The second season starts out with a decent episode, although Operation: Spoilsport or Don't Mess Around With Jim would have made a stronger season premiere in my opinion.
Oddly enough, years later I found out by obtaining some press info given to ABC stations, Operation: Spoilsport was intended to be the second season premiere. Then ABC changed the schedule and made The 200 Mile-an-Hour Fastball the premiere show. One has to wonder if some network executive thought the episode should change because ABC was coming off the World Series right before "TGAH" returned for it's second season, thinking that the popularity of the sport would work better as the premiere episode.
THE TWO-HUNDRED-MILE-AN-HOUR FASTBALL
Episode 8 Production #96202
Air Date: November 4, 1981
Written By: Stephen J. Cannell
Directed By: Georg Stanford Brown
Guest Cast: Markie Post (Debbie Dante), Carmen Argenziano (Nick Castle), Michael J. London (Raymond Sloat), Richard Gjonola (Russ Decker), Bruce Kirby, Hector Elias, William Marquez, Stanley Brock, Ralph Maura, Charles McDaniels, Porfirio Guzman Berrones, Hank Robinson, Mike Douglas (himself), Richard Guonal (Russ Decker), Ralph Mauro (man), Hank Robinson (umpire #1), Porfirio Guzman Berrones (Manuel Cortez)
Ralph and the suit go undercover in pro baseball with Bill as his manager to trap Latin American revolutionaries who hope to finance a coup by fixing baseball games.
A fun episode, but I'm not so sure it rates for a season premiere as its a "gimmick" episode. As I stated above, Operation: Spoilsport was originally intended to kick off the series 2nd season. That episode or even Don't Mess Around with Jim would seem to have fit the bill better.
When Ralph throws his pitch at the tryout, you can clearly see the cable used to jerk the catcher/stuntman backwards off his feet.
Originally the script had Ralph appearing on the "Merv Griffin Show," apparently a deal could not be worked out, and it was changed to the "Mike Douglas Show."
You can see in Katt's scenes by the pool with Markie Post
were dubbed to make the change.
This is the first episode to use the silly, "ah, ah...oh no" during the shakey flight scenes, instead of the better first season screams or no screams at all.
During the first action scene, there are shots of a stuntman "live" flying behind the bad guys car. Watch for the last "live" shot as the car turns to the right, before the scene changes, just for a split second, you can see the white platform the stuntman is laying on.
The scene of Katt's double Dennis Madalone jumping in front of the bus and bringing it to a stop, was really filmed in reverse. The scene was originally shot with the stuntman holding on to the bus' bumper and the bus backing up, pulling the stuntman away from the stalled car.
This is the first episode in which Connie Sellecca only appears in a short phone call scene. Many online resources state Sellecca missed most of the 2nd season because of having a baby, this is simply not true.
In the original broadcast version (and first syndication run)during Ralph's flight from the stadium, one flying shot has no flying sound effects dubbed in. Since the new prints were made a few years ago this has been corrected. Now in any broadcast or DVD versions the flying sound effects can be heard.
As Ralph takes to the air with the bad guy over his shoulder, one of the shots is stock footage from the pilot, with Katt flying with the Maxwell "dummy" over his shoulder.
Excellent stuntwork by Dennis Madalone who jumped off the billboard
backwards, (with a dummy over his shoulder!!) so the footage could be ran backwards showing Ralph flying "live" up to the top of the sign.
Air Date: November 11, 1981
Written By: Frank Lupo
Directed By: Rod Holcomb
Guest Cast: John Anderson (Gen. Stocker), Dudley Knight (Charles Ratner), James Burr Johnson (Major Dyle), Robin Riker (Nancy Ratner), John Di Fusco (Sgt. Jenson), John Brandon (Adm. Bailey), Al White (Capt. Reilly), Don Maxwell (motorcycle cop), Russ Martin, Arnold Spivey (Smitty), John Bristol (guy who lives under the bridge), Dein Wein (spiral computer), Rex C. Yon (man near the phone booth)
The greenguys return with a warning of Earth's imminent destruction, sending Ralph and Bill tracking a computer malfunction that's set to launch America's nuclear missiles.
The series hit a bullseye with this episode, which is probably my favorite after the pilot. Director Rod Holcomb never lets the scenario of WW III get too outrageous, and keeps viewers excitement up with the ticking clock. Plus who doesn't enjoy getting a "save the word" demand from a recently char-broiled dead guy?
Connie Sellecca again only appears in this episode for a short phone call scene, due to her missing a few episodes while having her baby.
This is the first time the Villicana Piranha appears.
The music, eerie spaceship, ghostly make-up and voice of Sgt. Jenson, plus him getting beamed into the ship make a pretty freaky scene.
When the original "Wednesday on The Greatest American Hero" promo aired for Operation: Spoilsport, it showed a few seconds of the "Those missles cannot be disarmed" scene. Sgt. Jenson's voice did not have the spooky reverb like in the final cut of the episode, instead the actor's own normal voice was heard.
The Ralph doll used for the effects shot of his and Bill's shadows flying past the moon was sold a few years ago at auction.
After stopping the launching missle, Ralph gets thrown to the ground by the explosion. Look at Dennis Madalone when he hits the ground and rolls backwards, it appears there's no belt buckle on the costume's belt.
DON'T MESS AROUND WITH JIM
Air Date: November 18, 1981
Written By: Stephen J. Cannell
Directed By: Robert C. Thompson
Guest Cast: Joseph Wiseman (James J. Beck), Byron Morrow (Marshall Dunn), Stan Lachow (Jordan Heath), Bernard Behrens (Dr. Springfield), Barry Cutler (cab driver), Michael Alldredge (Vern), W.T. Zacha, Luck Andreas, Bernard Behrens, Fred Lerner, Jerry Dunphy (himself), Chuck Bowman (Keith Asherman), Barry Cutler (cab driver), Barry Davis (Croupler), Phyllis Hall (girl #1), Zan Dres (girl #2), Don Pulford (Gil), Dave Ziletti (Phil), Sonny Shields (Diggs), Carl Wickman (pilot)
An eccentric billionaire who has staged his own death kidnaps Ralph and Bill, threatening to expose the secret of the suit if they do not help him.
