Thursday, June 16, 2016

And the website is online at last!

Today is June 16th, Christopher Cary's birthday. Of course, I am remembering him as always. And this year I have at last been able to bring my site online! It is still in the working stages, and I am hoping its presence will generate interest and people who knew the actors highlighted therein will come forward and wish to add their voices and their stories. Right now, it is largely a collection of vintage interviews I have dug up, with a few recent ones in the mix. The crowning glory of the site is an extended interview I had with Elen Carysfort, Christopher's widow. I am so happy that she was able to take the time to share her wonderful stories with me! And I am thrilled to be able to share them with everyone at long last.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The script of Riptide's The Pirate and the Princess: New insight into Captain Scofield's character?

As much as I love and adore Captain Jack Scofield from the Riptide episode The Pirate and the Princess, one of my sources of frustration regarding the character is that the episode never really makes it clear whose side Jack is on. Did he move the mini-submarine so that it was on the eels' rock? Did he start the fire in the engine room? Was he really going to blow up the ship when Guido shot him?

I really believe he was not at fault for any of these things, especially since Guido was revealed as the snake in the grass. But that doesn't necessarily clear Scofield. After all, he could have been a bad guy working all on his own, independent of the smugglers.

I hoped perhaps the script would clear up some of these mysteries even though the episode did not. I finally procured a copy of said script and pored over it yesterday. Although it does not answer things as much as I hoped, there are some interesting differences between the script and the episode that may actually lead to the answers.

First, the character description. He is described as a hard-bitten sea salt along the lines of Robert Shaw from Jaws. Now, I'm probably one of the only people who has never seen Jaws, since horror pictures with psycho animals are really not my thing, but upon looking up pictures of the character I can kind of see the inspiration. He even wears a sweater and a baseball cap. And of course, he's British in origin. The script makes note that Scofield has an English accent. I wonder if Christopher Cary was an immediate choice for the part or if they also considered other actors.

Next, the differences between the script and the episode.

The script, overall, is extremely similar to the finished product. Probably the biggest change made is that when they dive to get Captain Tyson's treasure, the old sunken ship starts collapsing and Cody is almost killed! Nick and Tony Guirilini come to rescue him just in time. When they surface, Angelo Guirilini is horrified by the tale of what happened. I suppose this was cut either for time or budget constraints, but it would have been an intense and exciting scene.

(Another, smaller change is that the flashback dates are moved up an entire century. Whereas in the script it's the 1500s, it's the 1600s in the episode. And yet even with that change, they didn't change the time discrepancy in the script of Emilio Rodriguez being made captain of his own ship several years before Captain Tyson ever met Princess Carlotta!)

Captain Scofield's original scene, where he speaks with the customs agent who spies for him, is virtually the same as the episode, save for the very beginning. One slight change made in the script has the Riptide detectives and Giovanna Guirilini talking about the problems on the expedition outside the airport instead of in the taxi cab. Scofield and the customs agent watch the whole thing. When Murray says he wants to look the inexplicable squarely in the eye until it blinks, the camera angle goes to a close-up of Scofield's eye and a blink. Ha! Cheesy, yes, but an interesting approach. It would have been amusing if they had kept it like that in the episode.

When Scofield is spying on the Arrivederci, Baby, the script notes that he is wearing a damp wetsuit. This is as in the episode; we are to assume he has been diving. However, while in the episode it really may be a red herring and his diving was innocent, in the script it almost seems that there definitely is something sinister about whatever he was doing down there. Instead of Tony, it's Guido who gets bitten by the eel. Unless Guido was trying to throw suspicion off of himself, or unless the eel just went for him before he could do anything about it, it seems that he was completely surprised by the location of the mini-submarine and perhaps did not move it there himself. Also, when they come up, the script notes that one of them is clearly hurt, whereas it doesn't seem to be as clear in the episode, particularly from that distance.

Perhaps the eeriest change in this scene is that originally Scofield is supposed to be singing to himself as he watches the goings-on and sees them surface with someone definitely hurt. Such a reaction seems to indicate either that he is responsible for moving the mini-submarine and is pleased that someone got hurt or that he just doesn't care, even if he had nothing to do with it. It also rather indicates he may not be altogether sane. Singing while watching injured people is not a normal reaction. As nice as it would have been to have heard Christopher Cary sing, I am glad that the episode opted to have him watch in silence and not look particularly pleased at anything that's happening. I wonder whether that was Christopher's suggestion or that of someone in the crew. The only point where he looks like he may be enjoying it could also be interpreted as him simply squinting and not quite sure what he's seeing. I wasn't sure what he was seeing either, even with the binoculars. But it's also possible that he couldn't tell that anyone was hurt, yet was pleased that they were surfacing without having found anything yet because he wanted to approach them about that partnership.

Of course, if we go with the idea that Guido put the mini-submarine on the eels' rock, the question becomes how did he do that when he was in town? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that the mini-submarine is remote-controlled. Maybe before Guido left for town, he guided it to the spot he wanted and then damaged the relay circuit and sent it down. He certainly could have noted the rock on a prior dive and decided it would be perfect for his purposes.

It's also a point of curiosity why Scofield didn't approach Angelo about the partnership. One could decide that his story really was a lie, but on the other hand, perhaps he was simply planning to go about "approaching" in a very unusual way. There is nothing to say that maybe his intentions all along were that someone would notice the spying customs agent and find out about him after cornering that guy. Perhaps he thought it better if they ended up coming to him instead of the other way around. Of course, that didn't help Cody and Nick with their suspicions any, but maybe Scofield thought that since there wasn't anything illegal about him watching the ship and he admitted to it, his honesty wouldn't be questioned.

When the customs agent is caught spying at the hospital, in the script he ends up leading Cody and Nick on a chase all the way down to the docks, where he hides on Scofield's ship. Wow. I wonder whether that was changed because of time or budget or simply because it sounded too laughable that he would be that much of a coward. The script also says that Scofield then comes out glaring at Cody and Nick with the agent hiding behind him. Now, maybe that made sense when Terry D. Nelson was picturing Robert Shaw, but when small-framed Christopher Cary was cast in the role, somehow the thought of anyone hiding behind him just doesn't quite work. So that may have also had some bearing on why the scene was changed.

In the episode, instead of glaring, Scofield is friendly and amiable from the start. Even though the episode is still vague on Scofield's ultimate allegiance, this and these other changes from the script seem to point to the idea that perhaps Scofield is exactly as he presents himself to be and they wanted him to be more likable to the audience.

