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|11 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you dislike what your life has come to, this is the episode to
consider. And that includes even if your life is much the opposite of
Gart Williams' here, as is true of mine. My job is not high pressure--
in fact it's where I am now as I write this after watching the ep-- but
the 'rewards' are not much either. And I am not married, though I've
had a girlfriend for years, and we surely -would- have gotten married
years ago if I had had a bigshot type of career... then, considering
this, it's like I am Gart Williams in an alternate world. My girlfriend
doesn't seem to be the type who would come to care nothing for our
relationship except what kind of money and standing it gives her, but
that would likely have been true of Williams when he married Jamie.
Do I live in "Willoughby," then? No, not by a long sight. Problems still engulf, though there's no reason to spill the details. And I can't say I want to live in a permanent dream world. But if Gart getting off the train and walking under the big WILLOUGHBY sign is symbolic of killing himself and being taken to the funeral parlor, it would also mean he is trapped where he got off. If he ever becomes bored with it and wants to go back-- or to some other place and time-- it's an irreversible decision. Compare that to another episode, "A Nice Place to Visit," and we can imagine Gart wanting to get out after he's had his fill of fishing and bandstand music and sitting barefoot under a shade tree.
But personally, I think the real message is nothing about an afterlife. In fact, this is one of the closest-to-reality eps which is saying that if you let the deep longings of your mind confuse your own reality, no matter how harsh it may be, you may not know what you're doing-- in this case, he thought he was stepping off his despised world, but that was just his delusion and he was jumping to his death. The last thing he "knew" was Willoughby, and there will never be anything else to know. Is there any confirmation that some suicide attempts are just like that?-- that the person truly thought he or she was doing something else, wacky or not?
What? A measly 8000 miles per second? That's the mean velocity 100 years to Alpha Centauri comes out to. But actually, that's not an outrageous estimate compared to what science fiction usually dupes an audience with. LiS, of course, did so also. In the pilot that was actually shown as episode #1, wasn't that 100 years (98 years suspended animation) changed to 5 years?-- meaning travel very near the speed of light? And in this pilot, there was nothing about a "hyper-drive" that would fling them to anywhere in universe. Which means that the planet they land on must be in this solar system-- an earth-like planet not known before. As unlikely as that is, I think it's still more likely than the near-light and hyper-drive junk that sci-fi so thrives on. However, if there would be such a planet in our solar system, obviously in the habitable zone, there is no it could be anywhere other than directly opposite the sun to us-- our real twin with an orbit right on our own elliptical pattern. Considering the extreme cold in this pilot, it should not be such, but should be a planet with a more elongated orbit. But with that, there is no way we could not see it. But anyway, it's all summed up by saying this pilot is definitely closer to something quasi-scientific than the later pilot and the series. If anyone thinks ratings don't follow logic, I submit this as exhibit A.
I can remember this episode from decades ago, but it seems like only
recently have I gotten to a complete understanding (and wondering if I
might say that same thing in a few years). I am roughly the age of Joe
and Prof. Grant in this ep, and the man played by Sidney Clute, who
talks about being able to get Jerry Morgan killed for $5 in Africa and
how most of the world is of necessity too concerned if they'll make it
another day to be like those in that group that talk about "their own
thing" and having fits if anybody tries to prevent them from their own
thing, no matter what their own thing does to somebody else's own
But I think the real topic is finely disguised. Like the other reviewer has said, it's not about drugs, but about free speech. I'll agree, but I think it goes deeper into the police officer being the "enemy," or at least the symbol of what the radical-minded young people hated. As that circumstance is largely what made the "pigs" the targets of the rioting, racial and otherwise, in the 60's era, it's reflected in this episode. If liberals were really concerned with the rights of the individual, Joe being ejected from the class would not have happened-- they would, as Joe himself urged, be trying to change the laws and the system. But an object that is manifest in the physical senses is needed, and thus the police officer was like the hated mascot of your school's chief rival that you love kick around, stick pins in, or hang in effigy. So Joe was considered "fair game" to be the object of hatred after he made the arrest, followed by Grant's propaganda-filled speech to kick him out.
