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Great Metrano week: day two, 23 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To celebrate yesterday's birthday of Art Metrano this reviewer kicked off 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 two: Starsky and Hutch season two: Nightlight, aka Bust Amboy. Personally, I prefer to refer to the second version, since the character of Amboy is played by our man, Metrano the Great.

You know you're watching a Spelling/Goldberg production when the opening shot features three young widows showing too much leg & cleavage exiting a limo. And you know we're back in the Seventies when the next shot has Starky and Hutch trying to hide a walkie talkie the size of a shoe box in a bouquet of flowers. And it gets better: inside the funeral home the three 'widows' can be seen dancing seductively to disco music until S&H burst in to bust everybody concerned. The usual comedic fight breaks out, soon followed by the first car chase of the week.

You see, it's like this: Hutch and Starsky let one of the dumb thugs escape, knowing he'll be stupid enough to lead them right to his boss, Amboy (played by TGM). Amboy for his part is a classy mobster/restaurateur in a white suit who insists on eating only the finest food. When we first see him, he's giving a lecture on the ripeness of corn. Ken H. and Dave S. think they've busted him when they find a stash of green dough hidden amongst the corn, but we're only 10 minutes into the show, so Amboy gets off on a technicality: the boys didn't notice that they crossed the county line. Their arrest was invalid.

That same day, Amboy has his goons pick up Ken and Dave and offers to give them a job over some fine champagne and beluga. All this fancy stuff is gobbledygook to Starsky, but Hutch proves himself quite knowledgeable about the finer things in life a la 007. It's no wonder Amboy employs an Oddjob clone called Itchy as a bodyguard, although he doesn't turn out to be much of a challenge for KH and DS. First the boys enjoy the expensive food and drink Amboy offers them (during work hours), and then Ken thanks their host by going into Public Service Announcement mode scolding their him for turning 9 year old's into drug addicts and putting teenage hookers on the streets. Of course this serious message only takes up a minute or so before the boys are busy beating up Amboy's goons 'Three Stooges style'.

After the required scene with Huggy Bear, Starsky and Hutch start operation 'Annoy Amboy'. First they disturb him during a posh dinner at his restaurant "Andre's" (leading the way for the Blues Brothers to do the same in their movie) and later they catch him with his pants down at the Tailor (similar to things that would happen to Art Metrano in both of his Police Academy outings). After spending the night in their car, the penny finally drops when the two comedy cops remember that Amboy was making a big deal out of reading the London Daily Dispatch during their meeting the day before. Amazingly, they have no trouble finding a copy of yesterday's Daily and they quickly deduce Amboy is eying a cruise ship about to leave for England.

By now S&H are getting too close, so Amboy has them run into some undercover cops (it is never explained what they were doing at his house) which leads to Captain Dobey forcing them off the case by giving them sick leave. That way, the boys can do whatever they want on their own time (as if they ever do anything else). Amboy forces 17 year old hooker Mickey (the object of Hutch's PSA messages sprinkled throughout this episode) to give a false lead to the two boys, but of course H&S soon see through this deceit. They arrive just in time to save Mickey from Itchy and then bust Amboy back at the fancy undertaker where the story started. So in the end, there was no sign of a cruise ship after all, but for the second time in this Metrano Week, Art ends up falling on the ground while fleeing (The writer must have seen his guest appearance on Kojak).

7 out of 10

The Great Metrano week will continue tomorrow with Charlie's Angels: Angels in Paradise.

Great Metrano week: day one, 22 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To celebrate the birthday of Art Metrano this reviewer is kicking off a week long look at 7 guest starring roles from the 70's & 80's by the man also known as The Great Metrano. So lets get started with day one: Kojak season one: One for the Morgue.

The episode starts off with a bang as our guest star of the week appears in the opening shot, dancing in the street as Michael X. Tomasso, Founder and President of the Lower Manhattan Protective Association. The occasion is a celebration in honor of Tomasso himself. His followers are out to cheer him on (and dance with him) and the police (including homicide detective Kojak) are there to protect him. But still two colored thugs manage to slip through the cracks and take a few shots at Michael X. Tomasso survives thanks to a Kevlar vest but an innocent old lady isn't so lucky. She becomes the titular 'one for the morgue', as uttered by the title character himself.

