Sunday, September 20, 2015

Log 134: Child Stealer (Episode 23, Season 2)

Episode 49

Did anyone catch my mistake last week? When I first published the post on "The Hero", I mistakenly wrote "Log 144". The log number for that episode is actually "Log 114". I blame Hulu for this egregious error, as you can see below they have the incorrect log number for "The Hero". Anyway, it's all fixed now. 



Synopsis:

After ejecting a trespasser from the patrol car, Pete and Jim have a busy time investigating a slew of cases including one of child concealment.

The Story:

Pete and Jim have just finished their lunch at Duke's, they walk out of the cafe and into a crowd of people who are all staring at their patrol car.
It doesn't take long for Pete, the trained observer, to figure out what all of the commotion is about.
It seems Jim, who was probably hot from wearing his class A uniform, left his window down and an uninvited passenger joined them for a ride along. Since they're not a K9 unit, they'll have to evict the freeloader. 

Jim, the animal lover, is reluctant to get rid of the dog. He thinks he's a great-looking dog and wonders who he belongs to. Pete just wants to get moving.
"Never mind that, just get him out."
"Why, he's a police dog, isn't he?"
Somehow, Jim can tell that Pete isn't ready to take on a four-legged partner. Using a voice that any suspect would obey, Jim tells the pooch, "Alright, boy, let's go!"
It seems dogs are not affected by "officer presence".
Jim's almost been eaten. Pete, on the other hand, is eating this up. 
Jim keeps trying, but he's not getting anywhere and Fido's not going anywhere.
"Some police dog."
"Yeah, and some policeman"
Oh, now Pete, that's just mean. In the dog's defense, Jim does look yummy in his uniform.

Jim looks to his partner for help and asks what they should do now. Pete decides it's time to train the rookie how to get a dog out of a police car. "Alright, Rover, times up! Bail out!" he growls at the canine. 
Distinguished Expert Sharpshooter badges and five-year service marks don't matter to this animal.

The officers finally get some assistance when backup, in the form of the dog's owner, arrives.
Hey, look, it's Tommy!

(Honestly, I have no idea what this character's name is and I don't care to look it up. He'll always be Tommy to me.)
Pete and Jim once helped him out of a tight situation, maybe he'll be able to help them now.
It seems Luger, that's the dog's name, likes to sit in cars. Being a police dog, he  especially likes to sit in black and whites. What special technique does Tommy use to get the dog out of the car? He calls his name.
According to his owner, Luger's good at minding commands.
Now that Luger is gone, Pete and Jim can continue patrol.
[I don't think that dog was car trained, my seat feels wet.]
The voice on the radio sends them to 4745 Cardinal Lane where a possible kidnapping has just occurred.

When they arrive at Cardinal Lane the roads are still slick from a recent and rare Southern California rain shower.
At house number 4745 they meet up with the PR, Mrs. Floyd Bannister. Mrs. Bannister accuses her estranged husband of walking into her house and taking her eight-month-old daughter, Lynne, right out of her playpen. 
Poor Pete and Jim have to listen to this woman talk for several minutes. She has the most annoying voice of any Adam-12 female character, ever, and that includes Barbara Nichols and that chick from "Log 24: A Rare Occassion". She has a husky voice with a strange accent that I can't place and speaks in a rapid, clipped cadence. It's like a cross between Suzanne Pleshette and William Shatner with a little bit of Mae West thrown in.


Mrs. Bannister is afraid that Floyd will hurt the baby to get even with her. She asserts that he doesn't care about the baby, it's her that he wants. She is able to provide Reed and Malloy with a description of her husband, his car, and the gun he owns. She also gives them the license plate number of his 1970 maroon Ford, CAO-695. The one thing she can't supply them with is Bannister's address, but she thinks he lives nearby.
[Please contact us, preferably by letter, if you should think of anything else.]
After they've finished talking to Mrs. Bannister and are back in the patrol car Reed dispatches a supplemental broadcast on the incident at 4745 Cardinal Lane.
He then asks Malloy if he thinks the baby will be OK. Based on Malloy's experience, the father will let the mother worry a little bit. Then he will call her and she will promise to talk things over if he brings the baby back. Eventually she'll drop the charges. Reed guesses that it's then "kiss and make up time".  
Malloy confirms that it usually is, but you can't always be sure.

