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For its 100 made for TV movie the Disney Channel launched its publicity
machine for about six weeks. I'm not sure there wasn't one person
within the range of a Disney affiliate in the world that did not know
that this remake of the 1987 brat pack comedy Adventures In
Babysitting. Nothing beats the Disney publicity machine when they want
to push one of their products.
Having said that this was an easy to take teen comedy with Sabrina Carpenter and Sofia Carson as rival babysitters who lose one of their charges when she runs off to the big city alone, the big city here being where the film was shot Vancouver. Carpenter and Carson have to team up though they are poles apart in personality. Carpenter is most uptight, especially where heartthrob Kevin Quinn is concerned. Carson is a free spirit who seems to drift not knowing what she wants out of life.
Carpenter, Carson, and Quinn are Disney Channel regulars and young Max Lloyd-Jones who plays a most hunky police officer shows every signs of becoming a Magic Kingdom mainstay. The film borrows quite liberally from the Home Alone franchise where a bunch of McCauley Culkins outwit a pair of singularly inept crooks who want Carson's camera.
Nothing special here, but Adventures In Babysitting Redux is entertaining enough.
If you remember the classic The List Of Adrian Messenger, there was
both a train wreck and a plane crash with a considerable loss of life
to cover up a crime. In the case of this particular Kojak story there
was only a plane crash that was discovered during this investigation to
be bombing which is only part of the overall picture.
A skeleton is discovered during the razing of a building and identified as the remains of a missing person who ran out on his wife Gail Strickland when he was suspected of an embezzlement back in the Fifties. He was later identified as being on the passenger list of a Brazilian airliner that crashed.
I have to say that not only was this one well planned scheme, but it only was discovered after the skeleton was. Gail Strickland has lived quite well since her husband's demise, but someone else has been living quite a bit better as a result.
A certain key is the key to wrapping it up. You'll have to watch the episode to see what I mean.
The key to this particular Banacek episode is that there are two
simultaneous attempts to steal a wedding coach that has been studded
with precious jewels. The rather stupid and clumsy attempt is actually
what uncovers the fact that the whole coach has been lifted in a very
clever robbery. Had an alert Christine Belford not decided to take a
last minute look in the cargo hold of Captain Titos Vandis's ship the
really good thieves would have gotten away with it.
There's a little more humor in this Banacek episode than others. Belford has decided to actually marry uptight insurance drip Linden Chiles who George Peppard takes a laconic delight in upstaging and earning another big finder's fee from Chiles's company.
Besides those already mentioned there's both an amorous jeweler and first mate of the freighter played by Dick Gautier and Don Knight. Both are key to solving the mystery. Also Arlene Martel as the B picture actress who is set to marry an Mid-Eastern potentate is for whom the coach is intended. If Charles and Diana could have a royal wedding coach than she was certainly entitled to one.
And by God she got one and Martel sails with the coach as Banacek uncovers the solution before Vandis sails.
Sheik To Sheik is the kind of film that was an average short subject
with some original music with it that could never be made today.
Musicals just cost too much even a 20 minute short
Georges Metaxa who had a couple of Broadway shows to his credit like The Cat And The Fiddle and Revenge With Music moved to Hollywood, but never had that kind of success. He settled into non-singing roles in a lot of B pictures.
I'm betting RKO did this musical short fantasy to showcase his vocal talents. Comedian Johnny Berkes while golfing is caught in a sand trap when he's banged on the bean with a ball. Berkes dreams he's in the Sahara where he encounters Metaxa as a Foreign Legion lieutenant and Richard Rober as a sheik.
Berkes tries to sell both sides radios. Of course there's a limited amount of electrical outlets in that territory.
Sheik To Sheik is silly, but pleasant nonsense and it's no pain to be watching it.
When you set out to create a show like Fantasy Island you have to be
well read on history and have one good imagination. Glad to say that
Fantasy Island showed a good deal of both in their episodes.
One episode I well remember was a pair of women were real big into the Civil War and desired to go back and live the genteel life that Scarlett O'Hara and her family had on Tara. Fantasy Island brought them back all right, but showed them the downside of that era and I'll say no more on the story. The morale of that show was be happy in your own backyard.
Host and impresario of Fantasy Island was the mysterious Mr. Roarke played by Ricardo Montalban. In interviews Montalban said that he never got the real career role on the big screen that defined other of his contemporaries. But on the small screen Montalban got two of them, Mr. Roarke and Khan on Star Trek which went to the big screen also. What powers Roarke drew on to show his guests what they really thought was ideal was left open to the imagination.