Things proceed much the same as the episode for a while, with the only changes seeming to be that, first, when Murray and Tony find the location of the ship, in the script Scofield laughs in delight instead of taking a wide-eyed sip from his rum bottle. Second, an interesting and possibly plot relevant change is that when Cody and Nick are questioning Scofield about the fire, the episode makes it more clear that they really do think he did it and are making no bones about the circumstantial evidence they found. Cody mentions how interesting he finds it that Scofield's rum bottle was left at the scene of the crime, whereas he doesn't say that in the script.

The other major difference between script and episode is that when a wounded Scofield struggles up with the knife and stabs Guido before he can plant the newly armed bomb, the scene lingers in the script. Instead of immediately cutting away at Guido's shock, it shows Scofield stabbing him in the heart and Guido suspended for a moment before collapsing to the floor. Perhaps it was deemed too violent for television at that time.

There is still no real indication of what Scofield is doing staggering into the main salon with the knife, so I will still assume he was trying to get the knife to the main characters to help them. I  will also assume that he was not planning to blow anybody up and that the bomb was probably brought to the ship by Mr. Hawkins and given to Guido to plant. Scofield could have easily been in the engine room trying to find clues as to who framed him for starting the fire and have stumbled across Guido getting ready to plant the bomb. Guido then shot Scofield and tried to blame him for the bomb, but had to abandon that plan and reveal his own duplicity when Scofield was still alive and Murray was going to call for an ambulance. Guido likely wasn't expecting Scofield to have survived the bullet.

That seems the most likely scenario to me. Supposing Scofield wanted to blow up the ship, why? Was his argument about the Arrivederci having the best equipment to find the treasure a lie? Was it the truth but he then abandoned that idea when it looked like maybe the treasure was either buried onshore or in a shallow underwater cave? The possible arguments for Scofield having the bomb really seem weak and ludicrous, especially since in the episode there is no indication of him having treasure lust elevated to a dangerous and deadly level. He comes across as mature and patient, willing to wait after all these years, even though he is excited, as is everybody else, at the thought of being so close to finding the treasure.

Another thought to consider is that the bomb was some pretty high-tech equipment and Scofield only had a small fishing boat and probably very little money. Not to mention he wasn't all that keen on technology all the time and liked more traditional methods of getting things done, as seen when he tells Murray that the old maps they found are better than any computer. Hawkins, meanwhile, had money and power and could probably very easily have obtained a bomb like that amid all his other crooked dealings. Plus, we know he definitely wanted Guido to kill everybody by that point due to the pressure put on him by Klaus Gunther. So he is the more likely candidate for the bomb's origins.

In the end, I remain determined to believe that Captain Scofield really is a good person and had nothing to do with any of the trouble, as he adamantly claimed. It would be nice to know for sure what the intention was behind the character, but I doubt if it will ever be known now, after all these years. It seems unlikely that anyone would still remember what the full story was behind a guest-starring character who only appeared in one episode.

One thing that's sure. While the character is very interesting in the pages of the script, he seems much more dark and mysterious than in the episode, especially when we can't see what he looks like or what his expressions are. When he's actually seen onscreen and played so brilliantly by Christopher Cary, he comes to life as a lighter and friendlier person. But the script description of him as hard-bitten is so fitting in either version. I will always be impressed by how he struggled up after being shot, stabbed Guido, and staggered across the ship to take the knife to the bound characters. Truly, he is far tougher than he looks.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Alaskans: Appalling or Adorable?

In recent years, Warner Brothers has endeavored to release almost all of their old classic television series. Maverick, following the adventures of a family of gamblers, remains one of the most well-known and well-loved of Warner's series. On the other end of the spectrum, The Alaskans is unavailable in any official form. It's not on television, it's not released to DVD. Why? Star Roger Moore has called the series "appalling". Is it?

I don't want to put words or intentions in Roger's mouth, but I can't help wondering if perhaps he was referring more to how it was made, rather than the episodes themselves. Some of his horror stories of filming certainly do sound appalling. Filming outside in Los Angeles as though it's Alaska sounds highly miserable. Worse, the fake snow often got in the cast members' eyes and it was so bad they had to have their eyes flushed out every two hours by a nurse on the set! Appalling indeed.

As for the series itself, well, that's another matter.

I never thought I would get to see the series. I also figured it wasn't anything special. But I wanted to see the episode where Simon Oakland guest-stars, and then since I am unashamedly a Roger Moore fangirl, I wanted to see him.

Recently I was given the chance. I discovered four random episodes floating around and curiously and hopefully watched them. One was the pilot, the other three are assorted episodes from the series' one-season reign.

The basic plot involves three get-rich-quick schemers up in Alaska during the Gold Rush. Some summaries of the show make them sound rather like crooks, but from what I could gather over four episodes, their plans are never outright dishonest and they never intend to actually hurt anyone. Instead, in the course of enacting their relatively honest plans, they come in contact with and have to tangle with those operating in Alaska and the Yukon who are dishonest and foil their plans. The only times they seem to stoop to slightly illegal behavior are when they're trying to stop the utterly dishonest from preying on the innocent. Sound familiar? I would venture to say that it's basically Maverick in Alaska. This really isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The characters are quite lovable. Silky Harris is a lot like Beau Maverick, understandably. He's a smooth-talking wanderer who hates hard work, loves to come up with easier ways to make money, and sometimes gambles. He seems to be more extroverted than Beau, however. While Beau usually likes to come into a town, gamble, and quietly get out without calling a lot of attention to himself, Silky sometimes comes up with money-making plans that involve him loudly promoting whatever it is.

His friend Reno McKee is a tough guy, but he isn't all brawn and no brains. Reno can think things out and sometimes is more down-to-earth and practical than Silky. If he doesn't like a particular plan of Silky's, he will say so and try to convince Silky not to go through with it. On the other hand, sometimes he relishes his participation in certain schemes, such as when he recruited five guys to help him lift a crook's safe out of a hotel in order to blow it up and retrieve the stolen deed for the rightful owner.

Rocky Shaw is the female member of the group. She is sharp, quick on the draw, and usually turns out a tune or two in her capacity as a saloon girl. She comes to care about both Silky and Reno as her friends, even though at first she wasn't sure if she trusted them. They in turn care about her and treat her as an equal; Silky brings back presents for her when he goes wandering and Reno sweeps her up in his arms when they meet after a time apart. She may carry more romantic feelings for Silky, but this doesn't seem to go further than her seeming frustrated jealousy when Silky pays attention to a girl they're taking to an acting job.