After that the Great Metrano disappears for most of the episode, which is unfortunate for this review. But at least his role was more substantial than in the Partridge Family season one episode "A Partridge by Any Other Name", in which our man only appears in one shot and has about three lines.

So let's take a moment to talk about Theo Kojak. Keep in mind that this is only the third regular episode so not all of his catchphrases and trademarks are in place yet (most noticeably the lollipops are missing). I recently found this interesting comparison written by Columbo creators Richard Levinson and William Link: "If Columbo was a shabby cop in elegant surroundings, Kojak was just the opposite: an elegant cop in shabby surroundings, with macho Greek bravado in place of Columbo's rumpled humanity."

Indeed, Telly Savalas plays Kojak with so much self confidence and so little respect for any of the other characters that he kind off forces the audience to love him (or else). Kojak treats both friend and foe as little children that he's teaching a lesson. Even his superior at the precinct, Captain McNeil (Dan Frazer), seems to accept being waltzed over by Lt. Kojak all the time.

And although Telly doesn't have the lollipop to fiddle around with yet, not a single prop on set is safe from his hands. Every time he's exits McNeil's office he turns around a little framed trophy just for fun, leaving McNeil to shake his head and chuckle weakly. In another scene he's carrying two bags with enormous fishes sticking out of them while discussing the case with undercover cop Gil. Before leaving, Theo hands Gil one of the fish and tells him "for your mother". Again, Gil accepts this with only a slight raise of the eyebrows. I guess all the guys at the precinct must have seen Savalas' performance in The Dirty Dozen and after-wards accepted that no one is tougher than Telly.

The following paragraph will be especially spoilerific because this review is still meant to focus on guest star Metrano, so be warned.

Tomasso finally reappears around the 30 minute mark as Kojak begins to figure out that Tomasso ordered the hit on his life himself. Which means M.X. is responsible for the poor little old lady's death. And that's something Kojak just can't let slip (also the fact that Tomasso tried to pull a fast one on the entire police department). The Lieutenant sets a trap using young Mitch DuBois, the thug who actually shot the old lady (he is easily recognizable from the earlier scene because of his giant afro and matching sideburns).

Tomasso figures out that Mitch has squealed and tries to shoot the young punk as soon as he's released, clumsily firing a shotgun from a moving vehicle. But Kojak and co are already right behind him and Tomasso's driver ducks into an empty bar, car and all. The Great M. makes a run for it, but he's limping so he doesn't have a chance against Kojak, who shoots him down, but not fatally. When Tomasso is on the ground clutching his leg it's a bit unclear if this is because he was already limping or Kojak just shot him in the leg, or possibly both.

Good episode, albeit rather Metrano lite but Kojak's bravado makes up for it.

7 out of 10. Happy birthday, Art!

The Great Metrano week will continue tomorrow with Starsky and Hutch: Nightlight

Auberjonois week: day seven, 7 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To celebrate the birthday of René Auberjonois, this reviewer spent a week long look at 7 guest starring roles from the 70's by the incomparable Mr. Auberjonois. Today is the last day. Day seven: Charlie's Angels season four: Angels on Skates.

René Auberjonois returns to the Angelverse to face two new (to him at least) Angels: Kris and (my personal favorite) Tiffany. Apparently our man René agrees, since he immediately comes on to Tiff at the 'Wheels of Fortune skate shop' wearing a Bluto T-shirt (there's a giveaway if ever I saw one). He then introduces himself as 'Frederick Victor Fortune - call me Freddie' and offers to turn the Angels into 'Fortune Girls'.

As soon as the Angels go back outside to skate the Beach of Venice, their teacher Ken's partner Rita is kidnapped in plain view as well as broad daylight. Somehow the Angels can't do anything but watch it happen. Further more, the police are unable prove it really is a kidnapping and Kenny doesn't have enough money to pay a ransom nor the Townsend Agency. Kris still convinces Charlie and the gang to take the case any way. While Kris sticks close to Ken (who may or may not be involved), the others investigate possible suspects and hey, what do you know? They actually use fake names for a change! Bosley poses as 'Warren Rambert of the West Coast Roller Derby', while Tiff and Kel pretend to be 'Yvonne Henning & Tara White of Roller Disco Magazine'.