For all but one season Montalban had his dwarf companion Herve Villechaize and these two had a gentle and playful repartee. Villechaize had a sad and tragic life, but Fantasy Island left him with a career role and an identity that will linger.
I could never see this show revived because Montalban and Villechaise had such a special chemistry for the small screen.
Guest stars Tige Andrews, Stephen Macht, and Andrew Parks play the Fisk
family and they dominate this episode. Andrews is a millionaire in the
garment industry and Parks was the favored child, a Vietnam war hero
and now a paraplegic. They blame former cop Anthony Ponzini and did an
elaborate frame to land him in prison where he's been for going on four
years. Why they blame him is for you to watch the story.
But a series of events starts to unravel all of Andrews's schemes and Manhattan South is on it. In his second appearance on Kojak, James Luisi as an internal affairs cop is once again made to look very stupid. He isn't really, but the frame was elaborate and effective.
I dare not reveal the ending, but it is practically biblical in scope. Definitely look out for this one.
One of the quirkiest cops in television series was Barreta played by
Robert Blake who in real life got to see the other end of the criminal
justice system. Loquacious and iconoclastic this was a guy who
definitely followed his own beat.
Living with ex-cop Tom Ewell as a landlord and having a cockatoo named Fred as a companion, Baretta seemed completely dedicated to his job and didn't seem to have much of a social life. I'm betting that his friend Rooster the pimp who was his number one snitch supplied a little nookie for his pal. At least Rooster never called Baretta, an 'honorary soul brother' like Huggy Bear did with Starsky and Hutch.
Robert Blake who played some interesting roles like one of the GI rapists in Town Without Pity, one of the killers in In Cold Blood, serial killer John List was never traditional leading man material. As a kid he was best known for playing Little Beaver in the Red Ryder series and the Mexican kid who sold Humphrey Bogart the winning lottery ticket in The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, Blake never was a teen heart throb. He was a born character actor and a character.
The quirky Baretta is hard to find on the nostalgia channels. That arrest for murdering his last gold digging wife even with an acquittal spelled finis for Robert Blake. A pity because Baretta took a unique approach to crime fighting.
And that's the name of that tune.
With that Gran Torino that it seemed always that David Soul was in the
driver's seat and Paul Michael Glaser rode shotgun, Starsky and Hutch
looked hip, dressed hip and even had a black friend who was also their
Starsky And Hutch set a new standard for detectives. Even through the Sixties, police plainclothes detectives were always in suits with gray fedoras. David Starsky and Ken Hutchinson were looking groovy in those bell bottoms. They both had some snappy dialog showing they were quite wise to the scene.
The two other regulars on the show were both black, but lived in different worlds. Glaser and Soul worked for Captain Dobey played by Bernie Hamilton and I really liked his character. Even being black this man worked his way up the police ladder and was respected by the guys even if they aggravated him a lot. It was kind of like the way Marshal McCloud did things to annoy Chief Clifford, but always got the job done. Captain Dobey was a thoroughgoing professional.
Antonio Fargas was a pimp and had his own place always with a few women from his stable around. No doubt this guy had a license to operate within reason. But I remember one time when Huggy Bear called Starsky And Hutch 'honorary soul brothers'. That was unbelievably stupid and condescending.
But the show did have style aplenty.
This episode is a great illustration of why when one is a cop one
should not take the job too personally. It's the hardest thing you can
do, especially for someone like Theo Kojak.
Telly Savalas has it in big time for Madison Arnold because an innocent civilian was badly and permanently injured in a crime Arnold was committing. After a stoolie tips off Kojak and a search is conducted Arnold then counters with saying Kojak solicited a bribe.
This particular episode is a great example of why I told my nephew not to go into the NYPD. Even a Theo Kojak has to put up with this.
In fact with James Luisi as an internal affairs captain, Internal Affairs and the Manhattan South Squad have to work together to both catch a crook in the act of a crime and clear Kojak. Makes for an unusual partnership.
The real life actress Jane Barnes is used as a prototype subject for
the struggle of women in particular to be noticed by the powers that
run the studio(s). In fact Ms. Barnes had a minor career before leaving
the industry and lived a long life and hopefully a happy one.
We see Barnes in a variety of occupations be it extra or stand-in for Maureen O'Sullivan in a Tarzan film always looking for that big break. No doubt it's a heartbreaking process for those thousands of attractive young hopefuls who back in the day flocked to Tinseltown hoping to be the one who has the fabulous career.
It might have been interesting to see if MGM made a similar short subject of the male of the species.
Maureen O'Sullivan and Chico Marx are seen in this film. It's a struggle to be noticed.
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