"1-Adam-12, 1-Adam-12, see the manager, a business dispute, Olive and Pine at the drugstore."
At the drugstore Pete and Jim find an old man, Mr. Ward, trying to pay for his lunch of a hamburger and milkshake with trading stamps. Mr. Ward insists that he can pay with the stamps. The manager gave him the stamps and told him they were just like money, and "if that ain't the truth" he hopes he drops dead. Malloy tries to explain to the old man that trading stamps are not exactly legal tender. He hopes he can talk some sense into the geezer and settle this dispute quickly.
"Now why don't you just ante up a dollar and a quarter and we can forget the whole thing?"
But, Mr. Ward isn't giving in so easily. He wants to know what will happen if he doesn't have $1.25. "What'll do then, big fella? Lock me up?" he asks.
[He said "big fella", he must be talking to you, Reed.]
Reed lets him know that they might just have to that and charge him with defrauding an innkeeper. When he starts to reach in his pocket his Miranda card, Mr. Ward knows that they are not joking and agrees to pay. He digs out some actual, legal currency and hands it to the cook. When the cook looks at the bill and sees Benjamin Franklin staring back at him, he can hardly believe his eyes.
Well, look, it's Woodrow Parfrey. He also played the cook, Harv, at Duke's in "Log  54: Impersonation".
Mr. Ward explains that the $100 bill was the smallest he had.
[These things only happen to us, partner.]
After they've settled that dispute they return to patrolling the streets. Reed tells Malloy that he recently read about an old guy like Mr. Ward. He lived in a flophouse and when he died the owner found $80,000 in a suitcase under his bed. The younger officer wonders what his FTO would do with $80,000.
"I once read about an island where the crime rate is zero, I think I'd go there and pitch a tent."
Before Reed can share what he would do with that kind of money, he spots a bus driver flagging them down. Malloy pulls over in front of the number three bus. They get out of the car and speak with the bus driver. He's reached the end of his line and all of the passengers have gotten off the bus, except for one mean-looking guy who is asleep in the back.
Reed nervously licks his lips while listening to the bus driver.
When the driver went back to wake him up, he saw a gun in his left coat pocket.


"What kind of a gun?" asks Malloy.
The driver thinks it's .38.
Before they board the bus Malloy peers through the window. He sees the man, but his hand is in the coat pocket. Malloy returns to the driver and asks if his hand was in his pocket before. The driver tells him that the gun was plainly visible when he tried to wake him.


 Malloy thinks the man's shirt and pants look like a prison uniform. He thinks he might be an escapee who's playing possum. He tells the driver to take the passengers across the street. Malloy will cover the guy from the front of the bus while Reed will cover him from outside.

Malloy gets in position behind the partition and draws his gun.
"OK, mister, reveille and freeze!" he shouts at the man.
The man acts confused and sleepily asks what's going on. Malloy orders him to reveal his left hand. He shows the officer his empty left hand. Pete then tells him, "Now your right hand, slow and easy". His next move is anything but slow and easy. He quickly and violently stands and shoots at Pete.
Pete ducks and fire backs.
Reed, who is able to get a clear shot now that the man is standing, also fires.
His shot through the window hits the man.
The man falls in a heap on the floor of the bus. Reed runs onto the bus and asks his partner if the man is alive. Although Malloy has checked him, he can't determine if the man is still breathing. He goes to call an ambulance leaving his partner with the unmoving man.
Reed kneels over the man and exhales deeply.
Later, at the station, Malloy, Reed, and Mac are gathered in the Watch Commander's office, but Reed seems like he's a thousand miles away.
He stares out the office window into the hall while Mac compliments his report about the incident on the bus. "Good report, Reed," exclaims Mac.
Reed joins Malloy in front of Mac's desk and listens while the sergeant fills them in on the man's background. He's a three-time loser and escapee named Thomas Oaks who's been in prison eighteen of his forty years. "Nice guy," adds Mac. Their conversation is interrupted when the phone rings with a call from County General hospital. As soon as Mac ends the call Reed asks the question that's been nagging him.

"Is he dead?"
Mac lets him know that Oaks is very much alive and already threatening to bust out of the hospital prison ward. The young officer is relieved that the suspect hasn't died, "It's bad enough to have to shoot a guy, I'm just glad I didn't kill him".
"I Hope you never feel any other way."
Mac then tells them that the shooting review board will meet later in the day. Malloy and Reed will be on desk duty for the rest of their shift.

The next day, having been cleared by the review board, they are back on the streets.  Reed, who wasn't able to sleep easy the night before, asks Malloy something that's been bugging him since the shooting on the bus.
"...what happened to your aim? You're supposed to be the old expert."
"Don't tell me you were ducking."
Malloy admits, "That's...possible".
"Well, what do you know? He's human," comments Reed under his breath. Finally having an answer to what happened on the bus, Reed changes the subject to Floyd Banister. He asks Malloy if the detectives have anything new on him. They don't have much, he's called in sick to work for the last five days and he moved from his last known address this morning.

