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Landing: Airport Stories (2004)
I can't believe that she really wants to leave me - and it's getting me so.
As we near the end of our trip through the making of The Terminal, our final stop is a short piece in which several contributors from the previous documentaries recount their own most peculiar or unpleasant experiences at airports. Basically, these snippets of interview are outtakes from the earlier short that show cast & crew putting themselves in Viktor (the protagonist of the film they've been talking about all along)'s situation. Before, after and in between each segment the viewers are treated by more footage of that adorably grumpy little old Kumar Pallana doing juggling tricks.
Catherine Zeta-Jones tells about duty free shopping for Christmas in Singapore. Production designer Alex McDowell recounts being stuck in JFK during a blackout. Director of Photography Janusz Kaminski relates to Viktor because being detained as an immigrant was his nightmare for many years. Composer John Williams remembers the theft of his black leather artist case in which he carried his music orchestrations. Tom Hanks talks about feeling self conscious about his language skills when first visiting Paris, France. But in a bit of a twist ending, director Steven Spielberg confesses he's never had any problem ever visiting airports. He concludes he must have been lucky. But we all know it's because he's Steven Spielberg, that's why.
Since this is the final documentary on the disc, it is the only one with a credit roll at the end, as well as a surprise advertisement for the Terminal original score soundtrack.
6 out 10
Airport, you've got a smiling face. You took my lady to another place
No collection of Digital Versatile Disc special feature documentaries about the making of a Steven Spielberg movie can be complete without at least one focusing on John Williams. No matter which Spielberg film you pop into your DVD player, John Williams is always there. Actually, that's not entirely true, but it certainly doesn't sound like a real Spiel without him.
Talking about The Terminal, Johnny likes this film, very much. And since the main character is from a fictional Eastern European country called Krakozhia, Mr. Williams takes time to explain that he used eastern European music instruments such as the clarinet, the Hungarian cimbalom and even a subtle use of accordion too. Sadly, John doesn't discuss the Krakozhia National Anthem he composed for the film.
But in a pleasant break from the way these DVD features usually play out, Williams gets to talk about his love for jazz. You see, Johnny started his career as a jazz man, and that classic all American music style is linked to the picture of musicians that sort of serves as this films's Macguffin. Naturally John loves this idea and indeed has been familiar with the actual photograph for decades. In fact, in his younger days, Johnny owned the trombone of one of the men featured on it: Miff Mole, (of Miff Mole and his Little Molers). Still, the only aspects of jazz which appear in the film score are part of Amelia's theme, because her character is an American (played by Welsh Catherine Zeta-Jones).
We've almost reached our final destination, the last stop is called "Landing: Airport Stories".
7 out of 10
I hear the plane is ready by the gateway to take my love away.
Now that we've met all the cast and witnessed the construction of the titular Terminal, this fourth documentary (or sixth if you watched the last one as three separate pieces) covers the main production of the 2004 film by that name. And even though the is focus again how wonderful the giant set was for all involved to work in, we learn enough new insights to make this feature worthwhile.
Producer Walter Parkes mentions that the first two or three weeks were spent filming the scenes set in the cramped quarters of the bureau of homeland security. Not the most visually exciting set. Then they allowed Spielberg and co onto the big cinematic 'T' set, about which nobody has a negative thing to say. Because of the entire film takes place in one location, many crew-members expected this film would be a casual shoot but Spielberg always works fast. He explains that even though the main character Viktor remains in one place, the movie has a tremendous pace. Waiting can be exciting and entertaining.
A large part of this feature is devoted to the efforts of Costume designer Mary Zophres. She had the most fun with the background passengers. 600 extras walked up and down the set for 20 days in a row. And in her mind, Mary created a character for every single person that goes in front of the camera by giving them special props to carry and items of clothing to wear. Main character Viktor wears the same suit he came into the country with up until he decides not to leave the terminal. Then he settles down, first wearing more clothes he brought with him, and eventually a new Hugo Boss to impress his date.
