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Ironside: A Killing Will Occur (1970)
Conscience Doth Make Cowards Of The Guilty
The opening scene pans San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.Chief of Detectives Robert T. Ironside (Raymond Burr) complains about having to attend the Police Commissioner's committee meeting, and asks his young assistant,Mark Sanger(Don Mitchell),to bring him coffee.
Before leaving,Ironside receives a disquieting telephone message.The caller states that"unless(Ironside)does something about it,he will commit a murder." Ironside fears a sniper attack,scanning windows and rooftops as he and Sanger drive through San Francisco.At the meeting,Ironside receives another call and orders it traced.
The caller(a young man)counsels Ironside to believe him,stating next time,he'll describe how he'll do it.
Ironside deduces the call came from within the Municipal Building(where he is presently),and that the target phone is within 10 minutes of his immediate location.
Ironside and Mark find a public phone in the lobby,but "Hank"(a female concessionaire)says it is out of order.
Within seconds,Ironside receives another call at "Hank's Boutique."The taunting voice predicts Ironside won't be able to stop him.He justifies threatening murder by"doing it to secure justice."The voice finally assures Ironside he'll tell him when.
Fellow detectives Eve Whitfield(Barbara Anderson)and Ed Brown(Don Galloway)analyze the situation:the killer ambivalently wants to kill, but is crying "catch me before I kill."Mark,however,fears the caller is trying to lure Ironside outside to kill him.
The Police Commissioner calls Ironside.Terrified they are the potential victim, many people have inundated the police with names of "suspects." Ironside receives calls when the police aren't with him,so he has Sanger drive him around San Francisco in the van,then leaves it unattended, with Ironside inside,alone.
Mark checks out the surrounding area.The van phone rings;Ironside switches on a tape recorder.
Predictably,the caller waited until Ironside was alone;he tells Ironside the murder location:"where the park meets the bay." Later Eve,Mark,and Ironside listen to the tape.Ironside figures the caller has a car phone,but no numbers called went through the mobile operator.
Mark and Eve agree the voice is neutral,redolent of a radio announcer. Ironside suggests they investigate all such Bay area schools and students.
Next day,Ironside and Mark head to the place"where the park meets the bay." The van phone starts ringing, while Mark is outside.The caller is changing his plan;he's going to commit murder the next day,no later than midnight - and "make it look like an accident." When Ironside expresses frustration over finding the caller before his murderous deadline,Mark jokes that perhaps the suspect has a phone in his pocket - triggering a brainstorm in Ironside.
He and Mark visit a dealer who sells an attaché case with a portable phone inside.The coded calls no longer go through the mobile operator.
The number calling Ironside,WP56715,is assigned to a salesman,Eddie Street - young,in his early 20's,with a soft voice(like Ironside's caller.) Ironside searches Eddie Street's vacant rental room,finding a sugar packet from a downtown grill.
Ironside questions a waitress there about Eddie Street;she calls the owner,Vern Emmerich,who cannot give Ironside any leads about Street, either.
As Mark is driving,Ironside notices a street sign,Eddy Street,close to Emmerich's café - obliquely pointing a finger at Emmerich.
Ironside is startled to hear an individual named Charles Borrow dropped out of his radio announcer class.
In 1955,Police Sgt. Charles Borrow,Sr.shot and killed a burglary suspect (presumably armed),though later determined to have been unarmed.Borrow insisted a witness could exonerate him.The witness,however,vanished,and Borrow was fired.
Ironside goes to visit Mrs. Borrow,who informs him her husband died several years before.
Her son,Charles Jr.left home four years earlier at age 18,and would be 22 now - the right age of the suspected caller.
Ironside confronts Emmerich,who provides an alibi for events happening 15 years before.
Ed is dispatched to surveille Emmerich.Ed calls in:Emmerich has fled for the airport in the airport bus.Ironside orders him to follow Emmerich and leaves also.
On the bus,a well-dressed young man sits behind a fidgety Emmerich. Ironside wants the police to stop the bus.Ed is standing at the back.
The young man leans over and whispers to Emmerich:"You'll never make it to the airport." Police cars pursue the bus, sirens and lights blazing...
Emmerick looks green.The young man leans forward,again,murmuring: "Time is running out."Emmerich winces,squirming in his seat.
As the bus grinds to a halt,surrounded by police cars,the young man hisses:"This is it,buster." Terrified,a wild-eyed Emmerich shrieks:"No! NO!",opens the emergency door,propels himself onto the highway,and is yanked to his feet by waiting police officers.
Ironside confronts Emmerich,who screams: "A man wants to kill me!" Ironside orders him arrested,then addresses young Borrow:"You thought we wouldn't make it." Borrow replies: "I was getting a little worried." Back at Ironside's apartment,Borrow, Jr.(Ironside's mystery caller) admits he concocted his war of nerves to trap Emmerich,because evidence pointed to Emmerich as the witness who wouldn't admit it(since he was the car thief/hit-and-run driver.) Ironside informs Charles the Commissioner will decide what charges Charles may face for his disruptive actions.Charles Borrow looks crestfallen until Ironside orders him to call his mother and tell her he is all right.Charles grins, and starts dialing...
The two guest stars gave this episode its special appeal.
Character actor Dane Clark(Vern Emmerich)imparted to his role the sense of cowardly desperation felt by a shifty individual,whose dark secret was known by someone intent upon killing him over it.
As Charles Borrow,Jr.(son of the wrongfully-disgraced police officer), Barry Brown's characterization was superior,as were all his performances in a promising career - sadly, cut short by an early death.
I highly recommend this tensely thrilling episode of "Ironside."
Gunsmoke: The Witness (1970)
Courage Is Dear, But Cowardice Can Be Costlier
The scene opens with a train thundering across the prairie.A father and son are dozing.In the aisle,an angry man demands to look at a sleazily-handsome young man named Ira Pickett,whom the older man insists murdered his brother.
A scuffle ensues,and Pickett guns the man down.An elderly man says Pickett committed murder,and Ira backhands him savagely.
The father and son are awakened by the turmoil.The son smashes Pickett in the head and grabs a gun,training it on the killer.The son announces"he is holding Pickett for the Marshal in Dodge City."The father grabs Pickett's gun,also holding him at bay.Pickett lolls back in his seat,laughing ruefully at the irony.
An older man in black and a younger one arrive in Dodge to see a body loaded onto a wagon.A man declares there was a shooting on the train involving an "Ira Pickett,"but the body is his victim's;Pickett is in jail.
The old man(who peppers his speech with Biblical aphorisms)is Osgood Pickett,with his older son,Joseph.Osgood Pickett is the paterfamilias of a ruthless clan of gunslingers.
In Dodge,the witnesses(Arnie Sprague and son,Jared)will testify against Ira Pickett when Judge Booker arrives at 3 p.m.