Together they make a very effective and formidable team against the mobsters, cheaters, conmen, and other criminals who really are out to hurt people. Even when they're threatened, they don't turn tail and run, although they may try to convince their enemies they're going to comply. The bad guys never know what's going to hit them!

Of course, as with all Warner Brothers series, some scripts were recycled from other shows. The key signal that a script was not original was the writing credit of "W. Hermanos." Heh, good one, Warner. Of the four I saw, one carried this telltale sign. However, I don't know what other series used the storyline and I quite loved The Alaskans treatment of it. But regardless, the other three were all original scripts created for this short-lived series.

The plots of the episodes I saw are as follows:

Gold Sled - The Pilot A man dies saying something about the treasure he's accumulated. The sound quality wasn't as good on this one, but from what I could hear, Rocky Shaw has a legitimate claim to his treasure. She meets Silky Harris and Reno McKee in town and decides to team up with them to get what's rightfully hers, with the condition that they'll all get a cut. She doesn't trust them at first, but by the climax, when they're dealing with crooks as well as the elements, they prove themselves honorable and their team stands strong, even though they aren't able to get the fortune. Perhaps they've found a better treasure in each other.

The Petticoat Crew The team is working to get actresses to a new job, but their ship reservations are cancelled and they are forced to make other arrangements. They end up sailing on a broken-down old tub along with old enemy Nifty, who wants the girls to work for him. Chaos ensues.

Big Deal The team conspires to break up a meeting of the most dangerous criminals in Alaska, as well as to restore ownership of a hotel to the rightful party.

Calico The recycled script. Silky is traveling alone in this one and gets accused of murder, just like poor Beau Maverick always does. Calico, a mute young woman Silky befriends, is the only one who holds the key to proving him innocent. This is very much like some Maverick episodes. Silky's kindness towards Calico and his forward thinking in getting help for her so she can recover from her trauma and speak again is very touching to see.

I found each one of the episodes quite enjoyable, with my favorite probably being Big Deal. The way John Dehner and Jesse White react to the continuing chaos that interrupts their crooked meeting is absolutely priceless, as is Silky's reaction when he sees Reno and some other guys carrying a safe with the stolen deed in it. I also discovered in this episode that Roger Moore can sing and play the guitar. I was rather unaware he had these talents. I especially assumed, after hearing him do a recitation on the Warner Brothers Stars Christmas album, that he wasn't musically inclined.

So, is the series anything special overall? Well, the stars have excellent chemistry with each other and their characters are all fairly likable. The storylines are similar to what you can find in other Western shows of the era, particularly Maverick. The setting of Alaska, no matter how manufactured in reality, is quite unique.

Frankly, I would say that there are a lot of worse things out there that you could be watching. I'd rather see The Alaskans over some other classic television shows, and that's not just because I'm nuts about Roger Moore. I believe I prefer The Alaskans over Darren McGavin's vehicle Riverboat, or at least, I certainly prefer it over the second season of Riverboat, when adventure declined and romance rose in the scripts and the supposed friend of Darren's character continually tried to backstab him and gain complete control of the boat. The dynamic of the three-character main cast in The Alaskans is a unique feature, especially among Warner Brothers shows. Most of these typically featured one main character per episode (or per series). I find the interaction between the main characters very refreshing. The way the female member of the group is treated is very refreshing. And I love that they are all friends, instead of love triangles interfering and messing everything up. Also, from what I've seen, they share and share alike, rather than try to cheat each other. There was one little bit in the pilot where Silky and Reno had a bit of trouble, but I didn't see anything like that in the other episodes, and anyway, pilots usually are a bit different regarding characterization than a series proper.

I would say that The Alaskans does have unique things to offer, even if not always in its storylines. For the interaction between the main characters, yes, it's something special. Appalling? Hardly. This series is quite adorable. Fans of Maverick may very well be charmed by it for its similar plotlines, but in the close bond between the main characters, I might even say it has a depth present to it that Maverick, with its mischievous family of gamblers taught by the family patriarch to even cheat each other, rather lacks. (Although it should be pointed out that thankfully, the Mavericks do have each other's backs when it counts.)

Of course, coming from only seeing four episodes, perhaps my opinion wouldn't hold up upon seeing the others. But I hope that instead, what I saw was typical of this sadly short-lived series. And I hope that Warner will get around to releasing it, just as it has released its other old series. I would totally buy it! And judging from the high user rating it holds on IMDB, there are quite a few people who remember it fondly.

Bring back The Alaskans!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Case of the Interested Boss: Lew Wickersham's Presence on Joe Mannix's Cases

Being a season 1 Mannix fan can get lonely, since most everyone and their dog prefer to ignore season 1 and Lew in favor of seasons 2-8 and Peggy. I love all of those elements too, but there's a special place in my heart for season 1 and Lew. Imagine my overjoyed state to discover a really awesome writer wrote a story set in pre-season 1, with tons of wonderful Lew!

The story, Slippery When Wet by BJ Thompson, is available at and can't be praised enough. I especially love her very human and three-dimensional characterizations of both Joe Mannix and Lew Wickersham. They are very fleshed-out in ways that ring true with the series and feel very real, from their dialogue to their motivations. They are friends as well as boss and employee and that comes through beautifully.

One interesting thing the author attempts to explain is why Lew is often with Joe on his cases in season 1, instead of just staying in his office and letting things play out without him. She proposes a backstory where Joe has lost his license due to trouble on a past case and the only way he can get it back is to work for Lew for two years, with Lew in sort of a probation officer role. When Joe is such a wild card in need of supervision, Lew definitely has his hands full.

While I find the idea intriguing, and definitely enjoy it in the context of the story, I'm not sure I can say it fits with the canon of season 1, either up front or behind the scenes. Let's examine why.

At various times during season 1, Joe threatens to leave Intertect. On one occasion, Joe speaks of it as approximately, "Someday, Lew, someday I'm going to leave here and open my own detective agency." Although I don't recall the exact wording or the episode, he definitely doesn't sound as though he has been on his own before. He sounds as though he has only ever worked under others.

While Joe is totally often in trouble and creates havoc at Intertect, there is no mention of there being a problem with him going out on his own. In fact, in You Can Get Killed Out There, Joe really does quit and leave. Lew doesn't tell him he can't go because he has to stay on probation, so to speak. Joe seems to be perfectly free to leave Intertect any time he wishes.