Speaking of Cathine Zeta-Jones, she gives a shout out to her personal stylists and also only has tree main outfits in the film. Meanwhile Stanley Tucci had a bonding moment with Mary when they both decided at the same time that a tie wasn't right for his character. The visual effects team also became involved with various wardrobe items when stunts were needed.
Two of Steven Spielberg's most frequent collaborators, Director of Photography Janusz Kaminski and editor Mike Kahn receive special attention. The set was constantly being elegantly lit by Kaminski, who made it look like actual sunlight during the many daytime scenes. The tone of the lighting changes as Viktor adapts to his situation, starting off very blue and cold looking. When he starts to settle into his home, and the audience warms to Viktor, the colors change to more warm, yellow and orange tones.
After working together on 17 out of Steven's 21 films, Steven claims he and editor Michael Kahn are basically one and the same person now. Steven finishes up by confessing he felt that had to take a break from serious films after a run of dark films in the late nineties and early 2000's and wanted to make another feel good movie like the similarly lighthearted Catch Me If You Can two years earlier.
Now that we've settled down, keep relaxing because up next is "In Flight Service: The Music of the Terminal".
7 out of 10
Well I help her with her baggage for her baggage is so heavy
Unlike the other 5 documentaries found in the Extra Features menu on the special and/or deluxe DVD versions of The Terminal, "The People of The Terminal" comprises three separate videos instead of just the one. The first focuses on the main character, the second on the love interest and the third is about the rest of them (six supporting characters in fact). Lucky for us, the DVD menu includes a 'play all' option.
Tom Hanks is "Viktor" (7 minutes 38 seconds)
Tom read the screenplay a long time ago and wanted to do it even before Steven S. got involved. Steven makes it clear that Viktor's home country Krakozhia does not really exist. Tom was influenced by his father-in-law when creating the Krakozshian accent. The two of them compare their working relationship, having made three films together at this point (the others being 1998's "Saving Private Ryan" and 2002's "Catch Me If You Can"). Spielberg reveals that Hanks did more improv and was more inventive while filming The Terminal this third time round.
Catherine Zeta-Jones is "Amelia" (8 minutes 41 seconds)
Catherine recounts that Steven kick-started her career when he spotted her in the 1996 CBS TV movie version of "Titanic", then arranged to meet her on the set of "Jurassic Park: The Lost World" (1997) to talk about a part in "The Mask of Zorro" (1998). Spielberg explains it was quite daring to cast the gorgeous Zeta-Jones as a woman who is unlucky in love. To be precise, she's in love with a man who plays hard-to-get-a-commitment-out-of (played by Michael Nouri, not Chris Sarandon). Viktor wins her heart by just patiently listening. Then the two main actors start gushing about each other while we are treated to behind the scenes footage of them goofing and awkwardly dancing around on set.
Victor's World (15 minutes 30 seconds)
Stanley Tucci is "Dixon". All he's doing is his job. Dixon is under approval for a top position at the airport and can't use a problem like Viktor at this moment. Viktor becomes a threat to Dixon's career. Tucci was Spielbergs first and only choice.
Barry Shabaka Henley is "Thurman". Each time this actor's name is mentioned, it sounds like 'Chewbacca', but it's actually 'Shabaka'. Thurman is not allowed to show sympathy for Viktor's situation. Shabaka worked as a prison guard in San Fransisco and knows exactly what this feels like.
Diego Luna is "Enrique". Diego was another first choice from Steven after seeing Luna in "Y tu mamá también" (2001). His character was part of several supporting characters from various nationalities that underline the film's theme of immigrants coming to a land of milk and honey from all over the world.
Zoe Saldana is "Officer Torres". Zoe was discovered by casting director Debby Zane rather than Steven (this being before she got her part in the first Pirates of the Caribean). She was told main objective was just to have fun with the role and shout 'Next' at the top of her lungs.
