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SOSF S02E01 - A Wrongful Death review:

http://thestreetsofsanfrancisco.info/sosf-2.htm#1


Added: Saturday 29 July 2017 20:48:40 MST
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Regarding SOSF season 5 and its updated (not for the better) theme song.... I didn't mind the tweaking of the Five-O theme from season to season at all because it was barely noticeable. In fact I never even knew it was tweaked every season until I discovered it here. I always thought it was the same theme used from beginning to end. You have to listen pretty darn hard to hear the differences. The one that stands out the most is probably the season 10 one because it opens up with these cool rolling drums (more "drummy" than usual) but the rest sound almost identical. With the SOSF season 5 theme it's very obvious that it's tweaked. In fact it's more than just tweaked. It has this bland and tin-ny sound (lacking the drums of the earlier 4 seasons). It just lacks that cool groove!

Regarding Douglas I found it interesting that when he was nominated for an Emmy for this show he was in the Best Supporting Actor category. I always saw him as more of an equal with Malden. A duo crime-fighting team. This was different from Five-O where Lord was the head honcho and the other 3 men were clearly beneath him. McGarrett would be in his office and hand out orders to each of his 3 men to go here, do this, check that, etc. Whereas Stone and Keller would typically be out crime-solving together. It would be rare for Keller to be out there doing the leg work and reporting back to Stone in the office. There seemed to be a more equal-footing dynamic there. So I would expect more or less equal billing (even though it did say "also starring Michael Douglas" in the intro) even if Douglas was relatively a newcomer while Malden was the veteran. At the time Douglas was just "Kirk's boy". Still, I would have expected him to be in the Best Actor category whereas James MacArthur would definitely be in the Best Supporting category. Look at Martin Landau in M:I - he was nominated in the Best Actor category even though Peter Graves and Steven Hill before him were top-billed and were leaders of the IMF team. In fact during season 1 Landau wasn't even included in the opening intro. He was listed as a Special Guest Star that whole season and he still got a nomination in the Best Actor category. I don't know what all the criteria are that they go by but it's certainly interesting. Landau's Rollin Hand was definitely an integral part of the team, as well as a fan favorite.


Added: Saturday 29 July 2017 18:34:16 MST
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John,

I was very glad to see Mike was reviewing the Streets of San Francisco also! I had hoped he would choose to do so as Streets was as much a favorite of mine as Five-O is.

I also liked the Bill Bixby episodes. I was a huge fan of the Incredible Hulk growing up so I was really happy to see he turned up on 2 SOSF shows. I like Target: Red and Police Buff equally. Bill did a great job on both shows I thought.

The very first SOSF shows I saw back in 1992 was Letters From the Grave and then Ten Dollar Murder. Two great shows that had me hooked on SOSF quickly!

I also very much disagree with various forums I've come across over the years that felt the 4th year of SOSF wasn't strong and that Michael Douglas's acting wasn't as good the 4th year because he was anxious to move on after the success he had with One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. I really disagree with that assessment. I thought the 4th year was very good and Douglas was as good as he was in the first 3 years.


Added: Saturday 29 July 2017 09:55:00 MST
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Jason
Thanks for the Streets Of SF talk. It's a good summer conversation with HFO. I guess my Gold, Silver, Bronze Streets Of SF. Gold-Mask Of Death. It's a brilliant episode from start to finish. The 1930's and 1940's Scott characters were incredible and immerses himself in them. Reality becomes blurred. Also, a suspenseful finish. Silver-Police Buff. A Bill Bixby fan. He looked very professional as a cop but couldn't cut it. A wash out like Walter Stark Nightmare In Blue. Bronze-Letters From The Grave. I guess I'm a fan of the prison type dramas. This one is unique as an Alcatraz escapee Kovic was supposedly sending letters for 20 years. They find him dead inside Alcatraz 20 years later. Who killed him? Who was sending the letters? An excellent cast plus a star for Peter Strauss appearance. A JC FAV. I see Mr. Mike has given some Streets of SF episodes higher ratings than Classic HFO shows. It definitely demonstrates Streets of SF was worthy of Anal-ysis and Mike's viewing time. JC


Added: Friday 28 July 2017 12:15:15 MST
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John,

I agree that the 3rd season of the Streets of San Francisco was the best one. I like seasons 2 and 4 a little bit more than I do seasons 1 and 5.

Over the years I've come across many comments panning season 5 but I don't think it deserved all of the negative reviews that I've seen given to it either. Its definitely better than Five-O's final season!


Added: Friday 28 July 2017 06:56:38 MST
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SOSF S03E11 -- Bird of Prey reviewed:

http://thestreetsofsanfrancisco.info/sosf-3.htm#11


Added: Thursday 27 July 2017 22:45:57 MST
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"Mask of Death" (which Mike has just reviewed) is a stellar episode. One of the very best in the entire series! Heck, I purchased the SOSF Season 3 DVD Volume 1 (the only one I own) just for this episode alone, which I had never seen until I made the purchase. John Davidson, who I really know nothing about except that apparently he was something of a celebrity back in the day because of some talk show he hosted, is absolutely superb in his dual role. He gives some of the best psychos on FIVE-O a run for their money! No doubt the best guest star this show ever had. What a performance, and from a non-actor to boot! The finale is absolutely spine-tingling and really straight out of Hitchcock's PSYCHO. Recall the ending in the film where Vera Miles and John Gavin are exploring the spooky house of Norman Bates, before he jumps out at Vera! That's what happens here with Keller and Stone. Also when Raymond the chauffeur is pushed down the stairs to his death it's reminiscent of Martin Balsam being stabbed and falling down the stairs. I agree with Mike that the scene where Raymond is startled at the top of the stairs by Ken Scott (as Carol Marlowe) is really spooky and exceptionally lit! It's the single coolest shot in the entire episode - Scott (as Marlowe) is mostly in the shadows and you can see the outline of his face but his 2 eyes are basically black holes. REALLY CREEPY! That's some superb lighting right there! Very cinematic, too good for episodic TV. The episode also boasts quite a list of FIVE-O alumni - Marianne McAndrew, Anne Helm, Denny Miller, Ivor Barry, Phillip Pine.

Directed by Harry Falk, who directed the classic "The Jinn Who Clears the Way" (his only FIVE-O) and scored by Richard Markowitz, who scored a bunch of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLEs and MANNIXs, as well as "The Cop on the Cover" (his only FIVE-O).


Added: Thursday 27 July 2017 21:32:07 MST
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John, I wouldn't put any money on seeing season five "anal-ysis" soon. Aside from finding that reviewing this show is having a bad effect on my health, so far I haven't even finished doing half of the shows (52 out of 119) and all of season one and some of season three reviews done so far have to be redone and expanded. When I did Kojak, another five-season show, this took about seven months. Doing The Invaders, which was only two seasons, took six years!

Added: Thursday 27 July 2017 20:08:31 MST
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Jason
I think Season 3 Streets of SF the best. Several Classics:Flags Of Terror, Mask Of Death,Letters From The Grave, The Most Deadly Species etc.
Season 1,2,4 are about even. I think Season 5 with Richard Hatch was better than many believe. Season 4 Classics Poisoned Snow & The Glass Dart Board. The PERT chart made TGDB a Classic. Wonder how McG would have handled the Feds using the PERT chart.
Mr. Mike should be having Season 5 Streets Of SF episode reviews in August on his current pace. It would be a perfect time for the 70's crime show fans to critique the Richard Hatch episodes. Give their two cents. JC


Added: Thursday 27 July 2017 17:26:08 MST
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I was curious to see how other Streets of San Francisco fans would rank the 5 seasons of the show. For me I would rank the seasons like this along with my favorite shows from each year:

1) Season 3 - One Last Shot, Most Deadly Species, Target Red, Mask of Death, Flags of Terror, License to Kill, False Witness, Letters from the Grave, 10 Dollar Murder, Labyrinth

2) Season 2 - A Wrongful Death, Betrayed, For the Love of God, Before I Die, Harem, 24 Karet Plague and Blockade.