The annoyingly talkative Edda Sprague picks up her father and brother in a wagon;she hectors Jared about his capturing Pickett.As they leave,the Picketts ride up, encountering the old man whom Ira assaulted(one Beecher),who praises the courageous Spragues.
The Picketts visit Beecher at his farm.He is under a wagon(supported by a wooden block),making repairs.Osgood Pickett kicks out the prop;the wagon falls on Beecher,killing him.
With Beecher dead,the Picketts go to intimidate the Spragues.Osgood Pickett hints to Arnie Sprague that if Ira is hanged,Sprague's wife and daughter will suffer,also.The Picketts remain at Sprague's to ensure "compliance."Osgood Pickett suggests that Arnie and Jared stop by the Beecher farm on their way into town.
The father(terrified of the Picketts)tells his unwitting hostage wife and daughter that the Picketts are cattle buyers from Oklahoma - Mr.Osgood,and son Joseph.
The Spragues find Beecher crushed to death.Arnie Sprague(mad with fear) recants his testimony,distressing his son and disquieting the Marshal.
A smirking Ira Pickett is freed;he sneeringly tells Festus Hagen about making his fortune soon in the "Clark Couty fence war."
Arnie and Jared return(Jared,ashamed of his father's cowardice.)Osgood Pickett tauntingly demands "restitution":Arnie Sprague's hundred head of cattle.
After hearing from Festus about Ira's involvement in Clark County,Matt Dillon sends a telegram to the local sheriff.
Edda Sprague rides off to fetch a wandering cow.Jared,sawing meat outside,starts to enter the smokehouse when he sees Ira Pickett ride up.Jared goes berserk,rushing inside to get a rifle.His father tried to stop Jared,slapping Jared hard across the face,knocking him down.
Jared leaps up,grabs a gun and wants to starts shooting.As they argue,Osgood Pickett enters,orders them(at gunpoint) to surrender the rifle,then smashes it against a table.
Outside,Osgood Pickett sees the sheriff coming,and sends Ira after Edda for "insurance."A suspicious Matt Dillon grills Arnie Sprague over his perjurious volte face in court,but Arnie sticks to his lie.Again,Osgood and Joseph are introduced as the cattle-buying Osgoods from Oklahoma.
Ira pitches woo to an unsuspecting Edda,and as they return with the cow, Jared,irascible,retrieves a hidden revolver,loads it,and conceals it again.
Later in the parlor,Ira sings as Edda plays the piano.Edda(smitten with Ira)betrays her brother,revealing that she saw him practicing with the gun in his bedroom.Jared lunges forward,but Ira shoots him in the arm.
Having worn out their "welcome,"Ira and Joseph Pickett go out to the barn to sleep.Their father,Osgood,keeps watch from a chair on the front porch.
Arnie Sprague,ashamed of his cowardice,decides belatedly to take action.
The Clark County sheriff returns a telegram about an outlaw family named Pickett - father Osgood, and sons,Joseph and Ira.Marshal Dillon heads immediately to the Spragues.
Morning dawns,and Arnie is cooking breakfast.Joseph Pickett opines that, in addition to the cattle,the Picketts want a hostage for "safe passage" - the daughter,Edda.
Arnie Sprague seizes Jospeh,pressing a butcher knife to his throat.Sprague removes Joseph's gun,shooting him,but the injured Pickett escapes through the kitchen door.
A gun battle rages.The Picketts cannot get inside,but Osgood Pickett orders Joseph to set the house ablaze.
Marshal Dillon rides up as Ira Pickett attempts to enter the house. the Marshal fires on Ira,killing him.
Seeing his favorite son die takes the fight out of Osgood who kneels beside Ira's body,grief-stricken.The story ends as the Marshal,the Spragues,and Joseph Pickett watch Osgood Pickett looking mutely at his youngest son,realizing the dynasty of terror he envisioned has now come to an abrupt,bloody end...
Harry Morgan excelled as Osgood Pickett,the sanctimonious gunslinger with a curdled smile who,with his sociopathic sons,terrorized a rancher and his family for doing their civic duty.
Tim O'Connor was convincing as Arnie Sprague,the timorous cattleman bullied by the sadistic Osgood Pickett until Sprague decided to fight back.
Dack Rambo(Ira Pickett)played the part well of a smug outlaw,groomed for his criminal career by his equally twisted father.
Barry Brown(Jared Sprague)effectively portrayed the moralistic cattleman's son whose sense of social responsibility,and innate heroism put his father's fecklessness to shame.
This episode's ending was predictable,but enjoyable when the faint-hearted father(seeing his son injured,and his daughter threatened) ultimately decided to stand up - like a true son of the Old West - against the vile,cowardly oppressors who had been menacing his family, and subverting justice.
"Go Get 'Em Tiger" No Paper Tiger
In the opening scene,Dr.Steve Kiley enters the Ross-McGill Clinic(a drug treatment clinic)where men are taking methadone;the last one called is a Mr.Chambers.
Kiley looks horrified;Mr.Chambers gave Kiley his first job repairing cars to earn college money.Chambers snarls that he takes methadone to keep from returning to heroin.
That morning,Dr. Welby(swamped with patients)is nettled at Kiley's absence.
Kiley,strolling the drug clinic's grounds,chats with Chambers.
Chambers turned to heroin 5 years before,after his daughter was killed in a freeway accident.His business slid,and Chambers drifted into crime to support his habit.
After serving time in prison he went to New York, but dissatisfied - returned to Los Angeles.
Undergoing withdrawal,Chambers collapsed at the Ross-McGill Clinic,where he lives.If he leaves the clinic he can't obtain methadone,without which he cannot function.
Kiley tries to get Chambers a job,but nobody will hire an ex-felon.
Kiley returns to Welby's clinic around lunchtime;Consuelo warns that Welby is furious.As Kiley sits down,Welby unnerves him with his basilisk glare.
A bus driver applicant at La Vista Academy(a boys' school)has canceled his appointment for the physical examination.Kiley immediately calls Chambers about the prospective job.
Chambers keeps the appointment,and Kiley examines him.Kiley ignores the needle scarring on Chambers's arm,and passes him. Chambers once hired an under-aged Steve Kiley as a mechanic;now Kiley reciprocates the favor.
At La Vista Academy,Chambers impresses the dispatcher by dexterously handling a school bus and is immediately hired.
On his inaugural run,Chambers notices one student missing,and the others assure him that "Greg is usually late,and his mother ends up driving him to school."
Chambers,determined that Greg will ride the school bus like everybody else,attempts to chug the aging vehicle up a steep incline;it stalls halfway.Chambers jumps off the bus,opens the hood,and revs up the motor. Back inside,the engine roars to new life,negotiating the hill successfully.
