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Terrible way to end a great series
Sadly, the final Columbo is one of the absolute weakest in the entire series.
What fans have loved since the series began consists largely, of four elements: 1) Columbo's discussing facts of the case or actions of people with the killer 2) seeing a few possible clues as we witness the murderer either commit the crime or the cover-up attempts afterward, and joyfully noting when Columbo finds those same clues; 3) humorous scenes involving the lieutenant, and 4) discovering new technologies, such as video recorders, computerized security systems, or learning about behind-the-scenes matters such as how music is scored for a film, or the making of a movie, running a military academy, a winery, a fitness club, a perfume company, or other businesses.
This Columbo focused on the owner of a nightclub, a "rave" club specifically. The characters are totally people I didn't recognize. The characters are totally people I didn't recognize. In the old days you had Jack Cassidy and Robert Conrad and Johnny Cash and William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy and other big names. Here we have Matthew Rhys and Jennifer Sky. I looked at their IMDb bios and don't recall ever seeing any of these "stars" appearances in their modest historiesand both of them did the bulk of their work AFTER this episode, making them far less famous then than they are now.
The old Columbos had famous people in lesser roles, such as Larry Storch, Tyne Daly, Valerie Harper, and more. If I ever saw one of the other actors I don't recall them at all.
There wasn't one scene in this that seemed like it was designed to make me laugh, or even chuckle. Nobody thought Columbo did anything odd, and he never had to apologize for making a mess or anything of the kind. In fact, the "old warehouse" look of this nightclub from the outside made Columbo's rumpled appearance look like he belonged there. He wasn't visiting a mansion or a magnificent office like usual.
There were two deaths in this one. Tony, a partner in this new club was just a day and a half away from collecting, legally, the money needed for the club to open when he visited Vanessa, his ex-wife. He saw a photo of her with his partner, Justin, and got enraged and grabbed her in an angry way. She shoves him a bit and he tumbles and lands on a coffee tabledead. Now in a Perry Mason, she would have run away and come back to discover he was dead and that she was charged. We would later learn that the fall onto the table didn't kill him but that someone else came in, found him unconscious and killed him. Here, he was dead. Because his family has mob connections, she didn't want to be connected at all. But if it was known that he died thenthe money that was coming would never be available. So the plan was to simply hide the body, letting the money kick in and the man become a "missing person" forever.
But somebody saw them hiding the body and blackmailed the pair. In what must be almost unprecedented, the blackmailer agreed to meet his victim in the blackmailer's own apartment, and even asked the guy to get him a "girl"which could mean a party girl or a prostitute, from the way it was presented.
I ask, who asks someone to do them a favor right in the middle of blackmailing that person? Justin shows up commits the show's first real murder.
There were no clues for us to spot. In fact, right after Justin arrives at the scene of his partner's death and he tells her they need to hide this body for 36 hours, we cut to 36 hours later and never see any of their actions. We cannot see any possible clues when this happens.
How Columbo found the first body was rather lucky and I think hard to believe. I won't give it away, but there are several other possibilities why the thing that triggered Columbo's discovery were just as likely to be the cause of the thing he observed. Furthermore, given the time frame, I find it hard to believe Justin could have changed plans in the way he did to hide the body, as depicted. There wouldn't have been time.
So we have a laugh-less Columbo, with no clues for viewers to follow, killers that only willingly killed a blackmailer, and looks at a business world that was absolutely uninteresting. As Columbo enters the place, he makes his way through the crowd of dancers as all sorts of colored lights flash on and off, making my eyes need to look away until that scene was over. It was physically hard to watch.
I thought this a terrible way for a great series to end. I give it a 3 and am probably generous.
Outwitting Mayor Stoner
Now they have a town band, comprised of about a dozen men, with Andy playing an instrument AND conducting. They are getting ready for their annual trip to Raleigh for a state-wide competition. (I phrase it like this because we never heard of or from this band on any other episode.) Barney has decided he wants to join the band. He sent away to Cymbal City in Chicago for a pair of "Andre Kostelanetz Marchers" (named after a very famous conductor whose band produced many albums over several decades). Of course, he had to surprise Andy with his new "instrument" by banging them loudly right behind his head.