3) Season 4 - Poisoned Snow, Glass Dart Board, Trail of Terror, Dead Air, Most Likely to Succeed, Police Buff and Honorable Profession.

4) Season 1 - 30 Year Pin, First Day of Forever, 45 minutes from Home, The Takers, Act of Duty, Trail of the Serpent and Beyond Vengeance.

5) Season 5 - Thrill Killers, No Minor Vices, Hot Dog, Monkey Is Back and Time Out.

I look forward to seeing how others rank the season and which shows were their favorites from each season.


Added: Thursday 27 July 2017 15:40:10 MST
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Fred, I know that "Don't Bug the Mosquitoes" is a fan favorite but I didn't really care for it all that much. Same with the Phil Silvers one "The Producer". I guess I don't really care for the ones where they are trying to either put on some show or play or trying to entertain some visitor with some sort of fancy ball or party or whatever. I'm more into the ones where they discover something on the island or concoct some cool contraption in hopes of getting rescued. Stuff that gets washed ashore marked "top secret" or "danger" also piques my interests :)

Added: Wednesday 26 July 2017 18:18:53 MST
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The Runaways (SOSF S02E12), revised review:

http://thestreetsofsanfrancisco.info/sosf-2.htm#12


Added: Wednesday 26 July 2017 15:17:35 MST
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I've seen most of the black and white Gilligan's Island, if not all. But what you said about a tropical setting needing color is very true for me. For me, the the color makes the difference. Hence, I have the 2nd and 3rd season DVDs.

My favorite episode from Season 2 is "Don't Bug the Mosquitos", an obvious parody of The Beatles. And from Season 3, "The Producer" where "Hamlet" is performed to the music of "Carmen". But I like the headhunter episodes as well. In those, Sherwood Schwartz lured some of the local sport stars to play the non-English speaking natives and thus they didn't have to be very good actors. Al Ferrara and Jim Lefebvre from the Dodgers guest starred in "High Man on the Totem Pole" and Rams star quarterback Roman Gabriel in episode "Topsy-Turvy".


Added: Wednesday 26 July 2017 12:40:53 MST
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Fred, what do you think of the B&W episodes of GI? The first season. Most people are probably more familiar with the color episodes and I bet those were more often shown in reruns. One thing is for sure - a show set on a tropical island just BEGS to be shown in color. Otherwise you're missing out on a lot in B&W. Also the theme song from the color episodes was definitely an improvement over the one by the Wellingtons from season 1. Sounds more catchy and groovy! But otherwise season 1 was a very solid season. There's the 2 episodes with Wrongway Feldman (special guest Hans Conried) and the one with the bank robber Jackson Farrell (special guest Larry Storch). The one I haven't seen is the one with little Kurt Russell as the jungle boy. I need to find that one. But my favorite B&W one is probably "The Sound of Quacking" (the one about the duck). Admittedly there's quite a number of the B&W ones that I haven't seen.

My 2 all-time favorites (both in color) are probably "Nyet, Nyet, Not Yet" (with the 2 Russian spies) and "The Hunter" (with special guest Rory Calhoun). Or at least I have the fondest memories of those 2.


Added: Wednesday 26 July 2017 11:34:03 MST
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Gilligan's Island discussion (above) has been moved from Five-O Forum. Please continue it here.

Added: Wednesday 26 July 2017 14:08:00 MST
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Fred, I myself like all the "Fear" episodes. I don't remember "Castle of Fear" being particularly bad. It's about on par with season 4's "Web of Lies" (the other Pat Hingle episode).

Added: Wednesday 26 July 2017 11:39:08 MST
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Ringfire,

You're actually right on "Castle of Fear". Castle of Fear sports a lousy IMDB rating. The worse of the series and I agree with it. It's not a strong a episode. But it's hilarious that you mentioned it!


Added: Wednesday 26 July 2017 07:52:44 MST
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Cry Help! (S03E09) review:

http://thestreetsofsanfrancisco.info/sosf-3.htm#9


Added: Tuesday 25 July 2017 19:54:38 MST
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Mike, I'm the opposite of you because I enjoy all the "Fear" episodes, and "Image of Fear" would probably make my top 5 from season 12.

I just saw "Charlie Blake" last night on YouTube (never saw it before) and while it's an interesting episode with an interesting premise I'm totally perplexed just like you about the whole business with the broken lamp at the end. Keller tries to turn it on I guess without realizing it's broken (the bulb is shattered and missing?) so he gets zapped by the electricity because the lamp is still plugged in and turned on? All of a sudden a bulb goes off in Stone's head and he figures the whole thing out?? But we're never told exactly what he figures out. Something about that particular lamp being on a different circuit and it being the lamp that the wife was using when she was killed. And Charlie says it was dark when he came into that room. But what does any of this prove? That the wife was already dead and the lamp already smashed when Charlie got there? Ok, but how does that prove that Jessep killed his wife? And why is this such an important clue that would prompt Jessep to go back to the house (to screw in a new working bulb I guess)? None of this makes any sense. And of course playing that tape to Jessep proves nothing. It's a very frustrating ending which makes no sense.

It was interesting seeing a young Dee Wallace (CUJO is one of my favorite scary movies!) as the first victim.


Added: Tuesday 25 July 2017 10:51:22 MST
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Obviously I am influenced by the 12th season Five-O episode Image of Fear:

http://fiveohomepage.com/5-0log12.htm#265


Added: Tuesday 25 July 2017 07:48:58 MST
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In that case Mr. Mike should probably stay away from "Castle of Fear" (with Pat Hingle) as well. Lol!

Added: Tuesday 25 July 2017 07:39:05 MST
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It seems like Mr. Mike has a fear of SoSF episodes with the word "fear" in it. I wouldn't give "River of Fear" 4 stars but 3 to 3.5 works for me.

Added: Monday 24 July 2017 22:25:35 MST
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SOSF S03E04: Mask of Death review:

http://thestreetsofsanfrancisco.info/sosf-3.htm#4


Added: Monday 24 July 2017 19:38:11 MST
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Mike, I haven't seen "Charlie Blake" so can't comment on it, but I noticed you made a slight mistake on "River of Fear". You accidentally gave it 2 stars, dropping 2 along the way somewhere. Maybe you thought you were reviewing "School of Fear" or something ;)

It's an obvious remake of the Charles Laughton classic THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (with Bob Mitchum) except in my opinion it's much better. The film has this surreal look and feel to it and plays like some kind of allegory or fairy tale. Mitchum is the Big Bad Wolf (and appropriately chews the scenery) and the kids are Little Red Riding Hood. In the film the boy (played by Billy Chapin) is the older kid and the girl is the one tagging along behind him. In this episode it's reversed. I prefer the episode because it feels more realistic and hence more suspenseful. The film was more of a fairy tale world, although it had its moments of suspense as well. Mostly involving Mitchum.

Anyway this episode ROCKS!! And Michael Caffey directed Five-O "Once Upon a Time, Part I".


