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Harry Nelson's private atomic submarine
Irwin Allen who gave us so many good science fiction spectaculars for the big screen and a couple clinkers took a hand in converting one of his big screen efforts for television. Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea cast Richard Basehart as Admiral Harriman Nelson who designed and now owns the Seaview which is like the Starship Eneterprise exploring strange new horizons and going where no one has gone before under the sea. Even today a lot of the ocean depths are still unexplored so viewers imaginations are stimulated. Like Star Trek Basehart and the Seaview run into all kinds of villains and situations in the ocean depths.
Basehart's character just like Walter Pidgeon who played Admiral Nelson on the big screen is based on Hyman Rickover. But unlike Pidgeon and Rickover in real life he never got his own submarine to take home and play with. Rickover operated strictly for the US Navy and so did Pidgeon with his big screen Seaview.
Though the Seaview is owned by some scientific think tank it does run with a Navy crew. One headed by David Hedison playing Captain Lee Crane the role played by Robert Sterling on the big screen. The usual service comedy/drama situations happened here as well as running into monsters and aliens and a few human villains.
This was a nice show which I watched as a lad. Still holds up well today.
Jesse Stone: Sea Change (2007)
Police work as therapy
Things have gone from bad to worse in Tom Selleck's relationship with his ex-wife 3000 miles away in California and he's starting to drink again. His counselor William Devane says that work is the best therapy because an active mind won't be thinking about those bad things that led one to alcohol abuse. So there are three cold case homicides on the Paradise police blotter. Selleck picks one involving a teller who was taken during a holdup in 1992 and whose body was found in 1994.
The bank that was held up was the one Saul Rubinek was the president of and who on the Paradise Town Council was Selleck's biggest booster. Later on in another film Rubinek is arrested when he's found laundering money for the mob in his little small town bank. Selleck in fact goes to prison to visit Rubinek for information.
He also visits the victim's family and talks to her sister Rebecca Pidgeon in his quest for justice. That looks like it could get personal as well. She's taking care of her mother who is a stroke patient and needs a lot of care.
The second case is a young girl who was raped while on board a millionaire's schooner that is in the town harbor.
Ironically there's a lot of sadness tied to both cases and Selleck does what he can control his own desire to drown his own sorrows with what he uncovers.
Even though I kind of guessed the solution of the robbery this film was still well done and acted superbly by the ensemble.
Them Thar Hills (1934)
Too much high living
This Laurel&Hardy short subject opens with Ollie suffering the effects of the gout. Given his stoutness I would think that was something that Oliver Hardy might have had in real life. In any event Dr. Billy Gilbert suggests that he and Stanley go off into the mountains and get some clean country living. Ollie's been living it up too good with that rich city food. Surprisingly Gilbert, a great comic talent in his own right is little used in this short.
But anyway off go Stan and Ollie in a trailer to Them Thar Hills. But they come into some moonshiner territory where the locals have dumped some of their product into a well the boys stop at. That leads to all the rest of the gags in this film including getting a neighbor's wife drunk and the neighbor taking umbrage.
At least until the final gag Ollie may not have had his gout cured, but with all that moonshine in him, he forgot his ills.
Required viewing for police training
I approach writing a review on this documentary about LGBT police with a unique perspective. I did 23 years at New York State Crime Victims Board and part of that job was to evaluate police work with an eye toward giving victims due compensation under the law. I saw the full gamut of it from incidents of horrible prejudice and sloppiness to some really fine police work above and beyond.
Harvey Milk was one of the first who said that the value of coming out is to make sure that the straight majority know we are everywhere and proud of that fact. How much more so is that when dealing with law enforcement. In my personal and professional life I had a lot of both good and bad experiences dealing with law enforcement.
I have no doubt that the officers who tell their stories here have gone along way to making the police departments they work for more receptive to our issues and the victimization we've suffered, multiplied when we have to deal with police. My own current city of Buffalo is way behind in this endeavor. I see things here that were rare in New York as a matter of policy. That would be true of even the LGBT police in this city.
This review is dedicated to people like Officer Mark Caruso, the late Sam Ciccone who founded the New York City Gay Officers Action League and here in Buffalo to transgender pioneer officer Arey Moore whose very lives are an inspiration.
This film should be required viewing for police training by every law enforcement agency.
Bonanza: Mr. Henry Comstock (1959)
"That dang blue stuff"
This Bonanza episode done in flashback tells the story of the founding of the Comstock Lode and the boom town of Virginia City. Once a booming metropolis Virginia City now exists with a skeleton population and just exists for the tourist trade. And it is nothing like you see on Bonanza.
As Jack Carson portrays him Comstock was an itinerant conman and we know little about him. Which for the purposes of this show is good because his story can be woven right into that of the fictional Cartwrights. He did in fact sell his interest in a claim in an alleged gold strike where silver was in abundance. "That dang blue stuff" as the episode refers to it as.
I always enjoy Jack Carson in whatever he does, drama or comedy, big screen or small. You will too.