Chambers toots the horn;reluctantly,Greg Wells,Jr.lopes out.He is a swarthily-handsome,solemn-faced youth.Arriving at school,Greg(who seems "out of it")has to be reminded to leave the bus.
The next day,Chambers(who is suspicious),asks Greg why he always wears long-sleeved shirts.Greg(sweating heavily)snarls defensively,confirming Chambers's worst fears about young Wells.
Chambers drives to Welby's office.He frantically tells a confused Welby that"one of the kids is sick,"but he "doesn't want to get the boy in trouble."
In the interim,George Howe(the headmaster of La Vista Academy)storms into Welby's office and fires Chambers,while upbraiding for foisting off an ex-junkie upon his school.
Howe finds out who performed the medical examination and starts inveighing against Kiley,ranting that he is"without ethics."Welby agrees to investigate when Kiley returns.
Kiley tries to explain,but is bawled out by Welby for his stupidity.Steve admits his wrongheadedness,and Marcus offers to help Chambers.
They confront La Vista's executive committee(Howe,another man,and a Mrs. Collins.)The men want Chambers out;Mrs.Collins is compassionate and will put the matter before the board of trustees at tomorrow's public meeting.
While brainstorming,Welby,Kiley,and Mrs.Collins ask Consuelo's advice. She suggests Chambers try for another position at the school.
Mrs. Collins suggests the school's car clinic.No one was qualified to run it,but Chambers would be the perfect candidate.
That evening,the moody Greg Wells visits Dr.Welby,admitting he's scared he's hooked on heroin.Wells explains Chambers insisted he come - the only adult Wells could trust to tell him the truth about addiction.
Wells also says Chambers left the clinic(fearing he caused too much trouble);Kiley hastens to find him.
Chambers(back at the clinic)had visited his daughter's grave.He needs the clinic, but also,a focus in life.
Kiley assures him that Mrs.Collins and the kids care,and both he and Welby are sticking their necks out for him at the meeting,which they expect him to attend.
At the meeting,Howe insists an addict is not sick,but causes his own addiction.Welby counters that he doesn't consider guilt, but treats the disease.
Welby assures that Chambers is no longer addicted,and should be hired to supervise the Car Clinic,both for his expertise in mechanics,aw well as his empirical wisdom concerning the perils of drug addiction.
Howe demands to know how Chambers's presence has had a positive influence of a student.Greg Wells leaps up,hysterically admitting his addiction.Howe then insists that Wells tell him how Chambers made him seek help.
Wells looks confused;Chambers rushes over, puts a protective arm around him,declaring:"I told him:Cut it out,kid,or you'll wind up like I did."
Flatly,Chambers states "I'm Exhibit A,"acknowledges responsibility for past mistakes,but adds,(touchingly)that can "make a motor sing like a bird," and can serve as an example to any student considering drugs.
Chambers is lauded for his honest,heart-touching speech,and a chastened Howe hires Chambers as Car Clinic supervisor.
Later,Steve Kiley visits Chambers at the La Vista Car Clinic.Steve's motorcycle is acting up,and chambers sends his protégé - a smiling Grag Wells - out to examine the machine.The scene ends with Chambers smiling,also;he has found his purpose in life.
Jack Albertson performed superbly as Mr.Chambers,the garage owner who fell from society's grace over a family tragedy.
His emotional speech,asking for a chance at redemption was movingly tear-provoking.
Barry Brown(Greg Wells),a promising 1970's actor,had one of Hollywood's most soulful faces.
As Greg Wells,Barry Brown conveyed an almost painful look of emotional torment over his besetting problem.
Sadly,in real life,this highly talented performer was assailed by the twin demons of serious depression and alcoholism,ultimately committing suicide at the age of 27 in 1978.
While dated,this show provides a glimpse into the U.S.drug situation nearly 40 years ago,and the anti-drug message incorporated in the show is still timely,universal,and more important now than ever.
The scene opens upon a sprawling mansion which lies nestled near the foothills of tall mountains.
Inside,three men enter a large trophy room.The oldest man is a commanding presence:tall,grey-haired,possessing a surface congeniality which barely masks his true,vicious nature.He is accompanied by a middle-aged man in a dark suit(a trust officer)and a slender young man(the old man's son.)
Col.Archie Dittman,Sr. - hunter extraordinaire - takes a snifter of brandy from his body servant,Tom. Tom(son of an Igbo tribal chieftain)is Oxford-educated,but an animist who still prays to tribal gods.
A racist,Col.Dittman refers to Tom as "a specimen" and "a savage,like all of his breed."
Col.Dittman calls hunting "my life's work";the old man describes,in glowing detail,how he stalked and killed a huge lion(the head of which is on the wall)one dark,rainy night on the African veldt.
Archie Dittman,Jr.(hostile toward his reprehensible father)continues to drink brandy during his father's self-important diatribe.
Now Dittman Sr. trains his attentions upon his son,Archie Jr.,a recent college graduate.He derogates the boy as "a pallid hand wringer,"but mostly as "doing little but occupying space."
Col.Dittman's life-philosophy is sociopathically simplistic:man must kill other species before being killed himself;that is the basic equation of survival.
Mr.Pierce(the trust officer)expresses disdain for wanton,purposeless killing.Dittman Sr.counters that he kills purposefully:to show his superiority over what he kills.
Col.Dittman now discusses the reason for the trust officer.In Dittman's briefcase are $2M in stocks and bonds,to be turned over next week to Archie Jr. as an inheritance.
Dittman now wants a codicil appended:that if in 15 days his son,Archie, has not shot and killed an animal,the trust will be dissolved.
The trust officer advises that Archie could sue his father,but Col.Dittman admonishes that if Archie tries,he will dribble away the funds on highly-speculative ventures,and convert the $2M by next week into waste paper.
On the stairs,Archie screams hysterically at his father,asking maybe if he wants him to shoot a child.The father retorts,coldly,that the world is a bloody hunting jungle,and one either stalks with the hunter,or runs with the quarry.
The father taunts Archie to shoot him.Archie takes aim,but the African servant,Tom,seizes the gun.
In the trophy room,Tom tells the trust officer that he has stayed for the boy's sake,in order to protect him.
Col.Dittman confronts Tom,standing in native attire before the fireplace,invoking his tribal gods.Dittman asks Tom to pray for a successful hunt.Tom replies that that is not his objective.
Tom also informs Dittman that the Igbo hunt for survival,not for the pleasure of killing.
The next day,Col.Dittman takes Archie out to hunt whitetail deer.He tells Archie to hit the deer in the shoulder,above the middle of the body,for a clean kill.
Archie aims,but doesn't fire.Enraged,Col.Dittman slaps Archie hard across the head,causing the gun to misfire.The deer,wounded,sprints off;the father snarls that they will have to track the blood trail of the dying animal.