Added: Monday 24 July 2017 19:15:41 MST
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On River Of Fear: I would give River Of Fear 3 stars out of 4. Dr. Dunson was a fake doctor searching for over $200,000 dollars. He quickly kills Betty the new wife but meets his match in the intelligent and resourceful Julie. She really shines in this episode taking her brother and hiding the $ as the two run and hide from Dunson. Like Mr. Mike stated in his review, there are several questions left unanswered. 1.How could Dunson impersonate a Dr? Even in the 70's, the doctors had to go through internships and acquire degrees and things. 2.Why didn't Doc White go to a medical doctor administrator or to the police with his suspicions of Dunson? He could have killed people with his lack of knowledge. 3.It's strange Betty would not know Dunson if he was a cellmate of Cooper. Often, cellmates will talk about their friends inside or cellmates. Maybe, even have a picture or two. I enjoyed the cat and mouse chase for the $ but there were several questions I wished were answered. Enjoyed the final scene with Julie and her brother in the boat moving on the water. JC

Added: Monday 24 July 2017 11:44:40 MST
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River of Fear (SOSF S03E20) review:

http://thestreetsofsanfrancisco.info/sosf-3.htm#20


Added: Sunday 23 July 2017 11:51:08 MST
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Mr. Mike,

The "Charlie Blake" episode is ranked #2 on IMDB. For a while, "Mask of Death" was #1. But Mask has fallen several spots. #1 now belongs to "Letters from the Grave".

At any rate, I like the Charlie Blake episode, but not like the rest of the IMDB voters. In my opinion, it's a 2.5 to 3.0 out of 4. William Smithers constantly well plays a villian. He was excellent on Star Trek. And another Star Trek guest is always a treat to see, Sharon Acker.


Added: Saturday 22 July 2017 19:02:49 MST
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I have reviewed The Programming of Charlie Blake, but this is too long to post here. Please see http://thestreetsofsanfrancisco.info/sosf-3.htm#19

Added: Saturday 22 July 2017 16:03:54 MST
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Like "End Game" this is also a VERY good episode. I like the premise how these 2 high schools kids start out committing petty crimes just for kicks but then it snowballs to murder, followed by another murder (this time the friend's murder to cover up the first murder), and before you know it the kid totally loses it and goes all psycho ready to blast anyone who gets in his way. I find his behavior disturbing but also very believable. Here's a kid who's at that age when he thinks he's got all the answers. So when things begin to escalate and unravel he begins to panic and instead of thinking rationally about what further consequences will follow he just acts on impulse, somehow believing that what he's doing makes sense and HAS to be done. Of course you really have to feel for the mother and the revelation about her son is one hell of a bombshell to have dropped on her. Plus as a cop she never shot anyone before until now - her own son. Powerful stuff!

Added: Saturday 22 July 2017 14:30:19 MST
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SOSF S03E18: Ten Dollar Murder ★★★½
Original air date: January 30, 1975
Director: William Hale; Writer: D.C. Fontana

Two kids -- Bobby Elliott (Mark Wheeler) and Charles "Tiny" Reynolds (Michael Talbott) -- are robbing taxi drivers for kicks. Bobby is the son of Inspector Irene Elliott (Carol Rossen), a member of the SFPD Burglary squad. Her husband Don, also a cop, was killed several years ago in a shootout trying to stop a gang war. Stone walked the beat with her husband. Bobby is suspected of stealing money from the principal's office at his school. He says he didn't do it, but knows who did, but doesn't want to rat on them. Irene, who has found $126 in Bobby's room which her son will not explain, gets Stone to talk to the kid during a basketball game the three of them are attending, and Bobby says that he has saved money from working overtime at his garage job so he can buy his mother a vacation. Soon after this, another taxi driver is robbed, except he is Riley, an undercover cop, and he is shot dead with Bobby's father's gun which was taken from a locked "shrine" which his mother has created in their house which contains pictures of his father and medals he received during his police service. The dead cop uttered the words "Tiny" and "Indian buckle" before he died. Keller tracks down one of several high school students with the name of "Tiny" and also notices that Bobby is wearing a belt buckle with an Indian head design. The kids named "Tiny" are brought to the station for a lineup but cannot be identified by the taxi drivers who were robbed. When Keller tells Stone that the clues he has uncovered suggest Bobby may be involved with the robberies and murder, Stone is incredulous. Keller asks him, "A cop's son can't be bad?" The bullet which killed Riley is matched to a slug used to flatten the tires of another driver, but the real clincher is when these two are matched to another slug from the gun fired by Don Elliott in 1958 during a case which is still open. Irene is very troubled when Stone and Keller tells her that her son may be a murderer. Bobby is setting Tiny and another kid named Eddie Cosak to take the fall for what has happened. When they rob another cab, Bobby leaves a bracelet of Tiny's on the front seat as well as a knife with Cosak's initials on it. However, Keller finds out that Cosak has been out of the state for two months. In a park, Bobby feeds Tiny some pep bills which, combined with booze, knocks him out. Bobby then feeds the exhaust into the car via a hose, killing Tiny with carbon monoxide. Stone goes to Irene's house and confronts Bobby, who pulls his father's gun on Stone and makes him go outside just as Keller and Irene are returning from the garage where Irene was looking for her son. There is a very tense confrontation with Bobby and his mother. Bobby runs away, and Irene shoots Bobby, though not fatally.

EPILOG:

In one of the series' more serious endings, Irene leaves the hospital where Bobby is recovering. She says this was the first time she ever used her gun on a human being. As they walk to Stone's car, he asks her, "Did he ever tell you why?" She replies: "No."

REVIEW:

There are a couple of things that keep this episode from being a four. One is the way that Tiny passes out before Bobby kills him. Tiny, who has been seen popping pills earlier in the show, is already "high" by his own admission. Bobby gives him more pills, and Tiny says he is going to sleep. But he falls asleep like with the snap of someone's fingers, which to me is not realistic. Bernie, the forensics guy, says "it looks like he took an overdose," though it doesn't look like Tiny gave him that many pills. And where did Bobby get the pills? Or for that matter, where did he get the ammunition for his father's gun? Of course, none of this would have happened if Irene hadn't kept her husband's gun in the shrine in the first place. Rossen gives an exceptional performance, though she seems a bit young. The actress was in her late 30's, I think the idea is that the character should be in her early 40's, because Bobby is about 18 years old. Wheeler's performance is also very good, especially at the end, where Bobby turns into a full-blown psychotic who accuses Stone of trying to get him out of the way and frame him so Stone can move in with his mother. He tells his mother "You don't even care about me. You never cared about me. All you care about is that crummy badge." Earlier on, Irene is predictably guilt-ridden about what Bobby has done, saying that she didn't bring him up properly, but Stone tells her that Bobby is responsible, and is "a man."

MORE TRIVIA:
- There is a subsidiary story at the beginning of the episode where Stone and Keller bust a runner who is delivering $10,000 to a hitman.
- Carl Severn, one of the cab drivers is played by Bruce Kirby, who had a recurring role on Kojak as Sergeant Al Vine. Severn talks to the two kids, referring to a basketball game with the Golden State Warriors where Rick Barry got 32 points.
- Eddie Cosak's address is 2327 Pollard.
- Stone's daughter Jeannie is studying at Arizona State, soon to graduate with honors.
- Keller jokes about Stone taking Irene on a date to a Japanese restaurant. Stone replies, "What makes you think you are the only sex symbol around here?" Despite the serious tone of the show, there are several similar instances of humor between Stone and Keller in the show.


