Sunday, September 11, 2016

Anniversary (Season 4, Episode 9)

Episode 87

Eighty-seven times two is one hundred seventy-four. Do you know what that means? It means I'm halfway through the series! Wow, time flies when you're having fun. I'll bet that's what Mac says to his wife on their anniversary. Thanks for sticking with me. (I'll bet he says that, too.)

Uh oh, Reed's signed himself up to be the chairperson of another committee. This time he's volunteered to pick out an anniversary gift for Mac and his wife. He's collected twenty-eight dollars from the men on the watch and has no idea of what to spend it on. Him and his big mouth, he can't even pick out a present for Jean. Maybe an idea will come to him on their way to the call at the bar at 19224 Franclar. There's an intoxicated person disturbing the peace there.

When they arrive at the bar they find a group of people, including the bartender, gathered outside. The barkeep tells Malloy and Reed they better get some help, there's no way only two men can subdue the wild man inside the bar. He shows them how the man damaged his face as proof of his savagery.

"Look what he done to my face!"
[I don't think we can totally blame him for the way your face looks, sir. Genetics may have
had something to do with that, too.]
As they talk to the bartender all sorts of crashing and banging can be heard coming from inside the bar. He begs them to do something, this lunatic is wrecking the place. Malloy tries to get a sense of what they're dealing with, he asks if the man inside is drunk. The bartender has only served him two beers, so he knows he's not drunk. This guy is just "plain lousy mean". Malloy and Reed knows it's time to go inside and see what's happening.

They walk in and are immediately greeted by a bar stool flying at their heads. 

They take out their batons and confront the man who launched the stool at them. Malloy orders him to stand up and get away from the pool table.
"On your feet, fella."
The man makes it clear he's not moving. Malloy and Reed advance towards him and try to convince him to put down the pool cue he's brandishing. When he thinks they've come far enough, he shoves the pool table straight at them and reveals something they weren't prepared for.

Reed finds himself faced with a situation he's never encountered before. Malloy's not going to let this stop them from doing their job, though.
"How do you arrest a guy in a wheelchair?"
"The easiest way you can."
He challenges Malloy and Reed to arrest him. They're not afraid of a cripple with a little ol' stick are they? He taunts them to prove what big heroes they are by taking him. Malloy doesn't care about the wheelchair, he only cares about taking this troublemaker off the street.
"Now get this through your head, mister. We're taking you outta here, one way or another. We'd like to do it the easy way. It's up to you."
"Sure, just say the word and I'll get up and I'll walk out!" answers the man sarcastically. Malloy's next statement seems to affect the man profoundly. All of his rage turns to melancholy after Malloy says,
"Believe me mister, I wish you could. Look, right now you're sore at the world, maybe you got a reason to be. But this isn't going to solve anything."
He lets go of his defensive demeanor and begins to reveal his frustrations and disappointments. This cornered wild man used to be a professional wrestler called Devil Dobish. He always delivered top-notch entertainment to his thrill-happy audience. But now he's stuck in the chair watching other people do things while women look at him like he was a hurt dog. 
In the middle of his speech, Dobish throws down the pool cue.
Sensing they are no longer in danger, Malloy and Reed put their batons back in the rings.
Malloy asks Dobish what happened to his legs and, for a man who spent his life getting paid to be injured, his answer is surprising. He lost the use of his legs due to a "lousy germ".
(Thankfully, Milner wasn't
"pinned for the count" when he had polio as a teenager. 

I couldn't imagine anyone else as Pete Malloy.)
"Ain't it a riot?"
(After seeing Dobish's mangled nose and cauliflower ear I was not
shocked to learn that the actor who played this part,
H.B. Haggerty, had been a pro-football player and a professional wrestler.)
After recounting the loss of his former glory, Dobish can't go on. Reed asks the bartender how the trouble started while the big man breaks down.
A comment from another patron that all wrestlers are phonies was what set Dobish off to wreck the place. The bartender tried to grab him and got an elbow in the face. Malloy joins Reed and the barkeep and asks if he wants to press charges. Now that he's heard Dobish's story, he declines.

"Nah, he's got enough trouble. Why should I give him any more?"
After they leave the bar and are back on patrol, Reed is still thinking about Dobish. He's glad everything turned out the way it did. So is Malloy. Then Reed changes the subject so fast, he almost gives Malloy whiplash. "Hey, Champagne!" he exclaims.
Champagne, that's his idea of what to get Mac for an anniversary gift. It's something the MacDonalds wouldn't ordinarily buy for themselves, so it would be a good gift. Malloy doesn't know, there's got to be something better than champagne. Reed argues that they'll probably have people over to celebrate. What could be better? Malloy ponders that for a second, then it comes to him.
"Alright, tell me."