Of course we all know the man they should really be looking into is Freddie Fortune, owner of Flipper's Roller Boogie Palace where he does double duty as the silky voiced DJ (using a different voice because as we've found out several times this week, that's R.A.'s specialty). Shortly after- wards, we the audience finds out Freddie is indeed behind the kidnapping. His victim Rita Morgan turns out to be heiress Rita Lathrop, who ran away from home 6 months earlier. So that's where the baddies plan to get the money. Also now the Angels can be paid their usual fee by Rita's step mom.

A few noticeable things: every time we cut back to the Palace, Kris and Freddie are wearing a new outfit. But none of the other skaters ever change their clothes, not even Kenny. Also, whenever the two K's, Cheryl Ladd and Ed Begly Jr., share a scene together they have to sit down, because they hardly fit in the same shot owing to the substantial size difference between them. Freddie still hasn't made his ransom demand until after the Angels find out Rita's actual I.D. When he does, he goes to the trouble of attaching a special voice altering device to the phone, but still uses an easily traceable payphone right next to the side entrance of his skating rink. And as we all know by now, Auberjonois hardly needs a machine to alter his voice.

Kris finally takes Freddie up on his offer to join his Fortune Girls. Meanwhile Tiff is on a bike with a bag filled with 1 million dollars in cash: ransom money. At the same time, the skating competition is about to start, so Freddie is wearing his most outlandish outfit yet. This one resembles a sparkly, disco version of the Lone Ranger costume, without the mask but with musical notes on it to make up for that.

It's a shame the Great René A. never puts on a pair of skates himself nor does he participate in the final chase scene. Sure, he loses the game and Bosley holds a gun on him, but we never even get to see Freddie be arrested or hear what happens to him in the office wrap up scene. Ed Begley Jr. does get to skate and be part of the chase, with a lot of help from a professional skating double during the finale of the competition.

9 out of 10

It's been a hoot reviewing 7 Seventies Auberjonois capers in a row. Maybe we'll do this again some time, focusing on another prolific guest star from that era.

Auberjonois week: day six, 6 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To celebrate this weeks birthday of René Auberjonois, this reviewer is having a week long look at 7 guest starring roles from the 70's by master of inflection Mr. Auberjonois. We're already at day six: Starsky and Hutch: Dandruf.

Hutch and Starsky are undercover at a beauty salon as 'Mr. Marlene' and 'Mr. Tyrone' respectively. Hutch is doing a full blown Mr. Humphries act in a blonde curly wig. He also occasionally has a lisp. Meanwhile Starsky is doing a really bad Inspector Clouseau impersonation that is almost insulting to Peter Sellers. At one point, Starsky pronounces 'guy' as 'gay'. Before the end of the first act, they engage in a chase scene that ends that in a pool, as usual.

The focus of our review, René Auberjonois, is 'The Baron', 'who's infamous reputation precedes him'. He is out to steal the Belvedere Diamonds at the unnamed hotel S&H work at. Nobody knows what the Baron looks like, but Scotland Yard does know the kind of cigars the Baron smokes: Corona Supurba. Every time the Baron appears, René uses a different voice in a ploy to secure his secret identity. It's also proof of why René is such a good voice-over artist. His disguises include a doctor, a bartender, elevator attendant and a cop.

Is this show always so over the top? All the characters look and act like cartoon characters. From the cliché gangsters wearing 30's fashion to all the patrons at beauty salon and the hotel guests they bump into. Of course René the A pulls it off well. And the two title characters are portrayed as the object of every beautiful woman's undying affection. Oh I get it, it's a the old Warren Beatty routine from 'Shampoo'. In the Seventies, leading men could still play the gay hairdresser for laughs, but had to make sure to kiss a different girl in every other scene to prove their masculinity.

Tyrone and Marlene run into hotel security Buddy Owens who is in charge of the diamond sale security and reluctantly team up with him. When Buddy ends up in hospital, he is somehow allowed to keep his gun holster on, complete with gun. Huggy Bear also joins the circus in disguise as 'Prince Nairobi' and the other two actually accuse him of 'hamming it up'.