Outstanding episode that gives us some greenguy history, in that Ralph was not the only person to be given a suit. Nice touch showing that a person given awesome power can misuse it. The only thing missing from this episode was a flashback scene showing a young J.J. Beck and his suit but, given the series limited budget, it's understandable the money couldn't be spent on the design and construction of another suit that would be used only once.
It's odd that ABC aired two episodes in a row featuring the return of the spaceship. You would think such an event would have been spaced out over several episodes.
Connie Sellecca was absent from this episode due to the birth of her baby.
You get a great look at the black case the suit was stored in during the scene where the thug walks up and hands it over to Marshal Dunn.
During the scene in which Beck confronts Ralph and Bill, his face is lit from underneath with a eerie glow after he opens the case. Great effect, and nice that they took the time to light him that way to depict the light coming from the inside of the box.
In the original broadcast and syndication versions while Ralph is changing into the suit, he starts to emerge from some bushes, you see the film freeze, then run backwards to show him ducking down behind them again. Then after a shot of Culp it runs forward, letting Katt run out and leap over the camera. In the new prints this has since been corrected and the "freeze" is not there.
The awful "oh no... oh no" dialogue was still being used during the flight scenes in this episode.
Ralph's flight from the casino uses stock flying footage from the alley flight from the pilot.
Just like in Operation: Spoilsport, this episode features a great Ralph and Bill hitchhiking scene.
Footage of more than one style of helicopter is used at the end of the episode, plus when the chopper flies up to the bottom of the spaceship, the optical effects didn't quite cut it....the chopper is transparent!
Spectacular end to this episode as Beck and Dunn walk out under the eerie spacecraft. A perfect combination of live action merged with opticals, with awesome music and sound effects.
Air Date: November 25, 1981
Written By: Stephen J. Cannell
Directed By: Ivan Dixon
Guest Cast: Gregory Sierra (Sheriff Vargas), Dennis Burkely (Preacher), Paul Koslo (Bad B.), Mariannce Muellerleile (Stella), Tony Burton (Curley), Dennis Fimple (Cile Kane), Marland Proctor (Basil), Hoke Howell, Terrence Beasor (county sheriff), Kerrie Cullen (Flo)
A Biker gang gets control of the suit, take Bill hostage, and are out to terrorize the population of a desert town.
A typical biker gang script made slightly more interesting when a member of the gang tries to use the suit. Culp's explaining to the bikers how the suit works while the guy gets banged up in the costume is a classic GAH moment.
This episode is still using the silly 2nd season "Oh no" "Oh Bill" "Oh No" dialogue dubbed in over the flying scenes. If the producers were going to continue with Ralph's uneasiness with flying I wish they would have stuck with the straight screams. Thankfully this "oh no" stuff didn't last for long.
If I had a dollar for every time Dennis Burkley played a biker on tv, I'd be rich.
Nice touch as Ralph speed runs down the hill. First using adalone (?), then Katt himself making it look as though Ralph covered the long distance even quicker. Very simple, but yet very effective.
When Madalone as Ralph pulls the door off the sheriff's car as it skids to a stop, take a look at the stunt drivers pants. He's only wearing the top half of the sheriff's uniform, he's wearing blue jeans instead of the tan uniform pants.
After Ralph gets the suit back, he takes off for the school. During his flight he passes the gas station, the pumps in the background plate are still standing. Just minutes before was a scene showing the bikers had ripped a couple of them out of the ground.
Air Date: December 2, 1981
Written By: Frank Lupo
Directed By: Bruce Kessler
Guest Cast: Edward Winter (Charley Wilde), Georgo Loros (Hydra), Garnett Smith (Hanson), Blake Clarke (Sgt. Crane), Christopher Thomas, Joe Horvath (Doug), Steve Leibman (Huey), Dennis Madalone (biker)
Good episode! I'm sure it was hard to come up with a good story that involved chasing the bad guy's AND find a interesting way to involve Ralph's student's without it seeming forced.
This is the only episode that the GAH theme is NOT heard playing in the background during the teaser.
In the teaser notice the following dialogue:
Ralph: "If he was to sabotage those tanker's while the concert was going on, could you imagine!"
Army Guy: "I want the gas safely stored at the Utah depot, before it becomes the least bit unstable."
Ralph: "Blow it up!"
(None of these line's appear in the final broadcast version of the ABC episode)
This was Sellecca's first episode back to full time after the birth of her baby.
Ralph's jump out his bedroom window has no flying sound effects until the scene switches to the shot of him in the sky. The new prints have corrected this.
During the same flight, stock footage of his crash into a office building from Sunset Boulevard. is used here. Watch as the stuntman Dennis Madalone gets up from the floor, and runs towards a closed door, yet when the scene switches, it's to the stock footage shot from Hit Car of him leaping out a window!
The video that was transmitted of Hydra from prison was matted onto a screen from a old Radio Shack TRS-80 computer!
Ralph's take-off from the Playland Motel was footage originally used in Don't Mess Around with Jim.
The biker that Bill takes the dirt bike from is Dennis Madalone, the series stunt coordinator and Katt's main stuntman.
Nice touch was when a machine was used to blow a dust cloud in the scenes with Katt's double (not Madalone) running down the dirt road.
During Ralph's flight to Bill after stopping Hydra's rocket, there is one close-up body shot of Katt, if you look fast, on his side near the belt area, a red ball/knob from the flying rig he's mounted on is visible.