At the mansion,Col.Dittman savagely excoriates an emotionally-prostrate Archie.The old man growls about a 3-1/2 hour trek because Archie shot the deer in the lungs.Although Archie made the required kill - it was not a "clean" one.
Dittman enters the trophy room,demanding that Tom open a window;Tom stands there,impassively.Dittman complains that his head feels hot - and peculiar.
The trust officer wants to take formal leave of Col.Dittman.Tom tells him not to enter the trophy room because the father has been punished. The trust officer enters anyway - and stares at the wall in open-mouthed horror.
Tom informs the man that his African gods have show the hunter what it is like to be the victim.
Tom tells the trust officer to take the boy with him;a traumatized Archie shambles down the stairs,and leaves.
Inside the trophy room,Tom pours a snifter of brandy and elevates the glass to the source of Mr.Pierce's horror:a wonder of taxidermic(and occultic)magic - Col.Dittman's head,carefully preserved and mounted on a wooden shield attached to the wall.Tom proclaims,solemnly:"Now there is a trophy - the king of the jungle."
Raymond Massey's performance as the sadistic,bullying Col.Dittman was magnificent.Dittman was just as powerful,leonine - and as vulnerable - as the numerous species he hunted,and collected, over the course of a bloody lifetime.
Tom Troupe(Mr. Pierce)was effective as the officer of the Colonel's trust fund.He was ambivalent,because of divided loyalties:he represented the father's interest,but felt a deep concern for Archie,and the soul-battering being delivered by his selfish,brutal father.
Herbert Jefferson,Jr.(Tom)was perfect as the Igbo body servant:educated, correct,polite,imperturbable - but seething underneath with rage at the TRUE savage - the hateful old man whose "masculinity" was defined by the number of creatures he killed in a lifetime.
Barry Brown(Archie Dittman,Jr.),one of the most sensitive actors of the 1970's,was absolutely convincing as the martyred son,pilloried by his sadistic father for not sharing the blood lust that pervaded - and possessed the old man's dark and violent soul.
The ending of this excursion into horror was fairly predictable,but the episode is well worth watching - not only for the offbeat outcome,but also to appreciate the talents of four very fine actors.
Rhoda: 'S Wonderful (1974)
S'Why Brenda Has No Luck!
This episode opens with Brenda hectoring her sister,Rhoda,demanding to know if her new dress makes her look fat.Brenda is delighted over her upcoming third date with a mailman,Jimmy Klein.Brenda thinks Klein is romantic,and likens him to "a man with sensitive eyes who reads the 'Village Voice' on public transportation."
Rhoda balks when Brenda indicates that she'll be meeting Jimmy at the bus terminal to catch a bus for New Jersey, although Klein actually lives in Brooklyn.
Jimmy Klein justifies his peculiar actions because "New Jersey is quieter,and he likes to travel." He also has to be home by 11 p.m. to walk his dog.Rhoda is thoroughly suspicious of Jimmy Klein, and seriously doubts Klein's single status.
That evening,Joe(Rhoda's husband)tells her he's selling their car in order to curb expenses.Rhoda informs Joes she's worried Brenda is involved with a married man,but Joe figures that Brenda will learn better about such situations through trial and error.
Rhoda is in the basement,using one of the apartment's washing machines when she is buzzed by the loopy-sounding doorman,Carlton.He asks her to stick his uniform in the dryer on "air fluff," so "his epaulets won't shrink."
Jimmy Klein now asks Brenda to go with him for a romantic weekend in Vermont.He insists,though,they stay in separate motels because "he has to stay with the union guys..."
Exasperated,Rhoda accuses Jimmy Klein of being a married man.(A stubbornly obstinate Brenda refuses to consider the possibility.)
Rhoda is convinced when she hears that Klein has been wearing a Bandaid over his left ring finger to cover "a cut that inexplicably won't heal."
At Rhoda's insistence,Brenda gets Jimmy to commit to a dinner NOT on Thursday evening - but at a restaurant in New Jersey.
The party convenes at an ersatz Hawaiian restaurant;Jimmy and Brenda are late.Jimmy Klein is nice-looking,slightly pudgy,and very edgy;Rhoda thinks he's not only married - but looks like a fugitive...
The excitable Jimmy looks around the restaurant and starts wailing,in a skittery voice,about "the number and the brightness of the lights,and the current energy crisis."Jimmy favors his hosts with a tight,furtive smile and a shifty-eyed,fearful expression.
Brenda commiserates with Jimmy for having to change his uniform for a suit at a gas station,instead of at home.Joe hastily orders "tropical" drinks from a sarcastic waitress clad in little more than a grass skirt, judiciously diverting the enraged Rhoda from exploding at the latest news.
Joe starts to discuss the car he's put up for sale,and Jimmy admits he'd like to trade in his 1959 DeSoto station wagon.Rhoda comments mordantly that married people usually drive station wagons.Jimmy Klein babbles nervously,and a face-saving toast with the ridiculously-large tropical drinks is proposed.
Rhoda,determined,has Jimmy Klein in her sights,and transfixes the frightened Klein with a look that would stun a Bengal tiger.
She confronts Jimmy Klein - finally accusing him,point-blank,of being married.
Jimmy grimaces,shifts uneasily,then admits(with a candid stupidity):"A little bit - sort of - well, yeah,yeah - but only for three years!"
Wounded,Brenda upbraids Jimmy Klein,who temporizes: "Well, I'm a very weak person."
Brenda,feeling duped and heartsick,gets up and leaves;Rhoda follows.Joe pays the tab,but as he leaves,tells the feckless philanderer:"I think you're a creep."
Jimmy Klein looks unhappy for being revealed so publicly,but philosophically returns to his free drink...
Back at the apartment,Brenda pleads with Rhoda not to interfere in her life again. (An impossibility:Rhoda is committed to protecting Brenda at all costs.)
Actually,Brenda figured something was amiss when she saw the incriminating Bandaid,but ignored the obvious in favor of potential romance.
Brenda jokes sardonically that she can now write a book entitled:"Where It's At In Jersey."
The show ends when Carlton,the doorman calls Brenda in her apartment and becomes emotional over his lost laundry basket containing an important item.Rhoda checks her laundry basket,and pulls out a partially-consumed pint of whiskey.Asking Carlton to describe the item,he responds,boozily: "Half empty."Rhoda then indicates,sarcastically,that she DOES have Carlton's "lost property."
Kudos go to guest star Barry Brown who(as Jimmy Klein)played a witless bumbler whose pathetic attempts at adultery are so transparently amateurish,he makes an excellent case for marital fidelity - not because it is simply the right thing to do,but because it is far less ludicrous than the ridiculous extremes resorted to keeping his faithless behavior from being discovered.