As Andy headed for a meeting in the mayor's office, he spotted Freddy Fleet and his Band with a Beat. (In their earlier appearance, the same sort of traveling band with a long station wagon was headed by Bobby Fleet.) After exchanging pleasantries, including meeting a new "horn" that's trumpet player to you and me, a man named Phil who had a goatee and used all the lingo of musicians of the era, Andy went to the meeting and was stunned to hear that the mayor did not want to approve funding the band's trip tomorrow because they are "the worst band in the entire state." Andy gets the mayor to give them a chance, but rehearsal is chaotic and when the mayor sits in, the sound surely reminds old Brooklyn fans of the famous Dodger Sym-phoney Band, as they play their own sounds all separately and you can barely recognize the Stars and Stripes Forever. The mayor repeats that he won't pay for this band's trip because they are so horrible.
Andy, unable to improve the band enough, wants to preserve funding for the trip because it is an expected annual outing for the boys. So he has to con the mayor and I won't reveal how in case someone reading this wants to watch and doesn't remember/or know what happened.
Barney shakes up everyone with his loud cymbal playing and the ingenious way Andy tricks the mayor make for one of the funniest episodes in the series. So what if the mayor's actions make no political sensealienating the voters without saving the taxpayers more than a little money. I think it's too bad they didn't have more episodes where Andy outwitted the mayor.
Nice people got mean in this one
Saw this one this morning. As a dog lover, I wanted to scream at these normally nice folks for the horrible way they treated their dog.
I'm not talking about how they continue to just call him "Dog" because they were too busy making sure they had tons of eye makeup to wear to bed--as seen in this episode--to bother to come up with a name for him. I refer to the way they treated him.
Early on, Kathy Jo is being led around inside the water tank by the three sisters, and they smile as the dog looks down from above. When he jumps in, as he apparently was welcome to do normally, they got all upset with him as though he was supposed to know not to swim with the baby.
Even some minutes later, inside the lobby, Bobbie Jo scolded him and called him a bad dog--FOR WHAT! He did what he had been encouraged by them to do--join them in the "pool." Then all of the family seemed to be mad at everything the dog did--even though the only problem was they now had cleared the areas where "Dog" usually sat for the baby.
So, "Dog" ran away from home, even packing some food. He went to Drucker's and spent the night with him, then moved around the next day, finally hooking up with a hobo, played by J. Pat O'Malley.
So, after the family was brought to their senses by Doc Craig, they looked and looked for the missing dog. Then Bobbie Jo said the dumbest thing--even for her. As they were going to be, having not seen him for over 24 hours, she said, "It's the first night he's ever spent away from home." What about last night, O-forgetful one? About the only really funny scenes were Steve having a fit when told they took his baby daughter into the water tank, before he learned that babies can learn to swim before they can walk from the doc, and when Sam took in the pooch and shared his tiny bed behind his store with him. Sam wins the "good guy" award here, but the Bradley clan----Ooooohh! Now I'll admit that most people, including myself, have wrongly scolded or yelled at a pet for misbehaving in an attempt to teach it, and sometimes we have done this in error. Maybe that's why I hated seeing this portrayed on the show by people who you normally like. Just when I was ready to say they learned their lesson, welcoming him when he found his way home. But then Uncle Joe rolled up a newspaper and was about to holler at the dog for running away--as though that would be a lesson he would learn. All the dog would know is, "I came back home after a day away, and the old guy yelled at me and scared me with a rolled up newspaper." I'll skip this one whenever it airs again.
What can I say? I'll take it
Mayberry town leaders, minus their mayor (Dick Elliott passed away two months before this aired) decide to celebrate Founders' Day by selecting the first person driving into their community and making him their guest of honor. Little did they know the man they selected had just been escorted from the neighboring county by police because he was a thief and pickpocket.
