Sunday, October 12, 2014

Log 71: I Feel Like a Fool, Malloy (Episode 7, Season 1)

Episode 7

I am very excited to bring you my thoughts on episode 7, which is one of my favorites. I like the first 15 minutes and 18 seconds of this episode, I love the last 9 minutes and 19 seconds. The last call turns the episode around and takes it in a completely different direction. 

But, before we get into this episode, let's talk about the title. From what I've read the episodes in the first  3 seasons were only identified by the log numbers during the initial run of the show.  Somewhere along the line (maybe when the show was sold to syndication, maybe when they packaged the episodes on DVD) the descriptive portions of the titles were added.  Most of these titles make sense, they relate to the action in the episode or they are taken from the dialogue. The title for episode 7 does not make any sense to me, though. I would imagine that Reed would be the "I" in this title. Who else would call Malloy "Malloy"? A citizen would be more likely to call him "Officer".  But Reed does not utter the line "I feel like a fool, Malloy". Nor does he do anything foolish in the episode. Several people do foolish things in the episode, but I don't think any of them are significant enough to base the title on. If anyone has any insight on this, please let me know. I am at a loss here.

OK, let's get this party started!
Our story starts with Malloy and other officers getting the keys to their patrol cars. They are all having a giggle at the Sergeant's expense. (Is he the "fool" in the title?) 
The Sergeant picked up this shiner during a family dispute. The wife hit him.

This is Malloy trying not to laugh at the Sergeant. He tells the Sarge that maybe he should have handcuffed the wife instead of the husband.
I would love to find one of these cases that the LAPD used for the helmets. I think it would make a great purse.

Time to roll!

In the car, Reed tells Malloy what he and Jean did during his day off yesterday. They painted the bathroom and "had a ball". Malloy is not impressed with Reed's tale of domestic merriment.
"You're putting me on."
 Malloy's state of disbelief is interrupted by a code 2 radio call for a fight at 2742 Melrose. Get ready for the dueling gurus!
The building may be all Love and Peace, but the occupants are not.

Let's dance!
These gurus have names, but we'll just call them "Yellow" and "Purple". Malloy will question Yellow and Reed will question Purple.
Malloy asks Yellow how this got started. Purple jumps in and answers. Malloy gives him the dead-pan of disbelief.
Malloy believes these two can work it out. He suggests that they stagger their meditations or "whatever it is you do" so that Purple's bongos don't interfere with Yellow's silent meditation.
 Then these two colorful characters start fighting about who loves who more. Until Purple insults Yellow by telling him that he doesn't know the meaning of the word love.
I'll show you what love is!
Malloy rushes to Purple's aid and he tells Malloy that he now appreciates a cop's role in society.
"Somebody's got to protect us from the rest of those kooks."

Yellow thinks he means Reed and other kooks who paint bathrooms for fun.
I have oftener wondered about this fight scene. Since Adam-12 is based on real incidents, in real life was this really a fight between two gurus? Or are these guru characters substitutes for a gay male couple? This call feels like a domestic dispute more than anything else.

Back on the street, a red Mustang goes around Adam-12 at a stop light and thus begins a high speed chase.
This is how the chase ends.
This is the driver of the speeding Mustang. When she pops out of the car Reed and Malloy put their guns back in their holsters, which is both foolish and sexist on their parts! How do they know she is not packing heat? Did they know they were being sexist? Was sexist a word in 1968?

Malloy tells Reed, "Put out a four, Reed. I think we can handle this." A "four" is a code 4, which means no further units need respond, return to patrol.
This Racquel Welch look-a-like thinks their little chase was "fun" and that cops have "no sense of humor". Malloy takes her to the station to continue the game.
Here's another game: see who holds more purses during the entire run of Adam-12, Reed or Malloy. (I'll give you a hint, the answer is Malloy. This is like 1 of a million incidents where he is seen with a purse.)
 Next call is a 211 silent (armed hold-up, silent alarm) at 895 Cordoba, code 3. When they arrive at the scene, the suspects are racing out of the building and the store owner is shouting, "Shoot 'em,  kill 'em!".
Reed and Malloy corner the suspects. They do not shoot or kill them.

The owner tells Malloy what happened in his store. The suspects never showed him a weapon or tried to steal anything, they only "busted up the store".

Malloy tells the owner that he is only supposed to use a silent alarm for armed robbery. He will have to report the owner. I bet the owner feels like a fool! Malloy then tells the owner that the kids could be dead now if Reed had listened to him.

Reed only listen to Malloy, not listen to man in polka dot shirt.

Up to this point this episode has been pretty light fare. A goofy fight call, a high-speed chase, a liquor store (almost) robbery, lots of Reed jabbering in the car. When we next see the boys it is dark outside. Soon the mood of the episode will match the sky. 
Before they get the call that will change the tone of the night, Malloy asks Reed why he didn't fire at the 211 suspects. Reed tells Malloy that "it didn't figure", based on his observations of the situation Reed did not think that the suspects had a weapon. Malloy tells him, "You may just earn that badge, yet." I don't think Reed is feeling like a fool after a compliment like that.