Kumar Pallana is "Gupta". Another Zane discovery who's participation was a bit questionable for a while because of his advancing age. He had the part when he shook hands with Spielberg and said hello. His son and daughter helped him out on set with the more physical scenes but their exact contributions remain unclear in this documentary.
Chi McBride is "Mulroy". Chi turns his segments into a stand-up act and mostly talks about Kumar (who is fast taking over the focus of this feature). Spielberg first describes Viktor's friends as the Three Wise Men, then changes his mind and calls Chi the Cowardly Lion, Kumar the scarecrow and Diego the Tin Man, meaning Tom Hanks is Dorothy.
Next we're going to have to fasten our seat-belts for "Take Off: Making The Terminal"
8 out of 10
Where the weather is much better and the food is so much cheaper.
If you just can't get enough of sped up footage of builders constructing a set (accompanied by John Williams music) you're in for a treat with this 12 minute documentary. And lets face it, that kind of stuff never gets old. Director Steven Spielberg and production designer Alex McDowell are the stars of this short, documenting their second collaboration (after 2002s Minority Report) Before production, the former told the latter that the terminal (the setting of practically the entire film, not the title) couldn't disappoint anybody.
Alex pleased Steve by coming up with a look that combined a 1920's retro look with with that of a modern departure lounge. Design and approval, as well as making a detailed maquette took 3 weeks, then during a further 18 weeks the set was built while Steven spent the entire summer studying the model with a tiny camera - just like in those famous pictures of him photographing a tiny representation of the desert set from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The fake terminal was build as a real piece of architecture with steel walls and granite floors. Only the light plastic roof wasn't weathered proof. According to Alex, it was the first movie set - except possibly the one from Coppola's "One from the Heart" - to incorporate actual working escalators He gives a small tour explaining where the various shops that feature in the film, like Borders, Starbucks and Hudson News are located. Also of note was that supervising graphic designer François Audouy collaborated with Dutch airport signage innovator Paul Mijksenaar, who's revolutionary Wayfinding system, originally developed for Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport had recently been introduced at New York's JFK airport.
A separate hangar at Palmdale housed the set that served as an unfinished wing that was being used as storage in the film and became the lead character's makeshift home. Both sets featured the most amazing backdrop (with moving lights) Steven had ever made use on during his career till that time. Subsequently, they crew also shot footage in Motreal at an actual working airport for the opening scenes at the immigration's.
But back to the star of this documentary, the big terminal. We hear Spiel say he wanted to memorize the set before starting the movie and Tom Hanks exclaim that he never wanted to leave it. But despite of his knowledge, the director didn't plan any scenes beforehand, so that each day upon entering the terminal, it would stimulate him anew each and inspire him with new angles every day. In typical Spielbergian style, he ended up using ever square inch of that set during production.
Next stop: a three part behind the scenes feature collectively known as "Boarding: The People of the Terminal"
8 out of 10
So many destination faces going to so many places
The extra features on the second disc of the 2 Disc Special Edition DVD set of The Terminal open with a menu modeled after the airport's flight information board as seen in the picture. There are six 'destinations' on the first page and a seventh, the photo gallery, on the second page. We will be discussing the first six, five of which links to a short subject by Laurentz Bouzereau while one leads to three separate segments. All of them combined compromise the complete making of the picture from script to post production. Amusingly, the titles reflect the various stages of traveling by airplane, from booking a ticket to departing after landing.
So, we begin with "Booking the Flight: The Script, The Story" and naturally the first interviewee is director Steven Spielberg, who talks about airports on the whole and then explains the story of The Terminal. In doing so, he uses the expression 'snafu' which is probably the closest we'll ever get to hearing Steven utter a dirty word. We get a little insight into the way Spielberg picks his scripts: he usually sits down with a stack of them he refers to as a "weekend reading package" and goes through about 3 a day. The Terminal happened to be the last one he read on a Sunday, but it intrigued him enough to forget the five that had come before.
