Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention or Old Friends and Long Lines

Last week I told you I was going to be "code 6 on a special assignment". If you guessed that meant that I was seeing Kent McCord again, you guessed right. Here's the whole story from the beginning:

Way back in March someone alerted me to a Facebook post that said Kent was going to be at the Mid Atlantic Nostalgia Convention. I read it and thought, "I could do this. It's in Maryland, that's not too far away from where I live." 
I also thought, "Oh, but wait, it starts one day after my son's tenth birthday. Would I be a jerk if I skipped out on the kid right after his birthday? Probably."

Skip ahead many months to July when I was making my reservations for the trip. I, being a good mother, turned to my son and asked if he would like to go to the convention with me. He excitedly said, "Yeah, I'll go!"
"Okay, I can do this," I thought, "I can take Michael to meet Kent and we'll all have a good time. He won't drive me crazy. Of course he'll let me hang out with Kent for hours. Because ten-year-olds have exceptional attention spans. Right?"
I placed my misgivings aside and bought plane tickets for two.

Skip ahead to Thursday, September 15th. While I was flying back from a business trip in Arkansas the convention was starting in Maryland. My Facebook friend, Doug, posted that he had met Kent and I came up in their conversation! Then while I was driving home from the airport fellow Kent fan and owner of an Adam-12 replica car, Jeffrey, was having his car's door panel signed by Kent! I was stuck in traffic on 85 and Kent was leaning against Jeffrey's car doing a television interview. I already knew this convention was going to be extra special and couldn't wait to get on that plane the next day.

Thank you for letting me use your pictures, Jeffrey!

Finally, it was Friday, September 16th! The day Michael and I would fly to Baltimore, then drive an hour to the convention and meet Kent! By now my entourage had grown. My online friend, Addie, was coming from Manhattan to meet us! I was so excited I got up way too early and could hardly eat any breakfast. I only drank coffee, but didn't need it. I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed without the aid of caffeine. I was so anxious I couldn't sit still. I had to move! We left for the Charlotte airport much earlier than we needed to. 
Michael passing time in the airport.
After having lunch in the airport and watching Michael "dab" down every corridor, it was finally time to board our flight. We landed about an hour and a half later, then got our rental car. We then drove through some rough looking Baltimore neighborhoods (Thanks, GoogleMaps!) to ultimately arrive at the Hunt Valley Inn, site of the convention. Once we were checked into our rooms, it was time to meet up with Addie and see Kent. Before we hit the floor, I decided to check Facebook and found that Kent had signed another fan's Adam-12 car earlier in the day. 
Here's Ryan, his car, and Kent.
Thank you, Ryan!
"Reed" behind the wheel.
As we were walking past the front desk on our way to the convention area I thought I heard my name. I stopped and asked the woman standing at the front desk who she was looking for. Lo and behold, it was Addie and she was looking for me! Now that all three of us were together, it was time to get nostalgic at the Nostalgia Convention. We got our wristbands and made our way through the crowds to the ballroom. We found Kent's table at the corner of a perimeter of tables in the center of the room. However, Kent was taking a break. 
Kent's table with his pictures.
Addie decided that she needed to take meal break, too. She dropped some of her stuff off in our room then went in search of sustenance. Michael and I decided to see if Kent had returned. We walked into the ballroom and I quickly spotted that head of thick, silver hair in the distance. We made our way to that corner table where a man was asking Kent to sign a baseball. Kent saw me and smiled. For a minute he turned his attention from the man with the baseball and introduced himself to Michael. Lucky kid got a hearty handshake, too.

While Kent was signing the man's baseball and recounting a story about the MacGyver episode he appeared in, another man wearing an Orioles T-shirt walked up to the table. He began to insist that I go ahead of him. I told him it was quite alright for him to go first, I would be there for a while. When the man got up to Kent he told him that he was trying to be a gentleman, but I wouldn't let him. Kent said, "Oh, that's OK, Keely and I are old friends." I picked myself up off the floor while he and Kent talked.

After the Orioles fan walked away, Kent, Michael, and I chatted for a few minutes about the show and our recent move to North Carolina. I didn't want to stay at the table too long, my knees were literally shaking. You'd think I would be used to this by now. We left and told Kent we'd see him at the Q & A session he was doing with Bernie Kopell and Robert Fuller in a few minutes.

