Sunday, May 29, 2016

Log 88: Reason to Run (Season 3, Episode 25)

Episode 77

Our story starts at Berkeley Western Stores and Riding Academy. Reed's been by here countless times and never realized that the "Berkeley" meant the actor, Slim Berkeley. Malloy corrects him, Slim is an ex-actor, he hasn't made a picture in years. All those years ago when Slim was making pictures Reed's dad thought the matinee cowboy could ride a horse better than any man alive.

Wait a second, I thought this was Berkeley Western Stores, not Pickwick.
You know who can't ride a horse better than any man alive? This chick getting a riding lesson from Slim right now. When Pete sees her riding the horse, he asks Slim if the complaint is cruelty to animals.

Before they find out the real complaint, Pete introduces Slim to Jim (and they decide to make beef jerky- ha ha). When Jim says, "Pleasure to meet you," Slim can sense what he's going to say next and stops him before he has a chance to utter the words.

"Now just a minute, son, if your dad was an
 old fan of mine, will you do me a favor? Don't mention it."
(I wonder if Kent McCord ever feels like saying
 this to people who come see him at autograph shows?)
Slim gives the zaftig riding student a five minute warning and a request.
"And for crying out loud, watch your seat!"
After the lesson is over Slim takes Pete and Jim inside the office to show them the real reason he called he police. Slim, who's not in the habit of locking doors, has had a burglary.
The cashbox was cleaned out and he lost about $100. A gold belt buckle he won in a rodeo was also stolen.

Pete asks about the employees at the academy and Slim tells him that there is only one around today, a nice kid named Neil Williams. Just as Slim is saying his name, Neil is walking up to the office door. He stops when he hears his name mentioned. 

Slim then leaves the office to fetch Neil. When he sees Neil walking in the opposite direction, he calls out to him, but Neil doesn't turn around. Reed offers to get Neil, but he doesn't stop when the police officer calls his name, either. Instead, he begins to run. The chase is on and Reed takes off after him.

While Reed and Neil recreate the Kentucky Derby, Berkeley tells Malloy how he found the "half-starved" lad from New York City about a month ago. When he first met Neil he "ate for three days solid without coming up for air". Malloy is able to finish Slim's tale, he knows this story. Neil is the latest in a long line of kids that Slim has taken in.
"And every since then, he's been like a son to you."
When Reed and Neil get back from their trot around stables, Pete and Slim want to know why he did such a foolish thing. Neil explains that he ran on impulse. 
Hey, look, it's future Mark VII star and my
first childhood crush, Randolph Mantooth! God, he is a skinny little thing.
Based on his experience, Reed doesn't buy this excuse.
"As a rule, people don't run unless they got something to hide."
A pretty red-haired girl on horseback has been watching the entire exchange between Neil and the police officers. 
Oh my God! It's Linda Henning, Betty Jo Bradley from Petticoat Junction! I can not begin to tell you how much I love that show and it's theme song. My mother, for some reason, hates the show. I see this as further evidence that I must have been switched at the hospital.
  And look, just like on Petticoat Junction, the red-haired Linda is
 flanked by a brunet and a blonde.
 Actually, it was in her contract that she always had to appear on screen with a brunet and a blonde. (Would I lie to you?)

The titian-tressed teenager feels compelled to defend Neil. She dismounts from her steed and announces, "Neil's not a thief". Slim just wants the girl, whose name is Hilary Warner, to stay out of it. He tells her and her friends to put their horses back and ski-daddle. Hilary doesn't move and he wonders what she's waiting for.
"An introduction, I adore policemen."
(I like this girl, we seem to have a lot in common.)
While Slim introduces his star pupil to Reed and Malloy, Hilary's mother drives up to the riding school. At first, Mrs. Warner seems very concerned about the officers' presence. Her tension seems to dissipate, however, when Slim assures her that her daughter is not involved in their investigation. 
The actress playing Mrs. Warner reminds
me of an older Lana Turner.
After the Warner women leave Neil challenges Pete and Jim to search both him and his room. Pete decided to take him up on his offer.
"OK, you got a deal."
Neil lives in an old tack room at the horse stables, so they don't have to go far to conduct their search. When they reach the room both Slim and Neil start defending the boy's meager accommodations. Slim starts telling a story about similar digs he once endured in South Dakota. Pete can sense that this isn't the time for a story, Neil probably just wants to get this over quickly. He gives Slim a look that quiets the old man immediately.

