Friday, November 30, 2012

F13:TS 25: Tales of the Undead


Episode Recap #10: Tales of the Undead

Original Airdate: January 30 , 1988

John D. LeMay as Ryan Dallion
Louise Robey as Micki Foster
Chris Wiggins as Jack Marshak

Guest cast:
Ray Walston as Jay Star
David Hewlett as Cal
Bob Aarrons as Charlie
Michael George as Mrs. Forbes
Jenn Griffin as Linda
David Clement as Carmine
Anthony Bekenn as Mr. Briggs

Written by Paul Monette, Alfred Sole, Bill Taub, Marc Scott Zicree
Directed by Lyndon Chubbuck


This week, we are in the local comic shop. A young man, Cal, is browsing the racks, then stuffing comics into his jacket. He eyes a mint condition copy of Tales of the Undead #1 in a glass case. At the counter, he brings a few comics to the owner, Charlie Evans, who tells him the comic in the glass is a one-of-a-kind, signed by the creator, Jay Star. They talk about the comic and its hero, Ferrus. The kid, feeling drawn to the comic, says he'd kill for it. Charlie says lots of kids want it, but it is going to sell for $25,000 at auction. He tells Cal to enter the contest to win a different comic.

I think they used a real comic shop, the details were so precise.

Ryan comes in for his weekly visit and wants his comics from Charlie. He tells the man how busy he is at the store and that he reads the comics and then sells them at Curious Goods. The man takes Ryan over to show him the Tales of the Undead comic. Ryan is amazed to see it. Seems Ferrus is his favorite, too. Ryan wants to buy it. Cal tries breaking open the case but Charlie sees him and tries to stop him. The kid breaks the glass and grabs the comic and in his rage, the curse is activated. The comic transforms Cal into the robot Ferrus, who proceeds to toss Charlie down, break a table, push Ryan and escape.

Ryan gets knocked down, again. This time by a comic book hero!

At the store, Ryan, still sore, examines a piece of the robot he took from the comic store. He wishes Jack wasn't away on business. Micki has a hard time believing a comic book character came to life, even though Ryan swears it is true. Ryan tells her it is the plot of the comic, where a kid gets a magic book that changes him into a robot. Micki decides to look in the manifest, but Ryan says he would have noticed if a comic was mentioned inside. Micki finds a listing for a magazine that could be the comic book. She says it was bought by Lewis from a Jacob Staretski, who Ryan doesn't think could be Jay Star, the creator of Ferrus and Tales of the Undead. Micki sees an address listed, so Ryan decides to go see if it is his comic book idol.

Poor Ryan. Let Micki rub that sore shoulder for you.

At the address listed for Staretski, Ryan is told to go away by the maid who works for Mr. Star. Ryan yells to Star, telling him he is a big fan. Star tells Mrs. Forbes to let him in. He sits with Ryan and tells him the lady has taken care of him for years. Ryan is amazed to be sitting with the man, tells him he is the reason Ryan started drawing. He asks for an autograph, of which the man obliges, signing a comic Ryan brought. He asks why Ryan is really there. Ryan comments on the man's award, from 1947. Ryan asks if the man knows anyone who would kill over Ferrus, but the man doesn't know. Mrs. Forbes mentions the comic company that took all the rights to Ferrus and the comic book from Star, who is still bitter over it all. He says he has some original art he saved, for a rainy day, in his basement.

The great Ray Walston.

Star tells Ryan he has seen some strange, supernatural stuff in his lifetime. Ryan asks if he could stand another surprise and tells him that Ferrus has come to life. He explains about the comic book Star sold being cursed and Ferrus appearing and killing Charlie. Jay knew Evans and is surprised to hear of his death. He starts laughing manically when Ryan says he knows the whole thing sounds crazy. So, Ryan leaves. Later, Star gets up, calls for Mrs. Forbes and tells her to get his coat.

Loved the house they used for Star's home.
A great Fall shot, I still think of this when leaves are on the ground.

At the comic store, a young woman is packing things in a box when Star arrives. She tells him they aren't open for business. Jay tells her he knows the terrible news and, holding his pain medication, asks if he could just sit for a moment. Jay, unseen, looks through the contest entry box and find the slip with the name of the kid, Cal Rawitz. He pockets the paper and leaves.

Jay Star has some kind of ESP or something.
Only explanation for this scene.

At Cal's house, Star slips into the kids room and hears the young man on the phone with Carmine DeMatteo, the publisher who rooked Star out of his ownership of the comic. Seems the kid wants money to produce the real Ferrus, but the man hangs up. Star reveals himself to Cal, who wants proof it is him. Star shows him his prescription bottle to prove his claim. The kid is impressed, says he is his greatest fan. Star tells Cal he has something he wants, the cursed comic book. Cal says he can't have it and tells him not to make him do something he doesn't want to do. Star tells him he knows what he did to Charlie and threatens to tell the cops. Cal uses the comic and transforms into Ferrus. But Star is prepared and pulls out his award, which - in the comic book - is the only item that can stop Ferrus. He stabs the robot, who then transforms back into Cal, now dead on the floor. Star leaves with the comic.

Micki is getting addicted to Ryan's comics!
And Ryan is reading the newspaper!

At Curious Goods, Ryan laments being laughed at by his idol. Ryan hoped Jay would have believed in the curse. Micki, having read some of Ryan's comics, still doesn't get the appeal of the book or Ferrus. Ryan explains that things are different as a kid, you can enter a different world where heroes can do anything. And the kid can be the hero. Micki picks it up to give it a second try. As she reads about Ferrus' abilities and powers, Ryan notices the article on Cal's murder.

At Cal's home, the two of them search for clues to who killed Cal and now has the comic. The appear to be at a dead end until Micki finds the note with Carmine DeMatteo's name and address. Ryan says he is the publisher of the comic book.