It all starts with a call telling them to see the woman at 927 Regna about a loud party.
This is the woman at 927 Regna, Mrs. Stockton, she is complaining about the loud music coming from her neighbor's house. She also thinks the babysitter at the house with the loud music is insane. The babysitter was banging on her door 15 minutes ago. Mrs. Stockton did not answer the door.
Malloy tries the neighbor's door and gets no response.
Reed checks the back and hears the babysitter calling for help and begging, "Please get her". The white light is his flashlight reflecting off of the swimming pool. I love the way this scene is shot. The darkness, the loud music add to the tension of the situation.
Jim jumps in the pool to rescue the babysitter's charge.
Malloy radios for an ambulance for a possible drowning.
After pulling the girl from the pool, Reed performs CPR and Malloy tells the babysitter to get some blankets. She just keeps repeating, "I don't know how to swim". Malloy finally rouses the babysitter to her feet and she goes inside. Reed continues CPR, but tells Malloy, "it doesn't look good".
The babysitter returns with blankets. While inside the house, she turned off the music. The music is replaced with the sound of crickets, her sobbing, and the wail of the ambulance siren. The babysitter tells Malloy how the girl ran outside, she tried to get help but nobody would come.
After the ambulance takes Cissy away the babysitter tells them how she saw her fall in the pool.
Mrs. Stockton appears to comfort Karen. This makes me really mad, why didn't Mrs. Stockton help her before? Does she only show up to help when someone is watching?
Mrs. Stockton takes Karen away and Malloy leaves to track down Cissy's mother.
As Malloy leaves Reed calls out, "Malloy, she says she was glad we got here fast. I wonder if we were in time."
Before they leave the scene Malloy tells Reed that the mother has been located, at a party, and a friend is driving her to the hospital. Reed tells Malloy that he doesn't think Cissy will make it. Malloy's response is delivered with sadness and a touch of disgust.
"People die everyday, ADW, hit and run, murder. Most of the time we're involved. Somehow you learn to live with it. But, I'll tell you something, when it happens to a child, you never get used to it."

The ending is so beautiful. This last shot feels so intimate, you feel as if you are in the car with these two usually-tough policeman as they discuss the tragic aspects of their job.

I love this episode and I give it a rating of "Malloy: the best". I won't post my goofy report card. I don't want to ruin the beauty of the final scene.

See you next time, KMA-367.


  1. I'm also loath to bruise the sadness and harshness of that last scene, but I also feel the need to mention something much goofier and sillier: Jack Webb's Cut-Rate Cheap-O Stock Rock Music. We hear this again and again through Adam 12 and Dragnet, and every time, I cringe. The music is so cacophonous and unpleasant and anti-melodic. It's music that was obviously written to shove our noses in what crappy music kids those days listened to -- not like classics like good ol' Frankie Sinatra!

    It simultaneously offends and amuses me every time I hear it.

  2. That music drives me nuts, too. But, I find it too be one of the adorable little quirks of the Mark VII productions, like the silver tape over the car names or the dishes that were used on both Emergency! and Adam-12. I'm thankful when the babysitter finally turns it off, but I wonder if the beginning of final scene would have been as tense without the cacophony of that music. I also think that music is used to great effect in the Dragnet where the boy has a hand grenade at the party.

  3. I call it the Jack Webb Official Generic Psychedelic Rock Loop. It gets stuck in my head so I find myself whistling it at odd moments. I believe it is actually a different loop in the episode with the kid with the grenade (Dragnet Season 2, Episode 1). I remember because I was surprised that it wasn't the Jack Webb Official Generic Psychedelic Rock Loop - I had always remembered that way.

  4. Bryan, that's a pretty amazing name for that music. Also, if you are able to whistle that music, you have a pretty amazing ears and memory.

  5. I find that too-often repeated "music" totally grating. (I actually loved a lot of the "real" music of the time, and this is nothing like it.) Am I really the only viewer who found the portrayal of "Karen" to be lacking? Her weeping was neither believable nor touching to me. I agree with you, Rita, about Mrs. Stockton's sudden about-face in showing up to comfort Karen when she had been unwilling to respond to her earlier knock on the door. Her belated kindness is just too smarmy, but of course, that's how the scene was written (and supposedly, how the real event took place). Once again, Adam-12 really pulls the viewer into the story! And you're right about the beauty (both visual and emotional) of the last scene. It is very touching. Unfortunately, it's about the only part of this episode that I like much. Maybe that's due in part to my lack of knowledge of the whole production process. I just see it as a viewer, not as an educated critic. Nothing can ever dim my love for the whole series, though. I love your blog!