Also interviewed are screenplay writers Sacha Gervasi and Jeff Nathanson and producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald. Gervasi recounts how he researched living in an actual airport. Nathanson talks about getting into the mindset of Americans and immigrants while Parkes mentions that the casting of Catherine Zeta-Jones changed the tone of the movie from being an 'in like' story to an 'in love' story.
Of course the interviews are illustrated with appropriate clips from the finished film and snippets of behind the scenes footage, many of which feature Kumar Pallana in and out of character as Gupta. After 8 minutes, this documentary ends rather abruptly, leading the viewer to continue with the next destination in this series: "Waiting for the Flight: Buildint the Terminal".
8 out of 10
Great Metrano week: day seven
Last week it was Art Metrano's birthday and this reviewer has been looking at 7 guest starring roles from the 70's & 80's by the man also known as The Great Metrano. Today is day seven: Hill Street Blues season seven: Falling from Grace.
This show is much more grown-up than any of the other series that have been featured in the Metrano week so far, so it's fitting that this one should close out the week (it's also the last one going by air-date). Still, it's funny since this series is practically the complete opposite of that other Eighites staple, The A-Team (reviewed yesterday) but whenever there's a car chase, Mike Post's music sounds almost exactly the same. HSB is also an ensemble peace with serialized story lines, so there are at least three plots here that began in the previous episode, 'Amazing Grace' (as if the title didn't give that away already) but none of these plot lines involve Art Metrano.
The Great Metrano shares a three scene 'arc' with my favorite pair of Hill Street cops: Renko & Hill. He plays shirt-salesman Al Sanderson. When we first meet him, he's shouting up a storm Metrano style in the middle of the street. He claims that a young street kid named Lewis broke into his car and stole his sample-case. The kid and his uncle admit that he broke into the car but all he did was listen to the radio. Sanderson initially refuses to go to the station because that'll take up too much of his precious time, but Renko and Hill insist.
After taking both parties' statements, Al's business partner Joel Hirschman shows up with the case, which was left in the hotel check-out desk. The cops tell Al he should apologies to the kid, but instead he offers him 50 bucks. Proud Lewis refuses. Later on, Hill & Renko bump into Al again and take a particular delight in busting him for sharing some private time in his car with a lady of the night (during the day). It's your typical sleazy kind of character Art Metrano excels at. Would have been nice if he had gotten a more dramatic arc, but hey, you take what you get.
Elsewhere in the precinct, Furillo is still coping with Councilman Wade who shot a man, claiming self defense. Belker is undercover as usual, this time at a car chop shop where he's not allowed to visit the seventh floor. And one of Buntz's finger has been sewn back on after an incident with a loan shark named Falco. The episode is bookended by scenes set in Buntz apartment, where Sid the Snitch appears to be a regular, if unwanted, visitor. Looks like the writers were already setting up the spin-off series "Beverly Hills Buntz" at this time.
One of the most interesting subplots involves Sister Chastity, formerly known as Grace Gardner, who can't help herself but fall for young officer Flaherty. Long time viewers will remember Grace as a regular character since season one. First appearing as the official police decorator, who soon became Sgt. Esterhaus' lover. There's a touching call back to his character (who died way back in season 4) when the Sister is seen straddling his podium while uttering his name (he died in her arms while having sex). They probably wouldn't have done this if the actor hadn't passed away, though.
And that wraps up this Great Metrano Week. Moustached in the Seventies, clean shaved in the Eighties, always a bad guy, never the lead but always putting a smile on this reviewers face as soon as he appears.
8 out of 10
The A-Team: Uncle Buckle-Up (1985)
Great Metrano week: day six
It was Art Metrano's birthday earlier this week, so this reviewer is looking at 7 guest starring roles from the 70's & 80's by the man also known as The Great Metrano. Today is day five: The A-Team: Uncle Buckle-Up.
