Monday, November 18, 2019

MAVERICK Mondays: "The Bold Fenian Men" (1960)






MAVERICK Mondays: Number 27 








MAVERICK: "The Bold Fenian Men" (1960 ABC-TV/Warner Brothers) Original Air Date: December 18, 1960.  Starring Roger Moore as Beau Maverick, Sharon Hugueny as Diedre Fogarty, Arthur Fields as Terence Fogarty, Arch Johnson as Colonel Summers, Lane Bradford as Sergeant Hanson, Herb Vigran as Ed, Jack Livesey as Patrick Hunter, James O'Hara as Sean.  Written by Robert Vincent Wright.  Directed by Irving J. Moore.

After being thrown off an Army post by Colonel Summers for gambling with the soldiers (mostly for winning) Cousin Beau Maverick finds himself under attack by Indians.  Rescued by the Colonel and taken into protective custody, Beau finds he won't be taking that trip to St. Louis after all.  Instead, he'll be accompanying the cavalrymen to Dakota City.


"I was there last year!  There's not a poker game in town!"

Despite Maverick's protests, it is better than 90 days in the guardhouse for his prior offense.  So Beau has to settle for games by campfire with the enlisted men until he learns the Colonel's real purpose for bringing him along.  A civilian is needed to infiltrate the titular Irishmen during their First Annual "Sons of the Shamrock" convention, which is really a ruse for their real plans: taking over Canadian land in order to force Ireland's independence from England.  When "O'Maverick" spots a poker game full of sons of the old sod, he warms to the assignment.  But the stakes are higher than Beau realizes: discovery as a spy would put the English cousin in front of a firing squad.


The fourth MAVERICK season is the show's most inconsistent, with most of the show's best writers having departed along with star James Garner.  Fortunately Robert Vincent Wright (Greenbacks, Unlimited) was still around, and he penned this bit of blarney inspired by the Irish revolutionaries who really did plot to invade Canada to win Irish independence in the late 1860's.  The Bold Fenian Men was originally intended for brother Bart, but Jack Kelly's hand injury forced him out of action temporarily and sent this story to Moore.  The casting change actually works to this episode's advantage: Beau being sent to infiltrate the Fenians with his "slight English accent" adds a little extra spice to the proceedings.


"A toast...to one of the bravest men I've ever known!"

Wright provides the gamut of humor, throwing in droll whimsy ("They're fightin' him one at a time!") and topical lines now lost to time ("I've got no time for Sergeants!") to go with the Irish stereotypes.  Director Moore gives star Moore plenty of opportunities for subtle, wordless asides (my favorite follows the Colonel's line above--referencing Maverick!) and some of the future SAINT's cheekiest moments as a Maverick.  Beau mansplaining the finer points of seduction to Diedre and thwarting attempts to inebriate him provide two of the episode's highlights.


But unfortunately, a deft touch isn't maintained for the segment's entirety.  Beau barking out commands to the shifty Sergeant Hanson during their fistfight is more F TROOP than MAVERICK, and what should be the episode's highlight--Beau's impudence in the face of a firing squad that he (wrongly) believes can't harm him--is dulled when Moore oversells the swoon at the conclusion.  Too bad: the buildup is very amusing and well paced. 


Sixteen year old Sharon Hugueny has a predictably inconsistent Irish accent, but is fine otherwise.  She would return opposite Jack Kelly in The Devil's Necklace.  Hugueny's career was interrupted by an ill-fated marriage to thirty-one year old Robert Evans the following year, and the starlet never regained her early momentum.  She's more than charming enough here to make one wonder what might have been.  The forever gruff Arch Johnson (Royal Four Flush) is in fine no-nonsense form as Summers.  The Colonel knows enough to hedge his espionage bets, but misses some key spot checks right under his nose.  Among the few male civilians is the always welcome Herb Vigran (The Golden Fleecing) amusingly wincin' o'plenty at the Emerald invasion of his hotel.