During the all important auction that everything has been leading up to, S&H position themselves on a coach with their feet up and read a newspaper while Huggy manages to outbids himself. It's like writer Ron Friedman is really trying too hard to be funny. This being the fourth and final season, David Soul appears to be bored with the whole affair. If he isn't yawning in another characters face and getting distracted while important information is being divulged, he's fidgeting with his sunglasses and wig. Meanwhile, Starsky is carrying around a stepladder in several scenes for some undisclosed reason.

At least The Baron manages to escape without being identified. He even weeds out the police bug from between the diamonds, though Huggy gets the last laugh by switching the real jewels with fakes.

6 out of 10

Auberjonois week will conclude tomorrow with Charlie's Angels: Angels on Skates

Auberjonois week: day five, 5 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To celebrate this weeks birthday of René Auberjonois, this reviewer is having a week long look at 7 guest starring roles from the 70's by the incomparable Mr. Auberjonois. Today is day five: Wonder Woman: Spaced Out.

This installment opens with very funky spy music as our own Auberjonois climbs into the Torrence Aerospace Plant to steal a trio of collimating crystals from a giant telescope. He manages to escape getting caught by the guards by disguising himself as a cleaner, or more accurately, a 'Conciergonois' and hides the crystals in a crate filled with Apollo moon rocks about to lend out to the Space Questicon.

René plays professional burglar James Kimball, who's faced Wonder Woman before (though not on screen). This is something the writers on this show liked to do a lot: Wonder woman and her alter ego Diana Prince both have lots of acquaintances that she met on adventures between the episodes. This particular story is filled with them: apart from having failed to catch Kimball at least once, Diana also knows Sylvester Grogan, son of the 'famous Professor Grogan' as well as the crook Kimball is working for, Simon Rohan. Apparently WW 'ran into him last spring when he was arranging to bug the U.N. committee room' (an adventure that was obviously not exciting enough to be televised).

So Diana Prince reluctantly agrees to accompany Sylvester (who wants to be called 'Sly' even though his friends call him 'Ester') to the Space Questicon's main attraction: a costume contest hosted by Robbie the Robot itself. Kimball meanwhile knocks out an actor known only as 'the Masked Avenger' and puts on his world famous outfit. This actually makes him draw even more attention from the convention goers, who are all enormous Masked Avenger fans. The studio shot convention scenes are inter cut with some footage filmed at the 1978 Galacticon in Los Angeles. Of course none of the early Star Wars cos-players seen here take part in the costume contest, which seems to be promoting some kind of Logans Run cult instead, calling them "Logies" as opposed to "Trekkies".

You've really got to hand it to the man: René Auberjonois spends almost the entire episode wearing a mask over his face, and yet he still manages to convey all kinds of emotions with just his eyes. Not only does this show the man has a refreshing lack of vanity, he also manages to make a lot out of very little. Eventually Kimball and Wonder Woman team up to recover the crystals and catch the bigger crook, Rohan. Kimball manages to slip away from Diana/WW once more (how many times does that make?), meaning that for once, the final freeze frame features Diana looking concerned instead of the usual bright smile.

9 out of 10

Kimball may have escaped, but René Auberjonois week will continue tomorrow with Starsky and Hutch: Dandruf.

Auberjonois week: day four, 4 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To celebrate this weeks birthday of René Auberjonois, this reviewer is having a week long look at 7 guest starring roles from the 70's by the incomparable Mr. Auberjonois. Today is day four: Man from Atlantis: Crystal Water, Sudden Death.

Our guy Auberjonois is introduced early on as Havergal, first in command to recurring villain Mr. Shubert. They are searching for a mountain of crystals hidden deep within the Mid Pacific. Although Havergal is skeptical, they're underwater craft soon bumps into a force field and then Shubert simply decides to wait until Mark Harris, the Man from Atlantis, shows up to get them past it.

Indeed, the title character and the largely unnamed crew of the Cetacean are soon on their way to the strange sphere that Mark manages to get into without too much trouble. There he finds an underwater world that looks remarkably similar to Earth, the main difference being a blue filter over every outside shot. Nobody ever brings up the idea that Mark himself may have come from this place, and indeed the inhabitants are far more alien looking than him; clad in bright white unitards that cover everything but their white painted faces. They must have had these outfits left over from Everything you always wanted to know about sex...