Now that they are doing exactly what Neil invited them to do, he isn't too happy about it. He's taken aback when Pete asks him to empty his pockets. 
"Tell me something, have you ever had to do this for anybody?"
"Empty my pockets? No."
Neil then asks the same question of Reed.
"No, not that I recall."
(Hmmm, I don't find this answer very definitive.
 Reed doesn't recall having to empty his pockets,
which means he may have had to do it at some
 point in his life. Maybe there was a drunken
night when he was in the service,
 and he and his buddies were stopped by the MP's.
Maybe the details of that night are still a little sketchy. Makes you wonder.)

Neil suggests that they both try emptying their pockets as part of search sometime. "Makes you feel real good," he says sarcastically. Malloy reminds Neil that it was his idea to bring them here. Since the police are listening to his ideas, Neil proposes another one. (One that I think they should seriously consider.)

"Well, I got a better idea. How 'bout I strip down,
 I look really great in the nude."
[This is a family show, Mantooth.]
Slim , the big party pooper, tries to put the kibosh on any further searching, strip or otherwise. But, Neil wants them to keep searching so his name can be cleared. Malloy leaves the decision up to Slim. He decides to drop the complaint. 

While Malloy and Reed try to convince him otherwise, Neil takes out his suitcase and starts packing. This is the final straw for Slim, he threatens to "rope and hog-tie" Neil if he even looks like he's going to leave. The three older men decide to get coffee, leaving Neil alone in his room. After they're gone he secretly smiles. Despite his best efforts to push Slim away, the old cowboy still cares about him.
Sorry for the double exposure on this one.

Later when they're away from the dramatic horsemen, Reed asks Malloy how he met Slim. The cop met the cowboy four years ago when the horse Slim was riding got out from under him and tried to escape on the freeway. Reed will only hear this story from Malloy because Slim will never talk about it. Their conversation about Slim ends when the RTO dispatches them to see the man at a phone booth about some found evidence.

At 12206 Ventura Boulevard one man is inside the phone booth yelling at another man who is manically trying to get into the booth. The man outside is shaking and rocking the booth, furiously trying to get inside.

[Let me in! I've got to win those Tom Jones tickets!]

(Also, that blue Corvette is starting to show up a lot in the background.)
When he can't force the door open, he tries to crash through it by taking a few steps back then running into the glass door and shattering it with his shoulder. Reed and Malloy roll up and he starts to run away from the destroyed booth. Reed chases and tackles him. While they're struggling on the ground, the crazed man punches Reed in the jaw!
Unacceptable! Lock this guy up and throw away the key!
Malloy comes to his partner's aid in the nick of time, he gets there just as the guy is getting ready to pick up a bottle and strike Reed again.
"Alright, don't move 'til I tell ya. Roll over,
face down, spread eagle. Ya got that?"
After Reed and Malloy get the suspect restrained, backup and SID arrive. Once Reed loads his attacker into the backup unit he and Malloy check in with the detectives and the PR.

Amongst the wreckage of the phone booth is a package containing white powder which the detective identifies as heroin and it could be worth thousands of dollars. When Mr. Foster entered the booth the suspicious-looking package fell from beneath the shelf. Thinking it was narcotics, he called the police. After he placed the call, the pusher returned to the booth looking for his package. When he couldn't get in the booth, he went crazy.

Reed thanks Mr. Foster for his help. The detective thinks they should also thank the pusher. 

"Let's all thank the penny pincher who invested in a two-bit
magnet to hold ten thousand bucks to the bottom of a shelf."

Poor Reed, let's hope he gets to take it easy for the rest of the day after getting punched in the face. But that probably won't happen since he just spotted a waitress at a taco stand being robbed at gunpoint.

At first the creep in the green windbreaker tries to walk away nonchalantly, but he takes off running when the waitress calls out "Officers!". Reed hops out of the car and runs after him. He chases the guy into an alley while Malloy takes the car to other end of the street and calls for backup.

In the alley the gunman hides behind some crates and starts firing at Reed! 

Reed manages to get some shots back at the guy.  The suspect then runs and hides behind some barrels and fires again.  Fortunately, Reed doesn't get hit.

When the suspect tries to escape from the other end of the alley, he finds it blocked.

"Alright mister, freeze and drop it!"
I think this guy looks like Monkees co-creater Bob Rafelson.
Am I right?
Backup arrives and takes the prisoner to the station while Reed and Malloy get the report from waitress. She's so thankful for their help that she offers them a free taco. 

Malloy graciously refuses, explaining that they are not allowed to accept gratuities. This surprises the waitress.
"A taco is a gratuity?"
[Aww, man, I could really go for a taco. Jean
packed me peanut butter and banana again.]
The next day Reed and Malloy are back on the job and Malloy is wondering about the state of his partner's jaw.
"Just call me 'sorehead'."
Alright, then. Malloy and Sorehead choose to pay the Berkeley Western Store a visit this morning. Malloy wants to see if Slim solved the mystery of the missing belt buckle and he has some news for Neil. 