Jay Novello plays Sheldon Davis, the crook, who is stunned to be given such an opportunity when he comes to Mayberry. He can't help his natural instincts. He shakes hands with everyone on the platform at the welcoming ceremony, and a minute later, they all notice their watches are missing.
That triggers Andy to make a phone call and learn that they are honoring a thief. So he and Barney plan to avoid a scandal by just watching him closely the rest of the day. Of course, Barney fouls this up by trying to be an amateur psychologist.
This episode has a hilarious bit with Floyd and two others being sworn in as special deputies. Andy tells them to wear their policemen's hats so people will know to come to them for help and directions. But one hat is way too small, another way too large--no matter which of the men is wearing it.
Then Barney has a big speech for them--as usual. When asked if they are to be "armed," Barney can't resist pulling out his own gun and...you know.
I really liked the way the boys kept shoving a perplexed Floyd out of their way when they learned nobody was watching Davis like they had thought. It was also funny the way Barney kept trying to be "big time" by calling/referring to Floyd by only his badge number, such as, "OK, Three, get in here!"
One of the memorable episodes in this series. My headline refers to what Davis said in a short speech after being told "Mayberry is yours!" by Andy.
You'll want to slap Wendell silly
While I like this series, I always thought it hard to believe a hotel would EVER have been built where the only access to it was via a train. Even in the 1800s a hotel would be located on a road where people traveling by some sort of horse-drawn carriage/cart could get to the place.
Nevertheless, in this episode, veteran character actor Jonathan Hole appears as Hank Thackery, operator of the Pixley House, a competitor or sorts to the Shady Rest. Without any explanation, he now thinks he can operate a jitney from Hooterville to Pixley that will be faster than the Cannonball. The reason it has always been slower is because the only road between the two requires a much longer trip.
Thackery winds up betting Uncle Joe that his car can win a race against the train, with the loser serving a month as bellhop for the other. Of course, the rarely visited Shady Rest really has no need of a bellhop, but that's not the point.
Joe gets frustrated on a test ride when Wendell keeps stopping needlessly and takes two hours for the trip. He spends the next few days "training" Wendell, almost like he's going into a boxing match. Then Joe comes up with the notion of putting oil on the wood to be used to help the Cannonball go faster. Thackery discovers this ploy and he sabotages it by half-filling the wood tender with green wood--that won't burn well, thus slowing the train.
As the race commences, Joe has to slap Wendell lightly as he freezes right at the start. Then he keeps stopping--first for a cow. Wendell doesn't want to scare the cow, so he talks gently to it, but Joe leads it off the tracks. Wendell still won't get back in the cab until he apologizes to the cow. Later he infuriates us viewers by casually stopping to chat with a lady who waves her handkerchief and just wants to thank him for a recipe he gave her, and to help a moonshiner move his still to keep away from the government men. Andy Griffith fans will enjoy seeing that Otis Campbell is totally sober in this show, but now makes his own liquor.
I hate to give away something near the end, but I just have to. If you don't want to know, stop reading here. Thackery next shows up running up to the closed Drucker's Store with a gas can in hand because he has run out of gas.
Now Pixley is supposed to be the county seat, so it is impossible to figure it is any more than 60 miles from Hooterville--likely no more than 30. When cars got much poorer gas mileage than today, they used to have much larger gas tanks. Going back decades before this show was made, it would be hard to find a car that couldn't get close to 200 miles on a tank of gas.
Thus, it is impossible to figure any way Thackery, all ready for his big race to, effectively put the Shady Rest out of business, would not have enough gas in his car to run the entire race. To me, this was just too stupid to accept, not even in the silly plot of a show such as this.
There were a few laughs but this was below average for this series.
Dumb and illogical in many ways
This is one of those shows where if you leave all thoughts of logical thinking at the door, you will find some laughs, but not too many. If you are bothered by not just one big flaw in logic but a constant abandonment of clear thinking, you will probably hate this episode, which recalls several of the worst episodes of I Love Lucy, a series which featured the same writers as this series.