"According to military protocol, Mr. Maverick, do you have any last requests?"
"Yes.  Don't shoot."

While the James Garner comparisons aren't fair--Roger Moore had the misfortune to join the MAVERICK family after most of the good scripts had gone--they're unavoidable.  Nevertheless, when Beau was given one of those "always hopeless, but never serious" situations, Moore delivered capably, if not quite as smoothly as Garner or Kelly.  A mostly lighthearted farce grounded by its basis in historical fact, with Wright giving us one last actuality at the conclusion (the real life Fenians did indeed try multiple invasions of the Great White North), The Bold Fenian Men ends up as a highlight of both Moore's tenure and the disappointing fourth season.  Even if a little bit o' Irish music goes a long way for ya.


HOW DID BEAU DO AT POKER?

After doing well enough to be banished from the post, Beau seemed to be continuing his winning ways with the limited stakes available while the soldiers were camped out.  This despite the Sergeant's marked deck of cards.  Pastures appeared much greener with the whiskey-soaked Irishmen in Dakota City, but complications from Beau's mission kept his table hours there minimal.

WISDOM FROM PAPPY?

None this time.  Just as well, frankly, since the Pappyisms always sounded awkward when turned into Uncleisms.



The Fenian invasion was a subject that producer Coles Trapnell long thought to be fertile ground for a MAVERICK, and the execution is more often than not satisfying.  Significantly superior to the similarly themed Trooper Maverick.  Moore was too often let down by teleplays during his brief tenure as Cousin Beau, but in The Bold Fenian Men Wright gives the actor the kind of material he'd expected from what was likely television's best-written show just two years earlier.  Not quite a top-grade installment, but more memorable than most that aired during the too-often misguided fourth season.  (*** out of four)


MAVERICK airs every Saturday morning at 9 A.M. Central Time on MeTV, and weekdays at 3:10 P.M. Central on Encore Westerns Channel.



Thursday, October 24, 2019

Leon Errol Series: TOO MANY WIVES (1951)





TOO MANY WIVES (1951 RKO Radio Pictures) Starring Leon Errol as Leon Errol, Dorothy Granger as Dorothy Errol, Joanne Jordan as Barbara Burke, Harry Harvey as Harry, Paul Maxey as Johnson and Sam McDaniel as The Cook.  Written and Directed by Hal Yates. 

Introduction to our ongoing Leon Errol Salute Series is at this link.

Leon graciously lets Ms. Burke into the apartment building when she locks herself out, just in time for an early arriving Mrs. Errol to assume that her husband has been 'stepping out' with the new neighbor.  For once, it really is a misunderstanding, but Mrs. Errol is having none of Leon's explanation.  Leon gets an ornate frame to the head and Dorothy gets her bags and leaves.


Hearing rumors of Leon's marital trouble, bluenose Johnson wants nothing to do with the "scandal" and decides to opt out of his contract with Leon's firm.  Harry persuades the money man to come see for himself at the Errols' over dinner--and Leon's objections, with no wife present to refute Johnson's allegation.  Where to find a female who can cook to take Dorothy's place and save the day?  Across the hallway, perhaps?  One problem--Burke's husband is as jealous as Leon's wife.

Careful, Leon!!!!

Leon's innocent--at least for awhile--in his RKO swan song, TOO MANY WIVES.  Written and directed by Hal Yates, who helmed the bulk of the Errol series after 1944's HE FORGOT TO REMEMBER, TOO MANY WIVES delights with a series of nose pulls worthy of The Three Stooges in its second reel.  Even Granger and Jordan get in on the knockabout antics, with the latter becoming less and less ladylike with each successive indignity.