Of course, this could be explained as Joe deciding to stay on after the probation period is up, for some reason, and that by the later season 1 episodes there is no more probation. In any case, he clearly doesn't need to stay with Lew to finish getting his mandatory three years of working under someone before striking out on his own. Most likely, he did this under the Harry Forrest character introduced in season 8 as Joe's mentor.

For some mysterious reason, in spite of Joe's dislike of technology reliance, he keeps staying on at Intertect. Within the context of the series, this is never explained. Behind the scenes, the truth is that while season 1 was in production, the crew never intended for Joe to leave Intertect and not come back. He would threaten to leave because he was a free spirit and because it created some level of tension, but he was always supposed to return at the end of the episode. Considering that Joe thinks Intertect is more machine than man and that rules are meant to be broken, it seems very odd that he continually returns (other than because the script required it).

Since he is apparently free to leave any time he wishes, it would seem to me that the only likely reason he remains is because of Lew. He likes Lew and he knows he is Lew's best agent. He doesn't want to let Lew down. But he wouldn't stay entirely for selfless reasons; he obviously wants to stay more than he wants to go, in spite of his threats. Something at Intertect holds that level of value to him. What could that be, if not Lew? He certainly doesn't have anywhere the same closeness with anyone else at Intertect. And he is confident in his abilities; he isn't staying because he worries he won't find clients on his own.

Perhaps, if there is any other reason Joe stays, it is because he's concerned about the cases that might not get solved if he wasn't there to shake things up and take them. Cases such as the little girl's happiness in Make It Like It Never Happened would not have been solved had Joe not been there to hear about it and agree to look into it.

On the other side of the coin, why doesn't Lew fire him and mean it, especially when Joe takes on cases that Lew would rather he left alone? Joe is always rehired if he's fired. In spite of the stress Joe causes Lew, Lew knows Joe is his best agent. Lew has an immense respect and trust for Joe and will listen when Joe has concerns or ideas about a particular case. More than once, Lew has also encouraged others to listen as well. He may despise some of Joe's methods with all his heart, but even then, he is willing to stick it out because he knows that if Joe thinks he is onto something, he very likely is.

That holds true for the cases Lew would ordinarily set aside, as well. Even if Lew is not initially interested in a case or feels it doesn't hold up to Intertect standards, he doesn't want any injustice to be done if they can prevent it. So he allows Joe a certain amount of latitude. If he is forced to fire Joe for straying too far from what he feels he can allow, he will rehire him after the case unfolds.

Lew would not let it govern everything he says and does, but it's also true that they are far more than boss and employee. It wouldn't be necessary to say it aloud for it to be known loud and clear, but in case the audience had any doubts, Lew and Joe both say in certain episodes that they are friends. In addition to worrying about what Joe's getting into because he's reckless and daring and could damage Intertect's reputation, Lew wouldn't want a friend to be hurt.

Lew really cares about the employees of Intertect. The thought that any of them would turn traitor is something he has a hard time accepting, as shown in Deadfall. His bad reaction to steroids makes the problem far, far worse, but judging from his scenes with Joe, the pills are bringing out his true feelings and twisting them and blowing them out of proportion. The things he screams at Joe are just more extreme versions of the things he says in other episodes. Therefore, even in his normal frame of mind, it is likely that he would find it difficult to accept an employee going rogue. With such deep-rooted caring for the people under his command, it isn't hard to fathom that he would come to the aid of any employee in a tough spot the same as he does many times for Joe. Therefore, although we only see him come to help Joe, it doesn't mean Joe is the only one he would go to bat for like that. It just means Joe is the main one who needs his help.

BJ Thompson feels that Lew would not be out in the field since he owns Intertect. This is a logical argument, but may not necessarily hold true in the fictional private eye world. Paul Drake on Perry Mason owns an apparently large detective agency with many operatives, yet he is not always chilling at his desk while they do all the work. He is usually in the field himself, on cases for Perry or others. Why not Lew as well? In at least one episode, You Can Get Killed Out There, Lew is in the field investigating when it isn't even an official Joe case anymore due to Joe quitting. And in Turn Every Stone, Lew joins an investigation at the request of the friend who needs Intertect's help.

So why does Lew often end up in the field with Joe? There doesn't seem to be just one answer, even in canon. He apparently still does field work, despite being the owner of the agency. He worries about the reckless, dangerous things Joe is getting into. He worries that Joe may create a huge mess and stick Intertect in the middle. He worries that his friend and employee will get himself hurt or killed.

Slippery When Wet is an amazing read and should not be ignored by any Mannix fan. But canon definitely seems to offer other reasons for Lew's interest in Joe's cases other than what Slippery When Wet suggests. Either way, however, both in season 1 and in Slippery When Wet, there is a treasure trove of material for the fans to enjoy. Perhaps another writer will even come up with yet another possible answer to these mysteries. That's what fanfiction is all about, anyway: exploring all possibilities, probable and improbable equally. I'm thrilled that there are Mannix writers eager to unravel the mysteries of the series and tell new stories about the characters. And even though I don't agree with BJ Thompson's explanation for why Lew often becomes involved in Joe's cases, I would read other stories by her about Lew in a heartbeat. She has set up a fascinating verse that I would love to see her play in some more. There just aren't enough Lew stories out there! It's a supreme treat to get one by such a master storyteller.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Character Musing - Snake in the Grass: Snakes Tolliver (The Wild Wild West)

On this date 85 years ago, a wonderful person named Christopher Bay Carysfort was born into the world. Years later, as an actor, he was known mainly as Christopher Cary, and he managed to entrance me many years after that.

Naturally I wanted to do a special post for Christopher’s birthday. The character I’m going to highlight might seem like a strange choice, but he really deserves the honor, as it was because of him that I sat up and took notice of his actor.

Twenty years before he played the grizzled Captain Scofield on Riptide, Christopher was playing characters such as Shorty on The Big Valley, an adorable fellow who will definitely get a spotlight post at some point. Christopher also landed his first guest-spot on The Wild Wild West, television’s clever combination of the Western and Spy genres.

The Night of the Poisonous Posey is one of the more humorous episodes of the series. Of course, most of them were a bit lighthearted in some way or another, but Posey is in a special class all its own. One of the few episodes that actually takes place entirely over the course of one night, it’s a devilishly clever tale of Secret Servicemen Jim West and Artemus Gordon in a bizarre and straitlaced town known as Justice, Nevada—where a gang of criminals has taken up shop right under the sheriff’s nose.