Meeting with DeMatteo, the two hear about how the kid was a nutty fan and how Star's version of the tale of Ferrus and the company is only one side. DeMatteo's father gave him a fair deal for the rights, the money of which Star lost in a land deal. He tells them 30 years ago, Star tried to write a story where Ferrus was killed off, but he was stopped and the issue was never published. DeMatteo says the unpublished art could turn up at the auction.

Jay Star in Ferrus-comic transition mode.

After Ryan and Micki have left, Jay Star arrives and surprises DeMatteo, who is working on comic art. They exchange bitter pleasantries. Star notices a piece of art that should be in his basement. DeMatteo says he bought it and Star calls him a liar, since he never sold it. DeMatteo offers it to him, but Jay smashes the frame, saying he stole it. Star pulls out the comic and transforms into Ferrus and then proceeds to try and attack DeMatteo, who runs, pulls the alarm and gets into the freight elevator. But before he can move, Ferrus breaks in and attacks and kills him. Ryan and Micki rush back and wait for the elevator to descend. When it does, they are shocked to see Ferrus emerge. He leaves and they chase him.

Outside, cops arrive and order the robot to freeze, but he keeps walking. They open fire on the robot and eventually, he falls. Ryan is shocked that Ferrus the Invincible was killed, Micki tells him this isn't a comic book, this is real life. But Ferrus gets up and takes off, which Micki and Ryan witness.

Do not mess with the police in this town.

At the store, they try and figure out how Ferrus can be stopped. They list all his powers and he appears to be invincible. They need to get the comic book and try to work out some plan. Ryan mentions what DeMatteo said about the comic Jay wrote, where Ferrus was killed. Micki doesn't know where they would find it, but Ryan suggests they go to the source, Jay Star's home.

Mrs. Forbes doesn't want to let Ryan into the house and Star tells her to keep him away. But Ryan yells that he saw Ferrus again, so Star tells her to let him in for a moment. Ryan wants to talk in private and Mrs. Forbes leaves. Star tells Ryan Ferrus is just someone in a costume, but Ryan swears it is Ferrus. Star lies, saying there must be a logical answer. Ryan says he say Ferrus kill DeMatteo. Star is shocked Ryan knows all this. Ryan asks about the issue where he killed off Ferrus and wants to know how they can stop the robot. Star lies, says he threw the issue and art away years ago and knows no way they stop him. He orders Ryan to leave.

In the car, Ryan tells Micki when Star said. She says they should check the auction, maybe the art will appear there. In the house, Star is searching his basement for the art he saved. Mrs. Forbes appears and tells him she sold the secret issue and art of Tales of the Undead. She got a lot of money for it, since he just left it sitting collecting dust. She is amazed he thought she stayed out of the goodness of her heart. She goes to leave, but Star tells her she can stay, he isn't mad. He just asks who she sold the comic to. She tells him the name and that the man was going to sell it at the auction. She apologizes for selling the comic and bends over to clean up the mess Jay made. He pulls out the comic, transforms into Ferrus and kills her.

At the auction the next day, Micki and Ryan meet Briggs, the man running things. They ask about the unpublished Tales of the Undead comic. He says it hasn't arrived yet and when they ask the name of the owner, he says that is confidential. But Micki spots the name on his clipboard when he puts it down. Ryan then finds the address in the Rolodex when the secretary leaves her desk. They leave to find the man, Ted Hailey.

Such an innocent - and expensive - item.
Yet it has to sit in the vault.

Outside Hailey's home, they see a car with its hazard lights flashing. Micki is concerned, so they go over and find a man laying through the smashed windshield, dead. He is laying atop comic art in a folder with his name. Micki looks to see if the comic they want is there, but it doesn't appear to be. Ryan finds some pills that resemble the one's Jay Star takes. They rush off to find the old man.

At Star's home, Ryan and Micki sneak up to the window and see Star tossing the comic art pages into the roaring fireplace. Micki goes and knocks on the door. Star  goes to answer, while Ryan tries to get inside to get the pages. Micki lies that she has something to show Star, so he opens the door. But Ryan breaks the glass and Star hears. He goes back into the living room and tosses more art into the fire, then threatens Ryan with a fireplace poker. Micki comes in and sees the cursed comic and picks it up. While Jay is distracted, Ryan reaches into the fire to grab the art before it burns completely.

Sad Ryan, in comic book form, after having to kill his idol.

Jay threatens Micki and she falls and drops the comic. Jay quickly snatches it up and transforms into Ferrus and approaches Micki. Ryan sees in the artwork that Ferrus was killed with what looks like Jay's comic award, so he grabs it and stabs the robot with it. Ferrus collapses and transforms back into Jay. The old man asks Ryan how it feels to be a hero before dying. Ryan takes the comic out of his hand.

Later, at home, Micki asks Ryan for the next issue of the comic she is reading. She mentions a comic art festival next month, but Ryan says he's had enough of comic books. She stands Jay's award back up and Ryan lays it back down on the table. She apologizes for what happened and then places a framed picture of Jay Star on his nightstand. Ryan talks about how he wanted to be like Jay, an artist. He copied his drawings and asked Micki if he'd like to see them. She jokes that he wants to "show her his etchings." Ryan says he'd rather show Spider-Man art.

Micki wants more comic books, and she wants to cheer up Ryan.


My thoughts:

Okay, this is a fun episode if you take it as a comic book style story. But some of the plot holes here are glaring.

Take for instance when Jay learns about the cursed comic from Ryan. He goes to the comic shop and automatically knows to look in the contest box for the name of the kid who stole the comic and killed the owner? How does Jay know this and, even stranger, how does he know which slip is the right one? He picks the kid out of all of them and only takes that one. What?

And the kid calls the comic publisher to blackmail him into paying for Ferrus appearances because he can produce the "real" Ferrus. Why did he think the publisher would believe him? The robot character from a comic book is alive? Really, kid?