Well into his seventies (unless he really was 15 when attending medical school in 1896!), Errol neither looks (he's just as bald and beak-nosed as he always was) nor sounds worse for the wear in his 98th and final RKO short.  There is one rare acknowledgement of the star's advanced years with Leon's comment that Johnson will "never buy" Jordan as his wife: "she's too young"!   While that's a tad sad, it's only one line, albeit an unnecessary one.  The legendary legs had grown far less rubbery by 1951, making Errol's wobbly signature walk rare if not impossible, but Leon could still execute equally hilarious variations on Lord Epping's penguinesque prance flawlessly.  Errol retained his impeccable timing to the very end--an amazing feat that few comedians matched in the decades that followed.

Harvey (L) and Errol

The ever-instigating Harvey began egging Errol on in 1939's TRUTH ACHES, giving him a lengthier tenure with the series than Granger or Yates!  Harry predictably starts the charade and deepens Leon's dilemma, but commendably stays to assist as the situation simmers.   TOO MANY WIVES would be Harvey's last two-reeler, but he was barely halfway through his 454 imdb.com listings.  Sam McDaniel was uncredited way too often, but he makes the list this time around; curiously, the jealous husband doesn't.  (If I can figure out who he is, or who played the woman in the hallway, I'll update the cast above--that's him pulling Leon's beak above, if anyone can help!)


Newcomer Joanne Jordan would become far better known as a commercial spokesperson for the next decade, despite a famous blooper that had her recommending Star Kist tuna on "crappers"(!) to her television audience.  TOO MANY WIVES was her only two-reeler, but she acquits herself well enough as she dives into this slapsticky entry.  Rotund Maxey played Leon's boss several times in the series' later years, but doesn't escape unscathed.  At least his belly remains unharmed.


With Yates soldiering on and lanky Gil Lamb taking over as the marquee name, RKO's short subject department survived for two more years, but Leon Errol's passing was truly the end of an era.  The aforementioned Three Stooges continued at Columbia, but both two-reel comedies and the RKO studio would be defunct by 1959.


Released two months after the legendary comedian's death in October 1951, TOO MANY WIVES thankfully sends Leon Errol out on a high note after nearly one hundred shorts: fast paced without being frantic, with just enough surprises to hold your attention and the star getting a well-deserved, appropriate last laugh at the fade-out.  Errol retained his comedic touch to the very end, and we can only wonder what might have followed in the Fifties: he and Granger were reportedly set to bring the formula to series television in 1952 if Leon had lived.  (*** out of four)





TOO MANY WIVES is available on YouTube, courtesy of The Silent Man, who is owed our thanks.  If you'd like to see it yourself, and perhaps fill in the blanks on the casting that the credits didn't solve, here ya go:





Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Television Review: HONDO: "Hondo and the Apache Trail" (1967)






"Your lives are meaningless compared to HONDO!"




HONDO: "Hondo and the Apache Trail"  (1967 ABC-TV/MGM/Batjac Productions) Episode 16; Original Air Date: December 22, 1967.  Starring Ralph Taeger as Hondo Lane, Noah Beery Jr. as Buffalo Baker, Michael Pate as Chief Vittoro, William Bryant as Colonel Crook, Ed McCready as Sergeant Hurst.  Guest Stars Nick Adams as The Apache Kid, Annette Funicello as Anne Williams, David Nelson as Jeff Williams.  Written by William Froug.  Directed by Michael Caffey.



Following the events depicted in Hondo and the Apache Kid, that episode's titular villain is in Fort Lowell's guardhouse awaiting transport to Tucson for trial.   After relatives of the Kid's murder victims infiltrate the jail and narrowly miss taking an eye for an eye, Hondo realizes that the Kid's journey to justice will be fraught with similar danger if promulgated with a large escort.


Lane talks Colonel Crook into a stealthy transfer: two troopers and a buckboard with Hondo trailing them.  Unfortunately, the prisoner escapes, terminating one captor and badly injuring the other.  Hondo sets out to recapture his nemesis before the Apaches learn of the jailbreak, but Vittoro is already aware.  With Buffalo and Sam along for assistance, Lane trails the Kid to a farmhouse where he has taken a newlywed couple hostage.