We begin with the Carmichaels and Bagley's at supper, discussing a letter from Lucy's never-before-mentioned sister, who recently got married, eloping with a guy named Hughie. Viv asks Lucy about the letter but Lucy never got it. Now it appears the letter arrived before everyone went off to school that morning (first stop for the early bird mailman?) because Viv gave it to Chris who gave it to Sherman who gave it to Jerry, who, for reasons that can't be explained, put it into his school lunch box. Let's see, the letter was at the house, where Lucy would expect to get it. Nope, I cannot think of any reason why you would pass this thing around to different people instead of just leaving it, maybe, with the rest of the day's mail, or where mail usually goes, if you weren't going to hand it to Lucy right away. I cannot imagine being in my house as a kid, with an envelope in my hand addressed to my mom and giving it to anyone else for any reason.
Marge has written about how wonderful her married life has been so far. We soon shift to a knock on the door with Marge (Janet Waldo) coming in, bawling about the big fight she just had with her husband. We never get included on the details. Instead, we hear Lucy coming up with the cockamamie idea that her marriage wouldn't be having any troubles at all if they had only had a big wedding instead of an elopement.
So when Hughie comes knocking about 4 a.m. (played by Peter Marshall, later of Hollywood Squares fame) the couple quickly solve their problems just by seeing each other (I told you there was little logic in this one) Lucy finagles a way to get them to agree to a more formal weddingbut insists that it be later that day, specifically 13 hours away.
Now I know what you're thinkingconsidering they are already married, how do you get other friends and family members to agree to come to a wedding they will be invited to, by phone, that by the time they get the phone invitation, will be celebrated no more than 9 hours later? Well, Lucy and Viv do get a living-room full of people to show up, not that any of the guests are ever more than extras. The rest of the story dealt with them baking a giant wedding cake and then trying to decorate it. They had to "try" to decorate it because they both got drunk from the big punch bowl in the kitchen. Hughie had sneaked a large bottle of, I guess, champagne into the house and decided to pour it into the punch.
While Viv was standing near the punch bowl, Lucy pulled out the bride's wedding ring that she had because she had to give it to Jerry to be the ring bearer. Viv started to read the inscription and Lucyin what was the stupidest move in this entire episodenot only chastised her for reading the inscription, but whacked her hands as she did so. Of course the ring dropped into the punch. Instead of fishing it out like normal people, they each filled cups with punch, ran their hands around in the cups, then, since they had sense enough not to put that punch back into the bowl, commenced to drinking cup after cup of the "tangy" punch.
The following scene of the two drunks trying to decorate the cake was easily the funniest part of the show, but the set up to get there just was too dumb to make this episode a good one to me. I won't give it away but the ending scene also seemed rather stupid and illogical to me as wellsort of a "we-need-a-real-quick-finish-because-we're-out-of-time" thing. I give it a 3.
Way too dumb and too obvious
We begin with everyone in both families happy that they are spending Christmas together for the first time. Usually they go their separate ways to be with distant members of their own families--which considering that they almost never see them, sounds like a good thing.
That was the start of this really dumb Christmas episode. I don't see how the kids would be all excited to spend Christmas with the same four other people they see every day in their home. A trip to visit someone else sounds much better. Especially true for teenage Chris--how much fun does she plan to have with her grade-school brother and his friend of the same age? We see Lucy buying her Christmas turkey while Viv comes in right after buying the Christmas tree. Now I may not be an expert on these matters, but it seems to me a most unusual thing to have someone bring their full-sized Christmas tree--real and painted white--inside the butcher shop, but that's what Viv did.