What justification did the cops have to shoot at the robot, opening a hail of fire and, for all they know, killing the person in "the costume"? They responded to an alarm so mortal, deadly force was needed? And after they fell the robot, they ALL leave to call it in, leaving the apparently wounded or dead person on the ground alone. The robot proceeds to get up and leave with no one watching or following. What? Even Micki and Ryan, who watch the robot leave, choose not to follow? They could have easily followed the slow moving robot and found out who had the comic.

When Micki and Ryan are at the auction and they want the name of the man who has the unpublished art, the guy says that is private information. He then proceeds to place the clipboard with the info down right near them and walk away. Ugh.

Just some really, really glaring plot holes. Not the simple kind one can overlook, these just confound you. To top it off, there are FOUR writers listed for this episode!

But, as I said, if you take it as a comic book story - which is helped by the comic panel drawing transitions when the person wielding the comic transforms into Ferrus - it is easier to swallow. Comics are notorious, at least in the past, for great suspension of belief.

It is awesome having an episode revolve around Ryan's love for comic books. He is so happy and then so sad by way his idol falls. Also nice to see Micki so concerned for Ryan's feelings and even getting into his comic books a bit.

Also great having a guest star at the level of Ray Walston. He was great even if the writing wasn't here.

One thing I did notice was that Ryan had no bedroom. Micki has the room upstairs as her bedroom. When she goes up the stairs at the end here, right at the top of the stairs is the space Ryan uses as a bedroom, but there is no door or anything. Jack has a space in the basement as a bedroom, so him and Ryan gave her the only bedroom and just made do for themselves. Such gentlemen.

Fun episode, if you just check your brain at the door and go along for the ride or want to see some good Ryan and Ryan/Micki moments.

Next week: "Scarecrow"

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

F13:TS 25: Root of All Evil


Episode Recap #9: Root of All Evil

Original Airdate: November 28, 1987

John D. LeMay as Ryan Dallion
Louise Robey as Micki Foster
Chris Wiggins as Jack Marshak

Guest cast:
Enrico Colantoni as Adrian
Barclay Hope as Lloyd
Jack Mather as Smitty
Ian White as Charles
Kay Tremblay as Amanda
Thomas Hauff as Harley O'Connor

Written by Rob Hedden
Directed by Allan King


This week, we open at a suburban home. An old woman is cutting her hedges while also nagging her grown son about his laziness. He snaps and hits her with a metal rake. But he's not done! He takes her and slides her into a giant mulcher!

At Curious Goods, Jack finds a letter Lewis never opened, postmarked the day after he died. Inside is a crisp, $100 bill. Ryan wants to go have lunch with the money. Jack reads the letter and sees that the cash is a "thank you" from someone. Checking the manifest, Ryan matches the postmark to a purchase. Seems one Harley O'Connor bought the mulcher from Lewis. Jack tells Ryan he should call and check if Harley still lives at the same address. Picking up the phone, Ryan hears Micki talking to Lloyd, her fiance. Micki has been crying and tells Lloyd she can't leave the store yet. He accuses her of having an affair and hangs up.

Ryan and Jack, on the case!

An expensive car pulls up the drive at the soon-to-open Harrington Gardens and splashes a groundskeeper with muddy water. Charles and Amanda, the rich people in charge of the land and gardens, talk about opening the place to the public tomorrow. The groundskeeper, Adrian, watches and listens. Smitty, the head groundsman, arrives and takes Adrian away to do more work.

Adrian's week is going to get much worse.

Jack and Micki arrive at Harley's home to find the place abandoned. Micki wants to leave, says they'll never find him. She's growing impatient with their mission to retrieve all the antiques. She tells Jack she never wanted any of this. He says none of them did, but it is their responsibility. She reluctantly agrees to check out the inside of the house.

Back at the gardens, Adrian is intrigued and entranced by the mulcher Smitty uses. Smitty notices the weird way the man acts.

How the hell are they going to fit this in the vault?

Back at the old O'Connor house, Jack and Micki poke around while someone follows them. Micki knocks over some debris and Jack finds a brand-new five dollar bill. Just then, a man comes in and confronts them, demanding to know what they are doing. They explain that they are looking to buy an antique. He orders them outside. He tells them about Harley being in a mental institution. Seems he had a bag of money and his mother was missing. When the cops confronted him, he snapped and went off about "the teeth of hell".

Micki can pull off any hairstyle.

Back at the gardens, Adrian can't keep his eyes off the mulcher. Smitty says he is sore, so Adrian tells him to go home and rest. A homeless man watches them. Smitty leaves and Adrian heads right to the mulcher, kneeling before it as it turns itself on. The bum shows up and knows Adrian, says people are looking for him who don't take kindly to being owed money. The man attempts blackmails Adrian to keep his location quiet. Adrian smashes the man's bottle on his head, knocking him out. After he pushes the drunk into the mulcher, money comes flying out the chute. Adrian laughs as he collects the bills.

At Curious Goods, Jack is analyzing the five dollar bill while telling Ryan that the mulcher was sold at auction to a Robert Smith (Smitty), who owns a gardening business. Ryan tells Jack how he loves the detective work they have to do in their search for antiques. He is worried about Micki and her stressing over Lloyd. Jack says the bills are dated 1937 but appear to be brand new. He wants to talk to O'Connor but Ryan reminds him the man is an asylum. He tells Ryan to let Micki work out the Lloyd issue herself.

In her room, Micki is brushing her hair while a figure appears outside her window. She nervously backs away and out of the room, getting Ryan to come help her. They both see the man and Ryan tackles him until Micki pushes him off. Seems it is Lloyd, her fiance. Lloyd is perturbed to have been roughed up. Micki is upset that Lloyd came out to check up on her. He said he had no choice, he had to know if there was someone else. He says he had Ryan checked out and that the two of them are cousins by marriage only. Micki scoffs at the thought of her and Ryan being an item. Ryan overhears. Lloyd wants the real reason why she can't leave the store. Micki makes up excuses, saying that she wants to go home but has no choice. Lloyd says he has no choice either, that it is tough to marry someone who won't be honest with you.