THE BEAST IN THE BLACK
Air Date: December 9, 1981
Ralph stretches the suits powers to the limit taking on an evil spirit intent on returning to the living by possessing Bill.
Written By: Juanita Bartlett
Directed By: Arnold Laven
Guest Cast: Christine Belford (Sheila Redman), Jane Merrow (Betty), Rae Allen (Edith), Jeff MacKay (Dr. Weinstein), Vince Howard (Workman), John Macchia (Arnold)
Spectacular episode!! I wish there had been more episodes like this, pitting our heroes & the suit against more than bank robbers and commies. Someone posted on another website that TGAH was a series searching for an identity, and used this episode as an example because it strayed from the shows typical format.
This episode a great example of how not having the instruction book left the door open for a writer to stretch the shows format. Not in a way as if it's searching for an identity, but in a way to keep it fresh and not have interchangable cookie cutter scripts.
This was another of the first episodes to be filmed for the second season, since Connie Sellecca doesn't appear at all.
You can see the little table the wheelchair crashes into was a fragile breakaway.
Jeff MacKay from another of my favorite series, "Tales of the Gold Monkey," plays the emergency room doctor. He also played one of the cops from "TGAH" pilot who picks Ralph up and takes him to the hospital after his first flight.
Bill actually "steals" from the emergency room in this episode.
The blue eyes Bill has while possessed was a nice touch.
You have to give Culp a hand for the great job he did in changing Maxwell's mannerisms during the possession scenes. Plus kudos to Christine Belford for her job in looping the dialogue to match Culp.
The only thing I hate about this episode are the silly "oh, no" cries that are dubbed over Ralph's flight to Shelia Redman's apartment.
Christine Belford, who played Shelia Redman also appears as Bill's blind date in the third season episode Thirty Seconds Over Little Tokyo.
THE LOST DIABLO
Air Date: December 16, 1981
Bill arranges a field trip for Ralph and his students to search for a
lost gold mine and in the process gets them mixed up with a band of murderous claim jumpers.
Written By: Juanita Bartlett
Directed By: Lawrence Doheny
Guest Cast: Fred Downs (Pop Casco), John Miranda (Fletcher), Gary Grubbs (Doyle), Bill Quinn, Joseph Whipp
This is a so-so episode, made better because we learn a little about Bill's early FBI background, plus notice how Culp changes Bill's personality from FBI bust'em and badge'em type to a grizzled old prospector.
It was also a nice touch giving the "kids" a little more background and what they would do if given the opportunity to have a substantial amount of money. The ending leaves much to be desired with the bad guys killing themselves by shooting off a gun in the mine. More to do with the series timeslot at the time, than lack of creativity on the production side.
The production of this episode is what I find most interesting, it was shot on film, but edited on videotape. It was an experiment by Cannell to see if this would help bring down production costs. In the end, the production chose to stay with editing on film rather than video. This episode was given an Emmy nomination for best editing on videotape.
This is the only episode that during the original broadcast had its guest credits and end credits done in different style of letters. The "GAH" font is not used, probably because this episode had the film transferred to video for editing. More than likely there was no "Hero" font to use with video, and instead of spending the money to create one, they chose to use a different font to key in.
Watch as Ralph changes into the suit inside Bill's tent. As he holographs on the map, look at his legs. Katt does not have the boot spats on. There is no gray trim of the boot below his knees.
Check out the scene as Ralph wakes up to find the kids went back to the mine, the camera starts to pull back as Bill and Pam wake up. In the background you see Culp grab his shoes to put them on, in the next shot, a close-up of Katt, in the background you see Culp's shoes already on, and he's jumping up! Who needs the suit for a quick change!!
The shot of Ralph crashing while looking for the vertical shaft was an unused bit of footage shot for Here's Looking at You, Kid.
If the kids had a look at the top portion of the suit in this episode, don't you think at least one of them would have remembered it five episodes later when catching Ralph in it at the circus?
Look at the scene of Ralph and Bill discussing the mine boobytraps in front of Fletcher, it's raining. You can see the rain clearly in the close-ups of Katt.
We get to meet Bill's first partner, Harlan, in this episode.
Air Date: January 6, 1982
While investigating the death of a mercenary who had contracted the smallpox virus, Bill finds himself kidnapped by the fanatical leader of a mercenary group who plans to kill millions by unleashing a plague.
Written By: Rudolph Borchert
Directed By: Arnold Laven
Guest Cast: Ed Grover (Bunker), Arthur Rosenberg (Kelly), Jeff Cooper (Reo), Glenn Wilder (Harvey Locke), Melvin F. Allen (Arnold Diggs,), Richard Brand (Dr. Keene), James Dybas (medic), Hand Salas (cadre man), Robert Curtis (truck driver), Black Marion (radar operator), J.P. Bumstead, Chip Johnson
Good episode! Great balance between the action and humor. The script manages to fit in a little of everything, Bill at the office, Ralph and the kids, great scenes between our three main characters.
This episode is a good example of Bill's relationship with Carlisle. I could never figure out if Carlisle's dislike for Bill was jealousy over his record, or the fact that after reading each of Bill's reports about his busts, that they didn't add up, and something was going on.
Kudos to everyone who performed stunts in this episode! They really had a workout, and made everyone look great!
The "Wednesday on The Greatest American Hero" promo that ABC ran shows the close-up of Culp falling after being shoved from the chopper, instead of seeing the background of sky with Ralph matted in behind him, we only get to see the bluescreen he was shot in front of.
In this episodes teaser, we see the guy who sells coffee saying the line, "Yeah, Harvey Locke." this line never appears in the finished episode.
The original draft script for this episode was titled "Just An Old Fashion Apocalypse"
This episode is one of the few that has the FBI office scenes shot in a real building and not on a stage.
Watch as Bill opens the door to the Faultline Hotel room before he's kidnapped. The plate on the door says 127, just a second later it shows Ralph and Pam going to another room door to open it, it's the same 127 room door.