This second Apache Kid adventure is leaner and meaner than the first.  Free of the social commentary of the prior installment--and along with it, Farley Granger's eventually tiresome reporter--the sequel is wall to wall tension, staying focused on Lane's futile attempt to recapture the serial killer alive.  In keeping with Buffalo Baker's expanded role at this point, the grizzled sidekick joins Hondo in his pursuit, taking the scouts on the road for the fourth consecutive segment.


Michael Caffey (COMBAT) had just begun his career when he helmed this sequel, favorably matching up with the earlier effort from action master William Witney.  On three separate occasions the director utilizes a gunman's POV, with each creating greater unease than the one preceding.  Hondo and the Apache Trail presents a challenge for the most experienced action director: fights through iron bars, brass backboards and in rock-filled rapids are just some of the tasks faced by Caffey.  Somewhat surprisingly, the newcomer is a bit more successful than Witney at masking the disparity in size between Taeger and Adams in their confrontations--though having the climactic one in water helps.


To be fair, Caffey gets a script from longtime UCLA professor and one-time TWILIGHT ZONE producer William Froug that is all meat and potatoes and free of the unconvincing child actors that occasionally hindered the prequel.  Some of the credit is due Apache Kid writer Frank Moss, whose coverage of the Lane/Kid backstory made it unnecessary for Froug to retread it.  That said, neither writer nor director enjoys a perfect hour in Apache Trail.  Strangulation scenes were rarely convincing in prime time, and despite the fury of Adams' performance, seeing the diminutive Kid murdering with his bare hands (with multiple weapons available to him!) is less plausible than most.


The Dows are M.I.A. for the fourth consecutive segment, and Funicello's rescue potentially sets the stage for future appearances--possibly even as a romantic rival for Angie.  Years later, the BEACH PARTY star indicated in an interview that her character was intended to return, potentially as a love interest for Taeger's hero.  Sadly, Apache Trail turned out to be the penultimate HONDO.  David Nelson becomes the second sibling to guest star on the series as Funicello's ill-fated spouse; brother Ricky had the higher-profile role of Jesse James in Hondo and the Judas.


Crook confidently declares the Apache Kid's file closed at the conclusion, but despite ostensibly solving the conflict, Apache Trail's conclusion doesn't quite slam the door on another sequel.  Unfortunately, Nick Adams' death would have.  This would be the next-to-last TV appearance for the REBEL star, whose WILD WILD WEST swan song aired exactly three weeks later on January 12, 1968.  Less than a month after that, Adams was found dead in his Beverly Hills home, only 36.


It's impossible to know for sure, since Hondo and the Apache Trail aired during a Nielsen black week, but it likely improved on the viewership for the initial outing given the ratings HONDO drew for the preceding and following weeks.  It was the ninth and final episode for Michael Pate, whose screen time as Vittoro was reduced once the focus shifted plots taking the two scouts on the road. 



HOW MANY CANS OF WHOOPASS?

Hondo might be with Running Bear in spirit, but subdues Bear and his cohort in the teaser despite their two on one advantage.  The battle inside the Williams' cabin with the Kid is interrupted by Vittoro's arrival, but Hondo tracks down the Kid for the decisive battle in the rapids.


IS THE CANTINA STILL STANDING?

How tense was this episode?  Buffalo didn't even set foot in the cantina!  Well, to be fair, that's where they were headed at the fade-out.


A DOG'S LIFE:

Buffalo isn't the only sidekick to get nicked up.  After evading several of the Kid's bullets during the farmhouse standoff, Sam gets a stab wound and a limp scuffling with him near the riverbank before Hondo's arrival.  Don't worry, though--he's bandaged up and healing at the fadeout, already able to put weight on that injured paw.