But this quickly leads to the unanswered questions. Would a LAPD sergeant not have known that a college class cannot just vote somebody out? If a student is to be expelled, he is entitled to a hearing by the administrative authorities. But Joe doesn't even question the professor's or the class's right to kick him out; he's just upset that they refuse to understand his point of view and his responsibility to his badge. When Bill Gannon advised him to talk to the captain, Joe refused and said "It's not my way." Maybe if it had been, he could have learned then that the class was overstepping any legal prerogative-- supposing he wouldn't have known that, which he should have. And finally, how would the class have responded to Joe after the lawyer finally gave it them straight? If Joe had to participate in the discussion to make his grade of B, it's easy to imagine the radicals ignoring anything he said, or else never failing to address him as "pig" if they did respond, and Prof. Grant would have loved it. If he and the class succumbed to the fact that they couldn't vote him out, then they would have tried to harass him out. Then the right-wingers would have come to Joe's defense, and the conflicts between them we see would be dwarfed by the fights after that. And would the prof give Joe a B regardless of whether or what he then said in class? It's hard to see that Joe and that lawyer could have a case based on the prof's negative opinion. If it really anything like that, that would surely be one class to remember. But I tend to think the real incident was much simpler-- that a cop made an arrest of a classmate in a discussion group, that the prof and the class wanted to kick him out, but he told them he would sue if they tried it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have re-watched this movie a couple of times recently, and it does
stand the test of time-- at least for those of us who have not lived
our whole lives in the internet/cellphone age. It goes much deeper into
the workings of a big city police department. For example, in either of
the Dragnet series, Friday just says they check R&I about a possible
suspect and what is revealed. In this movie, we see them asking a clerk
at the appropriate aphabetical station to check the name J.Johnson,
with her rhetorical questioning about anything more than that, then
working the card files till the right bank comes up, which she says
contains more than 2,000 J.Johnsons. Obviously this would be a large
computer database today. And we see them looking at the "possibles"
from the pervert file, auto registrations (by make, model, or color)
registered or ever stopped within the city, the monicker file, and the
storage of field interrogation cards. We see 2 composite artists draw
different faces of the suspect from witness's descriptions-- as the
officers' suspicion, which they eventually find out for sure, that one
such witness is lying, who doesn't want her profitable 'lonely hearts
club' to become known as a place that had a sex offender and murderer
as a member (nor become a party in a civil suit for having put criminal
and victim together). Although it's off-camera, this woman also does
something (some kind of threat, like revoking his paid membership) to a
club member witness the investigators had found who 'made' the
composite of the reliable witness, as he claims to have seen him at a
'coffee meeting' or something the club holds regularly.
The story itself does not bear much resemblance to the actual case, other what the suspect was charged with, and one or a few parallels to how the case was solved-- which is typical for Dragnet. But the timeline, the 'red herrings,' and about all personalities involved are all off. But we Dragnet fans don't care, as long as we are given a good story with true police procedures-- which we are. But if you have never seen this before, you may assume at the beginning that it's going to be about an international incident, for Friday is being sought out, while still on vacation, to help with the security of a visiting Russian Deputy Premier. That's not what we expect from Dragnet. I'm glad we are quickly disabused that Joe Friday is going to have to ward off an assassination plot that might jeopardize world peace. Instead, since he has been drafted back from 3 his 3 remaining days of vacation, he is put on the case of 3 missing young women, 2 of which have second jobs as models. The most recent missing woman is the one the pervert met through the lonely hearts' club, and is not a model; but her worried, though still astute, brother is the one who supplies the description that leads to the composite that collars the right suspect-- after a murder victim who is a virtual dead-ringer for him leads to a capital crime solved along the way in just 10 hours. Now that's Dragnet!- with a little drag and a lot of net.
Sure, a few things are kind of 'swept away'-- like, Bill Gannon guarantees the personnel rep that he will be there in the personnel office to sign his retirement forms within 20 minutes, then instead he goes with Friday on a venture to identify, then arrest, 2 suspects in the secondary murder-- which he knows should take hours. Even though this is Gannon's first appearance as Friday's partner (that is, the movie, not its eventual release date), we already trust him enough to not lie that badly to an anxious personnel man, who must secure his police-issued equipment before he can leave for the day, and thus leave him hanging indefinitely. And there is clearly an error in Friday's narration when he says the dead body of the suspect's look-a-like was judged to have been killed some time Saturday morning. It is on Friday that the body is found-- if he had been dead for almost a week, then he couldn't be their suspect, who was seen within the last 2 1/2 days.
There is one review here which does not characterize this episode well
at all. In fact, I wonder if the writer thereof is confusing it with
something else, like the 50's Dragent episode entitled "The Big War."