In the scene that shows Ralph flying between the birds, there's a close-up of Katt being pelted with feathers. If you look at the stomach area of the suit, it's all bloated out, from what I guess is the plate underneath the costume that Katt was hooked up to.
Check out the scene with Bunker questioning Bill. You get the see a good close-up of the first communicator as Bill turns it on and shoves it down into his pocket.
There's a skinhead mixed in with the bad guys in this episode. Is it a leftover terrorist from the pilot movie, still trying to be involved with taking over the U.S.?
In the flying close-up right after the line, "smallpox....so you do know." For just a second on the right side of the screen, you can see a sharp edge of the chestplate bulging out from underneath the suit.
During the great scene of Ralph using the landmines to make Bunker believe they are under attack, a couple of old take-offs from "Here's Looking at You, Kid" are used.
In one landmine scene, great stunt work and editing makes it look like Ralph was blown up from three mines in a row.
As Culp's double falls from the chopper, if you look quick at the bottom right hand corner of the screen, you see what he lands on peek up into the shot.
Great idea to used skydivers for Ralph and Bill, but did they have to make that chute cord white, plus the chute pack on the leg is so easy to see!!
If you look quick when Ralph and Bill crash to the ground, you'll notice the Maxwell dummy has its hands tied together to keep them from flinging around during the fall.
I never much cared for the Ralph crashing thru the window after the janitor closes it. He looks right at it, before leaping. Plus if you watch the left of the screen, you can see the stuntguy's feet landing and bouncing.
The shot of Ralph flying straight from right to left after crashing through the window was never used with any other background plate during the series run.
During the battle in the lab you can clearly see the face of Katt's double (not Madalone) as he throws the soldiers around, plus the smallpox vial is not in his hand! This whole scene with the double looks like it was shot as a afterthought, like maybe someone thought a little more action was needed at the end, and this was shot quick with some extras and the double, the walls don't even match.
If you have this episode watch as Ralph crashes through the wall, catches the vial, Bill swings into action, Ralph jumps up and grabs a soldier by the gun and slams him up against some kind of computer set-up, scene switches to the double throwing some different soldiers around, then cuts back to Ralph holding the first soldier again by the gun, ripping it out of his hands and bending it!
The new prints of this episode used for current syndication and the DVD release have had a new font included to replace "TGAH" font for the guest cast and closing credits. It's similar to the real "GAH" font, but not the same. This font was not originally found on the prints when broadcast throughout the '80s.
TRAIN OF THOUGHT
Air Date: January 13, 1982
While trying to stop a train hijacking by terrorists, Ralph is injured. The accident gives him partial amnesia: he loses all recollection of Bill and the suit.
Written By: Frank Luppo
Directed By: Lawrence Doheny
Guest Cast: Milt Kogan (doctor), James Lydon (McGivers), Jean LeClerc (Azziz) Judd Omen (Mohammed), Nick Cinardo (Sylvester), Sonia Petrovna (Sonja), Nick Shields, Robert Alan Browne, Warren Munson (engineer), Perry Cook (Carter)
An outstanding episode! One of the best in the series run. The three leads are perfect, they have to learn all over again how to get along with each other and the suit. Katt's perfect as Ralph learns again the suit is all too real. "I see it...I see the train. Let me pick up the car again." A great script by Frank Lupo. This episode does seem to make the point that Ralph's head is unprotected, although this doesn't seem to matter in all other episodes when he crashes head first through walls.
At the start of this episode while saving Bill from two terrorists, Ralph throws one bad guy out a window. Glass breaking sound FX are heard but there is no glass in the window.
The head terrorist Azziz (Jean LeClerc) that hijacks the trainyard office has an on-again, off-again fake accent.
In the scene with Pam driving Ralph home from the hospital, watch Sellecca's hands as she drives. She's pretending to use the steering wheel, actually she's not driving, just sliding her hands back and forth across the wheel as if turning it.
You get a great look at the custom red shoes Katt wore with the suit as Culp tosses the suit back at him in the scene right outside Ralph's house. Actually you get one of the best behind the scenes look at the costume in this episode at different times. You can see how the belt was made, how the elastic was placed inside the tights and more.
During the scene of Ralph learning how the suit works again, we see a close-up of Culp as he pulls his gun. The scene then switches to a wide shot showing him wearing sunglasses, glasses he was not wearing seconds before in the close-up.
Cartoon sound effects are used when Ralph tosses the terrorists from their van.
You can see as Katt's double slides along the rails when stopping the train, that he's not really sliding on the rails with the shoes. It looks as if some kind of flat runners are attached to the shoe bottoms. To do this, the baseball sock type stirrups that go underneath the shoes had to be cut to attach the metal.
NOW YOU SEE IT...
Air Date: January 20, 1982
Ralph discovers a new power within the suit - precognition - that allows him to see the future of a plane set to crash with Pam and a top secret cloaking device aboard.
Written By: Patrick Burke Hasburgh
Directed By: Robert C. Thompson
Guest Cast: Christopher Lofton (Sen. Henderson), Jon Cypher (Beller), Charles Bateman (Col. Cullen), Laurence Hadon (Burke), Robert Covarrubias (De Jesus), Richard Beauchamp (Phillipe), Joe Mantegna (Juan), Matthew Faison, David Clover, Patrick Cameron (Smitty), Dennis Haskins (Trigg), Glenn Wilder (Capt. Fredericks), Gary Jensen (Capt. Williams)
Actually after watching this episode again I think it deserves to be rated a bit higher than I did originally. A lot is crammed in, and it's balanced well. We get a little of everything; Ralph teaching, Pam working, Bill working up new suit scenarios, and a new suit power to boot!
This episodes teaser shows Ralph diving, out of control, to save a single engine plane. In the finished episode the same shot of the airplane spinning downwards was used, but the shot of Ralph was changed to him totally flying in control to save the plane.