Next stop: liquor store!

Bernie suggests a bottle of Chateau Marmot '59, it makes a wonderful gift. Pete and Jim didn't tell him they were shopping for a gift. But after working half his life in a liquor store, Bernie can tell when somebody is shopping for themselves or someone else. When Pete tells him it's for Mac's twentieth wedding anniversary, Bernie gets all misty-eyed. He remembers when Mac first came on the beat. He didn't look old enough to wear the uniform.

[That was a long time ago. Mac looks like he's outgrown his uniform now.]
Bernie tells them not to worry, he'll wrap the bottle in foil and add a nice ribbon. But Jim is worried, he wants to know how much that giant bottle of champagne costs. After all, they only have twenty-eight dollars to spend.
"How much Bernie?"
Malloy smells a rat when Bernie tells them this large bottle of the "best" champagne is only twenty-seven dollars and eighty cents with tax.
"The sticker says thirty-five dollars."
[Shut up.]
Alright, Bernie gets it, they can't accept any gratuities or special deals. He shows them another bottle that costs twenty-seven, eighty-three with tax. If they want it gift wrapped, that will be an additional seventeen cents, bringing the grand total to twenty-eight dollars even. Reed counts out the money and leaves it on the counter. They'll be back to pick it up later. On their way out the door Bernie congratulates Malloy on his promotion. Reed makes it clear that he wants to be recognized, too.
"Hey, Malloy, congratulations on your promotion."
(By the way, this is the same liquor store from the pilot episode.)
"What about me? I have to live with this rank-happy clown."
Later in the car, Jim's words come back to haunt him.
"Rank happy?"
Jim explains that he's not complaining. His partner's increased responsibilities show that he is also a pretty levelheaded policeman. 

As they drive along a gray sedan starts following 1-Adam-12. No matter how slowly Pete drives, the car will not pass them. Jim glances over his shoulder and sees that the car is still behind them. It's following too closely for him to make the plate. All of this is making him nervous. 

Pete decides that they'll switch places and 1-A-12 will follow the car for awhile to see what happens. He pulls over to the curb and lets the vehicle pass. Once they're behind the car Jim can make the plate. He calls in for wants and warrants and finds out that there are none for ZXO-177. It's registered to Phillip D. Heyes, 3917 Martin Way, Reseda. The car checks out, but the driver sure is hinky. Pete's going to find out why. He turns on the reds and signals for him to pull over.

When they get Mr. Heyes out of the car, he's willing to take whatever ticket they need to give him. But first, he just wants to know what he did wrong this time.
"This is a thirty-mile-an-hour zone, you've been following us at less than twenty for a quite awhile now. We'd like to know why."

Mr. Heyes explains his actions. He hasn't been following the officers, he was only staying behind them. He thought if he stayed behind a police car, he couldn't possibly make any mistakes. This last remark confuses Malloy. He asks Mr. Heyes to clarify. He begins telling them about his troubles that started last night.
[It all started last night when this white
 over gold Mustang started following me...]
He had taken his wife to dinner at a nice place on Sunset Strip. When they left the restaurant, Mr. Heyes discovered that his car was gone. He had parked it in a tow-away zone. So, he went to the impound lot and paid the seventeen dollars to get his car back. Then on his way home from there he got a ticket for driving with his brights on. After he went through all of that he finally made it home to bed around one a.m. Since he got to bed so late, he overslept and had to rush to an important early-morning appointment. That was when he got yet another ticket for going forty in a thirty zone. Pete finds it incredible that he's had three citations and his car impounded in the last twenty-four hours, but Heyes has the tickets to prove it.

Feeling sorry for this poor sap, Malloy decides not to cite him. But he does give him a piece of advice about following police vehicles, it's not a good idea.
"There's too many oddballs running around
and a lot of them don't like police. We have to be pretty careful."
Heyes has never thought about that. But it makes sense to him, he sees what's happening in the newspapers. After Malloy lets him go, Heyes promises never to do it again. As he drives off Reed gives the final assessment on Mr. Heyes.
"Poor guy, no wonder he's got black and white fever."
Pete and Jim's next call takes them to a used car lot on Las Palmas for a business dispute.
Isn't that sign redundant? Aren't all
vehicles methods of transportation? 
As they turn onto Las Palmas two men are arguing near an old yellow car in the lot. Out of frustration  one of the men slaps the roof of the car and exclaims "For the love of Pete!".
Ask and ye shall receive.
George Moore, the owner of the lot, happily greets the officers. When Pete mentions that they are there for a business dispute, Moore claims there must be a mistake. There's no business dispute going on at his lot. He tries to change the subject by asking about the performance of the new patrol car.