Added: Friday 21 July 2017 22:36:47 MST
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I would give Letters From The Grave 4 stars ****. It is definitely in my Top 10 Streets of SF. Very interesting and authentic episode. Alcatraz is a place most people know. Lew Kovic an Alcatraz prisoner is found dead after supposedly escaping from the prison 20 years before. The mystery deepens...WHO was sending these letters to his mother for the last 20 years? Dead men don't write letters! Lew Kovic Jr.searches for the truth about his father and his death. He's now a grown man and a DA(I'm a big fan of Peter Strauss). John Kovic Lew's brother is an insurance man but does he know more about Lew's disappearance in Alcatraz. Great acting by Paul Stewart and William Windom. I really enjoy this episode and might watch it again in August. JC

Added: Friday 21 July 2017 14:25:02 MST
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"End Game" is a VERY good episode. I've seen this premise before where the hero seemingly goes over the edge, gets fired, becomes a washout and starts boozing it up, and then gets approached by some shady characters trying to recruit him. Then we find out it's all a clever sting operation. Still, I found it very engaging! Also check out "Ten Dollar Murder" which is another very good one! When you run down all these episodes you gotta realize that season 3 really IS the best season!

Added: Friday 21 July 2017 11:29:12 MST
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SOSF S03E17: Endgame ★★★
Original air date: January 23, 1975
Director: Jerry Jameson; Writer: Albert Ruben

After John Baker, an elderly cop, tells gambling and prostitution kingpin Al Doyle that he is going to make trouble for Doyle testifying before an upcoming grand jury, Doyle gets his henchman Sailor Renfro (Paul Mantee) to knock off Baker and make it look like he committed suicide. A meeting with Lieutenant Roy Devitt (Tim O'Connor in his last performance of this role) involves Stone, Keller, DA O'Brien, as well as two vice cops, Dwayne Rogers (Stephen Young) and Eddie Hill (Richard Lawson). Devitt tells everyone that, unknown to most people, Baker was working on a deal to retire early after his testimony, which makes Stone wonder why he would have killed himself before the deal was finalized. Keller gets a tip from a hooker named Lily Marlene that she wants to dish out dirt on Doyle, but when he and Stone arrive at her apartment, she is dead. They pursue her killer, James Ganby, who has just left her apartment building. He is shot dead by Keller, who gets hit by Ganby's car and is sent to the hospital, supposedy on the critical list. As Devitt and Stone are at the hospital, Stone's daughter Jeannie shows up concerned about Keller, having just flown into town. Devitt tells her that Keller is barely alive, and the problem is with his central nervous system. When the two cops get back to the squad room, Stone and Devitt start yelling at each other, Stone vowing that he will personally go after Doyle. Devitt takes Stone off the case, saying they will do the job with policemen, not some maniac looking for revenge. They yell some more, and Stone turns in his badge. Devitt files formal charges against Stone, who ends up at a disciplinary hearing where he is demoted to beat cop for refusing to obey a proper order and conducting himself "in an insubordinate and threatening manner toward a superior officer." Rogers and Hill take an interest in Stone, talking to Jeannie and tracking Stone down to a bar where he is getting plastered, then taking him home. Meanwhile, Jeannie is getting fed up with the aura of secrecy surrounding Keller, and she sneaks into his hospital room to find out there is nothing wrong with him. The news that he was turning into a vegetable was all a scam, as was the war between her father and Devitt. On the job as a beat cop the next day, Stone starts to get Doyle's attention, demanding a payoff from some merchant who is probably already paying protection money through the nose to Doyle and busting a couple of hookers from Doyle's stable. Soon Sailor approaches Stone on the street, but Stone says he will only talk to Doyle. Sailor calls him a "clown." Doyle agrees to meet with Stone, who is wired. Stone is driven to Doyle's yacht. But Rogers and Hill are freaking out, because they have been passing information from the department along to Doyle, and they know if Doyle is busted, then he will start making a deal where he names their names. The two of them show up as Doyle is giving money to Stone to keep his nose out of Doyle's businesses. Hill knocks off Doyle and Sailor, and Rogers takes Stone outside to be killed with Sailor's gun just as Keller and Devitt show up. A gun battle with cops versus cops ensues; Hill is wounded and both he and Rogers are arrested and taken away.

EPILOG:

Keller is about to drive Jeannie to the airport to fly home when he and Stone are called away to deal with a shooting. They tell her to take a cab. After they have gone, she says "Be careful."

REVIEW:

There are a couple of nifty twists in this show, though you have to wonder why Rogers and Hill would take Stone away to be killed somewhere with Sailor's gun at the end rather than just murder him on the yacht along with Doyle and Sailor. Stone really does not show his anger at Devitt when he comes home after the big screaming match, just describing Devitt as a "pencil-pusher" and someone he liked "before he got all those promotions," and Jeannie totally picks up on this. I'm also surprised that Sailor did not do a pat-down with Stone to find the recorder that he had taped to his body. I thought that Jeannie was going to be kidnapped by Sailor or something fishy would happen between her and Hill, who drops by at Stone's apartment late in the show to tell what an inspiration her father was, neither of which fortunately did not happen. Some of Stone's exchanges with Sailor and Doyle are quite delightful.

MORE TRIVIA:

- Stone's beat is in a very sleazy part of town, near the corner of Keary and Broadway. Some of the establishments on Keary have signs like Topless Lady Wrestlers, House of Ecstasy, Live Bottomless Girls and Hardcore Movies. Near the corner where Stone threatens to give Sailor a ticket for parking near a fire hydrant, you can see the Swiss Louis restaurant at 493 Broadway in the background.
- Stone knows everyone: his wife and Baker's wife Elizabeth went to school together.
- For someone who usually does not drink, Stone does not seem to be really drunk when he is in the bar.
- When Keller tells Jeannie of the deception with him being in the hospital, she says "I'm bloody mad!" and calls him a "pig."


Added: Thursday 20 July 2017 19:59:26 MST
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Letters from the Grave was excellent. I enjoyed Paul Stewart in "Letters from the Grave" as much as I did in Five-Os "Ten Thousand Diamonds and a Heart". Loved it when his character told Mike Stone to "stick it in your ear Stone"! Many enjoyable episodes in season 3 of the SOSF. Look forward to seeing the review on "Ten Dollar Murder". I didn't find it to be as good as Letters from the Grave but still a pretty good show - I'm predicting 2 1/2 or 3 stars on Mike's review of it.

Added: Thursday 20 July 2017 13:45:45 MST
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Mike, I used to watch THE TEN COMMANDMENTS "religiously" every Easter but lately I'm more likely to pop in BEN-HUR. I purchased both on Blu-Ray (a 2-feature combo) containing commentaries, isolated Rozsa music track, lots of extras and other goodies. I think both are excellent cinema but I find that BEN-HUR gets better and better with each rewatch. It's also a more emotional experience.

"Letters from the Grave" is an excellent mystery. I'm a sucker for anything Alcatraz related and I love seeing this 20-year old mystery get unraveled. I've only seen it once long ago (need to maybe revisit it on YouTube) but it has stayed with me and I remember it being a very good story. Paul Stewart I also recall being very good. For me he will always be the "old dinosaur" Willard Lennox.