The episode struck a particular chord with me from the very first time I saw it, because you see, I grew up on the very educational and mischievous series Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, featuring a kooky cast of criminals led by the eponymous female character. When I first saw The Night of the Poisonous Posey, the gang led by Lucrece Posey seemed to me like a 19th Century version of Carmen Sandiego’s crew.

Over the course of the episode, it eventually uses the cliché of the entire gang being killed off man by man, until only Miss Posey is left. I felt that the gang was much too amusing to be left dead. Among other weirdos, we had a Turkish firebug, a Russian food lover, and a cowboy sadist. Since another episode, The Night of the Big Blast, actually featured a mad scientist who had figured out how to revive the dead, I decided I would come up with a fan story where she revived the entire gang.

Christopher’s character, Snakes Tolliver, became the antagonist in a couple of those stories. He betrays Miss Posey in the episode and she kills him, so I decided that upon being revived, he would be terrified of the gang coming after him and he would want to get rid of them first. After his attempt at that epically failed, I decided he would have to develop more in the next story, so that he wouldn’t just be going around in circles.

He became so much fun to develop that I began to like him, whereas I hadn’t before. Then I went back over the episode with new eyes, fascinated by his screentime and the actor who had brought him to life. I decided this was an actor I needed to look up more thoroughly. And thus, Christopher Cary was added to my list of actors to chase down every role I could find.

It’s interesting to note that I ran across him several other times before I actually settled in to take note. After watching Poisonous Posey several times and loving it, I watched Garrison’s Gorillas for the first time, in search of Wesley Lau’s guest-spot. One look at the opening credits and Christopher and I went, “Oh man, he played Snakes Tolliver!” I thought that was very cool that Christopher had a starring role in the series, since I greatly enjoyed his performance as Snakes even though as of then I didn’t actually like Snakes.

I also remember seeing pieces of both of his guest-spots on The Rockford Files, when MeTV aired it at 10 A.M. I thought Ginger Townsend was very cute, but very nasty, and I thought Dutch Ingram was very cute, but very colorful in his speech. At that time, I didn’t associate the actor as being the same one who played Snakes, but it didn’t take long for me to start recognizing him everywhere. By the time I watched both of the Rockford episodes in full, Christopher had become one of my favorites. I ended up developing an extreme soft spot for both of the Rockford characters, especially Ginger, due to my sensing chemistry between him and partner in crime Lou Trevino, played by Luke Andreas. I have a lot of fun writing fan stories about their adventures and their friendship.

But back to The Wild Wild West, exactly what is the sum of Snakes’ screentime in The Night of the Poisonous Posey?

We first see him in the funeral party with the other gang members (sans Miss Posey), acting as pallbearers for a mysterious coffin. Artemus recognizes him in the procession, as does Jim, but Snakes doesn’t appear to know Jim later, so they most likely have only seen his picture prior to this night.

The funeral is only a cover for their meeting, as their headquarters is in the funeral home. During the mock wake, Snakes demonstrates that he is the worst organ player ever, by randomly tapping out several mournful notes over and over with one finger. He intersperses this with smoking a cigar and sipping a glass of water. He is calm, cool, collected, and very self-assured.

He also bears a prominent snake-shaped scar on his left cheek. Its origin is never explained, but it explains his nickname. It must have been a very painful injury to have caused such a lasting token of the incident, especially since it’s a hypertrophic, or raised, scar.

When Jim crashes the wake and the gang gets suspicious, Snakes is the one to discover the odd wreath Jim has laid on the casket. “Hey, Pal,” he growls in a low, gravelly voice (devoid of Christopher’s natural British accent), “is this your wreath?” When Jim confirms it, Snakes stares at it and mockingly notes, “Paper flowers?” Jim makes a hilarious quip about it being a superficial relationship.

The gang eventually decides to let Jim see inside the coffin. It’s filled with ice and bottles of liquor. Snakes holds him at gunpoint, showing in the process that he is left-handed—an interesting contrast to Christopher’s usually right-handed characters.

Cyril the Firebug threatens Jim with being set on fire. This prompts Jim to start a huge brawl right in the funeral home, pitching gang members right and left. Snakes at one point ends up in the coffin and at another point, crashes into Little Pinto, the sadist. Finally Sergei, the Russian food lover, throws a knife at Jim that stops him in his tracks. Snakes, bearing his gun again, exclaims, “Now hold it right there!” This time he has a very pronounced Southern accent.

Everyone goes into what seems to be the morgue. A secret panel opens up in the wall and a table comes out. Jim is noticeably surprised by this, but the gang is not. Jim is also surprised to discover that their leader is a woman—a very intelligent, nasty, and cold-blooded woman. Although she is involved in a very male-dominated operation and prefers to wear trousers instead of dresses, she still likes to be treated like a lady. Brutus and Pinto both rise when she enters, with Brutus taking her cloak and Pinto pulling out her chair (and giving Brutus a death glare as she sits down). I wonder a bit if Pinto has a bit of a crush on her, but that is a musing for another time.

Pinto and Snakes sit together at the table, which is particularly delightful to me since Pinto is played by another of my favorites, H.M. Wynant. Snakes is quiet as the gang is introduced to Jim; Snakes’ introduction mentions that he is an explosives expert.

Posey then notices a strange gavel with a pink bow on the table. When she questions the gang on its origin, Snakes seals his doom by saying, “The chairman of the board should have a gavel; everyone knows that.” While supposedly touched, Posey is also suspicious. She wants Snakes to call the meeting to order with the gavel. He tries to weasel out of it, stammering, “I’m not the chairman.” Posey gets Brutus to use the gavel, since he would be protected from a disaster due to the metal glove he wears. He brings it down and the explosion knocks over a candelabrum on the table.

Snakes, meanwhile, leaped up and tried to run away, but froze at the explosion. Pinto, with clear hatred in his eyes, grabs Snakes and wrenches his arms behind his back. Posey approaches him, and Snakes, still stammering and trying to save himself, says, “You don’t think I had anything to do with that, now, do you?” She sneers at him, commenting on his trembling and calls him a boy. Suddenly she rakes a fingernail across his cheek. She keeps a fast-acting poison under her nails, and although Snakes tries to get out his gun and fire at her, he collapses before he can accomplish this. Posey tells Pinto and Sergei to remove the body.