I'm short and we were pretty far from the stage,
so that is why this picture is not good.
Sorry. They get better, though, so keeping reading!

We left Kent's table, met back up with Addie, and made our way to the ballroom where the Q & A session was being held. As I looked around, I soon realized this was different than the other conventions where I had seen Kent. The comic-con in Kansas City was filled with young people more interested in the latest YouTube sensation instead of a cop show from the Seventies. The Hollywood show in Los Angeles seemed to have a lot of professional autograph dealers scouting the tables for new inventory. This convention, however, was filled with people who most definitely watched Adam-12, Laramie, and Get Smart during their first runs on television. A good number of the attendees were wearing cowboy hats and name tags announcing they were members of the "Robert Fuller Fandom". The ballroom filled up quickly, but we were able to find three seats together near the middle of the room. 

A lot of the questions during the Q & A went to Bernie Kopell, a.k.a. "Doc" from Love Boat, and it was easy to see why. He was hilarious. Some of the stories were not appropriate for my ten-year old, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. For instance, someone pointed out that a particular Get Smart episode Bernie was talking about was from '69. Bernie replied, "Well, I know that's a great position". The room exploded in laughter and Michael asked, "What's so funny? I don't get it." 

Kent did manage to get a few words in between Bernie's bawdy jokes and questions about Laramie, though. He told us about the first time we played a police officer on Dragnet. It was during the filming of "The Big Explosion" (S1, E2). Kent's role required him to come knock on the door, then say a few lines to Sgt. Friday after the door opened. Kent did that and nailed his lines, but Webb wasn't satisfied. Kent's face was not in the shot when he was saying his lines. He told Kent, with a few curse words thrown in, that he needed to do it again. Webb wanted to get his face on camera as he spoke so his "mother could see his mug on screen". 

While Kent was waiting on the porch for his cue, he stewed. He did not like the way Webb talked to him. His twenty-four-year-old mind contemplated taking Webb out back for some "boxing lessons". He had recently done this with another director who cussed him out a few weeks ago. But Kent came to his senses and he remembered that he was under contract with a wife and baby at home. He flubbed his line when he did it again, then suffered through take after take until he got it right and Webb was satisfied. In the middle of the ordeal Webb whispered to his on-screen partner, Harry Morgan, "This kid is f*@$ing good". Webb had fallen in love with McWhirter and the rest is history.
A face only a mother could love.
(Hey, I'm a mother, I should know.)

Kent also talked about working on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Another show, like Dragnet, associated with a singular, creative powerhouse. Both of these visionaries, Ozzie Nelson and Jack Webb, had tremendous respect for the actors and crew that brought their visions to light; but that was where the similarities ended. Kent described Nelson and Webb as "two sides of the same coin". "One of them never smoked, drank, or cussed" and the other was Jack Webb.

After the Q & A we, along with everyone else in the room, walked up to the stage to say "Hi" and get pictures of three men behind the table. Somehow, we ended up walking out right behind Kent. (Honestly, I didn't plan that.) Addie still hadn't met Kent, so I figured this would be as good a time as any. I got his attention and introduced them, he shook her hand and said "Hello". A full three minutes after this happened it hit Addie that she had been touched by Kent. She vowed never to wash that hand again. Her excitement continued later that night when she got to share the hotel shuttle with Kent, Fuller, and Kopell. 

On Saturday we got to the convention as soon as it opened. Before we went to Kent's table, where a line had already formed, we headed over to see "Doc". As soon as I approached his table, Kopell said to me, "You're famous, somebody was talking about you last night." Thankfully, it was Kent, not some random stranger. After we posed for a picture with him, Kopell told me Kent said I was "wonderful". Kopell then told me I was cute and I let him know that I thought he was pretty great, too.

We walked back over to Kent's table where there was still quite a line. I passed the time by talking to his assistant for the convention, Ashley. Much to my surprise, I found out that she lives about ten minutes away from us in North Carolina. She knew the organizer of the event and requested to work with Kent since she was an Adam-12 fan. I couldn't believe there had been fan right in my backyard and had to go all the way to Maryland to discover her.
My new friend, Ashley.
I also passed the time by acting as Kent's unofficial photographer. Every time a fan would walk up to the table and want their picture taken with Kent, I would use their phone and snap the photo for them. I think I did OK, but one man confused me by having a camera with actual film in it. 