Anyway, while Gerald Paulson's mother (as little as we see of her) does
seem to be the type who has over-mothered him, his step father seems to
know that he is a problem kid; but being the step, he also seems to
succumb to his more limited role as a "father" and has let the doting
mother do the parenting. That is until he has been caught pouring acid
on another teenage boy in a movie theater (becaues that boy and his
girlfriend were "bugging" him by talking and giggling). Even his mother
seems to change her approach (though it's off camera) and backs up her
husband, who has told Gerald to clear his chemistry paraphernalia out
of the garage-- the tie was obviously made, correctly, between his
troubled, tempestuous, loner-type personality and his interest in
chemicals, explosives, etc. Meanwhile, another reviewer has it right
that Gerald has also learned how to be a phony. When interrogated by
Friday and Gannon, he indicates he is regretful for his overreaction to
the situation and desires to make things right (as possible). But
shortly, it is his mother taking his step-father's side that set him
off to use power over his 'acquaintances' that he doesn't have in
I can sympathize with Gerald. I was somewhat like him when I was in high school-- almost friendless, considered strange or "weird" (the more common term) and was never invited to parties or fun events. Occasionally I was (as Gerald *might* have been) asked questions about science, history, or other subjects they knew I was an A student in. But that, of course, was just to use me to help them get a better grade. But I can't, of course, justify Gerald's solution to his not being taken for a friend. In my middle age, I think the way I was (and, for the most part, still am) has helped me stay clear of many other problems I've seen.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Of course, we don't get the WHOLE story on any Dragnet episode, I'm
sure, as they had to take a case file and make a 25-minute drama out of
it that viewers will want to come back to after a commercial break. It
starts off believable enough, as the 2 officers, working Homicide
Division, on a Monday are given a case where a person is missing and
'could' be in trouble or dead. They get the basics-- her business it
was certain she wouldn't abandon, her car, her boyfriend-- and find she
was apparently last seen by any acquaintance at her boyfriend's
apartment the previous Thursday night. The boyfriend is suspected, but
he has no record and has been calling her office, and he says he tried
but could not reach her over the weekend. Her car is found in a parking
lot, but the culprit was really ignorant to leave a fuel receipt, a
near-full tank of gas, and her book of real estate listings right in
the seat. They begin checking the houses listed and find her body in a
vacant unit-- but Friday only becomes aware of it as he walks into that
room, while we later learn that she has been dead for 3 days... I get
the idea he wouldn't have had to see it to know it was there ["...it
was warm in Los Angeles..."]. After determining that her death was
caused by strangulation, and her beaded necklace is broken, and the
same kind of beads are found in the boyfriend's apartment, obviously he
has now become the prime suspect, and his guilt is further suspected
when they know he lied about his birthday having been that previous
Thursday and had withheld that they had a quarrel that night. But a
polygraph indicates that he did not take her car, know where the car
was abandoned, or know the location of the house where her body was
found. They decide he must be released.
Then a credit card of hers has been used for a purchase the day after her time of death had been fixed. The officers send a report to other big city departments and a real estate trade journal, and learn of a bail-jumper from Phoenix who has used this same M.O., then a short time later he is identified by his alias as the thief of another agent's credit cards. Finally the call comes in from still another female agent who has an appointment to show a house to a man who fits the description of the suspect. He is apprehended with the woman's cards in his wallet, and we learn he is found guilty of the first woman's murder and is scheduled for execution. But Friday says a line here that I consider unwise, and possibly (though I don't know) against almost any P.D.'s policies-- he says, in front of the agent, "You killed a Realtor by the name of Lillie Burnam, just like you would have this woman is she'd found out you stole her credit cards." Would a cop say that?-- tell her that she was that close to being murdered? It makes me wonder just what the trade journal bulletin said about the man, as well as when she reported her appointment with him what the LAPD told her (just go on and enter the house alone with him??) And as to appointments, one scene ends with the offices gazing at a sign in the real estate office that says "Positively -- By appointment only" Why didn't they go by her list of appointments, which the secretary should have had? But, since it was her company, I suppose she could "make" an appointment on the spot and not call in to her secretary, unwise as that may be.
But then... how did she make the acquaintance of the man who killed her, who had used the credit-card-theft-from-a-female-Realtor's-purse scheme many times before, if he did not call (or go to) her office to make an appointment to see a house? (Or, if he did have an appointment, why did the secretary not know his name or what property?) Might her boyfriend have had something to do with it after all? He could> have known that man and set her up with his scheme, after having the quarrel with her, and the man said he was in a big hurry and wanted to see a house, so she, the boss, didn't bother calling her office to make known her whereabouts. So the boyfriend could have had a motive and been an accessory without knowing where she was killed or where her car had been left (thus, the polygraph affirming those things). I just don't think he should have been exonerated completely after the polygraph. And maybe he wasn't-- that's the part of the story that maybe they left out because of time and other constraints.
