Sunday, March 1, 2015

Log 92: Tell Him He Pushed Back a Little Too Hard (Episode 25, Season 1)

Episode 25

They fight, they boat,
They boat and fight and boat,
Fight fight fight, boat boat boat,
The Miles & Sidney Show!

Our story opens with Reed and Malloy walking up to the door at 1882 N. Academy Drive, the home of Miles and Agnes Wellman. Before Reed can even apply fist to door, Miles yanks it open.

Miles has called the police because he wants his neighbor, Sidney Roemer, arrested. He claims that Sid is preventing him from accessing his property. 
Meet Miles Wellman, the Goliath of this story.
In case you don't know the property in question is a boat. That's why Miles is wearing this silly hat. He's not the Hugh Hefner of North Academy Drive or anything like that.
Miles and his wife, Agnes, co-own the boat with Sid and his wife. The Wellmans planned to use the boat this particular morning. The boat is stored in Sid's garage. When the Wellman's went to get the boat they found that Sid had changed the lock on the garage. They were yacht-blocked.

You called us for that?
Sidney Roemer then shows up and the neighbors start yelling at each other. Reed takes Sidney back to his house.
Sidney Roemer is played by Dick Sargent (you know, Darren #2 from Bewitched). Agnes Wellman is played by Joan Staley. Both appeared together in the Don Knotts movie, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.
Once Sidney leaves, Malloy chats with Miles. He tells Miles that this is a civil matter and there is nothing the police can do about it. He goes on to advise Miles that the situation will only get solved if one of them is man enough to step back, stop yelling, and let things cool down. At Miles request, Malloy goes next door to confirm that the Sid is still in possession of the boat.
I don't think this guy is going to listen to my advice.

Reed is over at the Roemer household talking to Sidney and his wife, Wendy. Sid has locked the boat because he has had it up to here with Miles. He always returns the boat with an empty gas tank and uses it more often than what they agreed upon. 
Wendy Roemer likes Agnes, but she thinks that Miles is a "lousy mooch".
The Roemers feel that they were conned into buying the boat by Miles. They think he talked them into it because he is too cheap to buy his own boat. Despite all of this, Sidney did not sell the boat, it is locked up in the garage.

As the officers leave, Wendy tells them that she will see what she can do about the key.
Malloy and Reed walking back to the Wellman house. I like this picture for two reasons.
When they get back over there, Malloy suggests that Agnes convince Miles to take her out and get away from what's happening. Malloy also tells them that he thinks Sid will open the lock. He cautions Miles not to start anything if he doesn't.
Reed and Malloy leave and go for 7.
Reed, who hasn't had very much to do in the story so far, releases the radio button with extra flair.

I agree it's time for a break. Are you bored yet? I'm bored silly. Too much back and forth between the two houses. I've seen disputes like this wrapped up in half the time on other episodes.
While the boys are eating dinner, let's take a closer look at the neighbors and their homes.

The Wellmans' home is decorated in varying shades of gold with accents of  brown and green. Miles is an insurance salesman. If he's like most salesmen I know, he talks a lot and he's very outgoing. He must a good salesman, he was able to sell Sid on the idea of the boat.
This picture behind Pete is probably the most colorful thing in the Wellman living room. And look, it's a picture of boats!

The Roemers' home is much more colorful. They also have lots groovy art on the walls as opposed to the Wellmans' one boat picture.

We don't find out what Sid does, but he has glasses and art. He must be some kind of intellectual.

Break time is over, time to get back to work.
[Partner? Hey, junior, wake up! I know this has not been the most exciting story, but we  can't fall asleep on the job.]

As soon as Reed wakes up and clears them, the communications operator's voice calls them back to the Wellman address. Looks like it isn't over between Miles and Sidney yet.

When they arrive, chaos has erupted on North Academy Drive. The Roemers are running out of their front door, Miles is attempting to abscond with the boat's motor, and Agnes is yelling at the officers to hurry. Malloy immediately takes charge.
"That's enough!" Shouts the senior officer.
Sidney wants to put an end to all this nonsense, he offers to buy Miles' half of the boat. His wife won't allow it and rips up the check. Malloy moves her out of his way. 

At this point the two officers separate the feuding neighbors to hear both sides of the story. This time Reed takes the Wellmans and Malloy stays with the Roemers.
Sidney tells Malloy that he was getting his car out to pick up his mother for dinner (he's a mama's boy, too?) and decided to unlock the boat. As soon as he did, Miles came tearing out of his house and grabbed the padlock. He then moved his car with the boat trailer in front of the garage.