The lunkheaded Lothario,Klein,is exposed almost immediately.And even after Brenda,Rhoda,and Joe indignantly leave the restaurant(and the parasitical Jimmy Klein to his own devices) - Klein still sits there,greedily draining the free tropical drink to the dregs(as he would have the relationship with the unsuspecting Brenda.)
Barry Brown's rare comedic performance was in a medium which he should have pursued further,in addition to his intense,emotional dramatic roles (usually costume dramas,such as "Bad Company,""Testimony of Two Men," and "Daisy Miller."Sadly,Barry Brown's premature death at age 27 in 1978 cut short a potentially promising career.
Although this episode of "Rhoda" is over 30 years old,it is not dated,and the humor is still timely.
The outcome of the show was eminently predictable,but it was still very amusing,and well worth a half-hour of one's time for some warm,satisfied chuckles.
The Mod Squad: The Uptight Town (1969)
Small-Town Sordor and Secretiveness
The opening scene is Miller Springs,at "Lloyd's Garage."Capt.Adam Greer of the Mod squad is being beaten.A large,mustachioed man holds a gun on a man tied up.A rope is tied to a car bumper.
The car starts,dragging the bound man out of a pickup truck's flatbed, aloft,where he hangs lifeless from a tree branch.
Chief Metcalf of the Mod Squad calls the Miller Springs sheriff to inquire about Capt.Greer,who's been missing for four days.
The chief is worried because Greer uncharacteristically missed police academy graduation.Linc,Pete,and Julie head up to Miller Springs.
Julie yells;Pete jams on the brakes.A girl stands in the middle of the roadway.Another care roars up.Out jumps her father,Al Jennings - the man with the gun.He snarls that his daughter is "mute,"drags her into the car,and speeds back to town.
In Miller Springs,The Mod Squad trio meets with silence.Lloyd,the filling station owner(the town's only black man)is hostile,especially to Linc(the black Mod Squad member.) The girl's brother,apologetic,meets the Mod Squad outside his father's hotel;inside,the father refuses them lodging.
A crash emanates from the kitchen;the Mexican cook lies on the floor,drunk.The father drags him upstairs to sleep it off.The Mod Squad witness the girl watching,tensely.
At the filling station,a dog brings Pete a fishing hat which Julie recognizes as Capt. Greer's.
The sheriff promotes Parkersburg to the Mod Squad.They pretend to be students;he directs them to camp outside town.
Come nighttime,Linc lock-picks the filling station and finds Capt. Greer's car in the garage.
Pete and Julie worry about Linc;a pickup truck slows down, and a beaten,semi-conscious Linc is dumped from the flatbed.
The sheriff won't press charges,advising Linc and Pete to accept a "complimentary" bottle of whiskey.
Julie sneaks back of the garage,smashes a window and looks inside.
At the jail,the sheriff castigates Al Jennings for bringing unwelcome attention to their town.
Inside the hotel,Pete attempts to talk with Donna Jennings.Julie tells Linc the car is gone.
the Jennings boy becomes confrontational;Pete grabs him,demanding answers.He tells Pete about his sister's secret - then stops.
Linc gets the "promised"liquor,befriending the cook,who admits drinking to obliterate the memory of a recent lynching.The Mod Squad hastens to Parkersburg to call the Chief.
As they leave Miller Springs,the sheriff has Lloyd follow them.In the jail, the sheriff enters a cell where Capt. Greer is handcuffed and gagged.
Attempting to escape,Greer slugs the sheriff who saps Greer unconscious with his gun butt.
The cook is leaving town.Jennings attempts to stop him,but the cook pulls a gun and speeds off.
The hotel owner wants to kill Greer and deposit him in the lake.
At Parkersburg,the trio call Chief Metcalf about the disturbing developments.He doesn't believe them,but orders them to stay put and will fly up to their location.
Pete insists they return to Miller Springs, with Lloyd right behind.They stop,and Lloyd attacks them with a wrench.Linc beats him up;Pete disables Lloyd's truck so he can't follow.
Upon arriving,Pete and Linc demand to see the jail cells.An old drunk is in Capt. Greer's former cell.
The sheriff then pulls a rifle and herds them all to the hotel for a "town meeting." The sheriff starts questioning the "kids' interference."Linc mentions Capt. Greer,and Pete,the lynching,and Donna Jennings' troubles.
The sheriff tries to concoct a frame-up of the trio,but Linc reveals they are undercover cops.Julie and Pete assent,also.
The sheriff admits:"It's all over,"but Al wants to kill them.The sheriff admonished Al to kill the strange who raped Donna.
Donna Jennings bursts into the room,wailing the man was her lover.The father tries to beat the girl but her brother protects her,screaming that his father always resolves problems violently.
The father says things will never be the same;Capt.Greer is going to be drowned in the lake.
The sheriff and the Mod Squad race to the lake as the murderer drives there with the bound Greer,in Greer's own car.
At the lake the man slugs Greer,pushing the car into the lake with the unconscious officer inside.
Linc and Pete arrive,in time to jump in and rescue Capt.Greer.
Back in Miller Springs,an ambulance arrives from Parkersburg with Chief Metcalf to take Capt.Greer for a checkup.
Chief Metcalf states that there will be prosecutions,but the townsfolk are"losers who'll have to live with their shame." The Chief compliments the trio:"Didn't I tell you to wait for me in Parkersburg?Well,I'm glad you didn't." As the ambulance leaves,the three opine that the world will be a better place when strangers are welcomed someday as friends.
Jason Evers(Sheriff)excelled in portraying the smarmy,small-town lawman who values cover-ups over justice.
Cliff Osmond(Al Jennings)effectively depicted the bullying father whose obsession to protect the family "honor" involved him in one actual,and one attempted homicide.
Louis Gossett,Jr.(Lloyd) very skillfully played a minority mechanic in an isolated,hostile environment.
Donna Baccala(Donna Jennings)was convincing as the stressed girl with a terrible secret.
Barry Brown(the Jennings boy)displayed his considerable talent in his taut,emotionally-charged characterization of a teenager torn between doing the right thing(disclosing the truth behind his sister's situation),but hesitant(fearing another fatal response from his abusive father.) The ancientness of the cars,as well as the Mod Squad's attire date the show,but the 60's violence level of police shows was neither so realistic,nor visceral as it is today.
Still,as a barometer of 60's classical TV,it was "Really cool and groovy, man!" Be sure to watch it.
The Wild West Meets The Twilight Zone
The opening scene is in northwest Missouri.The railroads are stealing the farmers' properties and dispossessing them.
In 1876 the Missouri legislature moves to grant a blanket amnesty to farmers as well as to Jesse and frank James(two celebrated Missouri outlaws.)
However,the railroad hires detective Allan Pinkerton(Dana Elcar)to "get" the Jameses.