The first draft script of this episode was titled Me and You and DejaVu
The sub scenes are stock, taken from Reseda Rose, as well as the music in these scenes.
Ralph's flight with the vertical stablizers would have been better if new flying effects would have been shot with Katt wearing them, instead of stock flying shots.
You see a great close-up shot of the suit's boot spats as Ralph attaches the gizmos to his legs. Notice the shoe is the one with the grid-like tread on the bottom.
There's one flying effects shot during the test flight which was only used in this episode and no other. It's the shot of Katt on his side entering the shot from the left side of the screen, and spinning toward the right side.
Dennis Madalone who takes the fall for Katt when he crashes at the precognition crash site looks like he was launched towards the ground instead of just jumping into the scene. He comes flying in and smacks the ground hard, more so than if he had just jumped.
This is the first episode in which Bill gets to experience the power of the suit by touching Ralph, or if Ralph touches Bill.
David Clover who plays the "look down at your shoelaces" guard also appears as the motorcycle cop who sees Ralph speed run in My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys. Laurence Hadon who played Burke also appears in Here's Looking at You, Kid.
After Burke's line "Who the hell is Ralph?" we see a shot of Katt flying towards the camera. As he does, he puts his hands up in front of his face and turns his head as he goes up and over. I believe this was an alternate take from the Pilot, if used this would have been the shot of Ralph right before he hits the billboard in the alley.
Nice touch adding the "live" shot of Ralph's hands grabbing the tail of the plane. This would have looked even better if the double's dark hair wouldn't have been seen performing the stunt. This scene has a little bad editing, when you see the live hands grab the tail, cut to Katt effects flying not holding the tail, right back to the live hands letting go of the tail, back to the same effects flying shot of Katt backing away from the plane.
In the ABC version watch the phone booth scene as Bill looks up Miller Stables, he finds the address, and Katt turns and clearly mouths the words "I'm flying," yet there's just silence. He then runs out of frame, as to take off. Culp then loads the cat into the car by himself and then jumps in. All of a sudden as the shot changes, we see Katt run up to the car and jump in! Obviously this scene was changed at some point on location to include Ralph leaving with Bill and could not be fixed in editing. Now in all prints (DVD and syndication) the line "I'm flying" has been restored and it makes no sense since Katt actually jumps back in the car instead of taking to the air.
Awesome live shot from inside the plane as Ralph flies past the cabin's windows. After flying past the window, there's a shot of the hijackers reacting to seeing a flying Ralph. Now wait a minute....if Ralph flew up on the left side of the plane, past the cabin windows, to the planes door, he never would have passed by the cockpit windows. Maybe he flew a complete circle around the plane before coming back to the door on the port side of the aircraft
Another nice "live" shot of Katt flying and struggling to keep up with the plane at its door. The wind machines are on full blast for this shot depicting the effects of flight.
One lone jet pilot sees Ralph fly Pam from the plane, he has the line "team leader two, did you see that!?" the music and sound effects are very loud, but you can here the line...."negative"
The stock footage of the plane crash looks like it takes place on some sort of runway, instead of out in an open area.
THE HAND-PAINTED THAI
Air Date: January 27, 1982
A federal agent brainwashed years ago while a POW leads Ralph and Bill to chase down the connection between mind control and acts of sabotage.
Written By: Frank Lupo, Stephen J. Cannell and Burke Hasburgh
Directed By: Bruce Kessler
Guest Cast: James Shigeta (Shawn Liang), John Fujioka (Gen. Vin Chow), Kurt Grayson (Tim Lider), Hilary Labow (Erika Van Damm), J.P. Bumstead, Kurt Grayson (Tim Lider), Terrance O’Hara, Charles Lanyer, Hilary Labow, Terrance Evans, Michael Cornelison, Chris Hendrie (Marv Keegan), James Saito (Kelly Kim), Odesa Cleveland (nurse), Lori Michaels (Shirley)
A so-so episode. This one never did really grab me, despite some great comic bits between the three leads. Maybe the script was re-written several times since 3 writers are credited. I would be very interested in reading any early drafts of this episode that are different than what was aired, if they exist.
Great stuntwork by Dennis Madalone when he flies up the side of the building with a dummy over his shoulder. Scenes like these filmed on location were accomplished by having the stuntman with the dummy stand on the edge of the roof and jumping off backwards! When reversed it looks like he flies up the side and lands on the roofs edge. You can see tons of these kinds of reverse scenes in any episodes of "Six Million Dollar Man" and "Bionic Woman."
A couple of years after this episode was made, there was a second season "A-Team" episode that had a very similar ending as this one.
MORE TO COME...
JUST ANOTHER THREE RING CIRCUS
Air Date: February 3, 1982
Bill is given the assignment of finding a missing clown, so he and Ralph go undercover and join a circus to investigate.
Written By: Stephen J. Cannell
Directed By: Chuck Bowman
Guest Cast: Catherine Campbell (Erica), David Winn (John), Kai Wulff (Peter), Alex Rodine (Klaus), Derek Thompson, Richard Doyle (Uri Yovanovitch), Patrick Stack (Chuck), Chip Johnson (Sharp), Jourdan Fremin (Lisa), Derek Thompson (Spielman), Gene Lebell (Yuri)
Another well balanced episode, manages to fit alot of stuff in, and even gives Pam a little field work, something that was needed in many more episodes. Sellecca never had enough to do. Great scenes between Maxwell and Carlisle highlight also.
One of the ABC promos for this episode had the voiceover "Ralph and Jill go undercover." JILL! Who is Jill? More than likely the voiceover artist had copy to read with the typo Jill instead of Bill.
As Ralph tries on some of Yuri's clown items, he has the line "The circus is about to begin" after which we see a shot of a elephant falling to the ground, then a reaction shot of Culp inside what looks like Yuri's tent, but he already left.