Continuing the string of winners in the show's stretch run, Hondo and the Apache Trail is compelling and exciting, effectively concluding the Apache Kid saga.  Despite having a different writer and director, the two installments could easily be fused for a feature, arguably meshing even better than the Hondo and the Eagle Claw/Hondo and the War Cry duo that begat HONDO AND THE APACHES for overseas screens.   Even as a standalone, this one delivers the goods.   (*** out of four)




HONDO airs every Sunday morning at 10:15 A.M. Central time on GetTV.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

F TROOP Fridays: "Old Ironpants" (1965)






F TROOP Fridays -- Number 22









F TROOP: "Old Ironpants" (1965 ABC-TV/Warner Brothers) Season One, Episode 8: Original Air Date November 2, 1965.  Starring Forrest Tucker as Sergeant Morgan O'Rourke, Larry Storch as Corporal Randolph Agarn, Ken Berry as Captain Wilton Parmenter, Melody Patterson as Wrangler Jane, Frank deKova as Chief Wild Eagle, Bob Steele as Duffy, James Hampton as Bugler Dobbs, John Mitchum as Hoffenmueller, Harvey Parry as Charley.  Guest Star: John Stephenson as General Custer.  Directed by Charles Rondeau.  Written by Arthur Julian.


While the cat's away, the rats will play.   Four score and seven weeks after his Fort Courage arrival, Captain Parmenter has been called away for a two week course in military strategy.  The absence of any supervision (however marginal it may be) inspires O'Rourke to add another side hustle to his Enterprises by getting into the mail order bride business.  



The men are in dress uniforms expecting the arrival of their blushing brides on the noon stage when they are greeted instead by General George Armstrong Custer--and his new protégé, Captain Wilton Parmenter!  Custer's en route to his new assignment at Little Big Horn(!) but Wilton is staying, and he's just not the same boy they sent to camp.  Sporting a Van Dyke and holding off Janie with his riding crop, Parmenter vows to close the saloon, banish town drunk Charley and turn Fort Courage into a real Army post. 



Ken Berry didn't technically get his stab at the evil twin trope until Wilton the Kid, but the personality change in Old Ironpants might as well qualify.  Besides, it is the funnier segment by far.  Custer did graduate dead last in his West Point class, so it isn't much of a stretch that the least of the Parmenters might bond with Autie, also promoted in "right place, right time" fashion.  While Wilton isn't able to grow those flowing locks in two weeks as well as the facial hair he impressively sprouts, he nails the lack of regard for input from subordinates down solidly. 



Apropos for an episode featuring the flamboyant Boy General, Rondeau directs exuberantly.  The impressive ballet-like letter reading in Bye, Bye Balloon is foreshadowed as our Custerized Captain hilariously lands on his feet in stride after a nasty-looking stumble across his porch, into a post and over the hitching rail--disciplined clumsiness!  Rondeau slyly fits more MAD-esque sight gags into his backgrounds.  To name two of the biggest guffaws, General Grant is subtly replaced on the Captain's wall and the water tower continuously gushes in the background for over a minute while a key scene continues.



"Now if you'd like to go for $25 attack, five Redskins bite dust!"

While taking a backseat to Parmenter's newfound rigidity, O'Rourke Enterprises is still alive, if not particularly well.  But it could be worse: the mail order bride expansion becomes an utter fiasco, but the all-important saloon is saved from Ironpants' planned closure.  The highlight is another negotiation with Wild Eagle, who milks that upper hand cannily.  Surely the Chief isn't promising literal corpses at a dollar a death, is he?  Or is he?


Sergeant O'Rourke's failed expansion aside, the wily President proves he hasn't lost his touch when it comes to putting one over on the "old man".  Got to admit the Sarge is taking a bit of a chance here with the Hekawi attack; what if a disciple of Custer doesn't see himself as the man he once was?  Fortunately, betting on the humanity underneath the facade works out and O'Rourke Enterprises remains unscathed.