I was in high school when this show was new, and I got interested only
when it was already in its final of 2 seasons. I remember how they
would dramatize several differing accounts of what had taken place, but
I always thought the trial/hearing was too easily resolved when Tony P.
gave his version. And it wasn't even in the 'final summation' stage. He
just said something like, "I'm going to share with the court the only
way this crime could have happened..." and the case would be dismissed.
That's just too simplistic, and it's hard to believe any judge would
let him do that-- and the prosecutor does not even object.
There were some running gags and sub themes that helped make the show interesting. Unlike Perry Mason, we see quite a bit of Petrocelli's after-hours. I don't even remember if it was explained why he lived where he did, so I assume he just wanted to be away from the big city, have land and build a house of his own; which he and Maggie did, though not apparently with much speed. If they had gotten more done on that house I wonder if that would have made any difference in the show's popularity. Maggie (Susan Howard) was his secretary/bookkeeper, as well as his wife, and she managed to get into jeopardy as much as Tony and Pete (his easy-going, less scrupulous cowboy investigator) did. And he liked root beer, was sensitive about his name being mispronounced as PETroSELLee instead of PETroCHELLee, correcting anybody who did that, or else deliberately mispronouncing THEIR name. And he often alluded to his Italian heritage and being brought up poor; which often compelled him to sympathize with poorer clients. The town where he kept his office was San Remo, another Italian reference. In one episode he told Maggie that his mother could prepare meatballs in 10 minutes, implying that she should be able to do that. Then she brought his lunch in a bag, he took it out and there was a can of meatballs and a note, "Here's your 10-minute meatballs." Not a belly-laugh, but amusing if you know the characters.
But Barry Newman and Susan Howard were very good actors. I wish the series had lasted 5 years, so it would have been syndicated in more markets and for longer. I would probably have every available episode on tape or disk it that had been the case.
I bought this VHS tape years ago and watched it once, knowing then I
wasted money on it. But recently, I have read the novel again in my old
(middle) age, and still like it as much as when I first read it at 13.
But I had forgotten the conversion this film takes until I watched it
again, and I'd sure give the tape away for nothing.
While there are moral ambiguities in the story, personified in Long John Silver, this follows after Shakespeare's witches in MACBETH: "Fair is foul, and foul is fair" say they. The 2 characters in the novel who prevent blanket torture and murder of all loyal to the ship's command are Captain Smollett and Jim Hawkins. Smollett because he sensed that trouble was in the works when he was engaged on a cruise of secret 'treasure' with the secret out of the bag, a crew he did not pick himself, and the arms already stored under the bows (within easy grasp of the crew he distrusted). If his points of precaution had not been met, he would demand to be discharged; so to prevent delays his precautions were applied, and if it had not been so, it would have been easy mutiny, the pirates (if true to what pirates really were) would have cut off their lips and ears and roasted them, then made them eat them before their slow bleeding finally killed them. So it's rather angering to shift the story to where the pirates were the "good guys" and Smollett and those loyal were villains. The Japanese were more 'heroic' at Pearl Harbor! And as for Jim Hawkins actually turning traitor... this simply is not Stevenson's story. While we can sympathize, some, with his natural curiosities and desire for adventure in his 2 escapades in the novel, it was never in his consideration to join those he knew to be human trash who recklessly waste short provisions and maim and kill for the pleasure of it. That's a completely different personality than Stevenson's story-telling character.
Squire Trelawney is the one character of the "faithfuls" whom I wouldn't mind being given a more critical portrayal than most cinemas of this story. After all, it was only through coincidence (overused in the novel) that he happened to be right there at the discovery of the treasure map and was probably the only one who had the means to organize an expedition to find it. So he is a greedy opportunist. But he totally ignored his wiser friend's imperative to keep quiet about what they had found, and thus the crew he hired via Silver had the perfect opportunity to get 'their' treasure. But this movie does not develop that, and instead it goes after the one man of authority with foresight, the Captain, and makes him into a manipulative crook willing to let innocent blood be shed to make himself rich. That's low. It compares with making Joe Friday into a bribe-hustling cop.
To easily sum it up, this is a very swiss-cheesy episode. The cheesy
part is easy to see, with what the limited number of manufactured units
show themselves to be... dangerous-- the samurai, the bomber plane, the
tiger, the knight; antagonistic-- Don Juan, Finnegan, the revolver;
earth-reality-- the birds; child's fantasy-- the white rabbit and
Alice, and the damsel outfit; and sexual pleasure-- Ruth and the
Interesting. But the holes in the swiss cheese begin with trying to sort out how the particular thoughts are selected to be 'manufactured.' The first products, the rabbit and Alice, must come from Dr. McCoy's saying the place makes him think of something from Alice in Wonderland. But before then, he and Sulu were talking about there being no animal life on the planet. Why didn't all kinds of animals suddenly come out of the bushes? Perhaps the thoughts were not specific enough?