Ryan, meet Lloyd. Lloyd, Ryan. Nice of you to drop in.

Ryan visits the gardens and Amanda Harrington, the owner. He asks about Smith and the old lady sends him off to Smitty. Ryan and Micki walk through the grounds to find Smitty, but Micki's frustration with their job is growing. They find the old gardener and ask about the mulcher. He says its not for sale. Ryan offers to give him money to buy a new mulcher, so Smitty agrees and heads off to get the item. Adrian overhears and follows, while Micki scolds Ryan for giving away so much money.

Adrian lures Smitty into the garden shed and hits him over the head with a shovel. He then takes the mulcher and hides it in the bushes. When he gets back to the shed, Smitty is gone. Adrian grabs a tool right before Smitty jumps out and they struggle. Adrian plunges the weapon into Smitty's back. Soon enough, the mulcher is running again, with Smitty inside. The bag fills with more cash.

At the mental hospital, Harley O'Connor sits, strapped in a wheelchair, spinning in circles. Jack arrives tells Harley that Lewis Vendredi asked him to stop by and say hello and Jack shows him the bills. Harley tells him to leave, so Jack tells him Lewis is dead. Harley is surprised to hear this. Jack tells him Lewis reneged on his deal with Satan and paid the price. He asks the man about the mulcher, pretending to want to use the mulcher himself. Harley wants Jack to agree to use "riskier stock," as in bankers and doctors. Harley then starts laughing maniacally.

Harley is one of the few who used a cursed item and DIDN'T die.
Although the alternative isn't much better. Maybe worse.

Micki and Ryan arrive back at Curious Goods. Jack is inside and as they approach and tell him about their trip to the gardens, Jack tries to get them to hush. But they mention the curse. Jack then informs them that Lloyd is there to see Micki, and her fiance stands up, having heard everything. Micki is thrilled but Lloyd wants to know what is going on here. She takes him to the basement and asks him to keep an open mind. She shows him the vault.

Love the long shot of Curious Goods. Wish this place was real.

Upstairs, Jack and Ryan talk about the mulcher and how it works. The richer the person who goes in, the more money comes out the other end. Ryan tells Jack the year 1937 is the year the mulcher was built.

In the vault, Micki explains Lewis' curse and how they have had to collect all the items and store them. Lloyd scoffs and picks up Vita, the doll. Micki takes it away and puts it on the shelf. As Lloyd leaves, Micki sees Vita turn and look at her. Upstairs, Lloyd rushes out. Micki runs up to her room, and Jack tells Ryan to give her time.

Lloyd shouldn't play with cursed things.

The next day, back at the gardens, Ryan and Jack go undercover as workers. Jack tells Ryan that Smitty is missing. Adrian listens in. Back at Curious Goods, Micki is in her room when the door opens and Lloyd enters. He says he doesn't want to lose her and they embrace.

Charles talks with Adrian about the plans for the gardens then asks about Smitty. Adrian tells him he is by the shed, then runs off to beat Charles there. At the store, Lloyd says he believes that Micki believes in the curse. Imagination is a powerful thing, he tells her.

As Charles arrives to find Smitty, Adrian has the mulcher running.  In her bedroom, Lloyd gives Micki at ultimatum. Either leave for California with him or he will assume she wants to call off their engagement.

Adrian attacks Charles with a blade, then sends the rich man into the mulcher. Charles awakens right before the mulcher rips him to shreds. Back at Curious Goods, Micki tells Lloyd she is going home. They kiss.
At the gardens, Amanda is giving a tour and tells Adrian he is doing a fine job. He smiles then kisses some of his cash.

Adrian, you are so happy here, you creep.

That night, Ryan arrives home from the gardens, tired. Micki and Lloyd come out of her room. Lloyd leaves and Ryan says he worked all day trying to find the mulcher and she stayed with Lloyd in her room. Ryan knows she is leaving with Lloyd and asks about their job getting the items back, saying it is their job. Micki says she never made a pact to do this and that there are plenty of things in the world she can't fix. Ryan badmouths Lloyd and Micki slaps him, but Ryan tells her they need her to do this, he needs her. She says sorry and runs back to her room.

The next day, Ryan and Jack are back working at the gardens. Seems Smitty has completely vanished. Jack tells Ryan he'll miss Micki, too, but they have to let her go if she wants to go. Searching the grounds, Ryan finds Adrian's bag of cash. Adrian spies him. Ryan runs off to find Jack and finds Charles' broken glasses and, nearby, the mulcher. Adrian jumps out and tries to attack Ryan, but he gets away. Adrian chases after him. Ryan trips and hits his head, knocking himself out. Adrian drags him back to the shed and locks the door.

Jack grows impatient wondering what happened to Ryan. A taxi pulls up and Micki gets out. Lloyd tells her to hurry. She says she couldn't leave without saying good-bye and her and Jack hug. She asks about Ryan, then goes off to find him, Lloyd following.

Adrian gets the mulcher, planning to use it one last time before he takes off. Jack approaches and asks if he has seen Ryan, but Adrian says no and takes off. Jack keeps looking and finds the mulcher and then hears Ryan's screams for help. He goes to the shed and breaks the lock and frees Ryan. They realize Adrian is the one they have been looking for and rush back to the mansion.

Inside the mansion, Adrian approaches Amanda and tells her she can set him up for life. Micki and Lloyd hear the old woman's screams and rush inside, but Adrian has a knife to her throat and takes her out. Micki tells Lloyd to do something but he freezes.