Pete's not going to let him get away that easily, though. He points out that Moore and the other man didn't seem too friendly when they drove up. Moore tries to brush it off  by blaming the disagreement on the other man's Latin temper. When the man walks up and calmly asks Moore for his money back there is no hint of a temper, though.

Moore tries to shut Mr. Diaz up by telling him that all sales are final. But Diaz argues that he did not buy the car. Moore told Diaz the money he handed over was only for the security to cover a test drive. The men continue to go back and forth, but Malloy just wants to get to the truth.
"What money is he talking about, Mr. Moore?"
Moore claims Diaz picked out a car, made a down payment, and signed a conditional sales contract for the balance owed on the car. He shows Malloy the contract to see for himself. Malloy also wants to see the car for himself. 

"Six hundred fifty dollars for this?"
When Malloy questions Moore's business practice of charging Six hundred fifty dollars for a fifteen year old car, the slick salesman becomes indignant. If Mr. Diaz doesn't like it, he can get himself a lawyer. He's got a deposit and a contract signed by Diaz and a witness. 
Malloy glances over at the witness working in the office.
Now that Moore has proven his case, he'd appreciate it if the officers could move their car off the lot. It's bad for business. But Malloy's not leaving until his business is taken care of.
"We got a call, Mr. Moore. It's our job to investigate it."
Moore still thinks there's some sort of mistake, neither he nor Diaz called the police. Moore excuses himself, he's going back to the office to work. Malloy heads over to where Diaz is standing with Reed by the patrol car. Now he wants to hear his side of the story.

Diaz explains that Moore told him the hundred dollars and paper he signed were for security, in case he had an accident while test-driving the car. Now that he has returned the car safely, he wants his money back. Malloy asks if he read what he was signing and Diaz admits that he does not read English very well. Malloy and Reed's conversation with Diaz is interrupted by shouting from the lot office. They all turn to see Moore berating the woman who works for him. Malloy starts to piece together the mystery of who called the police.

"Somebody sure called us, partner, I think maybe I know who it was. Hang tight."
Malloy climbs the steps up to the trailer that acts as the lot's office and tells Moore to let the lady speak. He wants to hear what she has to say about the deal he made with Diaz. Moore tells Malloy he has no right to disrupt his business. 
"I'm investigating a call, Mr. Moore. I'd advise you not to interfere."
Mr. Moore's not going to stop the police, he's got nothing to hide. Malloy continues his investigation by asking the woman one question, why did she call the police. When she admits that she did call the police, Moore lets loose on her and reveals his true nature. 
"Of all the stupid...What'd you do that for? I don't
 need no cop to handle a fruit picker like Diaz!"
Malloy asks what made her call the police. She describes how she didn't want "the poor old man cheated", it was the last straw. Before she can say anything else, Moore relents and agrees to give Diaz his money and the contract back. 
"He's right over there, what are you waiting for?"
Before he leaves the office, Moore fires his employee. She may be out of a job, but Mina is glad this happened. Working for Moore, watching him bleed people and sign things they didn't understand made her feel dirty.

Hearing about Moore's policies makes Malloy think detectives may be interested in his business. He hands Mina a card for Lt. Jacobs in bunco. She agrees to call the detective. Then, with a smile on her face, she watches as Malloy descends the office steps. (Suddenly, she feels dirty again. But in a different way.)

After a brief discussion about Diaz, Moore, and Mina, 1-A-12 receives a call to a familiar address. There's a 211 in progress and shots have been fired at 19331 Claiborne. That's Bernie's place!

They race to the store and fight their way through the crowd gathered at the front door. When they finally get inside they find Bernie lying on the floor. He's been shot in the chest. Another man kneels over Bernie and tells him he's going to be all right. Once Reed comes back from calling an ambulance Malloy questions the other man.

It's Alfred Shelly, he was on 16 Dragnet episodes and 5 Adam-12 episodes.
The other man is Jim Blackman, he owns the gas station next door. When he heard the shot, he grabbed his .22 and ran out. He thinks he hit the punk who robbed Bernie, but couldn't tell since he took off on a motorcycle. He describes the suspect as a young man, not more than twenty, with long blond hair, wearing a denim jacket and blue jeans. 
[Denim jacket? Are you sure it wasn't a windbreaker?]
As the ambulance workers load Bernie on to the stretcher, he tells Malloy to take Mac's champagne. It's wrapped and ready on the counter.
(The attendants tattoo says "Mom".)