Frank(John Pearce)and Jesse(Robert Duvall)find some newspaper upon which gang member Cole Younger(Cliff Robertson)has written plans to rob the First National Bank in Northfield,Minnesota.
They justify robbing the bank because the amnesty vote was blocked by a Pinkerton bribe.
The train carrying Pinkerton enters the area; detectives dressed as farmers disembark,positioning themselves to kill the James gang.The resulting ambush leaves Cole Younger seriously wounded and the Pinkerton detectives dead.
Although Jesse James comes from educated people,he rants himself into a mad-eyed,ecstatic state describing the upcoming bank robbery.
Jesse and Frank leave to pursue Jesse's "vision"; Younger and his group soon follow.
On the way the Youngers pick up Clell Miller(R.G.Armstrong.)Upon entering Northfield,a curious sight greets Younger and the gang: a trackless steam engine chugging down the middle of Main Street.
In front of the First National Bank is another oddity: a malfunctioning steam calliope on the sidewalk.Cole Younger repairs the calliope's pressure gauge.
In Northfield,Younger strikes a nefarious bargain with Mr.Wilcox(Robert R.Harris),the bank's owner,who plans to inveigle the unsuspecting townsfolk to invest their savings - then fleece them,and disappear.
Wilcox is seconded by his "yes-man,"Bunker(Elisha Cook,Jr.),but the upright bookkeeper,Heywood(Jack Manning)denounces them both.
Meanwhile,the Jameses and their part of the gang lodge with an elderly lady being evicted over an unpaid mortgage of $80.Jesse hears her rambling story about"don't sell the children"(a group of mannikins); Jesse buys the "Uncle Sam" doll for $80,takes it and confronting the landlord,shoots him dead.
At the town's baseball game,the Northfield team wins because Cole Younger blasts the ball to smithereens with his rifle.Younger(calling himself "Mr. King")and Wilcox "converse" over "King's" nearly being robber,and how he wants to protect his money in a safe bank.
Another comedic touch at the game is a lanky young man with a goofy grin who is marching around,shouldering a rifle.He's Henry Wheeler(Barry Brown),supposedly a medical student,but wearing impossibly thick-lensed glasses!
Younger tries to show Wheeler how to shoot correctly; Wheeler promptly shoots off a man's hat!Later,at a blacksmith's,Younger creates a device for Wheeler's gun allowing him to shoot straight - with unexpected catastrophic results,later.
A phony gold shipment "conveniently" arrives near the playing field,"guarded" by Younger's gang.The townsfolk,entranced,rush to put their money in the local bank.
Back in town Younger encounters a wild-eyed,incoherent individual, "Crazy" Gustavson(Royal Dano).He is insane because his son never returned from the Civil War.
Jesse James and his group ride into town,meeting up with the Youngers and their group.Before the robbery,Cole Younger shoots the town telegrapher through a plate-glass window.
Now inside the bank, Wilcox(outflanked in treachery by Younger)is soundly beaten.Bunker(injured)escapes out a back window,but the brave Haywood,who claims he can't open the bank vault's time lock is shot dead by James.(The vault,which opens briefly,traps Bill Chadwell(Craig Curtis)inside.)
Unexpectedly,"Crazy" Gustavson shows up raving,and is shot dead - but falls onto the steam calliope which,blasting like an air-raid siren alerts the townsfolk.
The enthusiastic kid,Wheeler,fires wildly with the modified gun and accidentally hits Clell Miller,killing him instantly.
Armed citizens pour into the streets,shooting.In the mêlée,Bob Younger is shot,rescued by his brother,and the surviving outlaws escape.
When the bank's time lock opens the trapped outlaw,Bill Chadwell,is promptly gunned down.
Back at the "doll lady's" house,Cole Younger,his brothers Bob and Jim (Luke askew),Charlie Pitts(Wayne Sunderlin)and the James brothers are hiding out.The Jameses want to leave; the Youngers want to stay.Bob Younger's condition is serious,requiring immediate medical attention; the elderly lady wants to bring back a trustworthy doctor.The Jameses accompany her.
A search party finds the remainder of the gang holed up in the house and enfilades it,killing Charlie Pitts.
Jesse and Frank James escape in a buckboard,heading for Missouri.Jesse is disguised in women's clothes.Presumably,they murdered the elderly lady and stole her wagon.
As Pinkerton's train arrives in Northfield,he is infuriated to see the prison wagon paraded through the town's streets,the townsfolk cheering the surviving desperadoes.(Footnote: Cole Younger received a life sentence for murder,and served 25 years in prison.)
Cliff Robertson(Cole Younger)played the part of the outlaw Cole Younger with a certain raffish bravado.
Robert Duvall(Jesse James)was eerie as the fanatical Jesse James whose cosmic "vision" led him to Northfield to rob the bank.
Dana Elcar(Allan Pinkerton)was convincingly self-righteous as the sinister detective who cut corners in the pursuit of "justice."
John Pearce(Frank James)was very good as Jesse's supportive brother,Frank.
Wayne Sutherlin(Charlie Pitts)was believable as the taciturn Charlie Pitts.
R.G.Armstrong(Clell Miller)imparted a "good ol'boy" flavor to his characterization of Clell Miller.
Royal Dano("Crazy" Gustavson)was convincingly demented as the ill-starred émigré.
Barry Brown(Henry Wheeler)was engaging as the enthusiastic but maladroit medical student,playing his part with just the right comedic touch.
"The Great Northfield,Minnesota Raid" is a Revisionist Western(a genre popular just after the Sixties),and is greatly at variance with the true facts surrounding the event.However, for 91 minutes of escapist diversion - it will fit the bill nicely.
What Price Filial Devotion?
The scene opens with a young woman teaching a group of preteen girls classical ballet.Dr. Steve Kiley(James Brolin)and his brother,Mike(Barry Brown)walk in on the class,and they are charmed by the young dancers.The brothers have come to see the teacher,their sister Ellen(Kathryn Hays.)
The Kileys are planning a non-alcoholic birthday party for their father, a recovering alcoholic.Included in the festivities is their sister's fiancé,Herb.
At a fine restaurant,the party is in full swing.The father,Dan Kiley(Alan Hale), an expansive Irishman who is enjoying himself(despite no liquor) suddenly collapses and is rushed to the hospital.
In the hospital waiting room Mike and Ellen wait anxiously.Steve returns with unsettling news: their father has had a CVA(cerebrovascular accident.)Worse,he has no medical insurance,thus incurring heavy expenses for treatment.Mike is a graduate student,and Ellen,a divorcée with children,so Steve elects to shoulder the entire financial burden.
Although an expensive private hospital,Steve Kiley wants to transfer his father to Lang Memorial Hospital where a Dr.Kingman practices.(He is a preeminent specialist in the care and rehabilitation of stroke victims.) Kiley asks Marcus Welby to intervene for him.Kingman(an imperious individual)does finally agree to oversee Dan Kiley's rehabilitation.