Added: Thursday 20 July 2017 12:08:55 MST
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SOSF S03E16: Letters from the Grave ★★★½
Original air date: January 16, 1975
Director: Virgil W. Vogel; Writer: Tom Cannan

The body of convict Lew Kovic is discovered on Alcatraz, 20 years after it is assumed he drowned trying to escape from the place. In the mid-1950s, Kovic had been sent to Terminal Island for a murder originally thought to be committed by Syndicate boss Nick Lugo (Paul Stewart), but escaped from there when he found out his wife had cancer. He was captured and sent to Alcatraz. Kovic's son Lew Junior (Peter Strauss), who is a deputy district attorney, is as surprised as anyone at this turn of events. Junior's grandmother had received 2 or 3 letters a year from the supposedly-still-alive Kovic postmarked from various places like Peru, Argentina and Mexico City for the last 20 years. When Stone goes to pick up the letters, Kovic's brother John (William Windom), who manages an insurance business, shows up. Stone wants to let the Forgery Department at SFPD examine the letters to determine if whoever wrote them was involved in Kovic's death. John says he was not close to his brother, who he knew worked for Nick Lugo, who he also didn't know. After Stone leaves, Junior wonders to his uncle if Lugo had something to do with the death of his father. John says Junior should not knock on any doors as far as Lugo is concerned, that all that has happened to Junior (which John suggests, as his uncle, he has bankrolled in part) could be overturned. Stone investigates and finds a man named Stebbins was guarding Kovic the night he disappeared. He and Keller track down Stebbins, only to find that Junior is conducting an investigation of his own, and witnessed Stebbins just being run over by a car and killed near the dumpy apartment where he was living. Junior pays a visit to Lugo, who says that he and Kovic were "very close," but is evasive when asked questions about who wanted the old man dead, especially when Junior suggests that his father was murdered in connection with taking the rap for Lugo's murder charge. When Junior says he's not going to stop trying to find the truth about what happened to his father, Lugo tells him to get lost. Back at the station, Inspector Larry Mason from Forgery (Barry Cahill) tells Stone and Keller the letters, as well as the postmarks on the envelopes, were forged. The former were written by a left-handed person trying to duplicate the writing of someone who was right-handed. Stone gets a call from Bernie, the medical examiner, telling him the guy who was the victim of the hit and run was not Stebbins, but someone else named Wilcox. He and Keller talk to Stebbins' ex-wife, Phyllis (Virginia Gregg), who lives in Sausalito. She tells them her husband was fired from Alcatraz in 1958 because he was "unfit." She also says he came into $10,000 about this time. Around this time, the real Stebbins (Lou Krugman) gets knocked off ... by Kovic's brother John, who was "supposed to take care of him." Stone and Keller go to talk to Lugo, figuring he had something to do with Stebbins' death, but Lugo tells them "get off my back." Lugo puts his foot in his mouth, though, when he refers to "Stebbins" who got run over the day before, which was actually Wilcox. Lugo says to Stone, "Stick it in your ear." Junior goes to visit a guy in San Quentin named Maddox (Jim Boles) who was familiar with what happened 20 years ago. When asked if there was a reason why Lugo would want to kill Junior's dad, Maddox says that "the Kovic brothers were moving up pretty fast at the time" which surprises the kid. Maddox says the brothers were running numbers, so Lugo took them both in. Keller trails Lugo, who picks up John Kovic downtown. The two of them talk about what to do with Junior, who is getting too close to the truth. After they discuss how John knocked off his own brother to keep Lugo out of jail, Lugo drops some heavy hints that John should also knock off Junior. When John returns to his office, his secretary (Christine Dixon) says he had a call that Junior wants to meet him at the Alcatraz Ferry Terminal to talk to him. The two of them wind up at the prison outside the cell formerly occupied by Senior, trailed by a couple of Lugo's stooges. Junior gets his uncle to finally reveal the truth about what happened 20 years before, that his father took the fall for Lugo and that his uncle murdered his father when he decided to break silence over this. Junior, holding some of the letters, tells his uncle that because he kept receiving them, he would always be looking for his father instead of the man who killed him. Stone and Keller arrive on the island by helicopter, but not in time to save John, who is shot dead by Lugo's men.

EPILOG:

Junior reminisces about when he was 8 years old and could see Alcatraz from the window of his house in San Francisco, wondering if his father was looking back at him. When he heard his father escaped, he wondered why the old man never came home. In response to Junior asking what he will tell his grandmother, Keller suggests "The truth ... it can't be any harder than sitting at that window, can it?"

REVIEW:

The acting in this show is very high calibre, especially that of veteran character actor Paul Stewart (who does not appear in the "starring" credits at the beginning of the show) as well as Windom who gets "special guest star" treatment in the credits. Once again we have the trope of Stone being a know-everyone. After he says he dealt with the Kovic case 20 years before, he says he will go and "talk to the family." Keller says, "What ... do you know them too?" (Stone does not, he only knows Junior from his work with the DA's office.) The fact that the forger of the letters (Eric Christmas) is tracked down and who makes the connection with John as the one who paid to have the letters made seems far-fetched.

MORE TRIVIA:

- Lugo's office is at the corner of Lombard and Battery. After Stone and Keller visit him, Keller radios in that they are at Battery and Greenwich, which is the next intersection in front of where they are parked.
- Junior visits Maddox in San Quentin, the prison from which Peter Strauss's character Bobby Jepsen in S01E07 was released.
- While the fact that Wilcox was mistakenly run over and killed by John is explained because John hadn't seen Stebbins for many years, the reason that Junior encountered Wilcox in Stebbins' place is not, except for the building manager Greeley's (Joseph Mell) comment, "These guys come and go."
- At around 35:30 after the limo with Lugo and John turns right, trucks like those used in movie and TV productions are seen on the left ahead of them, parked on the other side of a two-way street. But when they pass where the trucks should be, they are on a one-way street with other vehicles (not the trucks) parked in the same area.
- The license number of Lugo's Mercedes stretch limousine "ISHI 2."
- Junior leaves a message with his uncle's secretary which sounds like they should meet at the Alcatraz ferry terminal at Pier 41, but when John shows up, Junior is already gone to the island. The secretary said the message was to meet him "there" as soon as possible.
- After Stone and Keller get into the helicopter, there is a brief cut before it takes off.
- There is another reverse tracking shot after Stone and Keller leave the medical examiner's office which goes on for just over a minute and a half.
- Junior's office phone number on his business card is 555-2323.


Added: Thursday 20 July 2017 06:19:31 MST
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Yes, Ringfire, I know Sam Jaffe was in Ben-Hur. HELLO! Seeing Ben-Hur in 1960 was one of the formative experiences of my life, I have seen the film several times, I met its composer Miklos Rozsa (see http://www.miklosrozsa/net), blah blah blah! Jaffe was also in a Kojak episode, by the way: http://www.kojak.tv/kojak-5.htm#8 :p

Added: Wednesday 19 July 2017 18:27:01 MST
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SOSF S03E15: False Witness ★★½
Original air date: January 9, 1975
Director: Paul Stanley; Writer: Morton S. Fine