This episode is not particularly well appreciated among A-Team fans, but at the time it first aired, Art Metrano was better known than ever after playing Mauser in the second and third Police Academy movies. It also puts Metrano up against his near-namesake Arte Johnson in the title-role. Still, we could have done without that opening sequence in a toy store that appears to have come straight out of Santa Claus the Movie.
So, Uncle Buckle-Up is a man in a chipmunk suit who has been teaching kids all about safety on TV since 1956. But he's upset that his formerly quality toy-line has been reduced to cheap knockoffs made in Japan. The man responsible for this, sleazy manufacturer Nick Gretch is of course played by Art the Great Metrano.
The A-Team gets involved because Hannibal has set his eyes on getting the supporting part of 'Ruff the Bear'. Seems he's become tired of playing monsters such as the Aquamanic all the time. Murdock, who is of course an Uncle Buckle-Up expert, poses as Hannibal's manager. There is surprisingly little action for an A-Team episode. We don't get a chase scene until 16 minutes have past (instead we see several men wearing Bear masks practicing a stupid dance). And even then this chase is rather lackluster as it doesn't feature any close-ups of the people involved, hence no witty one liners. The second action sequence is not much better: it's a brief shoot out in a convention hall filled with stuffed toys (but without any innocent bystanders, so there's no danger).
What we do get are no less than three scenes set at a zoo (because Hannibal has to study the bears to get into character). In the third of these, one of the evil henchmen is being held over a lion's den by B.A. Apparently Stephen J. Cannell really wanted to make the most out of their one day visit to the Zoo since all three scenes were obviously filmed on the same day. Not that you could tell by the A-Team since they never change their costumes during the episode anyway (except for Hannibal's bear outfit).
So, the A-Team, with Uncle Buckle-Up replacing Faceman, barge into The Great Metrano's office to point a gun at him and confront him about his falling apart toys. Along the way we get a throw away line by one of the toy manufacturers saying that B.A. would make a great doll. I'm a bit surprised they didn't sneak any of the A-Team toys into this episode actually, since the Six Million Dollar Man and Charlie's Angels got to plug their dolls on their show...
By now viewers of the episode and readers of this review who are paying attention might be wondering why Face is missing during the big Metrano confrontation. It's because he was fighting off all of Metrano's henchmen on the Uncle Buckle-Up set on his own (must have been filmed on one of the infamous days when both George Peppard and Mr. T. decided to leave early). The henchmen capture Faceman and Uncle Buckle-Up's assistant (also secretly his daughter) and they all get locked up in a toy warehouse.
Now I can see why this episode is not high on any A-Team lover's top ten favorites lists, but at least the requisite "A-Team building a tank out of nothing" scene here is an admirable piece of self-parody. The guys make an arsenal out of toy planes, remote control cars, rockets and firecrackers (and remember that Nick Gretch's toys were supposed to be complete rubbish). Armed with all this, they manage to blow up all the bad guys cars and defeat them utterly.
As for Art, he end up like all unscrupulous A-Team villains do: he gets knocked out by B.A. personally. And deservedly so: he was smuggling heroine in stuffed toys.
6 out of 10
The Great Metrano week will conclude tomorrow with Hill Street Blues: Falling from Grace.
Great Metrano week: day five
It was Art Metrano's birthday earlier this week, so this reviewer is looking at 7 guest starring roles from the 70's & 80's by the man also known as The Great Metrano. Today is day five: The Incredible Hulk: Stop the Presses.
Yes indeed, true believers, on November 24 1978, Art Metrano became the first and only man in history to be thrown around by two different TV superheroes from separate publishing houses on the same night and on the same network. First he faced DC's Wonder Woman (see yesterday's entry in this week of reviews) and immediately after that, he went up against Marvel's Green Goliath, the Incredible Hulk. Unfortunately for this reviewer, Art's part only lasts for about half the episode, so this might be an extra short review...