Around noon Addie left to go find some lunch. I, being laser-focused on Kent, could not feel hunger and decided to keep hanging around the table. Then, suddenly, Kent looked at me and said "Follow me and bring your stuff." He told the fans in line that he was taking a break and would be back. I looked at Michael and told him, "Come on. When Kent McCord says follow him, we follow him." Michael and I nearly ran to keep up with Kent and his long stride as he led us out of the ballroom, past vendors in the hall, up some stairs, and into the celebrity greenroom. He found seats near the back of the room for me, Michael, and him. For the next two hours, we sat in those seats and talked like old friends.

I don't remember when during the course of the day we took this picture,
but this seems like a good time to insert it into the story.

One of the first things we talked about was how Kent met his wife, Cynthia. He had told the story at the Q & A, but I wanted to make sure I got it right. He met her when his friend, Stuart, borrowed his car to take Cynthia out. After their date all of the kids from school got together at the local Bob's Big Boy, including Kent. He sat across from Cynthia and they played a little bit of footsie under the table. By the end of the night, Cynthia decided to go with the Kent, the guy who owned the car.

I asked Kent about the footsie part of the story, I wanted to make sure that was accurate. He confirmed that, yes, his foot was on Cynthia's that night and her foot was on his. He then touched my foot with his demonstrate. Now, I don't know what Kent McCord had on the sole of his shoe, but when his black New Balance sneaker came in contact with my foot a jolt of electricity went through me and all time stopped. 

Somehow, I managed to pull myself together. Thank goodness I did or else I would have missed all of the other stories Kent had to tell. I would have never heard about his coach not letting him leave a scrimmage early to attend Rick and Kris Nelson's wedding. The next day after he looked at the papers, the coach asked, "Why didn't you tell me it was Tom Harmon's daughter's wedding? I would have let you go." To which Kent replied, "I would have hoped you would have let me go for anyone's wedding."

If I would have blacked out after playing footsie with Kent, I would have also missed him playing me part of this interview on his phone. I would have missed the personal photos he showed me on his phone. I would have also missed hearing about the time he was an extra on Gidget.
See the young man in the tan trunks
behind Gidget's father? Guess who.

See the elbow and tan trunks running in
 front of Gidget and her father? Guess who, again.

See the fellow in tan trunks and a blue
 shirt now running behind Gidget and her father?
You guessed it.
In case you want to watch this episode, it's entitled "The Great Kahuna". You may have heard of it. 

After I pulled myself together I was finally able to ask Kent some burning questions. I wanted to start out with something really important, something that would show my appreciation for his life's work. I knew the perfect question, I asked him about this shirt:
Come on, you all wondered about
this shirt. I can't be the only one.
I mean, what is going on here?
It seemed like Kent really liked this infamous "kitty cat" shirt, he wore it on and off the show. I wondered if it held special meaning for him. 
Kent answered that he bought the shirt in Mexico and he still has it. He even knows where it is in house. He had forgotten he wore it on the show, though. Satisfied, I moved onto the next question.

Next, I asked him about a car. Particularly, this blue Corvette.
I wanted to know if the rumors were true. If the Corvette he drove in "Ladies' Night" (S7 E16) was his personal car. One that was rumored to have been given to him by Jack Webb.

I found out that Jack Webb did give Kent a Corvette, but not that one. Webb was a Cadillac man. Every winter he would drive a hard top, then trade that in for a convertible every summer. Kent favored Corvettes and convinced Webb to try one.  At this same time Kent was going through a salary negotiation with Mark VII. One day Webb called Kent into his office and tossed the keys of the '71 Corvette he had purchased to Kent. It was his way of giving Kent a bonus. Kent appreciated it, but would have rather had the money.

Now that I had the really important questions out of the way, I needed to ask Kent something that has been driving his fans nuts. "What's the deal with Woman's Story?" I asked. 

Most of us female fans have been dying to see this 2000 movie he made with Erin Gray, but we can't find it anywhere. Kent replied that he didn't know either. For some reason the movie's star, director, and writer, Gary Conway, never released the film. He showed it at film festivals, but never gave it a wider release. Kent himself has only seen a pirated copy that Erin Gray somehow got a hold of. He expressed how frustrating it was to have worked on a film that no one ever saw.