When patrol cops Jimmy Vega (A. Martinez) and Kevin Bryce (Les Lannom) see a drug transaction between pusher Robert Perez (Lloyd Battista) and a junkie named Chico (Rafael Campos), they attempt to make an arrest, but because Chico ditches the drugs in a passing truck and Perez's car is rented, D.A. O'Brien cannot make a case. This just pisses off Jimmy, because Perez was responsible for Ernie Silveira, Jimmy's best friend, dying of an overdose. We also find out that Keller has a connection to Jimmy, because the two of them were roommates while at the police academy, and Keller helped Jimmy make it through the more difficult parts of the course. During a birthday party for his "mamacita" (Carmen Zapata), Jimmy gets a call from Chico, who wants to meet because he has lots of dirt to relate about Perez. Of course, this is a setup, and Jimmy gets beaten up very badly by some of Perez's thugs. Jimmy then phones Perez and threatens him, a bad idea, because Perez's oily lawyer Howard (Malachi Throne) is standing right next to his client overhearing the entire conversation. Back at the party, Keller is leaving with his girl friend when he is hailed by Dorothy Silveira (Lenore Stevens), Ernie's sister, in the next car. Dorothy tells Keller to pass a message along to Jimmy to lay off Perez, or he is "one dead Chicano." Jimmy meets with Keller the next day, and convinces Keller to help him nab Perez. He wants the pusher for himself, he doesn't want to give him to Narcotics. That evening, Keller and Jimmy stake out Perez's place as a delivery man arrives. When he leaves, they break into Perez's, but the drugs that were in the package get flushed down the toilet and Jimmy gets shot. Despite this, Jimmy plants some drugs in a drawer which Keller finds. When they go to court, Howard uses the fact that Keller and Jimmy were friends to throw doubt in the direction of the jury, suggesting that policemen often lie to help each other out. Howard then offers the recording of Jimmy uttering threats as evidence. In the hospital, Jimmy dies from his injuries after telling Keller that he confessed planting the drugs to O'Brien. Keller tracks down Dorothy, who not only tipped him off about Perez seeking revenge but also made a similar call to Bryce, Jimmy's baby-faced partner. Keller meets with Dorothy, who had "something going" with Jimmy when her brother was alive, and appeals to her to help get Perez. She later tells Perez that one of her tricks wants to make a large heroin purchase. A Spanish-speaking cop, Ybarra (Tony Perez) plays the role of this buyer, and meets with Perez and his men on the docks. The suitcase containing the money is wired and the cops are listening in. When the purchase is completed, Perez is busted.

EPILOG:

Stone and Keller console Jimmy's mother and father. After they leave, Keller thanks Stone for "keeping a lid on it," to which Stone replies, "Well, like you said, he [Jimmy] tried, and as far as I know, that's no crime."

REVIEW:

Up to a point, this show is OK, but it deteriorates near the end with what happens with Dorothy Silveira. Earlier on, when she told Keller that Jimmy was in danger, it is odd that she suddenly appeared outside the birthday party, because how did she know that Keller would be there? Only a few minutes before, she was seen sitting beside Perez at his place and I'm sure she would have been aware that Jimmy was being beaten up around the same time. It's not like she showed up to warn Jimmy himself. When Keller meets with Dorothy near the end of the show, he says he wants her to help finish the job that Jimmy started, to put Perez away. When she says, "Man, you scare me," Keller tells her that her whole life must scare her, "sitting there doing tricks to get a fix in your arm." He asks her "How many times you got beaten up? How many times Perez got you screaming on the floor for a fix and won't give you one until you take care of one of his friends with their kinky hang-ups?" But up this point, there is no indication that this is the kind of lifestyle that Dorothy has, or how Keller knows all this. At Perez's place, she and some other woman were with Perez and Howard and appeared to be doing pretty good. Why would Perez pimp her out to other guys when he would probably be happy to have such an attractive woman for his own? When she subsequently gives Perez the big spiel about Ybarra, it's amazing that he cannot see through this ruse. Then there is the business of Jimmy planting the dope, which was planned by him well ahead of time. Jimmy signed out almost pure heroin from the evidence room, took half of it and then returned what looked like the full amount, but it was the remaining half cut with milk sugar. Everything working out at Perez's place as Jimmy planned depended on a certain sequence of events, and anything could go wrong. Fortunately for Jimmy, his little plan did not totally collapse!

MORE TRIVIA:

- Much of the dialogue between Perez and Ybarra near the end of the show is in Spanish, with no English subtitles.
- There is some Canadian content in this show: Ybarra "runs junk from Mexico into Canada" and because "his arrangements down south dropped off, he absolutely has to make a delivery in Vancouver tomorrow."
- At Jimmy's bedside in the hospital, Keller tells his dying friend that he originally thought he was going to be an archaeologist.
- Despite the faults with the writing in this show, the big courtroom summation from Howard when he attempts to destroy Keller's credibility is actually pretty good.


Added: Wednesday 19 July 2017 18:02:04 MST
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As mentioned before, "Mr. Nobody" is a personal favorite as Zooey Hall was living across the street from us at about that time. Plus you get Adler, Jaffe and T'Pau.

Both "Anti" hand gun episodes are the same to me. Ridiculous coincidences that lead to senseless deaths. But if I had to, I'd give Five-O the nod.

Welcome to the board Jason. Letters from the grave is pretty good.


Added: Wednesday 19 July 2017 15:36:56 MST
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Mike, Sam Jaffe was Simonides in our favorite Biblical epic BEN-HUR! He becomes a cripple after being imprisoned and worked over by Messala's men. Esther was his daughter so I guess that makes Judah Ben-Hur his son-in-law, since Judah ends up taking Esther as his wife.

Added: Wednesday 19 July 2017 15:32:53 MST
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SOSF S03E14: Mr. Nobody ★★★
Original air date: December 19, 1974
Director: Corey Allen; Writer: Robert Sherman

Some time ago, Alex Zubatuk (Sam Jaffe) sold the shoe repair place he owned for 45 years to a guy named Weiss (Henry Corden). As the show opens, Zubatuk is hassling Weiss about the fact that the work and service he provides are substandard. Weiss tells Zubatuk and his friend Victor Karlinsky (Luther Adler) to get lost, saying that now Zubatuk, formerly the best cobbler in the city, is a "nobody." Weiss is doing more "business" than just fixing shoes; he also is involved taking bets for a gangster named Dempsey (George Murdoch). Weiss gets Marty Karlinsky (David Z. [Zooey] Hall), grandson of Zubatuk's friend, to deliver a box containing $50,000 and a book containing lists of all the bookies in Dempsey's district. A shady character named Lou Singer (Michael Vandever) is following Marty around and corners him with his car in an attempt to steal the box. During the ensuing confrontation, Marty is wounded with Singer's gun, but he gets hold of it and shoots Singer dead, then flees through an alley and throws the gun in the garbage. The box ends up down a open manhole in the street, unseen by anyone. Zubatuk witnesses the action that transpired and recovers the gun. When Stone shows up, Zubatuk pretends that he is the one who shot Singer. Dempsey contacts Marty, telling him that he better produce the box, and then sends a couple of hoods after him to make sure he gets the message. Marty's wife Chris (Laurie Heineman), who is expecting a baby, is totally freaked out by all of this. Zubatuk is arrested and held at the station for murdering Singer, but Stone knows the old man is a master of obfuscation and really didn't kill him. Stone gets assistant D.A. Gerald O'Brien (John Kerr) to try and rattle Zubatuk, but he doesn't have much luck either, even after telling him that the gun was stolen two weeks ago from a pawn shop in San Diego. Zubatuk is released from jail, and Stone follows him around, including to Marty's place where Zubatuk talks to Marty's wife and to the alley where the killing took place. Keller talks to Singer's former partner Larry Mason (Don Calfa) who says that Singer was after a bagman, meaning Marty. Dempsey's goons find Marty and grab him off the street, taking him back to their boss's place where the kid is given a good workover. Dempsey, figuring that Marty and Zubatuk were in this together, sends his hoods to the old folks' home where Zubatuk lives. Shortly after, Stone and Keller show up at Dempsey's and rescue Marty, who tips them off as to what is going on. Under threat of death at their home, Zubatuk and Karlinsky pretend that the money is buried in the place's back yard, dragging things out just enough until the cops luckily show up, which sends the two hoods scrambling, trying to escape in a florists' truck they commandeer and then run into a Chevrolet Corvair parked on the street. Back in the alley once again where the murder took place, Zubatuk and Karlinsky figure out by a process of elimination that the box with the money and the book is down in the manhole and they recover it.