As everyone converges on the mulcher, Jack tells Adrian to give up, they know everything. He scoffs, but Ryan takes the bag of money and dumps it into the mulcher. Adrian pushes Amanda to the ground and rushes to stop Ryan. He dives into the mulcher to save the bag of money and Ryan has to look away as Adrian is torn to shreds. Micki comes over to Ryan and asks if he is okay. He says it is just his head and she jokes there is no serious damage, then. Jack notes that the bag on the mulcher is filled with blood. Adrian wasn't even work a dollar, he tells Lloyd.

Micki comforts Ryan, realizing what he risked
and what she was going to run away from.

Back at the store, a bandaged Ryan listens as Lloyd tries to explain away what they saw. He tells her Ryan and Jack have gotten her into bad stuff. She says she has to stay, she has a responsibility. He calls Ryan a dropout and she yells at him, defending Ryan and his courage. Lloyd leaves, Micki heads upstairs. Ryan tries to stop her, but she snaps at him and goes up. He follows and asks if he can help. She again tells him to leave her alone. Ryan puts up a banner he made that reads Welcome Home Micki. She comes in and apologizes and sees the banner. She smiles and says thanks and he smiles as well.

Ryan is just a good guy, plain and simple.


My thoughts:

A great episode with a gruesome antique. The mulcher is big and not your typical antique, but is straight-forward in its use. Put a body in, get money out. I also like how it calls to Adrian, sort of puts the man into a spell. Once that happens, the greed inside him grows til he kills with no remorse.

Also great in this episode is the closure for Micki where Lloyd is concerned. We see the growth she has gone through, even though she is at first in denial of it. She wants to get back to her old life and attempts to, but in the end, she makes the right choice. None of them want to do this, but if they don't, no one will.

I like the scenes with her and Ryan, showing the growing bond between the two. We see them discuss the curse and their "job" to get the items back. We even get some cute scenes, like when Micki comforts Ryan after his fall and at the end, with the banner he makes for her. Good stuff.

And I like the little nod at the pilot episode, with Vita turning and looking at Micki. Creepy!

Next week: "Tales of the Undead"

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

F13:TS 25: Shadow Boxer

Episode Recap #8: Shadow Boxer

Original Airdate: November 21, 1987

John D. LeMay as Ryan Dallion
Louise Robey as Micki Foster
Chris Wiggins as Jack Marshak

Guest cast:
David Ferry as Tommy Dunn
Jack Duffy as Manny King
Patricia Hamilton as Sadie King
Gerry Quigley as Doorman
Dennis Lundin as Pepper Boliski
Philip Akin as Kid Cornelius

Written by Josh Miller
Directed by Timothy Bond


We open outside Manny's Gym. Inside, guys are sparring and training. One man, Tommy, is sweeping the floors, clearly jealous about one boxer in training. He is mocked by another man and heads off to Manny's office where he pulls a pair of boxing gloves out of a box. Tommy begs Manny to let him borror them, saying they are good luck, since they belonged to a fighter named Killer Kelsey. Manny won't hear of it, saying Tommy would just use them to beat up someone else. Tommy says no one will give him a break. But the gloves made him feel different, like he was on fire. Manny continues to berate Tommy and takes the gloves away from him.

"Killer' gloves, indeed.

Later, Tommy is working out when another fighter, Cornelius, ribs Tommy as he works out. Manny and Cornelius talk about his schedule as Tommy watches. Later, in the locker room, Tommy puts on the gloves, having taken them from Manny's office. Manny prepares to leave, warning Tommy not to steal from him or he'll fire him. Tommy starts sparring, alone, feeling the gloves come alive on his hands. he has an urge to touch his own shadow with the gloves and when he does, the shadow version of himself moves away and leaves the gym. The shadow stalks Manny in the alley, scaring the old man. Manny tries to flee, but he is cornered. In the gym, Tommy is beating on a bag, while the shadow version of himself enacts the moves on Manny, who manages to write "TO" with his own blood before dying.

The cops or his wife couldn't figure out he was trying to write "Tommy"?

At Curious Goods, Ryan is reading a comic when Micki appears, snapping pictures. She is making a picture diary for her fiance, Lloyd. Ryan is surprised she is still engaged, seeing as how she is living with two men. She doesn't think he is funny. Jack tells them Manny's widow wants them to look at some boxing memorabilia  She needs cash to settle her husband's estate. Jack tells them Manny had bought some stuff from Lewis, including Killer Ken Kelsey's boxing gloves. Seems Kelsey killed an opponent in the ring one time.

Love how we see Ryan reading a comic book at the beginning, 
showing his young, carefree spirit before he has to do something so dark.

Back at Manny's Gym, our trio arrive, Micki with her camera. In the office, they search through Manny's stuff, not finding the gloves. His widow, Sadie, says this is everything he had. Jack asks about the gloves. She says they have to be around somewhere. Sadie tells them Manny was beaten to death and tells them about the letters, "TO".

In the gym, Micki snaps pictures of the boxers, secretly trying to get a look at the gloves the men are wearing. Tommy puts the moves on Micki until Cornelius tells him to beat it. The two men bicker until Tommy leaves. Cornelius and Micki chat, and he tells her about Tommy. Micki flirts with Cornelius and snaps his picture.

Later, Tommy asks someone to watch him fight but the guy blows Tommy off, mocking his past boxing success, or lack thereof. Tommy leaves, laughing, as Jack hears the exchange from the car.

In the locker room, Tommy dons the gloves and again touches his shadow, sending it on its way. Tommy is in the ring boxing, with Micki, Ryan and Jack watching. Outside, his shadow approaches the man who laughed at him. Tommy is wailing on his opponent, the man is barely able to stand. Tommy ends up knocking the guy out, to the boos of the crowd. With her camera, Micki sees that Tommy has the gloves they are looking for. A man runs in and yells to the crowd that a man, Terrific Tony, is dead outside. Jacks tells them about the exchange he witnessed between Tommy and Tony. Ryan goes to see if the gloves are in the locker room. A shadow approaches as Ryan breaks into Tommy's locker. It is Cornelius, who thinks Ryan is just trying to rob the locker. Ryan makes up an excuse, but Cornelius doesn't buy it and throws Ryan out.