They then stop at a light behind a blue van, Malloy notices that the driver of the van has his arm out of the window and appears to be signaling them. "Looks like we got a customer," he observes. He flips on the reds and honks his horn. The van pulls over to the curb. Both officers get out of the black and white and approach the van, Malloy on the driver's side and Reed on the passenger's side. As they make their way to the front of the vehicle, Malloy puts the open padlock back in its latch on the backdoors.

Pete talks to the driver while Jim stands behind the passenger window. From the reflection in the side mirror he can clearly see that the passenger has a pistol in the waistband of his trousers. Pete asks the men to step out of the vehicle, but both refuse. Jim, knowing the situation is beyond asking nicely, opens the passenger door and orders the man with the gun out of the van. The driver jumps out and warns them that there is a second hijacker in the back.

Malloy takes the padlock out of the latch then takes cover behind the door of the patrol car. Reed takes cover behind the other white door with the shotgun trained on the backdoor of the van. With his revolver drawn Malloy orders the hijacker to come out with his hands up.

The man opens the door and comes out with this hands raised. He tells the policeman not to shoot, "it ain't worth it". Pete cuffs him, but before he can walk him to the car, the man stops to lament the loss of the cargo they almost had. "All that booze, I sure could use a drink," he states.
"Sorry, pal, you're going on the wagon."
After they've returned to the station Mac waits patiently at the desk while Malloy finishes his reports. Pete hands him the paperwork and Mac good-naturedly complains that they must be trying to "snow him under".  The hijackers they brought in have confessed to over a dozen crimes in the past six months. While Pete and Jim contend that they are only doing their job, the van driver comes out of the detectives' room and joins them at the desk. 
He offers Pete and Jim a case of liquor each as a token of his appreciation for their help. They politely refuse, saying that his boss might not like the idea. Although his boss has approved, they still refuse the booze. Pete comments that his boss must be great employer.
"Your boss sounds like a pretty nice guy."
"Yeah, wanna trade?"

Much to Mac's relief, it's time for these two to get back on the streets. Before they leave Mac requests a favor of Pete, he asks him to "keep an eye" on his comedic partner.

After they've returned to patrol Reed spots a maroon Ford that matches the one Floyd Banister owns. Malloy swings a u-turn and follows the car. He then honks the horn, but the driver speeds up instead of stopping. He hits the reds and the siren and begins chasing the Ford. Reed can now make out the license plate number and it's the same as Floyd Bannister's. "Looks like we've found our child stealer," remarks Pete. Their pursuit of the maroon car takes them over some railroad tracks.
Let's take a break from the action for a fun fact:
According to lapdcops.com, the 1969 Plymouth Belvedere was damaged during the filming of this scene:
"Martin asked if blocks were needed to clear the bottom. He was told not to worry and they tore the bottom of the car out. After being blamed for the damage, an angry Milner told them to hire a stunt driver. His driving was never criticized again. Sometimes accidents happen."'

OK, back to the story.

The Ford then blows a tire and spins out, the driver bails from the car and starts running. Reed takes off after the driver while Malloy heads to the Ford, a baby's cry can be heard coming from the maroon car. He opens the door and finds the source of the wail.
While Malloy cuddles the scared infant, Reed is in hot pursuit of her father. He chases Bannister through a park and down a dirt hill, finally tackling him at the bottom of the hill.
"Alright, mister, end of the line."
Bannister starts immediately telling Reed that he took the baby to protect her. Reed, perhaps out of breath from the chase, lets him go on without reading his rights. Bannister claims that his wife hates little Lynne. He says he loves the baby, despite the fact that he is not the biological father. The day he took her he went to the house to give Mrs. Bannister some money. She was threatening to kill herself and the baby, so Floyd picked up Lynne and ran. 
Reed tells Bannister, "I doubt running would have solved your problems".

Bannister argues, "Yeah it would, I just didn't run far enough".