Well, almost.  Harvey Parry makes the last of his three appearances as saloon staple Charley, so maybe Ironpants Parmenter did run the drunk out of town before his metamorphosis back to Wilton.  When Charley returned in the first season's finale, Frank McHugh took over the role. Custer's casting is a real treat for animation fans: he's played by John Stephenson, better known as the voice of Mr. Slate on THE FLINTSTONES and Luke/Blubber Bear on THE WACKY RACES, to name two of dozens.


For the sixth consecutive week, F TROOP ranked 22nd in Nielsen's ratings, giving ABC its first winner at 9 PM on Tuesdays since THE RIFLEMAN had reigned during 1959-60--amazingly, even one-time stalwarts like HAWAIIAN EYE had failed to make a dent in RED SKELTON in the five years between.  With laugh filled installments like Old Ironpants, that success was deserved.

WHAT YOU LEARNED:

The troopers' respective tastes in women come to the fore when the brides are ordered.  Agarn and Dobbs think blondes have more fun, while old Duffy likes those redheads.  Hoffenmueller likes a little cushion for the pushin'--then again, since Dobbs specified "a whale of a figure" with the others in agreement, maybe all the troopers do!  Save Vanderbilt, who wants a girl named Shirley, Leslie Nielsen be damned.


NUMBER OF TIMES O'ROURKE COULD HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH TREASON:

The Sarge does consort with the enemy on battle plans, but since it is to coordinate an eventual win for the troopers, he probably gets to slide this time.


WISE OLD HEKAWI SAYING:

"You show me squirrel with acorn, and I show you happy moose!"  Maybe the biggest non sequtiur yet.

PC, OR NOT PC?

Wild Eagle's quote in the review text is certainly the latter, though he won those negotiations with his soldier partners decisively.  And while the cameoing Custer isn't a bumbler, the script doesn't make him a hero either, with a parting line reminding us of his eventual defeat.



BOTTOM LINE:

Ken Berry's performance is one of his absolute best, pre and post indoctrination.  Rondeau's ebullient direction provides the best collection of sight gags since The Phantom Major came to Fort Courage.  Despite some verbal corn sprinkled here and there (a Julian weakness) Old Ironpants stays buoyant throughout, with something boffo always right around the corner.  (***1/2 out of four)

Monday, August 12, 2019

Television Review: LOVE THAT BOB: "Bob Meets Miss Sweden" (1957)




LOVE THAT BOB: "Bob Meets Miss Sweden" (Laurel-McCadden Productions/CBS-TV 1957) Original Air Date: April 25, 1957.  Starring Bob Cummings as Bob Collins, Rosemary deCamp as Margaret MacDonald, Ann B. Davis as Schultzy, Kathleen Freeman as Bertha Krause, Nancy Kulp as Pamela Livingstone, Ingrid Goude as Herself, Gordon Scott as Himself, Norman Alden as The Captain, Jimmy Murphy as Eddie.  Written by Paul Henning, Shirley Gordon, Phil Shuken and Dick Wesson.  Directed by Bob Cummings.


Series overview of LOVE THAT BOB a.k.a. THE BOB CUMMINGS SHOW previously published here for the one hundredth anniversary of the star's birth in 2008 at this link

It's National Secretaries Week, complete with a convention in Reno that Schultzy, Bertha and Pamela all plan to attend.  That is, once they convince Colonel Collins to fly them.  A fat chance that turns into a foregone conclusion once the shutterbug sees the morning newspaper.


Schultzy has invited 1956's Miss Sweden along on the flight as well, and our amorous aviator invites the convention's special guest to join him in the cockpit.  Loverboy Bob is undeterred by her (apparent) inability to speak English and his failure to locate a translator at the air base.  But a larger, younger obstacle awaits in the biggest little city in the world: Gordon Scott, the movies' newest Tarzan.


"You know, you'd be perfect for my husband.  You're just the type that he likes."