That night, the trio watches outside Tommy's apartment, waiting for him to leave so they can search for the gloves. Micki comes up with an idea to lure Tommy out, calling him on the payphone and asking him to meet her for a cup of coffee at the diner near his place. Tommy bites and heads out to meet her.

Micki truly takes one for the team, meeting Tommy for coffee. Ugh.

When Tommy leaves, Ryan and Jack head up to search his apartment. Tommy works his rough charms on Micki and she plays along to give her friends time to search. In the apartment, Ryan and Jack look for the gloves, not caring to leave things undisturbed. Micki tries to keep Tommy at the diner, but he gets impatient and calls her a tease. He throws money down for the coffee and pie and leaves. Micki rushes to the phone to warn the others.

In the apartment, Ryan almost answer the phone, but Jack stops him. Tommy enters and sees the mess and then spies the not-well-hidden duo. He grabs the gloves from their hiding place, tosses Jack out and, with his shadow-self outside, proceeds to try beat up Ryan while the shadow goes for Micki outside. Ryan dodges the punch, but Tommy keeps at it. Micki uses her camera and its flash to stun the shadow and, in turn, Tommy. Ryan uses the distraction to escape the apartment and the trio jump into their car and take off. Tommy's shadow, unsuccessful, dissolves away.

Back at home, Jack asks if Micki might have seen a man dressed in black and not just a shadow. She tells him she knows the difference. Ryan arrives with the developed pictures Micki took, which show no shadow person. She swears there was someone there. One picture, where her flash didn't work, does show the shadow man. Jack figures out how the curse works and tells the others. They realize for Tommy to win his fight, someone must die.

At the gym, Tommy's ego is riding high. He gets in Cornelius' face, telling him he isn't afraid of him anymore. He challenges Cornelius to a fight, but the other man blows him off.

Jack, Micki and Ryan arrive at the gym, trying to figure out how to get the gloves from Tommy. Cornelius overhears them say Tommy killed Manny, so he goes and clocks Tommy. He says he has his chance, he will fight him after all. Our trio tries to talk sense into Cornelius, but he isn't concerned about Tommy beating him, he just wants to get revenge for Manny's death.

At the fight, Ryan stays behind as Jack goes into the locker room to try and get under Tommy's skin. He tells the boxer he knows about the gloves and he knows that he stole the gloves from Manny. Jack tells Tommy he can keep the gloves if he gives Jack 70% of his winnings, otherwise he goes to the cops. Tommy tells him to meet him in the parking lot.

Outside, Jack meets up with Micki, who has her camera. They are hoping Tommy comes outside and into their trap.

Love the shadow effect! Well done, I think!

In the ring, Tommy tries to psych himself up for the fight. Jack arrives and reminds Tommy about the parking lot meeting later. The fight begins and Cornelius immediately has the upper hand. Tommy's shadow stalks Jack and he feels the gloves grow more powerful. Micki turns a flashlight onto the shadow, weakening it and, in turn, Tommy. The shadow appears to vanish.

The fight continues and the shadow reappears. Micki's light dies and the shadow knocks it to the ground, breaking it. The shadow goes after Jack, who lures it away from Micki. As it approaches, Micki jumps into the car and turns the headlights onto it, again weakening it. Tommy is weakened in the ring and Cornelius lands a hard blow to the man, knocking him out. Cornelius wins. Ryan jumps into the ring, gets the gloves off Tommy and leaves the gym.

Back at the store, Ryan has locked the gloves in the vault. Him and Jack are happy they were successful, but Micki snaps at them. She can't believe that Tommy is going to get away with two murders. Ryan says the cops would never believe them if they told the truth. Jack says they are stuck in a rough spot, between justice and the law.

That night, Micki lies awake, thinking of Tommy as well as her fiance, Lloyd. Ryan tries to talk to her, but she tells him she is fine. He goes off to bed, still worried about her. Tommy appears in Micki's room with a knife, telling her to lead him to wear the gloves are. Ryan hears a noise and enters her room, finding Tommy with the knife. Tommy threatens Micki's life if Ryan doesn't get the gloves. Jack arrives, as well. Tommy sends Ryan off to get the gloves or Micki will die. Jack tries to approach Tommy, but is told to turn around. Tommy raises the knife to stab Jack, but Micki distracts him.

Jack tries to convince Tommy it would be best if he just left, since the cops know nothing. Tommy won't hear of it, he won't go back to his life as a nothing. He needs the gloves to be somebody, he's sick of people picking on him.

Ryan arrives with the gloves, handing one to Tommy. The other one is on Ryan's hand and he uses to punch Jack in the gut, then the face. At the same time, Ryan's shadow self punches Tommy, knocking him out. Ryan continues to goad Jack, the curse on the gloves working to make Ryan want to hurt his friend. Micki stops him and gets the glove off Ryan's hand. Jack is down and Micki asks why Ryan did that. Ryan says he had to, to save Micki. He is worried about Jack now, helping him to his feet. Jack scolds him, saying Ryan was stupid to use a cursed item. Ryan is torn over what he had to do. Micki runs off to call an ambulance. Jack tells Tommy that sometimes you bring justice upon yourself.

Poor Jack! Ryan truly did what he thought was best, for Micki and Jack.

A later day, Cornelius arrives at the store with more of Manny's boxing stuff. Ryan asks about Tommy and Cornelius says the doctors have said Tommy had scar tissue on his brain from all the times he was beat up. Cornelius says beating Tommy in the fight was supposed to make him feel good but it didn't. They tell him they have no idea why Tommy arrived at the store that night. Cornelius says he is going to be running the gym for Manny's widow, for awhile.