The guest cast credits at the start of the episode identify the underwater beings as 'Clicks' because of the way they speak, yet Mr Harris from Atlantis has not trouble understanding their language and later off-handedly remarks that their world is called "Killburough Deep". Meanwhile, Shubert and Havergal follow Mark wearing rather unfaltering diving-suits, and soon take over the entire joint with the use of two multi-coloured flashlights. Shubert then forces the Killburoughians to dig up all their crystals and so he can use them to take over the world with giant crystal powered satellites.

Despite all his powers, Mark is rather powerless to stop them, and his pals over on the Cetacean never even bother to put on a wetsuit and go take a peek inside the sphere. In the end it's our hero René Auberjonois who turns the tide by rebelling against Shubert (but only because he doesn't want to die inside the sphere once the crystal power is all depleted). It comes as no surprise that he and Victor Bueno (as Shubert) get all the best lines, but then again they don't have a lot of competition from the Clicks nor the stoic Man from Atlantis, who mostly just emotes in his yellow trunks and sunglasses.

Not much of a stretch for Monsieur Auberjonois this episode was, but at least he got to act all nervous again and was even accused of being 'whiney' by his superior. Haha!

7 out of 10

René Auberjonois week will continue tomorrow with Wonder Woman: Spaced Out!

Auberjonois week: day three, 3 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To celebrate this weeks birthday of René Auberjonois, this reviewer is having a week long look at 7 guest starring roles from the 70's by the incomparable Mr. Auberjonois. Today is day three: McMillan and Wife: Once Upon a Dead Man.

Since this is the pilot episode, the first 30 minutes are spent getting to know the title characters Stewart and Sally McMillan. Stewart is the San Francisco police commissioner and his chief is played by Grandpa Joe from Willie Wonka. Susan is explained to be the daughter of the late criminologist Fred Hull, setting up a knack for crime solving in her as well as him.

We also get to witness the moment where Mrs. M is first introduced to (who will become a) recurring character Sergeant Enright. The couple has several scenes filled with humorous banter before we get to the actual crime, including some which concerns Stewart's lack of clean underwear. Apparently all the scenes set in the McMillan home were filmed in Rock Hudson's actual house so it shouldn't really have been a big problem finding some...

The coffin of Caesarion, son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra is stolen while it is being auctioned and of course the high society mingling McMillans are already present on the scene. Various suspicious looking character actors are introduced, including Dr. Smith from Lost in Space and actor Kurt Kasznar, but it takes until well after the crime has been committed until we finally get to see our hero, the Great Auberjonois. Just a few seconds shy of the 42 minute mark, he finally bursts on to the scene as only he can, playing André Stryker, a theater producer with a nervous tick.

Sally and her mother Emily attend one of André's post premiere parties and Mrs. M almost walks into a glass window. Do you think this will be important later? Shortly they are joined by Mr. M, who expresses frustration about being unable to identify the mastermind behind the sarcophagus theft. Guess who we cut to? A big close up of our man René. Coincidence, or just a Red Herring? Possibly a bit of both?

After some more people turn up dead and an exciting chase seen that begins on foot and ends on two bicycles, the Commissioner and his trusty Sergeant figure out what the director and editor have been trying to tell us all the time: André has to be the one behind it all. But his nervous tick gets the best of our man Auberjonois and his stunt double crashes through the plate glass window that was so nicely for-shadowed earlier. So now every last suspect is dead and there's still no trace of Caesarion.

So it turns out René's part, despite being fourth billed, only consists of three scenes. Further more, although he was definitely one of the bad guys, he's not the one that gets his satisfactory comeuppance in the final act. That honor goes to another actor, but his identity cannot be revealed in this review just in case we might decide to spend a week's worth of IMDb comments on him some time in the future.

7 out of 10

Lets hope R.A. will have a larger part when we return tomorrow to review his guest starring role in Man from Atlantis: Crystal Water, Sudden Death.

Auberjonois week: day two, 2 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To celebrate the birthday of René Auberjonois, this reviewer is having a week long look at 7 guest starring roles from the 70's by the incomparable Mr. Auberjonois. Today is day two: The Bionic Woman season two: The DeJon Caper.