Laredo: Quarter Past Eleven (1966)
This episode is a reunion of sorts. Guest star Lee Van Cleef and Neville Brand played a pair of bank robbers part of a gang in one of my favorite noir films Kansas City Confidential. Here Van Cleef plays a mysterious man who arrives in town gunning for Captain Parmalee just when the men are putting together a surprise party for his four year anniversary taking over the Laredo post for the Texas Rangers.
This was one of the weakest episodes I've seen of the show. Given how menacing Lee Van Cleef is here and in just about every other part I've ever seen him in I can't buy that he would fall for the psychological warfare the Rangers are playing on him. The ending is definitely not in line with the Lee Van Cleef image.
This episode only for those who are devoted Laredo fans.
Making a gentleman out of Reese Bennett
Donnelly Rhodes and Madelyn Rhue are the guest stars in this Laredo episode. They are a pair of con artists who are pretending to be brother and sister and the heirs to a Spanish land grant that will give them the city and most of Laredo county. For chasing off 'bandits' and saving their lives their dying 'father' makes Neville Brand a third partner in their scheme.
My problem with this episode is I didn't see the necessity for making Brand a partner nor for Rhue trying to romance Neville Brand.
On the other hand there is Peter Brown trying to teach his former Ranger friend the fine points of being a gentleman, how to dress, talk, and even fencing lessons. All to fit in with the new circles he will run int. Let's say Brand is a less than willing pupil.
Some funny moments but hardly the best Laredo story.
Laredo: A Taste of Money (1966)
An inventive mind
Charlie Ruggles who delighted so many on the big screen with his milquetoast characters is the guest star in this Laredo story. He's a man of many talents, a dreamer, but a man with certain practical skills.
When the safe at the bank won't open and there's a riot forming outside of drovers looking to be paid, Ruggles is called in and opens the safe. Noah Beery, Jr. and Robert Yuro a pair of robbers witness this outside as they are casing the joint and Beery decides this man could be very useful to the gang.
Ruggles's best friend in Laredo is Ranger Reese Bennett who doesn't understand anything, but thinks him a good soul. To save his life and well being Ruggles joins the gang.
All I can say is that Beery and the rest don't really appreciate just how inventive Ruggles is.
It's a great episode and you have to see what Ruggles puts the outlaws through before he and Neville Brand are rescued by William Smith and Peter Brown.
Jesse Stone: Thin Ice (2009)
Paradise turning into Cabot Cove
Watching this latest Jesse Stone film Thin Ice put me in mind of Murder She Wrote and Jessica Fletcher's little hamlet by the sea Cabot Cove. The similarities between Cabot Cove and Paradise are striking, but the attitudes are certainly different among the residents.
As usual there are two cases for the small town police force to solve in this film. It opens with Tom Selleck and his friend Stephen McHattie from the State Police on a most unofficial stakeout when both are shot. Selleck manages to get off some shots and may have wounded one of the two shooters. The second is Camryn Manheim who came in from New Mexico. Her day old infant was snatched from the hospital several years ago. Mother's intuition and a strange letter tell her that her kid is in Paradise. On that very thin evidence and on her women's intuition Kathy Baker investigates with silent approval from Selleck. By the way Manheim's one scene with Selleck and Baker is unbelievably moving.
But it was the side issue that grabbed me. The town council is having a hissy fit over Selleck doing a little moonlighting with McHattie. His chief critic on the council Jeremy Akerman who after unsuccessfully trying to get Selleck to hire his nephew makes it clear that his chief function as police is to nail those speeders at the local trap and generate some revenue. Selleck who worked homicide in the LAPD really thinks it beneath him. Not to mention that those murders from previous Jesse Stone stories are giving Paradise a bad name which could affect the tourist trade.
Contrast that with Cabot Cove and how they treat Jessica Fletcher and think of all the murders she solved in Murder She Wrote's long run. The residents there certainly never thought of firing Tom Bosley or Ron Masak and certainly weren't about to tar and feather their most famous resident. Cabot Cove in fact had to be the murder capital of the United States. Paradise has a long way to go.
I think it's the provincial attitudes of some of the people you will take away when you watch Thin Ice.
Laredo: A Very Small Assignment (1966)
The tenderest of tenderfeet
While his two Ranger buddies are off chasing Comanches, Neville Brand gets a special assignment from Philip Carey. There's a new schoolmaster coming to Laredo, one all the way from the United Kingdom, where even Reese Bennett knows they speak proper English.
Well when Richard Haydn arrives late and the buckboard sent to get him departs without him, he's got no choice but ride with Brand to Laredo. Except he does not know how to ride a horse. And he does take exception to Brand's grammar.
Two more things complicate matters. Brand has the mother of all toothaches and there's a man played Ken Lynch who with his three amigos is after ransom for Haydn and a revenge against Brand for sending him to jail.
Brand and Haydn make a contrasting pair and the comedy between them is worth more than a chuckle.
Haydn is the tenderest tenderfoot you ever saw and he really makes this Laredo story.