Yowch. Jack was a walking reminder to Ryan, I am sure.

After he leaves, Micki consoles Ryan with the news that he wasn't responsible for the condition Tommy ended up in. Jack, sporting a black eye, says may be, but he holds Ryan responsible for what happened to him. Micki snaps a photo of Jack and laughs, trying to get Ryan to laugh. Jack, kidding, says he'll get Ryan, one day. Ryan is still clearly torn over what he did.

Micki tries to be fun and cute, but Ryan is just not there yet.
Bittersweet ending, at best.


My thoughts: A great, early episode.

I love the idea of cursed boxing gloves and the way they are used, with the shadow boxer doing the killing, gives the one who wields them such power! Not only do they make the fighter unbeatable, but they give them a rock-solid alibi every time. Too bad they were used by such a dimwitted boxer as Tommy!

Micki is quite resourceful in this episode, defending herself with both the camera and the car and also brave in luring Tommy to the diner to give the others time to search the apartment. Hanging with Tommy as he clumsily flirts was no easy task.

Ryan has the hardest time here, having to not only use a cursed item, but use them on Jack, his friend. We can see his conflict and, at the end of the episode, we see that he is not quite over it, either. Micki tries to have fun with him, but hurting Jack has hurt Ryan. I guess this is the very beginning of the darkness that having to collect these antiques brings upon Ryan's carefree spirit. Sad.

And poor Jack! Last week he was nearly killed by the doctor and the scalpel and this week he is beaten by the gloves. Sheesh!

Next week: "Root of All Evil"

Friday, November 9, 2012

F13:TS 25 - Doctor Jack

Episode Recap #7: Doctor Jack

Original Airdate: November 14, 1987

John D. LeMay as Ryan Dallion
Louise Robey as Micki Foster
Chris Wiggins as Jack Marshak

Guest cast:
Cliff Gorman as Dr. Vincent Howlett
Elva Mai Hoover as Jean Flappen
Doris Petrie as Dr. Price
Michael Copeman as Jim Bronson

Written by Marc Scott Zicree
Directed by Richard Friedman


This week, we begin outside, at night. A man in trench coat is walking the streets and approaches a flower vendor. When the vendor chases after the money that blows into the alley, the mystery man pulls a scalpel and cuts the vendor's throat. A crowd gathers and the man escapes, cutting through solid iron bars at the end of the alley with the scalpel.

How did Lewis get his hands on Jack the Ripper's scalpel?

At Curious Goods, Jack is reading the manifest, an entry about an antique surgical scalpel. The three of them are discussing the events of the night before, wondering if this scalpel can be the small knife witnesses saw the man wielding. Micki finds a note in the manifest that states the scalpel may have belonged to Jack the Ripper.

Later, Micki and Ryan wait for Jack outside "Jim's Knives", a weapon store. When Jack arrives, he has info on the man Lewis sold the scalpel to. Seems Jim Morgan was a thug and an ex-con and a craftsman when it came to using a blade. In the store, they fish Morgan, the proprietor  for information. He denies knowledge, but Micki tricks him into admitting he sold the scalpel. When he won't tell the who he sold the item to, Jack tricks the man by alluding to having incriminating negatives. He tells them the man who bought the scalpel was a Doctor Howlett. Jack tells them Howlett is being lauded as a miracle man for saving hopeless cases. When Micki asks how Jack got negatives on Morgan, he admits that they are really pictures of Micki and Ryan at the zoo.

Our 80s trio dealing with a cut-rate Crocodile Dundee-wannabe!

At Ravenbrook Hospital, Howlett is performing surgery with an audience of doctors and peers observing. He finishes the surgery to applause, while one lone woman watches him. The head of surgery, Dr. Price, admits to being skeptical before Howlett arrived but has to admit she was wrong after watching the surgery. Howlett gives a speech to the group, including reporters, extolling his own virtues as a miracle man and how he will single-handedly save the reputation of the hospital. 

On the way to the hospital, Ryan wonders how the place can afford Howlett. Jack tells them they had no choice, the place has been plagued by financial and personnel woes. Hiring Howlett will help them on all counts, if he continues his successful path.

Drs. Price and Howlett walk, Price wondering what Howlett does on his off time. She remembers him from medical school and is amazed that he was able to even qualify as a surgeon. He thinks she is jealous, she says she just doesn't approve of his approach to surgery or medicine. Like or not, it works, he tells her, then leaves. The mystery woman, Jean, is seen watching him once again.

Jean wants revenge, she just isn't good at it.

Our trio arrives at the hospital, as doctors attempt to revive a patient on a gurney. They are directed to where Howlett went. Meanwhile, Jean pins a photo of a young woman to a door, just before Howlett approaches. He sees the photo, removes it and tosses it to the ground. Jean approaches and draws a gun on him. Ryan stops her just before she can shoot, Howlett slipping away. Micki pursues him. Jack sends Ryan after Micki and goes himself to talk to Jean, who has been taken away by orderlies.

The woman is strapped to a bed. Jack enters with photos and papers from her purse. The young woman is her daughter, Jean tells Jack, and was a doctor who looked up to Howlett. The young girl went to meet Howlett, but was later found dead, slashed to death. Jean then followed Howlett as he moved around and there was always a death or two wherever he went. She then began stalking him, waiting for a moment to exact her revenge on the man. She asks Jack to help her get free, but he says he can't. She thinks he is in league with Howlett.

In his office, Howlett opens the case that holds the scalpel. Micki enters, pretending to be someone who works at the hospital. She seems the scalpel in his hand and excuses herself. Ryan meets up with her and she tells him. He sends her to tell Jack while he keeps an eye on Howlett. Jack tells Micki that Howlett has killed dozens of people and if he suspects Ryan, their friend will be in grave danger.