R.A. bursts onto our screens before the start of the opening credits and introduces himself as Jacques LeRoy, wine merchant from Bordeaux. But OSI leader Oscar Goldman immediately exposes Jacques to be Piere Francois Lambert, extraordinary forger and all around fraud. Goldman then basically blackmails Pierre into helping the OSI catch Michael Beaumont, or 'Michel' as Pierre pronounces it (the alternative being Folsom Prison).

So Pierre and OSI's top agent Jaime Sommers (or 'Babe' as Goldman candidly calls her) fly to Paris (read: the 'European section' of the Universal back-lot), where everybody speaks English with a French accent - even the speaking clock. Of course they all tend to lean a bit towards Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau, but nobody pulls it off better than the guest star with the 100% French surname: Monsieur Auberjonois.

The first half of the caper involves Pierre pulling all sorts of pranks to get rid of Jaime, like breaking into another man's house at the Place Victor Hugo and dressing her up like a 'lady of the evening' before calling the Gendarmes. Notice that he only gives her a dress but when she's all dressed up, she's also wearing a wig. Did she get that one out of her OSI special accessories handbag?

Eventually P & J are captured by the very fish they set out to catch, Michael/Michel Beaumont, who still needs Pierre to finish his DeJon forgery. And this is where writer Arthur Rowe really starts to put strange notions into the characters mouths. First, Pierre insists on Jaime posing for him even though he is copying a famous painting, because having a flesh and blood model in front of him, gives him 'a sense of what the masters saw'. In his defense, René just about manages to pull it off convincingly.

Then Jaime, knowing they will both be shot once the painting is finished, comes up with one of the lamest plans ever. She dresses a mannequin doll in her artist model clothes, throws it out of a window and then jumps after it wearing Pierre's clothes. All this to make the crooks think Jaime and Pierre have committed suicide. And of course Beaumont & co fall for it and don't bother to check the bodies ("Tell the gardener to clean it up after we leave"). I can only guess the reason for this malarkey must have been that the writers were forced to incorporate a certain number of Bionic jumps in each episode.

As we get into the third act, Jaime pulls off even more tricks to Pierre's amazement (he doesn't know about her bionic limbs). First she confuses everybody by switching the fake and real paintings at Le Musee Commemoratif De Henri Rousseau, then later she joins in with the fake accents (hers supposedly being Swedish) on the yacht of Don Alfredo Moreau (aka the Corsican Godfather). His yacht is supposed to be anchored in Cannes, but in the background you can clearly see the Marina del Rey Helmsman statue, complete with steering wheel. I'll have to add these errors to the goof page after I finish this review.

Although believability is far to find, it's still a very enjoyable romp thanks to the combined efforts of Lindsay Wagner and René Auberjonois, who end the show on good terms despite of everything. Does she really expect him to stay on the right path from now on and a become an honest painter? Apparently he did because unfortunately Pierre Lambert never made a second appearance.

However, René Auberjonois week will continue tomorrow with McMillan and Wife: Once Upon a Dead Man.

7 out of 10

Auberjonois week: day one, 1 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To celebrate the birthday of René Auberjonois, this reviewer is kicking off a week long look at 7 guest starring roles from the 70's by the incomparable Mr. Auberjonois. So lets get started with day one: Charlie's Angels season one: The Seance.

Wearing a dark brown suit and sporting a tidy, trimmed beard, R.A. plays Terrence, assistant to Madame Dorian, a so-called 'spiritual adviser'. The Angels are investigating a string of jewelery thefts and Kelly is posing as 'Miss Osling', a rich oil heiress who recently lost her father.

Terrence speaks slowly, with an articulate and almost hypnotizing voice. Indeed, as soon as he gets Jill to leave the room, he puts Kelly under his spell with a little help from a music box. The melody that this ornament plays will be the trigger that puts Kelly into a trance and will make her reveal all her secrets to him. Later that night, during Madame Dorian's séance, Kelly reverts to a child on hearing the music box and starts to recount a trauma from her days at the orphanage. Of course Jill isn't clever enough to put two and two together and just laughs in her best friend's face.