All in all, Snakes has less than ten minutes of screentime, is quite a cowardly and nasty fellow, and exits the scene rather ignobly. But Christopher showed his great talent with even this little-seen character, developing things about his background such as his left-handedness and his place of origin. True, Christopher had a struggle holding the Southern accent he apparently wanted the character to have, but the changing voice added to Snakes’ colorful nature.

There’s also most likely more to him than might initially meet the eye. Posey’s gang is made up of the people she feels are the most capable of being the six regional leaders handling crime across the world. Even though Snakes seems weaselly and yellow, he must also be very dark, intelligent, and a good leader, to command however many criminals are under his charge.

He dresses like a riverboat gambler. That is very likely what he is, and his criminal operations probably center around the waterfront, perhaps on the Mississippi River. His accent, when Christopher can hold it, is stereotypical South and I haven’t been able to put a state on it. I decided on either Texas or Virginia, and when Denver Pyle played a Virginian on Perry Mason with the same accent, I decided to make Snakes a Virginian as well.

Snakes is very self-assured, but quickly falls apart under pressure. He also can apparently say and do stupid things at the wrong moment that put him in a great deal of hot water. But you have to respect the nerve of the man, to keep on denying his involvement right up to the last.

Compared to most of the other gang members on Posey’s board, Snakes is actually among the least strange and is perhaps also one of the most realistic (i.e., not larger than life) and well-rounded, along with Brutus. The others, as amusing and endearing and colorful as they are, tend to stick with their calling cards for their personalities: fire, food, spiders, torture. . . .

I wouldn’t expect anything less of Christopher Cary, an amazingly talented man who could make any part, big or small, feel very real. The Wild Wild West staff must have been impressed too, because they asked him back for the series’ only two-parter, in season 4, The Night of the Winged Terror, and he played the leading villain, Tycho. That will be a discussion for another time.

Happy Birthday to a delightful actor and charming human being, who is loved and missed by loved ones and fans alike.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Season Overview - Intertect: Mannix, Season 1

And Now, Back to Mannix by JoAnn M. Paul is a great resource for fans of Mannix seasons 2-8. The author loves Joe Mannix and Peggy Fair and clearly delights and thrives on writing about them and their complex relationship. It’s a truly fascinating read.

Still, I have to admit that I was thoroughly disappointed that she omitted any discussion of one of the other most intriguing relationships on the series: that of Joe Mannix and Lew Wickersham in season 1. Upon reading the book last Autumn and discovering the lack of season 1 information, I determined to write a book myself on season 1, detailing the elements, the characters, and the episodes. I still plan to do that. But for now, let’s have a brief look at what makes season 1 so special.

I should start off by saying that I was a skeptic at first. I loved seasons 2-8 and I did not like what I’d heard about season 1: mainly, that the format was different, Peggy wasn’t there yet, and Joe was working at Intertect for a boss he often clashed with. I figured it would be the same old clichés that populate shows such as McCloud. And honestly, that sounded quite tiresome to me. Sometimes employer and employee arguing is amusing, but sometimes I just get bored of it and wonder why they can’t just get along.

But I was fresh out of Mannix to watch and I decided that what the heck, we should really check out season 1 too. So I rented the first disc from Netflix.

I knew right from the first episode that I had been seriously misinformed. Joe’s first scene with Lew has Lew sighing and bemoaning Joe getting into a fight and asks, “Did you have to hit him?” Joe shrugs and says, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

Despite Lew’s displeasure over the fight, he actually isn’t angry. There’s an undercurrent of both resignation and amusement. He knows Joe is his best agent and puts up with his behavior because of that. At the end of the episode, when Joe peeks into a meeting to tell Lew that he solved the case, the other people in the meeting are puzzled. “Who’s that?” one of them asks. Lew smiles as he replies, “The name is Mannix.”

Not only had I been misinformed, I knew then that Lew, and his relationship was Joe, was something special. As I watched the other episodes on the disc, those realizations only came to light all the more.

One of my most favorite season 1 episodes is Nothing Ever Works Twice, where Joe is framed for the murder of his old girlfriend’s husband. Normally I’m not a big fan of plots where one of the good guys is framed (which is odd coming from a Perry Mason fan, I know). This episode, however, will forever be an exception. Lew bends over backwards to try to help Joe clear himself, running all over town to keep up with him and be there for his phone calls. And he does all this while dealing with a splitting headache.

Lew certainly didn’t have to become so involved. He could have either called the police and explained the mess or washed his hands of the whole deal. He wanted to call the police, feeling that was in Joe’s best interest, but when Joe wanted to solve the case himself and not be behind bars while the police and Intertect tried to clear him, Lew threw himself full-force into helping Joe every step of the way.

One aspect that a lot of people don’t seem to seriously think about is that out of all of Joe’s friends throughout the series, it’s Lew who believes in and trusts Joe the most. How many times has Art or Adam scoffed at Joe’s theories and told him he’s crazy? Even Peggy gets into that act sometimes. They all truly care about Joe and believe in him to varying extents, yet oddly enough, after all this time they still don’t trust many of Joe’s ideas and hunches.

We don’t know how long Joe and Lew have known each other. IMDB says they fought in the war together, but there’s nothing in any of the episodes that says that. But regardless of the length of time they’ve known each other, Lew has a belief in Joe that’s really quite unshakable. Oh, there are times when he is alarmed and horrified over some of Joe’s methods, and sometimes he can’t permit Joe to pursue a particular investigation on company time, but he knows Joe is his best agent and he knows why. When Joe has an idea, Lew listens to it and encourages others to listen as well. He doesn’t tell Joe he’s crazy for his ideas, but gives serious consideration to the concept that Joe might be right, because he knows Joe often is right. He gives his support to Joe and many times, he becomes personally involved in solving the case right alongside Joe. One time they even concoct a bizarre scheme where they pretend to fight and Lew pretends to fire Joe, just to make a scene for the bad guys to see. In reality, they’re continuing to work together on the case. Lew has saved Joe’s life at least twice, and according to Joe, there have been other times when they’ve saved each other.

Lew is definitely more than just Joe’s boss. It’s obvious without actually acknowledging it, but they do, several times in the scripts. Both The Cost of a Vacation and Deadfall, Part 2 have them come right out and admit they’re friends.