Howlett leaves his office and Ryan follows him. Micki and Jack arrive back at the office and find it, and the scalpel case, empty. Ryan follows the doctor to the basement of the hospital. Jack and Micki work out how the curse on the scalpel must work and take off to find Ryan before something bad happens.

In the basement, Ryan appears to have lost Howlett, but spies the man in a storage room. He is taking out his trench coat and hat. Ryan slips and makes noise. Howlett chases after him, scalpel in hand. Jack and Micki hear the disturbance and follow. Ryan finds himself in a morgue and hides in one of the drawers. Howlett enters and opens the only drawer that is partially open, stabbing the body that lays under the sheet. Micki and Jack burst in, Howlett pushes past them and takes off, Jack now in pursuit. Micki pulls the sheet off the body, but finds a dead man, not Ryan. He calls to her from another drawer, which she opens to find him safe and sound.

Jack chases Howlett and the two struggle for the scalpel. Howlett pushes Jack into an open elevator shaft. Jack grabs the cable before falling, but Howlett uses the scalpel and cuts the cable, sending Jack plummeting down the elevator shaft. He takes off and Micki and Ryan find their friend unconscious.

Jack! How many times are our heroes this close to death?

Jack is rushed to surgery, barely alive. Micki and Ryan impatiently wait for news. Dr. Price approaches them, tells them Jack is being prepped for surgery and that his condition is quite serious. Ryan goes off, needing to do something other than wait.

Dr. Price tells Howlett that he is needed in surgery. He says he isn't scheduled to work. She says this surgery is exactly the reason was hired at Ravenbrook and that the press is already there, waiting to see him perform yet another miracle. Howlett has no choice but to agree to perform the surgery.

Outside, Howlett, again in his hat and trench coat  walks the streets in search of a victim for his scalpel. At the hospital, Jean convinces the orderly watching her to loosen the straps on her arms. As he does, she reaches for a vase and smashes it over his head. She takes his keys and leaves the room.

Micki paces, waiting for word on Jack. Dr. Price arrives and gives her information on Jack, telling her that the best surgeon in the country will be doing the surgery. Micki is shocked to realize this means Howlett will be operating on Jack.

Howlett stalks a young skateboarder, but has to abandon that plan when the boy's friends arrive. Meanwhile, Ryan steals some scrubs at the hospital and Jean sneaks into the nurses' station and retrieves her clothes - and her gun - without anyone seeing her.

Howlett approaches a prostitute, but scares the woman away when he pulls the scalpel from his pocket. Micki waits, unsure what to do for Jack.

Dr. Howlett arrives late for surgery, and places the knife on the sink when he scrubs up. Ryan, disguised in scrubs, grabs the scalpel and takes off. He finds Micki and tells her he has the antique. Micki tells him he has to give it back, Howlett is the only one who can save Jack.

As Howlett searches for the scalpel, Dr. Price scolds him. Ryan enters and gives Howlett back the scalpel. In the operating room, an audience watches as surgery begins. Howlett assures Price he hasn't lost anyone yet and he isn't about to now. Jean also arrives to watch the surgery, her eyes locked on Howlett. Micki and Ryan wait, worried for the life of their friend. Ryan tells her that Jack was the first person who treated him like an adult.

How quickly Jack has become so important in their lives.

During surgery, Howlett is shocked to see that the patient he is operating on is Jack, the man he sent plummeting down the elevator shaft. But with an audience, he has no choice to do his best to save the man.
Micki tells Ryan that, no matter what happens to Jack, they have to stop Howlett. They can't let him continue to kill.

Howlett finishes the surgery, saying he has done all he can. He tells the nurse he will personally oversee the patient's post-op care. Dr. Price tells Micki and Ryan surgery is over and that Jack is in recovery. They ask where Howlett is, saying they want to than the doctor for saving their friend.

In recovery, Jacks rests, still unconscious  Howlett enters the room, ready to cut Jack's breathing tube, but Jean arrives, gun in hand. She demands Howlett face her. He steps closer and uses the scalpel to cut the barrel of the gun in half, then stabs her. Micki and Ryan race in and, in the confusion, Howlett escapes. Ryan and Micki take off in pursuit.

In the basement, Howlett attacks Micki and Ryan, using the scalpel to cut through a steel can lid and, even more impressive, cut through steel doors. Cornered, Micki and Ryan feel like their end is near. But Jean sneaks up behind Howlett and whacks him over the head. Micki and Ryan take off, but Howlett is soon after them once again.

Ryan jumps the man, a fight ensues and Ryan is knocked out. Micki finds and powers up an old crash cart, holding the paddles behind her back. As Howlett approaches and aims his scalpel at her, she brings the paddles forward on either side of his hand. The electricity courses through Howlett, and he collapses. Ryan comes to and finds Howlett dead, the scalpel stuck in his heart.

Shocking, eh, Doc?

Back at Curious Goods, Jack is home and recovering. The scalpel is in the vault and Jean is on a plane, on her way home. Jack wants to get back to work, but Micki and Ryan tell him to take it easy. Ryan points out that with Howlett dead, at least Jack doesn't have to worry about getting a bill!

Enough with the puns, Ryan, Jack is trying to heal!


My thoughts: Well, not one of the best episodes of the series. Everything here seems so rushed! And the thought of one doctor being capable of saving a hospital with the litany of problems Ravenbrook seems to have stretches credibility, and that is saying something for a horror-based show.

Also, Howlett is either really stupid or really cocky, as when he kills on the street, his disguise is merely a coat, hat and glasses. He kills with witnesses all around and, later, he pulls the scalpel before he is close enough to the prostitute to actually use it. Of course she is going to run away!

While I love the idea of Jack the Ripper's scalpel being a cursed antique with power to kill and to heal, the story around it just seems rushed and then too quickly resolved.

I do like the scenes with Micki and Ryan worrying over Jack. As I said before, this group has quickly become a family and the thought of losing one of their own is a scary prospect.

Next week: "Shadow Boxer"