EPILOG:

D.A. O'Brien shows up and wonders where is the book from the box, because Zubatuk said he would turn it over if all charges against Marty were dropped. O'Brien knows that it was Keller and Stone who were behind this "deal," and O'Brien figures he better talk to Zubatuk before he changes his mind.

REVIEW:

Although it has its serious points, this episode is relatively light-hearted, even if it does revolve around one of the show's major tropes, the fact that Stone seems to know everyone in San Francisco over a certain age, something which was parodied in Mad Magazine. In this instance, Zubatuk fixed Stone's shoes for nothing when he was a kid. Several of the actors are "old folks" including Celia Lovsky, who first executed the Vulcan greeting in the Star Trek episode "Amok Time." Her role as Zubatuk's wheelchair-bound landlady Nadia Baska in this episode was her last.

MORE TRIVIA:

- Marty's address is 3231 20th Street.
- How does Zubatuk know Lew Singer, who he describes as "a bad man ... who steals money from the poor people all the time"? Is Singer a neighborhood fixture or something? Maybe Zubatuk knows people in the same way Stone does!
- Prior to becoming a director, Corey Allen was remembered for his acting roles, including the part in the James Dean movie Rebel Without a Cause as the driver who got trapped in the car during the "chicken" race with Dean who went over the cliff.


Added: Tuesday 18 July 2017 17:14:16 MST
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First time poster but longtime fan of this site. I am really glad to see The Streets of San Francisco being reviewed by Mike. I remember the first episode of the SOSF that I saw was the 3rd season show “Letters from the Grave”. I’m looking forward to seeing the review from Mike on it but I thought it was a really good show. I’m really looking forward to talking about SOSF with the other fans on here. Curious if there are any Barnaby Jones fans out there as well. I recently purchased the complete series set and have been watching those as well.

Added: Tuesday 18 July 2017 11:34:25 MST
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As our faggy friend Ralph Mingo might say... "Diary of a Gun" is mo' better. Only because it's Five-O and us Five-O heads are probably somewhat biased towards our favorite show. I'd say that "Use a Gun, Go To Hell" is mo' better too. Both overall all 3 are good episodes.

Added: Tuesday 18 July 2017 11:30:52 MST
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Diary Of A Gun HOF and The Twenty-Five Caliber Plague Streets of SF aired around the same time. Dec 74 TFCP and Mar 75 Diary Of A Gun. Both stories show how a handgun can cause death and injury and the trail of victims because of its use. I think Cooper the businessman had good intentions to protect his wife. She could have used the gun when he was out of town. I guess his mistake was taking Jack Graham with him to the gun store. If Cooper had purchased the gun by himself, there really is no story then. Maybe, Alvin would have talked to Jack about purchasing the gun. Graham's shooting of Moran jump starts the story. The gun then is discarded and some kids find it playing. You knew Teddy would be killed. That was telegraphed when the kids were playing. I agree Mr. Mike on the 2 star rating on The Twenty-Five Caliber Plague. It has a few good moments but nothing spectacular. I wonder if the HFO fans and Streets Of SF like The Twenty-Five Caliber Plague better or Diary of A Gun. JC

Added: Tuesday 18 July 2017 04:39:36 MST
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SOSF S03E13: The Twenty-Five Caliber Plague ★★
Original air date: December 12, 1974
Director: Virgil W. Vogel; Writers: Tony Kayden & Michael Russnow

Businessman Alvin Cooper (Robert Webber) buys a 25-caliber automatic with a pearl handle to provide his wife Paula (Mary Murphy) with "protection" while he is on the road. When he arrives home, Cooper leaves the gun in his car. His brother-in-law Jack Graham (Jonathan Lippe), who accompanied Cooper to the Gun Exchange and who owes $5,000 he borrowed to cover gambling debts from Lou Damico, a shylock who runs the Superior Finance Corporation, takes the gun. That night, Graham meets with Damico's collector Ernie Moran and tells him he doesn't have the money he owes. Graham shoots Moran dead, then throws the gun away. The next day, three young boys -- Jeff Rydell, Teddy Bateman and Rick Thompson -- are playing war games and find this gun. Though Jeff (Lee H. Montgomery) thinks he has disarmed the gun by removing the magazine, when he pretend-shoots Teddy, his friend is killed. Jeff and Rick ditch the gun in a garbage can, the contents of which winds up at the "reclaiming area" (recycling depot) of the sanitation department. Jake Traynor (Darrell Fetty), one of the workers there, pockets the gun and later uses it to rob a liquor store with his friend Joe Markham (Tony Geary). They don't get much money for their efforts ($54), and cops quickly give chase which ends when the robbers' car rolls over. Stone and Keller trace the gun back to Cooper, who had earlier reported it stolen. Two goons employed by Damico have been following Graham around and when Graham's girl friend Jeannie Loring (Davey Davison) goes to Graham's place to get a suitcase so the two of them can split to Los Angeles, the thugs follow her back to her apartment. Graham flees to the roof of the building just as Stone and Keller show up, having been pointed in that direction by Cooper. The two thugs, one of whom is taken out of commission by Keller, are arrested and so is Graham.

EPILOG:

Stone, Keller and Cooper find themselves at the California Casting Company, which has nothing to do with the movie business, but is a place that manufactures manhole covers from scrap metal (guns are specifically mentioned) as seen being recovered earlier at the sanitation department. Almost all the dialogue in the Epilog is an anti-gun rant. Stone: "Over 30 million Americans own handguns. Over 20,000 get shot with them every year." Keller: "That's right. Almost 10,000 homicides. Nearly as many suicides, almost 3,000 accidents. where somebody's dead or maimed for life." When Cooper wonders what he can do about the dilemma he found himself in, Keller recommends he write to his Congressman: "You're free to write him if you feel strongly about something one way or the other." Stone: "Yeah, what is it they say -- the pen is mightier than the sword? Well, maybe someday it might even stop a bullet."

REVIEW:
This episode is sort of OK, but there are some things about it that bothered me. For example, taking the advice of the gunshop owner, Cooper puts the gun out in the open on what looks like the back seat of the car, and just leaves it there, which prompts Graham to steal it. Doesn't Cooper think about what might happen if he just left the gun there? I know he was first going to discuss the gun with his wife before giving it to her, but it seems dumb to leave it in the car ... or did he just forget about it? At what point did Graham actually take the gun? The reaction of the two surviving kids towards their fatally shot friend is disturbing. They just say things like "Teddy's dead," leaving his body in the tunnel where they were playing and running away. Later, Stone and Keller track the two boys down to a public park. The boys immediately figure out the two are cops and flee. The idea that Keller and especially Stone could catch up to these young kids who are running and apprehend them is ridiculous. At the end of the show, the camera focuses on one of the manhole covers, which says SFDPW (San Francisco Department of Public Works) on it, zooming in on the word "SEWERS," no doubt some heavy-handed symbolism relating to guns! I don't really have any major objections to what is said in the anti-gun rant in the Epilog, though it does suggest lack of imagination on the part of the writers.