The ladies immediately begin a quarrel that lasts through most of the episode. They totally disagree on what color of tree, type of ornaments, main dish to have for Christmas dinner, what time to eat the meal, when to open presents...everything. Even after they get all mad and decide to go their separate ways for Christmas, and the kids desire to do things at home jars them back into the Christmas spirit, Lucy and Viv immediately let one small accident take them back into a big fight, leading to the ultimate ruination of both of their trees, and more.
A couple of Carols from the two boys and a group of other boys finishes off this episode as everyone is suddenly happy again.
The nasty bickering wasn't fun, nor was the stupid destruction of the trees and ornaments. It started when Viv stupidly put a cherished ornament on the couch and Lucy stupidly sat on the couch without looking. Then Viv accidentally stepped on Lucy's favorite old childhood ornament that she had idiotically left on the floor rather close to Viv's tree. Nobody but Lucy has a cherished old ornament in hand while decorating a tree and decides to just place it on the floor near the area where someone else is also decorating a tree.
Just a rather dumb show that lacked laughs. I have been going through my season 1 DVD set and so far this is the dumbest, least funny episode.
The Andy Griffith Show: Jailbreak (1962)
Our heroes capture some "chicken thieves"
This was, I believe, the finest episode they ever had involving other police officers! The plot centers around a State Police detective named Horton, played by the raspy-voiced Ken Lynch who played cops on virtually every TV series in the 60s and 70s it seems, coming in to see the sheriff. Barney tells him Andy is gone and he isn't sure when he'll be back, but he and the sheriff work closely together and he'd be glad to help the state detective himself.
Horton says he'll wait. Then Barney goes to great lengths to make sure the man notices his picture in a framed newspaper headline complete with a big photo of Barney, about him cracking "The Walker" casethat came from an episode when Andy and Ellie schemed to make Barney think the drug store had been robbed and in the course of arresting the first tramp he found, Barney caught an actual crook. The detective says, "Maybe there is something you can do for me." An eager Barney says "Yes?" When the detective asks, "Tell me where Sheriff Taylor lives and I'll try to find him there." An exasperated Barney moans out, "24 Elm Street." Later, we see the detective telling Andy about a wanted man, called Doc Malloy, who is believed to be in the area. They don't want to move in on him now because they think he is meeting his partner and they want to catch them both. All he wanted from Andy is for him to make sure to stay out of the way, telling him that he should just stick to catching chicken thieves and whatnot.
Just after Andy tells Barney that they have to stay out of the whole thing, Horton shows up with Malloy (Allan Melvin), explaining that he saw the cops and they had to bust him. Horton wants to keep Malloy in the Mayberry jail for a few days while they continue to try to find his partner.
Since they brought Malloy in while Barney was away, when the deputy enters the courthouse and finds the prison asleep, he decides to go undercover. Dressed in his civilian suit, Barney slips into the cell and pretends to have been there for some time, telling Malloy that he has a plan to escape, claiming he can pick the lock to the cell.
Malloy is reluctant to tell this new prisoner anything but happy to get sprung with him until he notices that same framed picture of the deputy on the wall. When Barney uses his palmed key to open the cell, while he is playing his role, Malloy goes to the rack in the back room and grabs Barney's gun and locks him up before escaping.
Of course, Andy and the state trooper soon learn about Barney's blunder. While a discouraged Barney goes to the cleaners to clean up his suit that got covered with the hair of Floyd's dog that had recently visited the cell, Andy tries to cheer him up. At the cleaners, Mr. Goss mumbles something about Barney's being the 2nd suit today covered with dog hairs. He says a woman brought in the other one, a woman driving the car right outside. Andy notices the car has a trailer hitch and deduces that Malloy's partner is a woman and they are staying at the town's trailer park. So he and Barney go there.
Barney peeks in the window of one trailer, ignoring the "Just Married" sign to see a couple spooning. Of course they spot him, which leads to a comical epilogue scene involving the couple reporting a peeping Tom. Before that, Barney, after nearly being caught by Malloy, winds up doing a smart, and risky, maneuver that allows the crooks to be captured by Andy.
