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In what was considered a revival for werewolves, 1981 boasted a few legendary movies about the creatures, namely The Howling, An American Werewolf in London, and Wolfen, which was more about the wolf as a killer animal only. I don't know if the writers of this show jumped on the werewolf bandwagon, but only The Howling came out before this episode aired, so there's that. The werewolf here is played solidly by David Hedison(David Tabori), although the beast was unfortunately more "hairy man" than mean animal, so the scare factor didn't do it for me, but I did enjoy this segment better than the other one, which I'll mention shortly. Look for Carol Lynley(Elizabeth Tabori), although it seems like she's on every other episode, playing David's wife, but she's decent enough and not as annoying. Even though I thought it could've been scarier, I felt it was solidly written, add in a couple shots of a full moon and a few howls, and it makes for a pretty good story. The other segment stars Jimmy Dean, Wendy Schall, who stars in many more episodes, and Anne Francis, and while this wasn't a particularly memorable story, it wasn't terrible. I found it interesting that Tattoo had no time in this episode, other the beginning and the ending, but that's no great loss anyway.
In what could've been a much better episode, there were way too many familiar faces including Ann Jillian, Vic Tayback, Annette Funicello, Randolph Mantooth, Alex Cord, Doris Roberts, Carl Ballentine, and Elinor Donahue. Let me mention the somewhat good part first, and that revolves around an odd looking creature living under the island, even though it was obviously a guy in a suit. If you've read my past reviews regarding this show, then you know that I prefer the "darker" segments, and while the story in question wasn't that "dark", it did have a cheesy monster, and that has to count for something, right? That's about all I got, because most of the rest was either boring, or bordered on the sublime. Jillian plays Mr. Rourke's goddaughter, and it gets a tad annoying when she calls him "uncle", and their a little touchy feely with each other, in my opinion, and I also think they lacked chemistry. The segment she starred in was rather boring, and it revolved around magic, and perhaps the only saving grace was Ballantine's performance, as he was magician in real life. The other segment had decent moments with the monster, but there were also some silly parts too, such as when Cord's character sexually assaults Liz(Funicello), and nothing comes of it, considering he's the one that made her fall into a cave where the monster lives. The other head scratcher is when both men start throwing huge rocks at the monster while he's carrying Liz away, considering they could've hit her in the head also. As I said above, both stories were fairly original, but could've been written better, as they both failed to pack a punch.
This was a decent episode, not great, but there were some funny moments to make it worthwhile. Although this is supposed to be the first night the Stivic's spend at their new house, they only stay there for a few cold hours, because Mike forgot to call the utility company to turn the water and power on; Archie comments to Mike, "the only thing you remember to turn on is my daughter", and he also feels that the Meathead is purposely delaying leaving so he can get free room and board, AND fridge. After Archie calls Mike a few choice names, both he and Gloria leave the house angry, and soon after, Edith leaves her husband too, while she calls Archie a "meathead" before walking out the door. The funniest moments happen when Archie decides to stay home alone and cook himself a steak dinner, and he messes a few things up. This scene is a must see for all fans of Archie. As I said in a previous review, this great show will slowly reach the point of no return, as the next season really gets mediocre, so enjoy this last good season of this legendary show.
Although I can't be positive, I'll assume that this episode was a turning point in the series, because soon after, Mike and Gloria move away, and the show probably never recovered creatively. I'm certain there were many solid episodes to come, but when they leave the Bunker's nest, there was no turning back, in my opinion, and the show suffered. Regarding this episode, there's two different story lines going, one being the Stivic's looking to move out(not having luck), and the other has Archie having a party because the mortgage is finally paid off. George Jefferson concocts a plan to drive Archie crazy; he keeps sweetening an offer for the kids to either buy or rent their old house next door, but this goes against Mike's plan to move away from Archie. Regarding Archie's party, it's good seeing many familiar faces considering Archie's usually mean to most of them; those faces include Irene(Betty Garrett), recurring old geezers Quigley(Burt Mustin) and Josephine(Ruth McDevitt), Munson(Billy Halop, who would die 9 months later), and Bob Hastings(Kelsey). If you're not that familiar with this mostly great show, I won't give away the ending, but it's just one more time Archie sticks his foot in his mouth.
Considering this story had a fairly simple plot, it was still entertaining and interesting, as Archie borrows a few tools from work to fix stuff around the house. No biggie, right? After being questioned by his family and Irene Lorenzo(Betty Garrett), he explains that it's not really stealing if something is borrowed from work in typical Archie-logic. In a clever order of events, it's discovered that Gloria takes free cosmetic samples from her job, and Mike has a way to get a message to a person without being charged by the phone company. They both admit to their "thefts", which pleases Archie, although it's probably a little more serious in what Archie's taking from his job, which includes a drill and some nails, and I forget what else. Without going into too much detail, Irene's having dinner with the Bunker's, but Archie's afraid she may rat him out to the boss, and tries his hardest to be nice to her, and it's clearly not working. This isn't an overly funny episode, but I enjoyed the different subject matter that what I'm used to.