At the end of their shift the two weary warriors return to the station to remove their battle garb. Evidence of their fight against crime can be seen all over the younger peacekeeper's filthy uniform.
He groans in pain as he sits on the locker room bench. The older officer asks if he hurt himself when he was chasing after the suspect. 
"Did you hurt your leg when you went cross-country after Bannister?"
Reed answers that he twisted his ankle then asks about the person he was chasing.
"Hey, did you buy that stuff that Bannister was putting out?"
Malloy tells him that somebody must have bought Bannister's story, the baby has been put in protective custody. She'll be safe until they figure out which one of her parents is lying. Reed stands up to open his locker and discovers that his ankle is worse than he thought. He decides that he should have a doctor look at his injury.
"I guess I better stop by Central Receiving."
The End

My Evaluation:

This is one of those episodes with lots of action, they cover five cases in this one! This is also one of those episodes where the title story is probably the least memorable. Between them, the amusing cases in this episode feature Burt Mustin and Milner's range of annoyed facial expressions, making them unforgettable. The title case of the "child stealer" just doesn't stand up in comparison to the funny stories.

It also falls short when compared to the other two dramatic cases. In both sequences a driver (bus and delivery van) flag down 1-Adam-12 because an armed man or men have boarded their vehicles. Both stories are filled with tension because the audience, like Malloy and Reed, has no idea what awaits them inside those vehicles.

Although, the two situations have similar beginnings, they end very differently. The events on the bus end with gunshots, but the story doesn't stop there. It continues inside the station and takes a look at the emotions Reed struggles with after shooting the man. This story also shows how much Malloy cares for his partner. He seems to regret placing the younger officer in the position of shooting a man when he should have, as he admits in Mac's office, got Oaks himself. The hijacking case, on the other hand, ends without any shots being fired and has a lighthearted final scene at the report desk.

The child stealer case has a good a chase scene and taught us some things about the domestic case law of the day. But, it didn't really have much else. In the end it just turned into a complicated mess of "he said, she said". It also had Mrs. Bannister's voice.

This episode is a good mix of comedy and drama with mostly memorable cases, those are it's positive aspects. It has also has Mrs. Bannister's voice, which is definitely a negative. After performing complex calculations, I give "Log 134: Child Stealer" a rating of:
Do you agree? Let me know what you think of this one in the comments. See you next time! KMA-367

8 comments:

  1. I always wondered what the button that kid with the dog wears said. I've paused it and can't read it. And Pete makes the cutest faces ever when he's ribbing Reed about leaving the window open.

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    Replies
    1. It says:
      GIVE KIDS A BREAK
      NO
      NARCOTICS
      SHOPLIFTING
      VANDALISM
      I'M A HELPer
      What ever that means. Pete does make the cutest faces when he's giving Jim the business about leaving the window open. And I love Jim's face when he asks the van driver if he wants to trade bosses. They're too cute in this.

      Delete
    2. Whatever that means indeed. Thanks for clearing up the mystery! =)

      Delete
    3. I think that the HELPer thing was in a Dragnet episode with teens. Not the Smarteens episode.
      OR
      It was a program that was just emerging from the LAPD that was like a DARE program.

      Delete
  2. I watched this one today, so it's fresh in my memory for once. What an action packed episode! I LOVED all of Pete's faces during the dog scene. I also love his gravelly voice when he looses patience with Luger and tells him to get out.

    Ugh! Mrs. Banister! It seems like she says "baby" about a billion times, but it's probably just the way she says it. I wish one of them had cut her off and said "Maybe the dingo ate your baby." a la Elaine Bennis.

    When they are chasing Mr. Banister, they are in an area that is frequently seen on Emergency! so that's fun to see. Malloy should have called Johnny and Roy to help Reed with his ankle.

    It's kind of sweet when Malloy tells Reed that he'd better "soak" his ankle. That's something my grandmother would have said :)

    Great recap!

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    Replies
    1. Soaking the foot must be sound medical advice. That doctor or intern or whatever he was told Reed to do that in the "Sunburn" episode.
      I think I've only heard Pete use that gravelly voice when yelling at Luger, pity he didn't use it more.
      Somebody should splice together Mrs. Bannister and Elaine Bennis and post it to YouTube or Tumblr, I would die.
      Glad you enjoyed it!

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  3. Unfortunately, the same actress will be back in the episode "I. A. D". As one of the B girls at the Dead Angel Bar.

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  4. It always bugged me that Reed's ankle is supposed to be hurt. If you watch the chase and tackle, it was damn good! He did not get hurt.

    One of my favorite lines in the series is, "What do you know, he's human."

    At least her voiced is not the, soft, squeaky, breathy, voice of many of the female guest stars. Her voice fits when she plays a B-Girl, but here it may be a little overly dramatic sounding.

    Pete is always sweet with babies and little kids, even though he is kind of crabby a lot of the time.

    and by the by, no one takes better screen caps then you do, no one! B)

    ReplyDelete