Now that my questions were out of the way, it was time to move on to autographs. When we left the table Kent brought along a Sharpie marker. I made sure he put it to good use while we were in the green room.
I always thought this press photo was funny and 
I had to have it signed. Kent thinks he looks 
like his wife's crush, Tom Brady, here. I agree.

This is Michael's. It says,
"To Michael, nice to meet you, Kent McCord".
Now that he had told stories, answered questions, and signed autographs just for me, it was probably time that Kent return to his other fans. Before we parted ways Kent commented that there was an "inordinate amount" of current and retired officers at the convention. He wondered if the promoters had alerted local police departments. This is something Kent always advises organizers to do when he is making an appearance. He resolved to ask the organizers later.

On our way out of the room I gave Kent a big hug and thanked him for all he did for me. He shocked me by thanking me for everything I do. He then asked if I would be back at the table and I promised I would be. Poor Michael had no choice in the matter.

We met up with Addie and returned to our position at the table. Once again, Kent was steadily busy signing autographs. One of the fans who approached the table caught my eye, he was wearing a Monkees T-shirt. Somehow the conversation turned to Michael Nesmith and I felt I had to be honest with Kent. I reached out and put my hand on his arm and told him that if Michael Nesmith were there..."You'd forget all about me, right?" guessed Kent. I told him that, sadly, it was true.
The only face that could make me forget about Kent McCord.

Kent signed a few more autographs then told me and Michael to come with him again. We followed as he walked to the table where Gary Lockwood and Keir Dullea, stars of 2001: A Space Odyssey sat. Michael was excited, he loves that movie and wanted to get the autographs of the stars. Kent came up to Lockwood and introduced us as his friends. Lockwood then signed Michael's book at no charge. When Dullea found out we were friends of Kent's, he also signed the book at no charge.

Addie got Michael this cool notebook
made from the soundtrack album cover.
As five o'clock neared, our time with Kent was coming to an end. Before the day was over, he had to run off and do an interview for the convention archives. While Kent was gone, Ashley, Addie, Michael, and I kept watch over his poster, photos, and pens. 
Here we are, hard at work.
When his interview was finished Kent returned to an almost empty ballroom. Most of the vendors and other celebrities had packed their wares and hightailed it on out of there. Before Kent did the same, it was the perfect time to get some pictures.
Photo by Ashley.

Photo by Ashley.

Photo by Michael.
While Kent was packing, I managed to find out another fun fact. Until recently he had a "lucky flying shirt" that he always wore when he got on a plane. Since he managed to overcome his superstition, he didn't have the shirt with him. But, he was able to describe it. In fact, he was able to tell me where I could see the shirt.
He wore it in "Dirt Duel" (S5, E1).
As Kent gathered his 8X10 photos the organizer of the convention, Martin, stopped by the table. Kent commented on the large number of officers that had come to see him and Martin confirmed that the appearance was, in fact, announced to local PD's.  Now that all the questions were answered, all the Sharpies capped, and all the photos packed up; it was time to go. I gave Kent another hug, but Michael got the best good-bye of all. Kent gave him one of those "jive turkey" handshakes (I don't know what else to call it) followed by a fist bump and a high-five. He told Michael that he would probably be a foot taller the next time he saw him. I walked away with a big smile on my face, thinking "next time".

But our day wasn't done yet. First, we had to say good-bye to Addie and get our picture taken with her. I won't show you the picture because she said she didn't like it, but one does exist. Addie is a real person and my friend. Next, Michael and I had to eat. Our growling stomachs couldn't be ignored any longer. We went to the hotel bar and grill and ordered hamburgers. While we were chowing down, who should walk in but Kent and the one celebrity I hadn't met yet. 

Robert Fuller's table had been besieged by fans all day long, the wait for his autograph was hours long. But now here he was, a few feet away with a man who called me friend. I decided to go for it. I walked over with Michael in tow. Kent introduced us and told Robert about the blog. I shook his hand and promised to avert my gaze from Johnny Gage to Doc Bracket the next time I watched Emergency! Fuller laughed and said, "Watch out, a Randy Mantooth fan!". We all laughed. Then it is over in the blink of an eye, Kent and Robert had to leave to make an appearance at the banquet that I didn't have tickets for. Now our time with Kent was truly over.

Until the next time, that is.

What a weekend! It was truly wonderful and I can never thank Kent enough for how gracious he was to me, Michael, and Addie. I left Maryland feeling that I could truly call this amazing man my "friend".  And that's a great feeling.



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.