MORE TRIVIA:
- Cooper lives at 1441 West Madrid. Graham's address is 203 Madison.
- When Cooper reports the gun stolen, he tells the desk cop "I left it in my car and when I came out [it was gone]."
- The show is very similar to a seventh season Hawaii Five-O episode called Diary of a Gun, which was broadcast on March 18, 1975, around three months after this SOSF show.
- During one of Keller's final remarks in the Epilog to Cooper, the subtitles give the latter's name as "Cooperman."
- Jonathan Lippe later became Jonathan Goldsmith, who became "The Most Interesting Man in the World" spokesman for Dos Equis beer.


Added: Monday 17 July 2017 17:06:46 MST
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SOSF S03E23: Solitaire ★★★½
Original air date: March 13, 1975
Director: Seymour Robbie; Writer: Dorothy C. Fontana

Tony Lo Bianco plays Al Wozynsky, an undercover narcotics cop who spends months using the identity of Casella, "an independent dealer with good connections," setting up an encounter with some drug middle-men on his way to meet with the big boss of the local narco racket named Marks (Antony Carbone). But this meeting is interrupted by another cop named Tom Wellaman whose girl friend Alice (Rosanna Huffman), receptionist in the narcotics division, overheard a phone call from Wozynsky relating details about the meeting to his superior Lt. Pete Alizo (Norman Alden). Alice figured that she was helping her boy friend on his way to becoming a detective by passing information about the location to him, but Wellaman is shot dead during the gun battle that ensues. Keller and Stone, who have been driving nearby and discussing Keller's current girl friend, show up to provide support, but Keller is shot in the leg and ends up in the hospital. Wozynsky meets with Alizo and Chief of Detectives John Condon (William Bramley) and is assigned to work with Stone while Keller is recovering, an idea that Wozynsky does not like at all. He likes the idea even less after he meets with Artie (Eric Kilpatrick), a dope dealer who immediately recognizes Stone, sitting in his car nearby, as a cop. Wozynsky then tells Artie that he is also a cop, but promises Artie a deal if he will help him "clean up this junkyard." Soon after this, Artie is found dead, victim of a fatal overdose, which Wozynsky blames on Stone. Keller is finally released from the hospital and does a lot of snooping around on Wozynsky's background, discovering that it is very unlikely Wozynsky is on the take and more likely to take a bullet than take a bribe, the latter according to his ex-girl friend Mianna (the gorgeous Sabrina Scharf). Wozynsky uses the fact that he has been IDd as a cop to his advantage, offering to sell his badge to Marks. He shows up at Marks' place, where he is treated with extreme skepticism by the kingpin. Wozynsky is just about to be shot up with the same kind of heroin which killed Artie when Stone and Keller break down the door as Wozynsky is dispatching some of the thugs in the room with judo moves. On the way out, Wozynsky tells Stone and Keller "You guys still messing around in my life?" while winking at them.

EPILOG:

Stone and Keller are driving and discussing the odds on a 49ers/Rams game when they see some dirty hippie crossing the street against the light. They stop and take the guy in after finding some pot in his pocket. Once the guy is in the car, we find out that it is Wozynsky! The three of them have a good laugh about this.

REVIEW:

Another very good episode, with excellent acting even from the secondary characters like Tina Andrews as Artie's girl friend Millie. Lo Bianco gives an intense performance in his dealings with his superiors and Stone, telling them things like "I work solo," "It's not gonna work," and "I know I'm not 'Mr. Personality'."

MORE TRIVIA:

- Tony Lo Bianco is the only credited guest star during the opening credits, something unusual.
- Vic Perrin plays Wozynsky's father, who had a complete breakdown after the death of his wife years before. Perrin provided the ominous Control voice in the 1960's sci-fi series The Outer Limits and did voice work as well as acting in many other TV shows.
- There is a pretty funny scene when Stone meets with Keller, recovering in the hospital. Keller says he doesn't know much about Wozynsky, but Stone points out that Wozynsky has only had one partner, who was killed when the two of them were on a job together.
- According to Wozynsky, Stone was recognized by Artie because he has been a cop for "23 years shakin' doorknobs and flashin' a badge."
- At the beginning when Stone and Keller respond to Wellaman's call for backup, Stone tells dispatch they will "respond to code 406," but Malden's lips don't match what he is saying when he says "406."
- Is Tony Lo Bianco's moustache for real?!?


Added: Sunday 16 July 2017 15:17:08 MST
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"Labyrinth" is indeed a superb episode! A who's who of solid character actors trapped in a claustrophobic setting a la DIE HARD. What's not to love??! It's right up there with "Mask of Death", "Target: Red", "Flags of Terror", "River of Fear", and "License to Kill" as the best from season 3. Don Gordon guested pretty much on every show in the 70s and 80s. I'm actually surprised he never made it to Five-O. Michael McGuire did. So did Felice Orlandi, Michael Strong, and Shelley Novack. Don Gordon was friends with Steve McQueen and showed up in quite a few of his films, most memorably as his partner Det. Delgetti in the 1968 cop classic BULLITT, also shot in SF.

Added: Sunday 16 July 2017 13:12:55 MST
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I think I will do Epilog ratings for SOSF; too bad there are not icons available for "sucky" and stuff like that...

4 stars - Totally appropriate to the show
3 stars - A mixture of good and bad
2 stars - Meh, neither of the above
1 star - Sucky, totally inappropriate

What do you think? :D


Added: Sunday 16 July 2017 08:45:34 MST
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There were a few things about Labyrinth that should have made it 3-1/2 stars, but I said what the heck, I gave it 4 (like another episode from Kojak -- http://kojak.tv/kojak-2.htm#20 -- which had a much bigger flaw than anything in Labyrinth):

The biggest "huh?" to me was when Tony's son shows up at the end, considering his wife told Judith that she couldn't care less about him ("Tony died a long time ago"). Maybe they live close to the hotel or something? The wife is not seen at all in the Epilog, but maybe she took the kid there because he was noisy about seeing his dad and she didn't want to be part of the commotion.

Earlier on, Tony says that he did NOT throw the fight because of his kid, who had tapped him on the shoulder prior to entering the ring (but his kid is relatively "little"!). Was the kid really there? Or was this just like "an angel" tapping him on the shoulder? Tony does say that his wife has relatives in St. Louis, so maybe the kid was visiting them at the time.

It is always interesting to see a performance by Don Gordon, who passed away on April 24 of this year aged 90! But what is the thing on his character's right eyebrow -- it looks like a clear bandage of some kind. Would Tony still be recovering from the beating he took in the fight, which was over 2 months before?

I don't understand why the cop Landers brings Harry up to the fifth floor where Stone is, rather than just taking him to some command post which is probably in the lobby and busting him there. How does Landers knows that Stone is on the fifth floor? Maybe Landers is a keener who wants to show Stone what he did? Whatever -- this turns out to be not a good idea!

The Epilog is middling, some OK stuff as well as sucky stuff.


Added: Sunday 16 July 2017 08:10:54 MST
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I definitely believe Labyrinth deserves to be included in the Top 10 episodes Streets of SF catalogue. It does an excellent job with the thin script. Mr. Mike, you are right about the Hotel. The actors and writers make good use of the different rooms in the hotel. Labyrinth has a claustrophobic feel and suspenseful as Tony fights to stay alive from the wound and Harry and Vincent are trapped in the police hotel dragnet. This is an episode you could make into a movie with some more writing. The acting and the story fit together authentically. Very rarely does a show capture a Labyrinth type magic. Agree 4 stars. Don't mess with a boxer. McG found that out with Wily Stone in the basement. I remember reading a Hemingway short story Fifty Grand in college. This reminds me of the Labyrinth story. JC

Added: Sunday 16 July 2017 06:19:55 MST
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