This episode had almost everything. Barney featured prominently, Allan Melvin (Sgt. Hacker from Gomer Pyle, Cpl. Henshaw from Bilko, and about 8,000 other roles in a long career), a condescending state cop getting put in his place by Andy, and even a funny bit with Barney, Opie and Floyd's dog. I particularly liked that although Barney did goof in his quest to break the big case, it wasn't because he did something stupid, it was just overlooking that photo of himself on the wall. And Barney himself came up with the bright idea that led to the crooks being caught. Andy didn't save him from his own stupidity, like he often did.
Don't confuse this one with Opie and his Merry Men
One of the two reviewers for this episode clearly has it confused with the Season 4 episode Opie and His Merry Men, in which the boys playing Robin Hood encounter a bum living in the woods, who encourages them to steal from the rich and give to the poor--well, himself, at least.
Opie's Hobo Friend featured a pre-Jed Clampett Buddy Ebsen as an interesting man who is encountered by Andy and Opie on a fishing trip. As our heroes head off to fish, the stranger, Dave Browne, helps himself to their bag of sandwiches left in the squad car.
My favorite scene comes when Barney hauls in the same man accusing him of vagrancy and is astonished to hear both Andy and Opie converse with the man like he is an old friend. Andy lets the man go because he's done no harm.
Dave hangs around, doing some chores for Andy but starts influencing Opie in his lazy ways, such as telling him "Tomorrow...the most perfect day to start any job...tomorrow." When Opie wants to do his chores tomorrow, Andy threatens to paddle his tomorrow if he doesn't do the chores right away.
Andy goes to the shack where Dave is staying and tries to tell him that he wants him to stay away from being a bad influence on Opie. Dave insists that the boy should decide which of the two men has a better lifestyle. But as Andy leaves, telling him that he (Andy) has a tough job to try to get Opie back to thinking the right way about things, we see that Dave is thinking about what he heard.
So Dave comes up with a clever scheme of getting arrested for stealing Aunt Bee's purse, purposely so that Opie can see that he should not emulate Dave. Barney brings him in and leaves with Dave in a cell, but Andy has figured out that the purse was one Aunt Bee threw away and he starts to thank the man for helping him to set Opie straight, but Dave insists he "has a train to catch." This was another heartwarming story, a mostly sympathetic look at a hobo, but I cannot give it too high a score because so much of it wasn't that funny.
Barney provides the fun here, but Andy is smart
The plot is rather basic. In fact, much of this premise was copied on an episode of Gomer Pyle, although they changed big elements.
Here, Barney is seen being his usual fumbling, nervous self when a pretty newcomer, Melissa, to town asks directions to the post office. He makes a big issue, siren and all, to escort the lady to the post office with her following the squad car. He drives about 15 feet and swings around to park right across the street from where they were--whereas a normal deputy would have just told her, "The post office? Why that's right over there across the street." Thelma Lou sees him making a spectacle of himself and they quickly decide they are both free to date whoever they want. Barney is enjoying "playing the field" but when her father goes upstairs to read after the three of them dine at her place, she gets romantic with nervous Barney and asks, "Don't you wish we could be like this forever." Barney says he does and she jumps up and calls for her Daddy to excitedly tell him that Barney has proposed.
We don't really see much after that in that scene, but Barney does the only logical thing the next day and breaks the engagement and makes up with Thelma Lou. But now Melissa and her father want to sue for "Breach of Promise." In the courthouse, after the couple seem eager for a cash payment to help her get over the hurt, Andy figures out they are faking it and lines up everyone and begins conducting a marriage ceremony. Melissa now gets mad and insists she would never marry "a squirt." Andy now accuses them of being crooks, and asks if maybe they aren't really married to each other, instead of being father and daughter. The two leave the room, and town, on orders from Andy.
The closing line of this scene is a classic that I won't spoil. Overall, a rather funny episode, especially the way Barney acts with the women in his life.
Addams Family fans will love seeing Uncle Fester in the role of Melissa's "daddy."