Obviously, whether they were thinking about something real or something fictional did not matter. But if it were a question of specific overriding thoughts at the time, one would think a counterfeit Enterprise would show up. And as their communications were jammed, they were thinking strongly about renewing contact. Wonder why that 'wish' wasn't granted-- well, for a while. And before Spock beamed down, he would have been Kirk's thought, as least as much as Finnegan or Ruth; yet a manufactured Spock didn't appear. Perhaps the manifestation had to be something completely unavailable in reality to avoid making that planet a universal crime source?
But maybe the biggest hole is in knowing the personality and operations of the manifestations. From viewer's perspective, the parts are 'all there.' Else, Kirk might have been in for some big surprise when he got 'Ruth' all alone. I suppose we can acquiesce that his thoughts of the female body were quite accurate, but to what extent was 'she' a living being who would have been better than the real thing? Better in that there was no disagreement to win, nothing contrary to what he wanted her to be... but if he kept her long enough, could she have actually have gotten pregnant with a human child? I assume not, as we learn from their analyzing the knight that his tissue was the same as the plant life there. But if a woman's fantasy there was to be impregnated by Mark Antony or Elvis Presley, could she have been? On that I also assume not, as the caretaker declared, "None of this is permanent..."
Well, as I title this, "Just for fun." You can't think too much about it. Like an earth amusement park (as Spock mentioned), you can retain the experiences in your memory, but you can't take home the monsters from the fright house.
I think there is more symbolism in this episode than is normally
acknowledged or commented upon. That they choose Apollo as the
particular Greek god to meet somewhere out in space, apparently as if
he had been waiting millenia for the earth creatures that resemble
himself to develop spacefaring technology and eventually find him...
while in reality, after millenia of looking at the night sky, naming
the stars and planets, telling our seasons by them, and thinking up
fables and superstititions about them, the program to actually land and
walk on another world happened to be the Apollo Moon Program. And the
moon, only feasibly reachable within the recent decades before it was
actually done, and once thought a god 'himself' by many cultures,
proved reachable, after all, without any god. So, as we were to soon
reach what was thought a god, it was in fact not a god, nor was a god's
help needed; it was pure applied science. And knowing Roddenberry was
an agnostic, perhaps an atheist, the point is clear: there are powers
and forces in the universe, but it was humans that invented the god
hypothesis to explain them on the elementary level, and this hypothesis
can be destroyed, and that will be one facet of our scientific legacy.
But the god he really had in mind, of course, was not the loyal friend
of (loser) Hector of Troy, but the God most of the western world
eventually turned to, originally of the ancient Hebrews. He is not
necessarily saying that that God (or his race of beings) may be found
some day as having been Wizard of Oz type "humbugs," but it is at least
such a thought experiment to that effect.
As for Apollo being a potential tragedy (slavery; everlasting indebtedness in the episode) we would have to deal with... this episode (and presumably its inception) came a few months after the launch pad fire of Apollo 1. The moon program, as is well known, had progressive success in the early and mid 60's and became overconfident and began to 'move too fast;' that is, too fast for safety in order to meet the deadline of landing on the moon before the decade was over. And in hindsight, many historians look back and say a disaster was inevitable. To phrase it in correspondence with the episode-- If we don't get Apollo under our control, Apollo will ruin us; even if we destroy the 'end of the decade' objective, we must get a grip on Apollo, and we cannot place ourselves forever in debt to 'him.'
I think the above 2 paragraphs are more of what ST was attempting to say, rather than anything in particular about the ancient astronaut theory, though that certainly was around at that time, just before Erich Von Daniken published his first book. Indeed, the 'getting back to nature' theme was more pronounced, but with the addition of "not because we are being forced to." There was a movement, of course, at that time of getting away from the unfriendliness, the pollution, the overly-mechanized cities, and living more in harmony with nature. Hippie communes, 'bedroom communities' with homes on large tracts, time-share getaways, et al, were manifestations of this idea. And shows like Green Acres parodied the idea. Perhaps "Who Speaks for Adonais?" was also another angle of parody of "away from mechanization; back to nature," or "weren't the ancients lucky to have no other way?" (the answer being obvious).
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