Dan Kiley mistakenly believes that joining Alcoholics Anonymous and "going on the wagon"induced his stroke.Moreover,he is ashamed of his former dereliction toward his three children,and feeling guilty about Steve's generosity,wants instead to enter the Veterans Administration Hospital, which is free.
Steve Kiley is so dedicated in maintaining a lonely vigil over his father that Kingman finally orders Steve to go home and get some real rest in bed, instead of catnapping in a chair.
Marcus visits Dan Kiley,who speaks the pithiest words of wisdom:"No drunk is happy with himself; if he were,he wouldn't need to drink."
The elder Kiley also reiterates his feelings of remorse over neglecting his children,as well as drinking heavily.
Steve,the most enlightened of the children,long ago accepted the fact that his father had the disease of alcoholism; thus,Steve forgives and respects his father,and will go to heroic lengths to save Dan Kiley's life.
Dan Kiley has indicated,however,that in a worst-case scenario he'd rather be dead than nonfunctional.
As Consuelo is fixing Steve a meal at home,Mike Kiley announces he is postponing his Ph.D.studies at M.I.T. to stay and help defray expenses.
Dan Kiley begins an intensive regimen of carbon dioxide and physical therapies.
While watching his father,Steve detects a second CVA occurring on Dan Kiley's left side and summons help.Three doctors examine the comatose Dan Kiley(now on a respirator)and determine that he suffered a massive bilateral CVA.
The prognosis is discouraging: the survival rate is only 2%,and the odds of a full recovery - a miniscule 1%.Nevertheless,Steve wants his father kept on the respirator.
Steve seeks a bank loan; his annual salary is a modest $20,000 per year,so the maximum allowable limit is $5,000.The medical costs are a staggering $200 per day.
Steve asks his sister Ellen to stay with her father but she refuses, because she plans to marry her fiancé soon.Also,she is ashamed of her alcoholic father.
Marcus Welby is feeling the strain of having to cover for Steve Kiley in their practice.Steve is anguished when his brilliant younger brother Mike comes home in a work uniform and announces that he obtained a maintenance job.The others are importuning a resistant Steve to "pull the plug" on their father,and look to Marcus(as a surrogate father figure)to influence Steve's decision.
In discussing the difficult decision with Steve,Marcus counsels him to make his own informed decision, not one influenced by the others.
Allowing Dan Kiley a dignified death by taking him off the respirator would be an ethical decision, and Marcus Welby cites an instructive personal experience.
Marcus saved a fellow doctor named Bob Burroughs after a coronary.The man,however,had been unconscious for nine minutes before CPR was administered - thus sustaining irreversible brain damage.So, a decision was made to "pull the plug..."
The final scene takes place at the cemetery where family and friends are holding Dan Kiley's funeral.All are assembled,and after the services the family are going to return to the house to hold and "Irish wake" for Dan; they will "hoist one" - a final drink - in his honor,to a man who decided to "fight the good fight" (i.e.,against his alcoholism),albeit a trifle too late...
Alan Hale(best known for his role as the Skipper in "Gilligan's Island") was eminently suited to the part of errant father Dan Kiley,and played it with just the right mixture of humor,pathos,and fatalism,all delivered in a soft Irish brogue.
Kathryn Hays(Ellen Kiley)was very convincing as the daughter whose devotion to her father was deficient,owing to his flagrant shortcomings as a strong,responsible paternal influence during their formative years.
Barry Brown(Mike Kiley)reprised his role as the family's baby brother (he also co-starred in the episode "Warn The World About Mike"),and turned in his usual excellent performance - this time,as the Kiley family's wunderkind whose stellar career stood to be underminded by his father's catastrophic(and ruinously expensive)medical emergency.
Although filmed a generation ago(1971),this episode addresses the same problem paramount today(as then)in medicine,viz.,the ethics and feasibility of keeping a critical patient alive vs.the excessive daily costs of that medical care.Although the outcome of the episode was predictable,it's still a memorable show; don't miss it.
Then Came Bronson: Lucky Day (1970)
On A Lucky Day - A Moment Of Truth
At a stoplight, Jim Bronson (Michael Parks) on his trademark motorcycle speaks with a curious driver who evinces envy for Bronson's unfettered lifestyle. Bronson speeds off on the motorcycle for Reno, Nevada, where he plans to attend the marriage of his cousin, Eve Bronson (Lynne Marta) to Len (Barry Brown.)
Bronson surprises Eve by entering the store where she works, dons a silly cap, picks up an item and pokes her in the back with it. She turns around, startled - then they laugh and embrace.
At a local casino, they meet up with Eve's fiancé, Len, a fresh-faced college student (who inexplicably sports a long, trailing scarf wrapped around his neck.) Len is eager to "tie the knot," but Eve appears to be getting "cold feet"; she wants reassurance that Jimmy (as her only relative) will be around for the nuptials.
They then ride to a wedding chapel on their respective motorcycles: Bronson, on his; Len, with Eve riding behind.
Inside the modest building await Ned (presumably a minister, with string tie and Western-style attire) and his wife, Winnie Mae. Eve takes in the tackiness of the atmosphere, as well as the couple who own the chapel and bolts, crying that she wants a "real wedding."
Outside, Eve complains that she wants a "church wedding" and a wedding gown, so Jim Bronson generously gives her the money for the dress.
Eve is walking in her wedding dress to the wedding chapel where Bronson and Len are waiting. Suddenly, she rushes across the street, hops in a taxi and inexplicably goes to a casino to gamble and is "on a roll," winning heavily...
Jim and Len (who have been waiting impatiently at the "Chapel of the Bells") go off in search of her. When they find Eve, she refuses to stop gambling because of her "lucky streak."
By a lake, Len and Jim discuss Eve's gambling; Len is worried about that factor, as well as her uncertainty about the marriage. He goes to the casino to reason with her - then storms off when she refuses to leave after crapping out. He heads back to Bronson's shakedown by the river.
Bronson goes and finds Eve on a winning streak at craps. He grabs the money, and gives her a letter from Len.
Eve and Len are now drinking champagne. Len finds out that ultimately Eve blew everything, and hocked his motorcycle, besides. (It will take $40 to get the motorcycle back.) Eve now emerges as a childish, and very selfish individual.
Jim wants to help Eve lose money at gambling as an object lesson, but ironically, she keeps winning. He tells her to look at the people around her who are gambling - how they are of no substance; ultimately, the lesson sinks in.
They go to look for Len. At Harrah's Automobile Museum, Eve meets Len, and they rush off to get married.