The shots of the gliders use the same background plates of the city at night as was used for flying effects. I had at one time owned one of the miniature gliders used in this scene, but have since sold it.
Watch the effects shot as Ralph catches a falling Bill, some of this footage is stock from the pilot with new backgrounds matted in. Culp is wearing his standard blue/gray suit as he falls, but look carefully when Ralph catches the falling body, the dummy has on a BROWN suit, also this same brown suited dummy is seen in the flying shot where Ralph has his right arm stuck out. This looks like footage shot for the episode The Hand Painted Thai in which Ralph saves agent Tim Lighter as he jumps from a tall building. The actor that played Lighter was wearing a brown suit and the building background plate matches the building from Thai, the footage was just optically tinted dark to appear like night for this episode.
Bill says in this episode "Ralph, I'm the number two federal officer in all of Los Angeles, and if we crack this clown caper I'm gonna be number one!" Now this would have been interesting to see this agent Bill spoke of becoming suspicious of Maxwell's "all of a sudden" kill record.
A lot of what looks like 1950s stock footage is used in the circus scenes.
Check out the wrist bands on the suit after Ralph crashes into the picnic table, they are white, instead of gray.
As Ralph flies from the park, the flying sound effects is dubbed in about a second too soon.
Ralph flying down towards the rooftop was taken from The Beast in the Black, and the antenna crash was from My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys. Ralph looking down into the air vent was also taken from Cowboys.
During the whole scene of Ralph mopping up the circus bad guys and getting the lowdown of what was going on from the real Biff Henderson, take a look at the suits belt buckle, I used to think it was blank with no insignia. Now with a 50 inch TV screen, and upscaled episodes on Blu-ray one can make out the insignia ever so slightly. The face of the buckle just isn't painted.
THE SHOCK WILL KILL YOU
Air Date: February 10, 1982
Ralph rescues a disabled space shuttle, and in the process unleashes a outer space slime monster that's out to kill and eat all the electricity on Earth.
Written By: Patrick Burke Hasburgh, Frank Lupo and Stephen J. Cannell
Directed By: Rod Holcomb
Guest Cast: Don Starr (Crocker), Rod Colbin (Gen. Enright), Ray Girardin (Col. Nelson), Leonard Lightfoot (lieutenant), Bert Hinchman, Doug Hale, Ned Ballamy (R.J.), Randy Patrick (Rider), Bert Hinchman (guard)
This episode is way too ambitious for it's budget. It's too bad the production couldn't have skimped on a couple of normal "bad guy" shows, to save up a little extra dough to spend on this one. No fault of the production company, only a certain amount could be spent and it's difficult to do a "creature" type episode with no funds. Wise move to keep it mostly in the dark. This episode was a bit off the series format, but director Rod Holcomb never lets it become too silly, and we are treated to several great character bits.
Had this episode been produced a couple of years later, more "real" shuttle footage would have been available by the truckload to use instead of the cheap NASA like animation depicting the craft in space.
Ralph starts using the phrase "Works for me", which seems like an early attempt by Cannell and his team to coin a phrase to identify with his series. Someone must have really liked this one, it went on to be used in the NBC series "Hunter." They had much better luck with the famous "I love it when a plan comes together" used over and over on "The A-Team."
We learn in this episode that Bill keeps gun magazines in the glove compartment and kills time during stakeouts by doing the crossword puzzles in the back!
Ralph worries about TV coverage catching him "streaking in like the red baron" to save the shuttle. Why didn't he just turn invisible?
While Ralph and company are watching the shuttle approach they discuss the fact the landing gear won't be down, clearly in one shot you can see the gear starting to deploy.
In one of the first shots showing Ralph from the back as he comes up on the shuttle, you can see the craft is being escorted by jet fighters. I wonder what their pilots would have thought? A couple of excited jet pilot voiceovers would have been nice.
Several shots from the "binoculars point of view" are seen as Ralph flys the shuttle in. Some of these shots would have been impossible to see looking up from the ground.
The shuttle miniature was auctioned off a few years ago, and now rests in a fans collection.
You gotta love the line: " Oh, I'd be afraid I'd cook a train or something."
Several not very "special effects" are seen in this episode as Ralph becomes a human magnet.
You get a nice close up of the costume's belt buckle as Bill's gun attaches itself to it.
One of the techs examining the shuttle looks as though he's using the gunsight prop that's been slightly modified from "Here's Looking at You, Kid."
You can clearly see the lines pulling the blanket with the wrapped up silverware as it "follows" Ralph when he's pacing back and forth.
Bill loses another tan sedan as his seventh car is trashed in this episode.
The GAH gang again visits the same "hydro electric plant" location last seen just two episodes ago in The Hand Painted Thai.
The space monster is at its best when left in the shadows. Director Rod Holcomb's scenes of the creature stalking Ralph were way more effective than the monster itself.
After Ralph drops the slime monster in the drink, he crashes (which looks as though it could be never used footage originally shot for Operation: Spoilsport, or The Lost Diablo) if you look close it appears that stuntman Madalone's belt may not have a buckle on it.
A CHICKEN IN EVERY PLOT
Air Date: February 17, 1982
Ralph, Bill, Pam and the kids travel to the Virgin Islands to help a old friend of Bill's. When they arrive they find out the man has been killed and they are targets of a Voodoo Cult.
Written By: Danny Lee Cole and Jeffrey Duncan Ray
Directed By: Rod Holcomb
Guest Cast: Ron O’Neal (Col. Felipe Augereau), Thalmus Rasulala (Victor Suchet/Etienne), Lincoln Kilpatrick (Le Masters), John Hancock (Gen. Louie Devout), Todd Armstrong (Ted McSherry)
The voodoo master combined with scenes of his followers with torches and jungle drums make for a eerie setting, not a typical episode for the series.