They walk in and find that not much has changed since their last visit. When they spot an open safe door, they know Slim still isn't locking things up like he said he would. They find Slim in Neil's room helping him repair a busted table leg. It's lucky that the two men are together, the officers have news for Neil and a question for Slim.

Malloy tells Neil that they checked his New York record. It's all cleaned out, there are no wants on him.

[Does this mean that I can achieve my
 dream of becoming a firefighter?]
Since they know Neil is not the thief, Malloy poses a question to Slim. Has he ever considered that one of his customers might be the thief?

Slim thinks this idea is crazy. In fact, he thinks that Malloy will become chief of police around the time he starts riding side saddle if he keeps having thoughts like that.

I just love their reaction to Slim's burn on Malloy.
Later in the day Reed and Malloy spot a blue Nova illegally parked in an alley. They pull up alongside the car and tell the pretty, red-haired driver that she'll have to move her car.
Since this character doesn't have a name, I'll call her Peg.
She looks like a Peg.
Also, what's with all the redheaded chicks in this episode?
Peg tries to negotiate with her charm and a smile, claiming she's waiting for a friend who will be right back. The upstanding Reed can not be swayed by a pretty face, not matter how much red hair it's under. He tells her she'll have to move the car now.

She relents and agrees to move the car. She bids the officers "See you later", then waits for them to leave. When they don't go anywhere, she asks what they're waiting for. Reed's had enough, he gets out of the car and tells her to turn off the engine.

She contends she can't turn off the engine because of the battery. If she turns it off, she'll never get it started again. Reed insists and she finally does as he says. Next he asks for her driver's license. While she rifles through her wallet looking for it, Malloy calls in to check if there are any wants on the vehicle.

Across the alley, two men come out of the backdoor of the liquor store. They're armed and they start firing!

Reed takes cover behind the Nova. When he tells Peg to keep her head down, she does so without argument.

Malloy calls for backup. 

Jim ends up hitting one of the guys, which causes the bad guys to give up.
I knew this was a Nova, because the model name was not covered with silver tape.
However, the model name is covered on this car. But, I still know
 that it is a special edition Stalker Mustang.
Look, it's Tim Donnelly. That makes three Emergency!
cast members in this episode since Marco Lopez
 also appears as a backup officer.
After the bearded suspect waves his white handkerchief signaling their surrender, both he and his partner throw out their weapons. Malloy tends to the two males and Reed gets the female out of her car. 
"Alright, lady, let's go."
As soon as she is out of the Nova, Peg begins pleading her case. According to her, she didn't do anything wrong. She didn't know what the two men were doing in the store.

That's all we see of Reed and Malloy's shift for this day. 

The next day Malloy tells his partner that the woman's story checked out and she was released. He also tells him that the guy who was shot is doing fine.
Reed seems pleased with both bits of news.

Their first call of the day comes over the radio then, it's a malicious mischief report at 13452 Franclar Drive.

At the address they meet up with the injured party, Mr. Dewey Conroy, a wholesale jewelry salesman. After they make their introductions Dewey shows them where he was injured. 

His convertible has been filled with concrete and he knows it was Frank Bennett, the husband of a woman he's been calling for three weeks. Bennett drives a cement mixer and he's accused Conroy of conducting more than business with his wife. Three days ago Bennett stormed into Conroy's office making threats and scaring half a dozen secretaries.

"Evidently, you don't scare too easily," observes Reed.
Reed's right, Bennett's threats didn't deter Conroy from trying to close the deal. He thought he'd try one more time with Myra today (apparently Conroy and Mrs. Bennett are on a first-name basis). He was in the house for ten minutes, when he left, he found his car filled with hardened concrete.

After the incident a few days ago with Bennett, Dewey thinks the office must be worried about him. He goes back into the Bennett house to use the phone. (If the man of the house just filled my car with concrete, I think I'd use another phone. But, that's me.) While he's gone Reed points about a curious detail to Malloy.

"How much time do you figure it takes
for this much concrete to get good and hard?" asks Reed.
"A lot longer than ten minutes, I know that," answers Malloy.
"Yeah. like maybe five or six hours maybe," guesses Reed.

(I think Dewey Conroy might be the worst philanderer ever.
Who leaves their car in front of their married lover's house for five or six hours?)

Back in the car, they're still discussing Conroy and his car that's "only good for pop art". Reed thinks his biggest problem is getting all of the concrete out of his car. Malloy figures he's got an even bigger problem.
"How's he gonna explain it to his insurance company?"
Before they can come up with an answer to that one, the RTO announces their next call, a 484 report. It's at a familiar address, the Berkeley Riding Academy.