At least T.G.M. is front and center in the first shot of the show, bothering our favorite Hulk hunter Jack McGee at work: the New York offices of the National Register (established 1860). Our Art is 'Charlie' and he makes a buck selling pictures to the Register. But McGee knows Charlie likes to sell the same photos to different reporters and get paid twice. So tells him to stick to working with Joe Arnold, a young, unscrupulous newsman who likes to bend the truth to make his articles juicier.
Joe and Charlie's modus operandi is certainly unusual. They visit Bruno's, a promising new Italian restaurant run by two women and an Asian cook called Fred (Pat Morita, who else?). There they throw some firecrackers in the dumpster at the back so Fred and the new dishwasher (a certain David Banner) run out. While the staff is distracted, Joe and Charlie enter the kitchen, Charlie dumps garbage everywhere and Joe takes pictures. I thought Art Metrano (Charlie) was supposed to be the photographer here, but I guess reporter Joe didn't want to get his typing hands dirty.
Naturally Jill & Karen, the two girl owners (named after writers Jill Sherman and Karen Harris) are upset that a the health scare is about to be reported about Bruno's. Meanwhile dishwasher David is especially worried because Arnold managed to snap his picture. Strange character, that David. Clearly overqualified to be a mere dishwasher and much better at fixing the girls taxes and liquor license. But J&K don't want to see him leave because they both really fancy him.
For some reason Arnold and 'Cockroach' Charlie don't feel like they've done enough damage at Bruno's so they return for round two. But this time David is there. Unfotunately for him, Charlie used to be a wrestler and in no time David is face down in the food and thrown under the table. Somehow that happens to him in every episode. The baddies and bullies always dump Bill Bixby somewhere out of their eyesight for a few minutes so he has time to change places with Lou Ferigno. Then Lou comes out as the Incredible Hulk, pushes the entire kitchen counter at Art, picks him up and throws him out the door. Unfortunately that's the last we see of Art Metrano in this episode, as well as Pat Morita's Fred. They both decide to leave town after the first Hulk-out.
There are a few more things worthy of mentioning about this episode, because Karen & Jill (the writers, not the restaurant owners) keep throwing out more far fetched plot fabrications. David finds a snapshot made by the girls just before the fist garbage incident which just happens to have a newspaper with a readable date visible on it, as well as a clock showing the time. This is proof that Arnold (the reporter, not Pat Morita as he was known in Happy Days) came in later with other people's garbage.
But the evidence means nothing as long as they don't have Arnold's original negatives. So they have to sneak into the newspaper-building and dark haired Jill has to distract the guard by wearing a slinky black dress. The three of them manage to get the negatives, but then Jill, who earlier on mentioned that she briefly worked at the Register, figures out by looking at a 'runsheet' hanging on the wall that some of the pictures have already been duplicated and are at the presses, about to be printed. And of course one of those photographs shows David's face.
So, David sends the two women home and goes down to the presses. It's unclear what he was hoping to achieve on his own, because it sure doesn't look like he planned to get his denim jacket caught in the spinning press, causing him to Hulk-Out faster than usual and smash the entire printing press to pieces. I guess the Hulk must have retained a bit of Banners intentions this time around.
But the fun's not over yet. In another subplot, Jack McGee had just acquired a big game hunter's riffle and while he was just sitting at his desk after hours, admiring his weapon, he gets word the Hulk is on the premises. But McGee proves himself even clumsier with his rifle than Banner was with his jacket: he shoots a tranquilizer dart into his own leg. And that's how we get a scene of David Banner, (transformed back into Banner faster than ever) face to face with his hunter Jack. Only Jack is too groggy and woozy to make out David's face.
What a silly comic book episode this was. It must also be mentioned that a lot of scenes obviously had lines dubbed in at a later stage, whether it's a scene the two girls walking down the street or The Great Art wisecracking 'I Ain't gonna wrestle this guy' during his far too brief confrontation with the Hulk.