Up till now, Le Auberjonois has been giving a rather subdued performance. But this changes once Terrence orders entranced Kelly to visit him in the middle of the night. Instead of telling him all about her bank accounts (which he plans to plunder), Kelly tells him the truth about her job for the Townsend Agency. The moment he learns this, Terrence drops the silky smooth voice and begins talking high pitched and nasally. His entire act changes from a smooth, in control butler type to a nervous crook. It's like René is playing two different parts within the very same scene. It is also worth noting that it's quite common in Charlie's Angels that one of their covers gets blown. After all, the Angels usually neglect to use a false name while on a case. But to have the bad guy drop his act in the very same scene is a great twist.

From here on, Terrence knows his game is up and tries to make one final grab of wealth before making a getaway. He occasionally drops his nervous 'actual Terrence' persona to give Kelly orders in his slow- talking 'hypnotist' voice. This is especially amusing since Kelly is shown to answer his questions even when he speaks in the nervous voice. During the final showdown, having already had a Angel Fu tussle with Jill, Terrence puts on the voice one last time to stop Kelly from pointing a gun at him, but by that point, Kelly isn't listening to anyone anymore.

The caper ends up with all three Angels laughing and Terrence looking wide-eyed and lost - a look Auberjonois always pulls off well. Jill refers to him one last time as 'Terrence the Terrible' during the office wrap-up. But René Auberjonois' performance was good enough for him to return to face the Angels again in season four, an episode which we will look at later this week.

As for this Seance, we give it 8 out of 10. Happy Birthday, René!

Auberjonois week will continue tomorrow with The Bionic Woman: The Dejon Caper!

Sjef and Evert celebrate their best year ever, 31 December 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Such was the success of Van Oekel's Disco Hoek, that the VPRO devoted 80 minutes on New Years Eve of 1974 to a celebration of the first half of the 74-75 (and only) season of this 'Top of the Pops' spoof. The first five minutes are a retrospective of Sjef van Oekel's earlier appearances in "Barend Is Weer Bezig" and "Waar Heb Dat Nou Voor Nodig" before we move on to new material. Van Oekel and his loyal assistant Evert van der Pik are not in their usual fancy Discohoek set, but rather in a small (but obviously fake) living room, complete with ironing board and intrusive chandelier.

Although this is basically a clip show, Sjef and Evert still managed to procure some famous guest appearances. First up is Bonnie St. Claire, who also happened to be the first musical guest on the Discohoek. Then the eternally grateful Donna Summer arrives, only to be upstaged by regular supporting actor Cees Schouwenaar. After the archive footage performance of 'Hostage', Donna gets to perform her new single: The Lady of the Night.

Next up, Barend Servet, Gerrit Dekzijl and Reverend Bongers join the party. Barend performs his 'Hoe Kan Dat Nou' number, but Gerrit explains that he's gone back to burgling following the flop that was his last record. Bongers is naturally not allowed to recite his end of the year eulogy. Later on Fred Haché crashes the party following a lengthy 'flashback' to the Discohoek that was almost entirely set aboard a train. Haché makes his usual claim that if it weren't for him, both Barend and Sjef would never have become TV celebrities. Then he plugs his comedy album released under his real name (Harry Touw).

Sjef recounts his attempts at directing his own show with singer Cherry van Gelder-Smith (also live in the studio). When the unidentified cleaning lady arrives with a tray of traditional Oliebollen, Gerrit and Cees decide to 'make some room for them' and visit the toilet. But the Christmas decorations catch fire and Van der Pik has to act as fireman, ruining the cleaning lady's dress. Next up is a compilation of all the Van Oekel Trophy winners. For his efforts, Evert is finally allowed to perform his carnival hit 'Geen Bier Maar Karnemelk' together with the band Circus, who originated the original version 'Beer or Sangria'. And when I say perform I mean of course mime the song to a record.

Kees Schilperoord arrives unexpectedly to present Evert with a golden record based on the success of his single. Even more surprising, Ad Visser, presenter of the more traditional music show 'Top Pop' pops in to present Sjef the award for TV personality of the year. And all this just before the clock strikes 12. Surprisingly, there are none clips from the controversial Christmas episode that was broadcast just a week earlier.

8 out of 10

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