Culp's scenes as "the ugly American" as he tries to get information from the locals are classic Maxwell.
As Louie Devout eases the boat away from the dock after knocking Bill out, you can see a reflection in the glass of someone, possibly the director making a motion with one of his arms.
Nice change seeing Ralph flying over the ocean and jungle setting, quite a change from the city skyline we are used to. The opticals of Katt seemed a little ill-fitted to the backgrounds in some shots, but the series was forced to use the stock flying footage they shot during the pilot and tried to make it work the best they could.
As Ralph hot-wires the jeep in front of Tony, he tells him someday they would sit down and he would tell the story of how he became a teacher. This small glimpse into Ralph's past should have been expanded on in another episode. In fact the
only past we really learn about during the series run is Maxwell's, Ralph's is briefly touched on, and Pam's pretty much ignored altogether.
Watch when Tony and the gang get out of the jeep to move the road block, Tony has the line "I'm going to feed that guy that rattle" watch Pare' as he almosts starts laughing after he says it.
As Ralph flies in to save Pam from the blade, the speed of the flying effects was increased dramatically.
The stuntman's (Madalone?) leap onto the police car as the president is trying to escape was kind of a let down. It looks as though he jumped from the ground onto the passenger side door. It would have been more dramatic for Ralph to crash onto the cars roof and swung himself down onto the door, and skid along the side. (a classic Ralph move)
The stuntman's final leap into the air after stopping the president was impressive.
THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA
Air Date: February 24, 1982
Still in the Virgin Islands, Ralph rescues a survivor of a yacht hijacking who claims the incident was interrupted by a sea monster.
Written By: Frank Lupo
Directed By: Sidney Hayers
Guest Cast: Jeremy Kemp (Devereaux), Glynn Turman (Le Clerc), Michael Halsey (Collins), Anne Bloom (Linda), Will Hare
· In the opening scene featuring the Contrail’s highjacking, you can see in the background another boat as the thugs board.
· Katt, Sellecca, and Pare' are great in the "Prince of Wales" scene, little scenes like this are terrific, and it's too bad this kind of humor is not what the series is remembered for.
Culp's opening scene on the phone with Katt was shot in a little cubby hole meant to be a FBI office. Since Culp was on location with the rest of the cast, I'm not certain if this was something cobbled together on location, or was a shot picked up quickly after returning to the states.
Ralph's map charting the missing craft is the same map with the magic marker circles and arrows that can be seen in A Chicken in Every Plot.
Check out when Ralph flies after the Contrail, Dennis Madalone comes leaping over the back of the boat, then a nice cut is made of Katt in mid-air landing on the deck. It's an almost seamless cut that gives you the effect that it was Katt that came over the side and landed.
After landing aboard the deserted Contrail, Ralph pulls Bill and Pam up from the water. Notice for the entire scene Sellecca holds a jacket in front of her, letting it drop only once, threatening to push the series out of the family hour! (ie. cold water )
During the Bill kidnap scene, Dennis Madalone as Ralph does a great leap off the balcony, plus his leap into the kidnappers is awesome because it looks as though he hits them with a lot of force, instead of just a jump on top of them.
The shot of Ralph catching the drunk is stock footage (notice the dummy's brown suit) from The Hand Painted Thai matted into a dark background plate, and kudos again to stuntman Madalone for performing a backwards leap in the dark with a dummy over his shoulder, to be used in the reverse film effect.
Obviously it's a double (Madalone?) who is pulled across the dock as Ralph begins to be keelhauled.
New flying effects were shot with Ralph holding the boat's rope and reeling it in while in the air.
An awful prop monster head was used as "Carrie" in the last shot in this episode, you would think since it was shot in close up a more realistic monster head could have been found, but it was a nice touch showing Ralph was right.
IT'S ALL DOWNHILL FROM HERE
Air Date: March 3, 1982
While on a ski trip with Pam, Ralph witnesses the shooting of a U.S. ski team member and needs Bill to find the killers and help a Russian ski team member to defect.
Written By: Patrick Burke Hasburgh
Directed By: Sidney Hayers
Guest Cast: Red West (Blandin), Sandra Kearns (Samantha), Bill Lucking (Klein), Norbert Weisser (Yuri), Michael Billington (Talenikov), Stefan Gierasch (Karpov), Sara Torgov (Anna), Craig Schaeffer (boy in the lift line), Dan Shurwin (Scott Templeton), Stan Howard (lift attendant)
This episode suffers from the main unit not going on location with the cast. All of the exteriors with the first unit actors are shot on a soundstage in front of a small not very convincing backdrop, while the second unit took off in search for snow. Kudos to Chris Nelson and the small unit that shot all the location footage that makes up a good portion of the episode.
A couple of new close up blue screen shots were done of Katt showing him skiing.
Bob Hastings appears again, not as Pam's father, but as a sportscaster calling the ski race!
Some awesome ski stunts can be seen while "Free To Fly" plays over the scene, showing us that the suit can ski.
One known "blooper" exists that aired on one of the p.i. Clark Blooper shows, it was taken from this episode.
All of the flying effects is stock footage matted over new snowy backgrounds, so even though we see Ralph in the suit wearing red snowboots, when he's flying no extra boots over the suit are seen.
Ralph flies up on the shooter who is trying to escape in a snowplow, funny how this guy doesn't hardly seem surprised to see a guy FLYING after him!
Watch as the little kids that are in the plow's path ski to a stop, the scene changes to a wide shot of the snowplow bearing down on them. If you look close, you can see the stuntman's cape flapping from behind the plow, yet in the scene he hasn't ran over the hill and grabbed the runaway machine yet!
When you see Katt's second unit double land and tumble in the snow, he's wearing the red snowboots, yet when he comes running over the hill chasing the runaway plow the double
has no extra boots on.