However at the chapel, the old conflicts resurface. Len and Eve meet another young couple, also getting married, but Eve and Len start fighting again. Finally, they decide not to marry after all, push the other two ahead of them, and meet Bronson outside with the news,
Grateful to be relieved of the frustrating situation, Bronson leaves Reno...
Michael Parks (Jim Bronson), a popular TV actor of the 1950's and 1960's was perfect as the cool, laid-back Jim Bronson. He embodied the dying spirit of the rugged independence of the Old West. Like the cowboy, Bronson's soul was his own; his first love - the open road, and wherever it would take him.
Lynne Marta (Eve Bronson) was also a popular performer on many shows of the 1960's and 1970's, and turned in a highly convincing performance as Bronson's mercurial cousin who sacrificed the stability of marriage for the ephemeral hedonism of the gambling tables.
Barry Brown (Len), who was one of the most talented and sensitive actors of the 1970's, played the handsome, clean-cut college boy Len with an energetic, genial verve. He was very expressive as he ran the emotional gamut of delight, concern, consternation, outright anger and finally, resignation in dealing with his flaky fiancée, Eve.
Although this episode was a bit thin on plot(and with the exception of the cars, which date the show), this drama might have been written yesterday; it confronts problems that are timeless: (1)compulsive gambling; and (2)individuals who will not grow up and behave responsibly.
"Then Came Bronson" was a charming (but short-lived) show; this is one episode worth seeing.
The Mod Squad: The Judas Trap (1970)
An Award That Should Have Been
The nighttime scene opens in a young boy's bedroom.A teenager with short, bristly hair rises from his bed and sleepwalks.
In another bedroom an older man is making a person-to-person call when a rifle is fired in through the door.The man falls,mortally wounded.Before dying,he mutters "Dana" into the phone.
At the scene,police question Prentiss Marcum(Don Porter),neighbor of Col.David D.Sterling,the murder victim(Richard Webb),and are startled that the other bedroom(with 8th-grade textbooks)belongs to Sterling's 17-year-old son,David D.("Dana")Sterling,Jr.(Barry Brown.)
Marcum cares for Dana when Sterling is at the Pentagon; he's appalled to find the mentally-handicapped Dana missing.Marcum's wife,Margaret(Marj Dusay)is out of town.
"Mod Squad" undercover officers Pete(Michael Cole)and Linc(Clarence Williams III)are running in the park.Pete notices a teen-aged boy,still in pajamas,confusedly stumbling around.Pete encounters the boy who recoils in terror.
Pete determines that the boy(whose pajama top is bloody)is not mentally sound.The boy(seemingly in shock)is unresponsive.Pete invites the boy back with them to his apartment.
At Pete's apartment,the now-chatty Dana tells them that he excels at geography,has a good memory for faces,and counts cards when playing card games.(Dana Sterling is not mentally retarded,but autistic.)
Pete offers Dana some clothes to wear home.When Dana removes his shirt on the stairs,Pete and Linc stare,horrified,at welts crisscrossing the boy's back.Dana admits his father beat him,but loyally avers his father is "really a great guy!"
A psychiatrist examines Dana,who insists his father isn't dead because "he hasn't seen his body."The doctor believes Dana didn't kill his father.Police still feel Dana is the primary suspect.
Pete insists Dana stay with him.Dana tells Pete that when his father (a widower)goes to the Pentagon he stays with "Uncle Prentiss"(whom he likes),but dislikes "Aunt Margaret," Prentiss's wife(who never liked Dana.)
The police discover that Col.Sterling made the person-to-person call to Margaret Marcum at a motel in Bakersfield,California.
Dana asks to visit Lewis Park.Dana shoots skeet,shattering every clay pigeon released.Pete becomes horrified when Dana suddenly wails:"My father's dead!Somebody shot my father!"
Back at the apartment,a tearful Dana admits to Pete that his father was very abusive but he still loved him.
Marcum is questioned about his wife.He admits she was leaving him,and was intimate with David Sterling.
The police bring in Margaret,who confesses David told her he would beat Dana into submission if he objected to David's relationship with Margaret.
Upstairs at Pete's apartment,Dana sees a cruiser pull into the driveway,realizes Pete is a policeman and flees.
Pete goes to Marcum who says he hasn't seen Dana(who is hiding inside.) Pete remains at the Sterling apartment,figuring Dana might return.
Prentiss Marcum shows his true colors, eliciting from the trusting Dana the distasteful story that Sterling beat Dana,who resisted Margaret's coming to stay with them.Dana tells "Uncle Prentiss" that "Aunt Margaret" should stay with him.
Marcum presses Dana to determine how much the boy remembers.In a series of hallucinatory flashbacks,the story unfolds in Dana's tortured mind. Finally,Dana sees Prentiss handing him his own gun(which Prentiss used to kill David Sterling)and tries,mesmerically,to convince Dana he killed his father while sleepwalking.
Dana remembers and tells Prentiss,sealing his own fate.
Margaret,who hears the story,threatens to call the police.Marcum grabs Margaret and backhands her,allowing the frightened boy to escape to his own apartment.Prentiss breaks down the door; Dana,terrified,picks up a rifle and threatens to shoot.Marcum sneers; the gun is unloaded.Marcum had to load Dana's gun with his own bullets to kill David Sterling.
Dana then wields the gun butt defensively.Prentiss follows suit,advancing on the boy - but falls flat on his face;Pete trips him.(Pete,inside,heard the guilty admission.)
Prentiss attacks Pete,who beats him savagely.Pete hurries to Dana,huddled in a corner;the boy is sobbing piteously...
At the station,Capt.Greer hands Pete a letter from Dana.
Dana is flourishing in a special school,having the potential to attend college someday.
The letter ends on this touching note:"I never had a brother...you are the one I would choose.I hope you feel the same about me...your friend, Dana."
Of all TV dramas,this heart-wrenching episode is the likeliest to provoke tears.
In this challenging role,Barry Brown(one of the most promising young actors of the 1970's)was superlative - extraordinarily convincing as Dana Sterling,the mentally-challenged boy cruelly victimized,yet so winsome and charismatic he instantly won your heart.(Dana Sterling was Barry Brown's favorite character.)
Harve Bennett,the show's producer,was so impressed with Brown's meticulous characterization he nominated Brown for an Emmy.
Reportedly,Barry Brown acted in one scene with such emotional intensity that the cast applauded him enthusiastically at the end of his performance.
Tragically,this sensitive,intelligent young actor(who,at age 19,was listed as co-starring in this drama with Don Porter,a highly-respected character actor)was overwhelmed by the twin demons that haunted his life - depression and alcohol - and committed suicide in 1978,at the age of 27.
This "Mod Squad" episode not only represents the police shows that entertained the American public nearly 40 years ago,but also showcased the impressive talents of a handsome,star-crossed young actor,Barry Brown,and what might have been for him,as well as for the world of entertainment,had the Fates been kinder...