This isn’t to say the characters don’t ever have conflicts. They do, many times. Often they disagree on the proper method of detective work. Joe favors old-fashioned methods like interviewing witnesses, using the telephone, and getting into fistfights if he has to. Lew prefers letting the high-tech supercomputers handle much of the work, which saves time and, he hopes, eliminates the human error. However, many of their arguments about these things are handled as though it’s friendly banter. They don’t stand there and scream at and insult each other very often.

The Deadfall two-part saga is one exception to that. It’s one of the most intense and heartbreaking Mannix adventures and one of only three two-part episodes throughout the entire series run. In it, Lew is suffering from an infection and is taking prescribed steroids to try to deal with it. But he has a bad reaction to them and becomes angry and delusional, snapping at Joe in ways he doesn’t ordinarily and seeing hallucinations of a supposedly dead agent wherever he goes. Joe, meanwhile, is highly occupied with the case of the dead agent and what he’s learning that points to the idea that the man is both alive and a traitor. He’s so focused on that, that he doesn’t realize what’s happening to Lew and that Lew isn’t himself. Instead, he becomes furious when he thinks Lew deliberately abandons him to a fight. The conflict eventually culminates in a knockdown, drag-out fight between them in a darkened Intertect office.

Part 2 has Joe telling the Intertect doctor about the fight while the doctor treats Joe’s battle wounds. The doctor realizes what’s wrong and tells Joe, who immediately becomes stricken with guilt that he didn’t realize and actually physically fought with Lew in his ill state. Lew ends up abducted by the traitorous agent and his wife, but manages to escape once the pills wear off and he can think clearly again. Joe comes to the docks looking for Lew and ends up nearly being killed by the traitor. Lew staggers upon the scene just in time and fires, killing the traitor and saving Joe. The saga ends with the girlfriend of the episode leaving Joe after Joe angrily and suspiciously questions her motives in shouting his name and drawing the bad guys’ attention to him. Lew, meanwhile, is at the point of collapse and tells Joe he’s sorry for everything he did. Joe welcomes him back and catches him as he swoons. The episode ends there. Girls may come and go, but it’s the friendship that lasts, even when hurtful things happen.

Joe stays with Intertect throughout season 1. The last scenes of the final season 1 episode, The Girl in the Frame, have Joe and Lew once again teamed to solve a case. Although Joe quits Intertect in an earlier episode, he comes back by the end. They always intended for him to come back. They never thought of having Joe really strike out on his own, despite his threats to do so, until the show was in danger of cancellation and they decided they wanted to overhaul it.

So the question remains, why does Joe come back, aside from the fact that the script called for it? He isn’t a team player. He doesn’t like working with most of the other agents or relying so heavily on computers. Apparently he already has his mandatory three years of working under someone else; he could go off and get his independent license if he really wanted to.

He stays because of Lew. He knows he’s Lew’s best agent and doesn’t want to let him down. And he just plain likes Lew and likes working with him, even though he doesn’t agree with everything Lew says and does. That’s really the only answer that makes sense, all things considered. And although it is a natural progression of the character to have him finally decide to leave anyway, part of me feels that it makes him look out-of-character since it goes against all the original intentions for him.

Sometimes I like to picture an alternate version of the series where Joe doesn’t leave, but Peggy comes to work there, since I don’t like Joe leaving Intertect but I love the dynamic between him and Peggy. Still, then I miss Joe’s combination office and home, which is really almost a character in and of itself in seasons 2-8. When following the actual series, I insist on believing that Joe and Lew remain friends after Joe’s departure. Joe doesn’t forget his friends; he certainly wouldn’t forget Lew.

The early season 2 episode Pressure Point makes it sound like Joe’s parting from Intertect was not pleasant and that bitter feelings remain on both sides. That’s more or less in keeping with the situation in the season 1 episode where he temporarily quits under not-so-pleasant circumstances. But it’s too sad to imagine that such a scenario continues for the rest of the series. If Joe and Lew finally parted because of ill feelings, I insist on believing that they soon mended their problems and renewed their friendship. They’re too close to allow something so ridiculous to split them apart, especially after Deadfall.

The actors themselves had a beautiful rapport, which carried over to the characters and is certainly one reason why they’re such a joy to watch. The two-part interview with Mike Connors and Joseph Campanella on the first two season 1 discs is glorious and shows their continuing friendliness in the present-day. They also provide commentary on an episode from disc 5, and although normally I don’t care for commentary on episodes, I was overjoyed by that venture.

In season 6 they brought Joseph back for a guest-spot in the episode The Crimson Halo. He didn’t play Lew, but the purpose of the episode was very clearly to celebrate the interaction between him and Mike Connors. Throughout the episode, the mystery takes a back seat to how Joe Mannix and Dr. Graham Aspinall go from mutual dislike of each other to a healthy respect and even the beginnings of a friendship. And even though I regret that we didn’t get to see Lew again, I love that episode for its profound message of two very different people slowly coming together in a growing bond of friendship and love.

For all we know, maybe that’s also the basic story of how Joe and Lew met, too.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Episode Comparison: Meet the Guirilinis (Riptide)

(I apologize in advance for the quality of the pictures in this post. I own season 3, but not season 2, and the copy I was looking at was sub-par, to say the least. The edges all fell off the screen.)

I’ve been trying to think of a post for another series, but my mind is still stuck in Riptide mode and thinks I should do a comparison post of the two episodes featuring the Guirilini family: Arrivederci, Baby and The Pirate and the Princess.

First of all, I come from a slightly unusual background in that I saw the second episode first, due to chasing down Christopher Cary’s wonderful guest-spot. It was my introduction to that adorableness that is Riptide. I watched several other episodes from season 3 and then decided that I’d really like to see the first episode with the Guirilinis. I have a great love for recurring characters, just as I do for oneshot characters.

The family consists of three: father Angelo and his two children, Tony and Giovanna. It’s unknown what happened to his wife, but since she’s never around or mentioned, she’s likely either divorced from Angelo or dead.

I’m not sure where I came up with some of the odd perceptions I had before seeing Arrivederci, Baby. The strangest was probably thinking that in the first episode, the Riptide detectives helped the Guirilinis get started on their career and even named the boat. Arrivederci, Baby sounded like a name Nick might give a boat, rather than Cesar Romero’s Angelo Guirilini.

But that first episode establishes that the Guirilinis are already highly successful oceanographers and already have their signature boat. It also establishes Cody’s crush on Giovanna Guirilini, something only briefly touched on in the second episode.