7 out of 10
The Great Metrano week will continue tomorrow with another classic: The A-Team: Uncle Buckle-Up
Wonder Woman: Skateboard Wiz (1978)
Great Metrano week: day four
To celebrate Art Metrano's birthday earlier this week, this reviewer is enjoying a week long look at 7 guest starring roles from the 70's & 80's by the man also known as The Great Metrano. Today is day four: Wonder Woman: Skateboard Wiz.
Yes, it's another episode in which Steve Trevor only has two scenes, and they are both at IADC headquarters. Also, it's another one of those where Diana Prince interacts with old acquaintances whom we never saw before on any other episode. This week there are three: former IADC supervisor personnel member Leslie O'Neil and her teenage daughter Jamie, plus former LA cop now turned traitor Skye Markham.
Diana has her first vacation in about a year (probably the first one ever, since she started working at the Inter Agency Defence Command as soon as she got back from Paradise Island in 1977) And she wants to spend it with her gal pal the widow Leslie. But the real genius in the family is daughter Jamie. Not only is she a fantastic roller-skater and arcade computer gamer (specializing in a 'Torpedo' type of game), she also has a photographic memory and can memorize top secret information with just one glance. On top of that she has a big mouth, introducing Diana as a spy to her African-American skater pal Kevin who's is only there to be awestruck and totally supportive of Jamie all the time. I'm telling you, there's a bright future for this girl at the IADC. But of course this is the third and final season so we won't see her again (and we wouldn't have seen her again even if the series had continued).
For the first time in this week of reviews, Art Metrano does not play the main villain, but a flunky instead. He runs the electronic arcade down near the beach, which has a secret passage to an illegal casino. This job is not as easy as it sounds: Arty (or Friedman as he's called here) has to change clothes between the two sections of the operation all the time: from frumpy looking manager to suave casino patron. Meanwhile Diana Prince goes to the beach and is almost killed by two muscle heads. She hadn't even realized there's a evil afoot and the poor Amazon's already a target.
The actual head bad guy is real estate shark Evan Donelson, played by Eric Braeden. This actor actually did appear on Wonder Woman before, but as another villain and in another time-frame. He was Nazi pilot Captain Drangel in the 1975 pilot movie, and if he hadn't shot down Steve Trevor Sr. over the aforementioned Island of Paradise at that time, Wonder Woman would never have traveled to the good old U.S. of A. at all. So we should really be grateful to Braeden here. And since Lyle Waggoner plays both Steve the father and Steve the son, maybe possibly we can imagine that evil Donelson here is the offspring of that Ratzi Drangel. Obviously the family changed their surname after the war...
So, Diana noticed that somebody (read: the son of the man who shot down Steve the first over Paradise) is threatening several landowners into selling their property to him. And with a little reluctant help from Skye she's started to investigate. Jamie and her pal Kevin are still hanging around the boulevard arcade where an always just out of frame carousel is constantly playing Civil War era songs like "My Old Kentucky Home" and "Suwannee River". We've also witnessed dumb cowboy gambler Duane Morrisey being kicked out of The Great Metrano's top secret casino on account of his losing streak. The various plot lines begin to come together when Duanne convinces Jamie to help him out with her photographic memory, and she happens to set eyes on a map of Donelson's real estate plans.
So now Donelsen wants little Jamie silenced and Art Metrano and another henchmen are tasked to do the dirty deed. But at least they have the courtesy of letting her enter the local skateboard competition first (the main prize: a trip to San Francisco). Naturally it all ends with a chase scene in which Wonder Woman uses Jamie's board to catch up with Art's big American car and before you know it, Arty and the other henchman are flying through the air and looking perplexed lying on the ground (that's three out of four times Metrano ends up on the ground this week).
8 out of 10
The Great Metrano week will continue tomorrow with The Incredible Hulk: Stop the Presses, which, amazingly enough, was broadcast on the same night as this episode of Wonder Woman, on the Super Hero network CBS.