 Sidney slashed the trailer tires to prevent Miles from taking the boat. But this did not stop Miles, he was still going ahead with his plan to take the boat. Sidney was not going to let him take the boat on a trailer with flat tires, this would have ruined the trailer. So he smashed the back window of Miles' car to prevent him from taking the boat. Only, Sidney wasn't wearing his glasses and he really smashed the window of his own car.
"You're a nut, Sidney. You know that? A genuine nut," Mrs. Roemer informs her husband.
After Reed and Malloy finish talking to the husbands, the wives plead with them not to take their husbands to jail. Wendy Roemer promises that Sid won't make any trouble tonight. His mother is coming over, he'll behave himself. Agnes Wellman is going to put something on and get her husband away from the boat and the Roemers for the evening. Malloy and Reed leave without arresting either man. But first, Malloy gives them a warning.
First he summons them with his freckled digits. 
"If we have to come back here again, somebody's going to jail."

They should be able to behave themselves now. Right? Nobody wants to go to jail. 

"1-Adam-12, 1-Adam-12, see the woman, a 415 fight, 1882 North Academy Drive." [Groan.]
This time Pete and Jim arrive at the Roemer address and find Miles and Sid wrestling on the garage floor. 

Both wives come running into the garage to chastise their husbands. This time Mrs. Roemer is moved out of the way by Reed.
Lucky lady, she has been manhandled by both partners of 1-Adam-12.
Once they are on their feet, each neighbor wants to file charges against the other one. Sid wants to charge Miles with breaking an entry and Miles wants to charge Sid with assault and battery. Pete said if they had to come back somebody was going to jail. So, he tells both of them to get in the car.
"Let's go."
Before he hauls their husbands off to the station, Pete lets Wendy and Agnes know that they can bail their husbands out later. He leaves them with this piece of advice.
"I'd give some thought to how fast you want 'em out."
At the station we get a break from the Miles and Sidney show courtesy of Sgt. Jerry Miller. When we first see Sgt. Miller he is on the phone with his three-year-old daughter. She is reading him the "funnies", he thinks. He just wants to talk to his wife. This little scene is funny, 'cause it's true. Jack Hogan does a great job of portraying the frustration one feels when talking to a toddler on the phone.
After his daughter hangs up on him, Sgt. Miller is able to help Malloy. Pete asks him to listen to Miles and Sidney and determine if either one has a valid case against the other one. Pete has a bad feeling about the whole thing and thinks if one of them were locked up it would give them both time to cool off.

After Sgt. Miller talks to Miles and Sidney he informs Pete and Jim that each man has decided to drop the charges. There is nothing more the police can do, it is now up to them.

While on patrol later in the night, Pete and Jim discuss the feuding neighbors. Both of them predict that the situation will only get worse. Jim wishes they could do more about it. Unfortunately, they can't put Wellman and Roemer in jail to prevent a crime.
"Can't go around locking people up because you think they might do something. You'll wind up with half the country in jail."
Malloy thinks that this has grown bigger than a dispute over a boat. It's now too important to both men, and neither one is likely to drop it. 

It becomes apparent that this is not over when 1-Adam-12 receives another radio call to 1882 North Academy Drive. This time there is unknown trouble, code 2.

When they arrive at Sidney Roemer's address Pete and Jim find a hysterical Agnes Wellman and an unconscious Miles in the garage. A fire extinguisher lies near Miles.

Pete orders a distraught Agnes to go inside and call an ambulance. He then leaves Jim with Miles while he goes to find Roemer.
Sidney Roemer is calmly waiting in his house for the officer. As Pete cuffs him, Sid tells his stunned wife that he couldn't continue to let Miles push him around. 
Wendy Roemer can not understand her husband's actions.
The final scene takes place outside of the detective's room. Sgt. Miller joins Pete and Jim in the hall. Pete gives the detective the news about Miles' condition.
"I talked to the hospital, it's homicide. Dead on arrival."
Miller relates the details of his interview with Sid to Pete and Jim. He tells them that Sid keeps asking about Miles, he knows he has hurt him badly. It all started when Sid caught Miles in the garage again. Miles came at him with a boat hook and Sid managed to drop him with the fire extinguisher. 
"The hospital says he hit Wellman in the head at least four times."

Sidney kept telling Sgt. Miller that he was tired of being pushed around.
"You can tell him he pushed back a little too hard," observes Malloy.
We have now, abruptly, reached...
The End.

This one is not one of my favorites. I think the addition of some other calls to other addresses with other problems would have livened things up a bit. All this Miles and Sidney back forth just got kind of boring.
I also think less Agnes Wellman would have been an improvement. I thought the actress playing her was just awful. I once read a description of Milner's acting style that said he was so good "you couldn't see his lips moving", meaning that his portrayals seemed to be effortless. I could definitely see Joan Staley's lips moving. I've never seen her in anything else, maybe she is good, maybe the director is to blame here.
Just like episode 20, there was too little Reed in this one. His big scene in this was the first visit to the Roemer home. Other than that he hardly has any lines of dialogue. The whole show is really about the education of Jim Reed, it just doesn't work without him.
In my book, Log 92: Tell Him He Pushed Back a Little Too Hard earns a rating of:

Do you agree? See you next time, with the last episode of season 1! KMA-367


  1. A boat always means big trouble in Mark VII productions. I agree that it was a fairly dull episode, but since it has Jerry Miller in it, I think I'd bump up the rating to at least Wells.