With those words in a Los Angeles department store from Mary Cummings (wife of Bob), titular beauty Ingrid Goude was cast as herself for what would become a two year recurring role on LOVE THAT BOB.  The first result of that chance meeting was the aptly titled Bob Meets Miss Sweden.
At this early stage Goude's accent is hard to understand at times and she has only a handful of lines in English, but the clever script gets consistent laughs out of this language barrier.  It's just one of the blockades facing our playboy this installment, however.


Having a quartet of chaperones (co-conspirator Margaret joins the secretaries on the flight) looks daunting, but only to Bob.  Even Schultzy largely steps aside, knowing that the 1956 Miss Universe finalist (third) is already wise to her boss' ways.  She's more interested in the hunky Scott, who gives a show's female fans more eye candy in his swimming trunks than the males will get from Ms. Goude's one piece bathing suit.  (Dammit!)


Another inspired idea was getting both Freeman and Kulp co-conspiring with usual suspects Davis and de Camp, a rare treat that would only be repeated once (Collins the Crooner).  All four are on board, en route for the entire first act, and Bob's kisses for "good luck" (Richard Dawson must have taken note) provide one of the biggest belly laughs.  We all know Bob's reason for this set-up, and can safely guess that it won't go according to his plan.


After an airborne first act, we settle in the famed divorce capital for the second, as a game but hopelessly outnumbered Collins struggles to get Miss Goude alone at the swimming pool, Lake Tahoe, or anywhere that he might have a chance to put his well-honed sales pitch over.  Alas, Bob is unable to shake the quartet of duennas here, and for half a dozen installments over the 1957-58 season Goude remains that one unattainable for "The King".


But the business-savvy Mrs. Cummings (who handled the star's, um, affairs until their acrimonious divorce in 1970) was proven correct: Goude was an inspired addition to LOVE THAT BOB.  The limited but poised beauty queen gets several laughs in her debut, and director Bob again proves his talent for working with novice actors.  Goude's English improved and she was given much more to do in subsequent installments (i.e. Bob Wins the Olympics) but as mentioned above, Collins never did make that to-do list.  He just had to settle for Shirley Swanson and Collette duBois, poor guy....


"All movie actors look tall and husky.  It's done with elevator shoes, pancake makeup and papier-mache muscle!"

Gordon Scott doesn't get the girl either, but he does get a special plug from announcer Bill Baldwin for his sophomore effort as Tarzan over the closing credits.  TARZAN AND THE LOST SAFARI was released the same month that Bob Meets Miss Sweden premiered, the first color film of that venerable series.  The 6'3", 218 lb. Scott would remain in the role for four additional films through 1960.

Getting extended time in the air and in Reno gives the festivities a solid shot in the arm, and if the conclusion was crystal clear in the opening minutes (Ingrid learned about "wolves" on her first day in America), Cummings helms a journey to it that flies as dependably as his Beechcraft.


WHO WAS BLOCKING?

It isn't often we say this, but it's Bob!  He's blocking Gordon Scott from his scheduled date, gaslighting not only him but the Colonel's fellow Airmen stationed in Reno as well.  Shame on you, Bob.  Your comeuppance is deserved this time, pal.



DID BOB SCORE?

Nope, not unless he lowered his sights and went after Pamela or Bertha, which ain't likely.


THE BOTTOM LINE:

Goude gets several laughs in her debut, and director Cummings is once again aces while working with inexperienced actors.  For my money, the best creative combination of LOVE THAT BOB's run consisted of the star directing scripts by the Henning/Gordon/Wesson trio (with Shuken pitching in occasionally) and this combination would be largely undisturbed for the next forty segments--IMO, the show's peak.  Kulp and Freeman are always welcome, and the inspired heights of the airway are sustained once we're grounded in Reno.  Sharp one-liners abound.  Great fun. (***1/2 out of four)

Want to see Bob Meets Miss Sweden for yourself?  Here's the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1367&v=QWVeep58nNg