Different day, different plaid shirt for Slim. Same jeans and cowboy hat, though.
They meet up with Slim and he immediately issues a mea culpa. He knows he's screwed up by neglecting to lock his safe. This time his carelessness has made his customers the victims.

Hilary, Bobbie Jo, Billie Jo, spare Bobbie Jo, and backup Billie Jo have had a total of $300 stolen from their purses. And Hilary is pissed, one third of the stolen money belonged to her.

Malloy walks outside to find Neil assisting "Tessie" onto a horse. Hilary follows him. He asks Neil if he knows anything about the theft and he says he doesn't. But, Hilary doesn't believe him. She accuses him of having her $100 under the mattress in his room. Malloy doesn't understand Hilary's change in attitude, a few days ago she was Neil's friend. He asks her what changed.
"I lost a hundred bucks."
Malloy asks a follow up question of the suddenly sassy Miss Warner.
"How old are you?"
She answers that she's seventeen and that she's not going to answer any more questions, unless she's being placed under arrest. Slim then comes outside to defend Neil, but Hilary continues to accuse him of the theft. She tries to shame him by bringing up his New York record. This doesn't phase Malloy, though, he knows all about Neil's past.
Neil looks genuinely
hurt when Hilary brings it up.
In the middle of all this, Hilary's mother arrives. At first her daughter is glad to see her, Hilary thinks she may need her help.
Different day, different top for Hilary.
Same pants, belt, and hairstyle, though.
Poor Neil never gets to change his clothes.

Hilary's attitude changes very quickly, though. Mrs. Warner has Slim's missing gold belt buckle. He's ecstatic and wonders where she found it. "In my daughter's dresser," she answers.
"Mother, please!"
Much to her daughter's humiliation, Mrs. Warner confesses Hilary's crimes. She's been stealing and shoplifting for years. Up until now Mr. and Mrs. Warner have made the trouble go away by paying restitutions. Hilary promised to stop when she was last caught about a month ago. But since that hasn't happened and she's now stealing from friends, Mrs. Warner knew she had to tell the truth about her daughter's compulsion. 

Hilary's actually relieved that her secret is out in the open, she knew she was spiraling out of control. She's most upset about what she did to Neil.
"The worst part was trying to blame you."
Both Neil and Slim are softies and want to forget the whole thing. Malloy, however, must enforce the law and can not let a pair of doe eyes influence him.
"We'll have to take your daughter into custody, Mrs. Warner."
"Oh, mother," cries Hilary as she collapses into her mother's arms.
"It's alright darling, it's alright. We'll work it out, we'll work it out."

The End

I've loved Randolph Mantooth probably since I was about five years old, sitting on the red-carpeted floor of our TV room with its wood paneling and bicentennial wall paper, watching Emergency! reruns on our console TV. So, you're not going to hear me say anything bad about his performance in this episode. And it's not like I have anything bad to say about his work here, anyway. His character, Neil Williams, is an emotionally complex troubled youth who craves acceptance. Although I found the scene where Reed and Malloy are searching his room kind of annoying with all its emotional flip-flopping, I thought Randy did a fine job navigating through this demanding scene. But, my favorite moment of his performance is the look on his face when Hilary brings up his criminal past. It's shock, hurt, and disappointment all rolled into one. It's almost on par with Milner's facial expressions.

The other guest star is also a standout here. Linda Kaye Henning's character, Hilary, is a lying, manipulative kleptomaniac. A complete departure from Betty Jo Bradley and I love it. You wouldn't think the actress who played a sunny tomboy on Petticoat Junction could be so good at being icy, but Henning delivers. Although, I did think her playing a seventeen year old was a bit of a stretch.

The other thing I really like about this episode is Reed. Instead of just being relegated to the "muscle" who tackles suspects, Reed starts to show some independence in this one. He gets punched, a pretty girl tries to manipulate him, and he gets shot at twice. But, through it all, he maintains his professional and authoritative demeanor, just like his FTO taught him. 

OK, now let's talk about Slim. Slim makes me a little crazy. He's another complex character, an ex-actor with a heart of gold and an ego the size of Texas. It's great that he takes Neil under his wing and cares for the young man, but does he have to be such a pushover? Slim's good heart makes him a terrible businessman. It's one thing to have an open door policy for your employees and customers so they can come to you with anything. It's quite another thing to have an open door policy for your safe and cashbox. I'm sure Slim is a great guy, but he's also frustrating. I cringed when he thought dropping the charges against Hilary was a good idea. Thank goodness cooler and more practical heads prevailed.

The memorable appearances from the guest stars and the fact that Reed holds his own in some tense situations earns "Log 88: Reason to Run" a rating of:

Do you agree? Let me know somewhere, out there in cyberspace. See you next time with the final episode of season 3, "Log 125: Safe Job".