist studying meningitis and the bunny was stolen from his lab, where it had been injected with a particularly virulent form of the disease. Just another mundane day in the life of Dr. Richard Kimble.
Suzanne Pleshette on David Janssen, (from Ed Robertson's book on the series, "The Fugitive Recaptured"): As wonderful a performer as he was while he was starring in "The Fugitive", David became even better once he stopped trying to be what he thought was a conventional Hollywood leading man. Once he let go of that mentality and put forth his heart and his skills and allowed himself as an actor to be naked before the camera that's when he began to be wonderful, just wonderful. He was doing really excellent work, particularly in movies for television, during the last 10 years of his life."
Her opinion of this episode,( from Mel Proctor's book, "The Official Fan's Guide to The Fugitive"): "I recently saw "All the Scared Rabbits" and I thought it was damned good. It holds up well. Usually, when I see material with that kind of age on it, it seems dated. The styles of acting and writing were more modern and I thought that the episode was intelligent and very well done."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Zoom! We're back in Oregon for an episode that is considerably less
than the sum of its parts. The boys get a job in a saw mill, (we
briefly see them operating the equipment). But the story isn't there.
It's at the boarding house where they are staying with a menagerie of
characters that seem to be from a Tennessee Williams play, or maybe
"You Can't Take it With You".
Those characters are the "parts" that don't add up. Betty Field is back as the woman who runs the place. She has a sideline conducting séances. Her husband, (James Dunn), makes impractical inventions. Also on board is her recently arrived spinster sister, (Nina Foch- last seen as a mental patient in "A Bridge Across Five Days"- and she could be the same person here, trying to find solace in her bible and a place to live, physically and mentally), and the troubled son of her deceased brother, (Robert Walker Jr.), who happens to own the place and wants everyone out when he hits age 21 in five months. He's also conducting a romance with neighborhood girl- to the displeasure of her brother and his gang, that chase him all over the town when he's not holed up in the house he will soon own. He also seems to be a prisoner of his nasty attitude.
It all ends with Foch delivering the longest, most dramatic speech of the series, fighting through her tears to describe what it's been like to not connect with people and wind up as lonely as she's been. It's not clear what this really has to do with Walker's problems but he smiles as if to say that he'll be a nice guy now and steps outside, High Noon style, to face his tormentors, at which points the credits roll. It all seems very powerful but I really didn't get how these different personal stories really fit together.
"You can't go home again" or at least maybe you shouldn't try if you've
made a big success of yourself. The people you left behind might not be
as admiring as you'd expect. Especially if one off them lost a pro
football career due to an auto accident he blames you for and another
is a girlfriend who wanted to be more than that. Even the people
without specific grudges won't be comfortable comparing your success
with the mundaneness of their lives.
Richard Anderson, making his third appearance in the series, plays the successful businessman who has decided to "save the town" by putting a factory there that will bring many jobs and pump a lot of his wonderful money into his old home town. People seem to be appreciative on the surface but there is more than air of resentment, especially since he's been getting phoned death threats. Anderson's chauffeur is Richard Kimble, whom he found hiding in his garage and feverish six weeks before. Dr. Kimble likes his employer and feels he owes him something and is concerned about the phone calls which Anderson brushes off as being from some crank. He's refused official security from the local Sheriff, an old friend. The Sheriff recruits Kimble to carry a gun- of course he'll need finger prints to get the permit approved. (Don't tell the NRA but they do a background check). The gun represents another problem-= the last thing Richard Kimble wants to do is to shoot and maybe actually kill somebody.
It's a nice set up but. Anderson is a bit too "nice". He's tolerant of the people who obviously resent his "big man" status. He feels sorry for the person who wants to kill him. The back story of the football player's injury is weak- they went to a bar and, as they were getting out of the car a drunk backed into them and the football player got the worst of it. It was Anderson's idea to go to the bar. So what?
