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 Review of The Night of the Fugitives
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1444 Posts

Posted - 05/15/2006 :  09:25:36  Show Profile
Hi all

I am going to be away from a computer for the next two weeks. I am going to post this review plus one more today. I am going to do them from memory so correct any mistakes I make.

This is the episode that Robert Conrad fell and ended season three. It is a cat and mouse plot which I especially like. It can also be classifies as a shell game, who’s got the pea. In this case, the pea is a bookkeeper. Artie again puts himself directly in the line of fire to help Jim with his portrayal of Hallelujah Harry. It tickled my funny bone the communication between Artie and Jim revealing the whereabouts of Plank.
Rating out of five.

Herr Ostropolyer
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
209 Posts

Posted - 05/16/2006 :  15:45:04  Show Profile
Hey all,
Wow! Here we are already for the 4th season, which sadly is a season that I find very disappointing. It contains many re-hashes, but most of all we lose RM's Artemus gordon for a good 9 episodes because RM suffered a heart attack. Artie went to Washington as we would be given filler agents. The filler agents were not bad, but we also had episodes where Jim would be on his own and these were not as good because Jim would become a superman again. Well, I'm babbling, but TNOT Fugitives is very exciting, and one event that occured in it would cause our series to never be the same.

The infamous fall in which head stunt man Whitey Hughes was allowed to have a day off to work on another series, and in which safety gripps were not placed upon the chandillier(sp?) and a nervous new stuntman would miss his que and allow RC to fall and fracture his neck on the cement floor indeed changed the series forever. The rest of the third season was episodes were put on hiatus and TNOT Fugitives would be shown in the upcoming 4th season. In this new 4th season RC would not be allowed to do his own stunts, RM would join in in the fights which not only caused him to break his leg(which was well disguised this season.), but would also cause him to have a heart attack ("from lifting and tossing the two hundred pound stuntmen.").

Another grey cloud would also loom over the 68 series in that the Nation would face two assassinations: RFK and MLK, which would cause the Senate to weed out violence on tv. Our series was a sitting duck. At first, they tried to cut down violence by having our heroes threaten to fire upon thugs who would surrender their weapons, and Jim could no longer fight "handicapable" thugs. However, the writing was on the wall and the series was cancelled even though it was still a winner in the Neilson's. RC would state that, "In a good way it was great that we were cancelled because if we went on to do a fifth season, someone would have died."

However, TNOT Fugitives is a wonderful episode of www. The guest cast is stellar with Simon Oakland as Diamond Dave Desmond the head of a corrupt mining town (Epitaph), in which his book keeper, Norbert Plank is trying to allude our heroes. This episode reminds me more of the "Untouchables" with Jim filling in for Eliot Ness while Oakland's Diamond Dave is a "Westernized" Al Capone. This plot really works and it is no wonder that it was originally intended for the very down to earth third season.

RC and RM are at the top of their game, and the "This is the Church hand code between Jim and Artie to let Artie know where Plank is hidden is priceless, while I also like the stunt in which Jim with Plank on his back crashes down from the steeple on a pully while he and artie escape in Hallelujah Harry's stage coach.

One minor quibble I have is that Artie would never steal a stage coach for his disguise to save Jim, however I'll forgive it this time because it helps add tension to the proceedings.

Escapism at its finest.
4 1/2 stars out of 5!

Herr Ostropolyer

"This is the church and this is the steeple..."-Artie disguised as Hallelujah Harry figuring out where Jim hid Plank in TNOT Fugitives.
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3908 Posts

Posted - 05/17/2006 :  23:50:07  Show Profile
Oh, it's you again. Are we feeling slightly schizophrenic about this episode?

You can see the different colors as well as I can. What do you think?

Well, it's appropriate, don't you think? After all, this is a third season episode, begun before and ended after season hiatus, then run as #7 in the Fourth Season.

And why was that? I'm sure you'll remind me.

A small matter of the star's nearly breaking his neck while misfiring on the retake of a stunt. Conrad's hiatus was spent laid up in the hospital, while Whitey Hughes sweated bullets at the bedside, wondering whether his boss and friend would pull through.

Well, at least Bob came through and Whitey didn't get the axe. Poor Gunnar Hellstrom ("The Samurai," "The Running Death"), the show's director up to the accident, wasn't invited back to finish the episode, which Mike Moder completed.

Poor Gunnar was never invited back to helm another episode of West at all. Pity. His work wasn't great, but it wasn't bad.

I guess if the series star almost kills himself during your shoot, the network decides it's Sayonara, baby. Okay, enough about all that. What did you think of the show as a show?

Like Hellstrom: not great, but not bad.

You go first.

It's a nice, fresh puzzlebox for a series that was already repeating itself. In apprehending a prisoner (Plank), West himself is a prisoner (in Epitaph). It's Pettus's "Iron Fist" story again—this time, however, with the nice twist that West is behind enemy lines and always on the run.

It's awfully western. Lots of horses and dust, and Dodge City storefronts and dull sheriffs.

Yeah, but it's done with a certain flair. Lots of gadgets for the home team: the two pulley escapes (Acts II and IV), the little noisemaker and needle (Act I), the exploding medicine wagon (Act IV).

The characters and cast were an uneven bunch.

Maybe, but the good ones really sparkle. Rhoda is fun, and Susan Hart is a hottie. J. J. Johnson as Plank is a perfectly slimy creep. And Si Oakland's Diamond Dave is just right: a perfect balance of comic and menacing heavy.

I confess that I loved his flicked cigar ash into Artie's upended tambourine. The sound of its landing even stirs the cymbals! But face it: "Hallelujah Harry" is only RM's preacher from "The Bars of Hell," recycled.

No, it's not. He's that preacher crossed with the mangy "jail-breaker" in The Arrow" (Act III). It's Ernest T. Bass in a top hat, and he's a hoot.

When you get down to it, though, the story's premise is pretty lame for the Secret Service's finest.

You're taking it way too seriously. This is a comedy, with just enough suspense thrown in to make it even more fun.

Even I loved the great stunt in the last act: Jimmy George's slide down the trolley from the church window, with Whitey Hughes (or is that a dummy?) on his back. A ballsy gag: the camera angle reveals that there's no mattress below, if anything had gone wrong.

Those stunt-guys were certifiable. You ready to vote?

Yeah. I give it two. It's not that great. Certainly not worth fracturing your skull over.

But it's not that bad! And Conrad nearly died for it! I give it four!

So we meet again halfway: three.

It's a lot of fun, with some dynamite stunts. Be generous. Besides, this season will give us some real chihuahuas.

Three-and-a-half. I have standards, and so should you.

1/2
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