I feel the most notable aspect of this episode is the dual performance of Robert Goulet, who plays himself, as one of him wants to be rich, and the other him wishes to be left alone. I thought he did a decent job at both roles, and displayed some acting chops, even though I know little of Goulet, other than his singing. The other faces include Britt Eklund, Phyllis Davis, and an odd appearance by Troy Donahue. Nothing that memorable happens in this segment, but all's well that ends well, as I liked the forced, but satisfying conclusion. The other story stars James Broderick(one of his final acting credits), Laurie Walters, and Woody Strode, as it revolves around a doctor trying to bring back his dead wife. I'm not an psychology expert, but I didn't sense any real chemistry between Broderick and Walters, and this segment was a bit predictable as well. This wasn't a bad story, but it did seem rushed, and the ending wasn't a big payoff either, but it did end nicely. I've also noticed that these middle seasons use Mr. Roarke much more than before, and while that's not a bad thing in general, it does take some of his mystique away.
This terrific episode has George Jefferson running as a Republican candidate for a local office, supposedly to help the community out, but the real reason comes to fruition soon enough. George must get several signatures in order to run for office, and it pains him to have to try to get Archie's, who doesn't think that George even looks like a Republican, but he attempts to bribe Archie with cheaper prices from his cleaning store, and he even brings over his wife's chocolate cake, even though it was for a local church. In a rare occurrence, we get a glimpse of the Jefferson's kitchen, where George, Weezy, and Lionel have a conversation. There's also a very funny scene at the Bunker's dinner table, where Mike keeps pestering Archie for more food. Regarding George's motive for political office, he wants to knock down the "ugly flower shop" next door in order to expand his cleaning business, but Lionel has a surprise for him, and all George's attempts to get into office is for naught. I'm not normally a huge fan of the Jefferson's in general, but they were very entertaining here.
For those who wonder what my summary line means, it's a clever way to say don't criticize the particular segment for which I thought was terrific, and it's named "The Château", starring David Hedison and Pamela Franklin. I wasn't crazy about the other story, and I'll mention it in a bit, but this story is much better, plus it has the creep factor which I'm a big fan of. Other faces include Carolyn Jones, George Lindsay, Wendy Schall(her first of 19 episodes!), and Ed Begley Jr., and they all star in "White Lightning", which isn't as good as the other story, as it revolves around moonshine. I'll give it credit for being an original plot, but that's about as far as I'll go. Back to the better story, I must admit I had no idea the route it would take, and was pleasantly surprised. The glowing red eyes of the Pan statue was eerie, and the fog that surrounded it was also done fairly well. Hedison's character(Karl/Claude)made a pact with Pan to stay young forever, as long as a blood sacrifice was made. I decided to do a search on the Greek god Pan, but it turns out he wasn't really evil, so it's a curious decision to make him evil here, but it doesn't detract at all.
In what was a pleasant surprise, and a rare occurrence to boot, both segments from this episode were written very well, and had some originality in regards to this show. Some of the faces include Martin Milner, Barbi(Klein)Benton, Dennis Cole, Bert Convy, and Teri Copley, who had a minor career worth mentioning. One aspect that really stood out is the involvement of Mr. Rourke, who usually gets a few scenes here and there, but he was in many scenes in both stories, and he even sings in one of them! I found Klein, I mean Benton, slightly annoying here as an aging woman wanting to be desirable again, although she becomes more arrogant, and this bothers Mr. Rourke, even though he really knows why she acts this way, but he lets her fantasy continue a bit longer. There is an interesting twist involving her and Hal(Convy)that I won't spoil, but it comes together nicely. Look for a disco dancing party also, even though I thought disco was dead by 1981. The other story has a man(Milner)looking for another man(Cole)to bring to justice for war crimes he committed many years ago. There's also a few twists and turns in this segment as well, but as I said above, both stories have decent subject matters that worked for me, even though this isn't one of my favorites.
This entertaining episode has a proud Archie being challenged to a game of pool by his neighbor Irene Lorenzo(Betty Garrett), after he boasts that men are better than women at sports. Not so fast, says Frank Lorenzo, played wonderfully by Vincent Gardenia, as he informs Archie that his wife was once a pool champion and can beat him. When Archie basically complains to Frank that Irene should act more like a woman, Frank gets insulted and puts the Italian "mal'occhio"(evil eye)on Archie. After he's finally convinced that Irene's the real deal at pool, Archie quickly gets a back injury, and blames it on Frank's curse, which is met with skepticism by all except Edith. Watch for the 2nd appearance of Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson in a minor role, and Bob Hastings as Tommy Kelsey. This isn't the funniest episode in the stable, but it's still a solid entry, and the conversations between Archie and Frank are very funny. You'll have to watch it yourself to see how it ends, but I think it's worth the wait.
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