Reed looks like he's fighting back tears.
When they're back in the car, Pete tells his partner, "Don't let it get you, Jim."
It's hard for Jim not to be effected by this.
"Things like this make me wanna throw up."
"That's a good sign. When they don't, you're in trouble."
They drive along in silence.
And right past this car with what could be a script on its roof.
Until they come upon two men struggling to push a pickup truck with a camper. They stop to offer assistance.

The older of the two men claims that it's his camper, the motor just conked out. Malloy decides to walk around the truck and see if he can determine the problem with the vehicle.
That doesn't look right.
Neither does that.
Reed's spotted the same problems and asks the older man if he has the key to the truck. He says he does and wonders what kind of question that is.
"The kind we ask when we see a camper that doesn't quite fit on the pickup."
When Malloy orders that the camper be opened up, the younger of the two men takes off running. While Reed chases after him, Malloy stays behind to pat down and the cuff the older man.
"Turn around, put your hands on top of your head and interlace your fingers!"
Reed takes care of the other guy.
Mac arrives at the same time as the tow truck and praises them on their bust. The camper thefts have been driving everyone nuts, there's been over a hundred in the valley alone. He also has news about Bernie, he's going to make it. The bullet made a clean wound and missed his ribs. He doesn't have any news to report on the suspect, though. Seeing that Mac is in a good mood, Malloy thinks its a good time to give him his gift. 
"Now's as good a time as any, partner."
(There's that Mustang again.)
"Happy Anniversary, Mac, from the boys and Bernie."
Mac seems truly touched by the gift.
[Is it a tennis racket?]
Now that he knows Bernie is going to be all right, Reed feels much better. That feeling may not last for long, though. They're called to see the park attendant at the Woodley Avenue entrance of Balboa Park. There's a man down, a possible DB.
They arrive at the park and find the man with long blond hair, wearing a denim jacket, and blue jeans lying face down on the ground. His motorcycle lays on its side nearby. Malloy crouches down and turns the man over. He discovers that he's been shot. He also discovers a gun in his belt. Malloy empties the revolver and counts the bullets.
"One shot fired."
"Yeah, the one that did Bernie," comments Reed.
Reed looks through the blond man's wallet and looks over his identification. His name is James A. Chambers and his DOB is April 11, 1953. He was only eighteen. The take from the robbery is also in his wallet, fifty-four bucks.
"That's three dollars for every year of his life."

The End

After four episodes mostly focused on a single crime, this type of episode is a welcome change. I like to call these installments with lots of varied calls "utility episodes" (thanks to my friend, J.A.S. for coining the phrase). They may not be as memorable as those focused on a single theme, but they do the job of entertaining while showing Reed and Malloy doing their job. 

"Anniversary", written by Leo Gordon, does a great job of being entertaining while showing us a day in the life of Malloy and Reed. It's an excellent study of the two officers, the people they meet, and the emotions they experience. The story starts out with them being called to a frightening situation at a bar.  While Reed's apprehension can be read on his face, Malloy is firm and unwavering. Then when it's revealed that the man is in a wheelchair. Malloy decides to take a minute and talk to the man in order to find out the reason for his actions. The cause of Dobish's anger, polio, is heartbreaking, but the script treats him with respect and never veers into maudlin, heart-string-pulling territory.

After their trip to the liquor store their encounter with Mr. Heyes is humorous, but still grounded in reality. In fact, If I had to bet I'd say this part was definitely based on a real-life case. It's too far out not to be. The piece of advice he receives is sound and, sadly, based on a reality that is still relevant. There are a lot of oddballs out there who don't like police.

Finally, the scenes with Bernie run the gamut from funny to sad. Their first scene in the liquor store is amusing, especially when you try to picture a skinny, young Mac. The latter scene is tragic, made even more so by Reed's reaction. When he looks over at the gift-wrapped bottle of champagne, you can see that he's fighting back tears. It's quick and it's a subtle, but it's evidence of McCord's growing skill as an actor. That glance of Reed in the liquor store is another shining facet in this gem of an episode. 

An episode that I rate:

Do you agree? Let me know somewhere, out there in cyberspace. There will be no episode next week. I'll be code 6 on a special assignment. 



  1. Mr. Heyes is played by Jack Sheldon. Mr. Sheldon, actor and noted jazz musician is better known for singing about bills instead of tickets:

    1. He turns up several times in the 60s Dragnet as well, usually playing the same sort of hapless and slightly dim character as Mr. Heyes. (Including a massively hung-over witness in the one episode that crossed over with Adam-12.)

      Mr. Diaz is played by Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez, who was briefly popular as a comedian in the 50s with Groucho Marx as his major booster.

  2. Great recap Keely. I always loved this episode and get a kick out of Pete's strict adherence to the patrol guide regarding Mac's gift. Also I love Mr Heyes, he was a Jack Webb staple....