In Mel Proctor's book on the series, "The Official Fan's Guide to The Fugitive", Anderson says he went to a class reunion himself in 1993 and felt a little resentment of his success as an actor and it reminded of this episode. Ed Asner, who plays the football player, has some grumpy quotes in the same book. "I felt that Richard Anderson was always too pretty so the thought of putting a bullet in him was delectable to me." No doubt he was kidding but he wasn't kidding when he said "Most of my roles in The Fugitive didn't thrill me. The football player was one of the few good ones Malinek's limp took a lot of concentration and energy and was a pain in the ass." It was a good thing he wasn't playing Chester on "Gunsmoke".
He had an equally sour opinion of David Janssen's acting: "I really found it painful to watch David Janssen grimacing every time a cop came around. He looked like the dopiest person in the world, giving himself away to the cops every time rather than playing it cool and smooth. Why he wasn't arrested the second week of the show and sent back to Indiana, I'll never know. I thought David was a good actor but a lot of the time, David didn't give a s--t. David had great talent but was lazy and coasted." I couldn't agree less.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is another attempt at combining old movie nostalgia with humor,
much like "Journey to Nineveh" but this one works much better. It has
its flaws, but it's entertaining. The boys pull into the O'Hare Inn and
somehow immediately get jobs as "convention coordinators", basically
concierges for different groups. One of them is a convention of
executive secretaries, all of them pretty. Buz is delighted to have
that job. Tod gets assigned to the 'Society for the Preservation of the
Gerenuks'. A Gerenuk is a gazelle who looks like an antelope with the
neck of a giraffe, Peter Lorre explains to Tod. They are endangers and
if the Gerenuk goes, the human race can't be far behind!
Actually, Peter is playing himself- sort of. He's depicted as an aging star of horror movies who is to meet there with two other old horror stars in the same predicament- Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff. Times are changing and people just aren't scared by the old monsters any more. They need to come up with new ones to keep their careers going. Or so Karloff thinks. Lorre and Chaney like the old ways.
The ever helpful Tod comes up with a plan: they could dress as their old characters and see if they can scare Buz's executive secretaries in them. They succeed and it convinces the "society" that the bold monsters still work. We see scenes of Chaney and Karloff in their classic disguises- Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, the Mummy- running through the halls of the hotel, causing the poor women to faint in their tracks. The old monsters still work!
One of the problems is that the sexist attitudes of the period really come to the fore here. The women, presumably efficient businesswomen- they are, after all, executive secretaries- not just typists- are leered at and shown as mentally weak when faced by the "monsters", (and their make-up is not nearly so good as in the original movies- they look like they are their way to a Halloween party).
The other one is Peter Lorre. He'd played some pretty weird characters but didn't play monsters, although he did a couple of films for Roger Corman based on Edgar Allan Poe stories after this episode. For that reason, he has no costume in the final sequence. He's obviously standing in for Bela Lugosi, who had died in 1955, (which didn't prevent him from appearing in Ed Woods' camp classic, "Plan Nine From Outer Space in 1959). Lorre orders a coffin to be the center piece of the society's meeting. But's not dressed like a vampire. Apparently, his normal appearance is supposed to be scary. Early in his career he was thin and those big eyes and sing-song voice somehow made him intimidating is a sort of oily way. But by 1962, (two years away from his death from a stroke), he was fat, baggy-eyed and jowly. He looks pathetic, not scary. What an episode this could have been with Lugosi, Chaney and Karloff! Lorre, Chaney and Karloff just aren't the same.
By the way, they assume the names Mr. Retep, Mr. Nol and Mr. Sirob when pretending to be concerned with Gerenuks. And, no Gerenuk doesn't mean anything when spelled backwards (kunereg).
One apparently mundane scene I liked because it underscores the difference between this series and others is a scene where Tod is making a call from the hotel kitchen. In the background we see the kitchen works making the meals that would be consumed by the residents of the hotel, (probably including the company of "Route 66") that evening. With Route 66, you are there, exactly where the episodes are supposed to be taking place. Talk about reality television!
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