The first episode shows us Cody and Nick’s first meeting with the family. It’s Murray who knows them from the past, something that also surprised me. I assumed the groups had only ever met together, rather than only one of the detectives being previously familiar with the Guirilinis.

Both episodes are filled with adventure and excitement and mysterious sabotage aboard the Arrivederci. The second episode, however, mostly focuses entirely on the mystery aspects, while the first episode has a rather prominent subplot concerning Cody’s crush on Giovanna and his desperate quest to speak Italian. Nick’s ability to speak it at least semi-well is a running joke throughout. He and Giovanna even have a couple of playful conversations in Italian around Cody, exasperating him to no end.

The first episode also has an amusing running joke involving Murray’s sister Melba, who is absent due to being on a safari in Africa. The crewmembers ask about Melba and are disappointed to learn she won’t be there. Later, when Tony Guirilini wakes up from being injured, Angelo reports that his first conscious word is “Melba.”

There are a couple of oddities about Tony that remain consistent for both episodes. Whether or not it was intentional is unknown.

Tony has very little screentime in both episodes, and when he is onscreen, he doesn’t often talk. In Arrivederci, Baby, Tony is shot with a spear gun while diving right at the beginning of the episode. There’s an alarming and sickening shot of blood beginning to spread through the water. Later, he stumbles to where Angelo and Giovanna are having a party and collapses on the floor.

Tony’s condition remains a background plot point through the rest of the episode, with Angelo furious to not be allowed in to see his son at the hospital and later wondering whether to cancel their expedition altogether because of what happened. Giovanna convinces him that Tony would not want that and they should go ahead.

Tony only actually speaks in the epilogue, where he’s released from the hospital and reunites with everyone. His left arm is in a sling to immobilize his wounded shoulder. He seems like a nice, good-natured person, in spite of what happened to him.

In The Pirate and the Princess, Tony has a bit more screentime but still doesn’t often talk. He translates Captain Scofield’s Maritime Association records into English from the Italian printout on their computer. Later, he rushes in excitedly with Murray and speaks in Italian to Angelo and Giovanna, telling them that they’ve found the location of the sunken pirate ship.

Several times Tony is in a scene but is silent. The last we know of him, he’s staying behind in the main cabin tending to the badly wounded Scofield while everyone else works on sending the bomb to their enemies before it blows up.

Tony is also rather unlucky in that he’s hurt in both episodes. The first time is definitely the most serious. In the second episode, he’s bit by an eel that swims out to attack when they try to retrieve their miniature submarine. He has to go to the hospital to have it treated, but then he’s released and is on the ship for the rest of the episode, complete with a bandaged arm.

You know, I just thought of another, rather strange thing. It seems that on Riptide, injuries to the left shoulder are highly favored. Both Tony and Scofield are wounded there, and Cody is shot there in the episode Echoes.

Tony’s sister Giovanna is an interesting person. She is a determined and practical Italian woman, the voice of reason in both episodes when Angelo doesn’t want to go ahead with something. In some ways, it may seem unfeeling for her to say that they should go on the expedition while Tony is in the hospital. But her reasoning makes sense and she is thinking of Tony, knowing how he would hate to be responsible for bringing such an expensive expedition to a halt.

She worries about Angelo’s tendency to like everyone, knowing it can get him into trouble. But she was unsuspicious of both Harry the Oilman and Guido, who were highly crooked, while being suspicious of Captain Scofield. Both Harry and Guido were, she thought, above suspicion and genuinely cared about them.

She is a kind and somewhat playful person, very friendly with the Riptide detectives and amused by Cody’s crush and Murray’s boundless enthusiasm (and terrible attempts at Italian). She is loving towards Guido and tries to help him into his diving gear. Later, they’re relaxing together on a couch in the main cabin.

She is fully involved in the oceanography operations. The first episode shows us that she is a diver just like her brother. For some reason, she doesn’t dive in the second episode, leaving that up to her beau Guido instead.

She is proud of her Italian heritage and very close to her family. In the first episode, she is fully into the celebration being thrown and dances with her father.

She is instantly aware that Cody has a crush on her, and his awkwardness about it seems to gently amuse her. At the end of the episode, she accepts a dinner date with Murray. While Cody kept thinking he needed to ask her in Italian if he wanted to impress her, Murray just came out with asking her in English and she was happy to accept.

She’s dating filmmaker Guido in the second episode, but that goes sour upon the revelation that he, and not Captain Scofield, is the traitor in the group. He is promptly killed by the wounded Scofield to prevent him from planting a bomb in the engine room.

In the fantasy sequences in the same episode, she plays the Spanish princess Carlotta while Cody plays pirate captain William Tyson. This is the only time where they’re shown to actually be together. In reality, it’s unknown what would become of Cody’s interest in her. He expressed happiness for her with Guido, but by the end of the episode she’s been betrayed and is sorrowing over her loss. Perhaps if the show had been renewed for a fourth season, we would have seen her again and there might have been a renewal of Cody’s attempts to date her.

Angelo is a cheerful and happy man, proud of his family and in love with his work and the ocean. He can become understandably furious when calamities ensue, such as not being allowed to see Tony in the hospital, or when people he trusts turn against him. But in spite of setbacks, he seems to continue believing in the goodness of people and doesn’t become cynical and distrusting.

It’s Angelo’s longtime friend Harry the Oilman, played by Dana Elcar, who is the Big Bad of Arrivederci, Baby. In The Pirate and the Princess, Angelo’s trust in Captain Scofield is shown to be justified, while the traitor is Guido. Angelo berates himself for trusting the man.

It’s good that Captain Scofield wasn’t at fault, for more reasons than one. It would be exasperating if everyone Angelo put his trust in, aside from the main characters, ended up being an enemy.

Angelo has an amusing and endearing habit of giving many of his close friends strange nicknames. Murray Bozinsky is “Bozin the Doctor”, while Nick and Cody are “Nick the Pilot” and “Cody the Mustache.” Cody expresses dismay to Nick at one point in the first episode, saying he feels like shaving. But they appear to get used to the pet names. I have to curiously wonder what Angelo might call Scofield, if they continue to associate and become friends!

Both episodes are so much fun and highly remind me of The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew book series, as well as the television classic Sea Hunt. While I’ve loved every episode of Riptide that I’ve seen so far, and find it to be one of the most charming and innocent series of the 1980s, the Guirilini episodes, especially The Pirate and the Princess, will always hold an extra-special place in my heart.