    Why does Wendy change her clothes so often?

    1. I considered rating this a "Wells" but the "Wells" rating said it made me laugh in a few spots. This made me laugh in one spot not a few. It was the scene with Miller on the phone that did it.
      I don't know why Wendy changed her outfit between the 1st and the 2nd calls, I thought her blue top and yellow skirt outfit was cute. But, I guess it was not nice enough to wear while eating dinner with Sidney's mother so she changed into the red and purple ensemble. I'm not a big fan of her final, beige dress, it was ill-fitting around the hips.

  2. I give this episode the coveted Double Malloy. One of my all-time favorites. The way the tension mounts between the two neighbors with Malloy trying to moderate between the two is fascinating to watch. Also, Marty Milner is fan-freaking-tastic in this. It would have been nice to have other non-related calls in between the Two Bad Neighbors, but it's a half-hour show. Same with the low Reed Quotient of this episode.

    1. It seems I have the minority opinion on this episode. I've come to realize that I have a penchant for dramatic episodes with children in danger (I Feel Like a Fool Malloy, He Was Trying to Kill Me). I also seem to have a thing for Reed. If he's not in the episode very much, I just don't like it.

  3. As I mentioned on your Tumblr, I liked this episode much more than you did.

    I can't disagree with any of the points you make, and it would have been much more entertaining as an hour-long episode with a few random calls and a lot of Jim Reed, but to me, as I said, it's like a minor-key version of an American Tragedy.

    Two ordinary guys with the hostility building and building between them over an insignificant issue, and you can see fairly early on where it's inevitably going to go, and all you can do is watch it unfold until one of them is dead, and the other in ruins -- all for nothing. I find that very powerful -- the more so since the two actors are well-known TV SitCom standards, from whom you don't expect anything so dark.

    I'm with Bryan, it's one of my favorites, too.

  4. Rita, if you can see the new CBS retro sub-channel Decades in your area, they are currently running the show Celebrity Bowling. Sometime today, Sunday, March 8th, they will be running an episode with Martin Molner and Kent McCord. Please check it out if you can.

    1. Oh, my God, I had no idea such a thing existed, combining my two loves: bowling and Adam-12.

    2. Thomas, Bryan- I've seen the Celebrity Bowling episodes with Marty and Kent and they are gold! They are on Hulu and some free channel that we get on our Roku box. During one of the episodes, one of their opponents drops the F-bomb. You hear him shout off camera and then when he is shown in the next shot, he is covering his mouth. Enjoy Marty's awesome shirt!

    3. Rita, have you seen the one where Kent is teamed wih Gary Collins against Adam West and Roy Rogers? They just finished showing that one!

    4. Aargh, I have not seen that one! Thanks for alerting me to it's existence. I will have to look at Hulu and other on-line sources. Kent, Gary Collins, Adam West, and Roy Rogers- what a random selection of people.

  5. First off, absolutely *fantastic* blog - just discovered it, and I'm going to now have to go through all of it. I've recently started my watch of the entirety of Adam-12, and I've quickly fallen in love with the show.

    I mostly agree with you on this one, though I liked it more than you did. What I will say is that I did not see that ending coming, and I found it kind of upsetting and shocking, and it's one that stuck with me. Not as much as the ones where, say, a child is abused, but I found the climax a shock. I didn't love Joan Staley in this, but she is in fact quite good in other things - but her reaction at the end to her dead husband was chilling, I thought.

    1. Thanks, Nick! I'm so glad you enjoy the blog. I, too, quickly fell in love with the show. I discovered it a little over a year ago and I was hooked from the first episode. I remember turning to my husband and saying, "Adam-12 where have you been all my life?"
      I've heard good things about Joan Staley. Maybe she is better in the Ghost and Mr. Chicken, I'll have to check that out someday.

  6. I read you're taking a hiatus with the blog so I wonder if you'll see this. Well deserved on the break, I must say, though we'll miss seeing your entries. I don't know if you read or see comments on past blog posts, but what the heck. I watched this episode again tonight. It is one of my favorite episodes too. I don't mind a one-story Adam-12 every now and then, and I think this story holds up to scrutiny. Every visit back to Academy Drive is a little more tense than the one before, but Malloy and Reed are handcuffed to do more. Mr. Milner is terrific in this episode, Mr. McCord is too and I think their screen time in the car is right on. An episode with Jerry Miller is always a good thing. Thank you.