In the stopping the plow scene, it appears like the bootspat stirrups on the stuntman's costume have been cut, the spats are all bunched up on top of the red shoes.
Katt and Culp's scene with Bill Lucking as Klein is classic "GAH," with overlapping dialogue, it shows how talented these guys are.
Notice during the shell game switch between Ralph and Yuri, that Culp's hair appears much darker than in the rest of this episode, he must have had some color added during this episode's production.
The moving background behind Samantha, Bill and Yuri while they are escaping on the snowmobile is obviously on some sort of turning drum.
Watch Katt's shadow after he slams the two bad guys against the lockers, you can see his hands come up and grab the helmet to remove it, but when the scene cuts back to him he is just starting to raise his hands to take the helmet off.
If you have an original ABC broadcast or an 80's syndicated version, watch Katt and Culp in the background as he says the line "One people one planet," Katt turns to face Culp, you hear the dubbed line, then the scene is reversed to see Katt's face forward again, you can really spot this due to Culp's hand motion. The shot is repeated forward & backwards, much the same way the Sandperson raising the weapon over his head shot is repeated in Star Wars.
Air Date: March 17, 1982
Bill wants Ralph's help in watching out for a vengeful parolee, meantime Ralph's wrapped up in trying to help three fellow teachers realize their dreams.
Written By: Stephen J. Cannell
Directed By: Sidney Hayers
Guest Cast: Michael Baseleon (Johnny Sanova), Elizabeth Hoffman (Margaret Detwiller, Robby Weaver (Ray Buck), Fred Stuthman (Evan Thoman), Nicholas Worth (Norm), James Costy (Duffy Magellan), Johnny Crear (Matty), John LeBouvier (Irma Keeler), Charles Hutchinson (Ted Keeler), Peter Trancher (seminar guest speaker), Edward Bell, Nick Pellegrino, Milt Kogan
Money must have been tight at San Quentin for Johnny Sanova's prison number on his shirt to be written with magic marker on a piece of tape.
In the original draft script Johnny Sanova is really Johnny Damanti from the first hour long episode The Hit Car. It's unknown why it was changed to Sanova, but my first guess is that Gianni Russo who was Damanti was not available. It's really too bad Russo did not return, as it would have cemented that connection to an early adventure and Russo's acting style is a lot different than Baseleon's which I think would have enhanced this episode.
The effects shot of Katt, large in the frame flying past the camera holding his clothes appearsto be unused angle FX shot from his alley flight in the pilot movie.
A new insert of Ralph's arm dropping his clothes was filmed, but it wasn't a blue screen effect, it was just shot in front of a plain white backdrop.
When you see Ralph get up facing the camera from his landing on the toy maker's rooftop, it's a few seconds stock footage from The Beast in The Black, you can see the clothes line with a sheet hanging on it in the background.
Ralph's leap from the toymakers roof is stock from My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys.
Watch as Pam drives Bill and Ralph to the bank, Sellecca's hands are constantly moving across the steering wheel but she's not really gripping and turning it!
Ralph landing on the bank thugs' car and pulling it to a stop is stock footage from 200 Mile-an-Hour Fastball.
Take a look at the footage of the Carlton Hotel as Ralph flies in the doorway to try and save Bill and Pam, in the footage it shows him flying right in front of people walking down the sidewalk, passing right in front of their faces!
Katt bursts into a room full of people and pretends to be a singing telegram, Katt had to loop the phone number dialogue because you can see he really says a 465, instead of 555 that's normally used in TV/movies.
It was nice to see Ralph do something on a large scale as pick a van up in the air, however the small Ralph figure with a paper looking cape used in the effects shots left much to be desired.
Notice that Bill has the thug driving the van pitch all of their guns out the window! Not a very safe thing to do considering what could have been hit down below.
Once again the stirrups on the bootspats are cut on the stuntman's costume as he brings the van skidding to a stop.
Ralph's crash on the roof as he goes to save Evan looks like it was shot on the same rooftop used as the toy maker's building at the start of this episode.
Watch as Katt bursts in the room to disrupt the card game. He flips the table over, and it looks like one of the legs catches him in the stomach. He reacts briefly, but continues on so not to ruin the take.
Listen to Culp as he's explaining to Principal Knight about Margaret, he says "I don't know what to tell ya, if it hadn't been for the ball, uh the courage of this Margaret...." Sounds like a Culp ad-lib as it's not in the script I have. I believe he slipped something in that I'm sure ABC's Standards and Practices Department wouldn't have let pass had they caught it.
This is the only episode in which you don't hear the "GAH" theme during the end credits, the song Dreams was heard. Incredible is the fact that at no time while the song was playing was it interrupted by the usual "Tomorrow on Good Morning America" voiceover, it makes me wonder if Cannell and Co. had requested that this airings end credits not be interrupted in the original first broadcast.
THERE'S JUST NO ACCOUNTING...
Air Date: March 24, 1982
After Ralph rescues a kidnapped little girl and recovers the ransom, he finds himself dogged by a maniacal IRS agent after he discovers the case of cash at Ralph's house.
Written By: Frank Lupo
Directed By: Ivan Dixon
Guest Cast: James Whitemore, Jr. (Byron Bigsby), Jerry Douglas (Jack Martel), Marc Alaimo (Donnie Armus), Emily Moultrie (Debbie Sherwin), Cloyce Morrow (Penny Sherwin), Carole Mallory, Eugene Peterson, Ted Gehring, Ryan MacDonald
Bill mentions in this episode "We've snagged missiles out of the sky" nice reference to Operation: Spoilsport.
When Katt's double (not Madalone) runs across the bridge to take off, the flying sound effects starts a little early, before he makes his leap.
Notice when Martel leans out the window and with the gun and blows a hole in Maxwell's windshield they are driving in a business district, yet when you see all of Ralph's records fly out the window and Maxwell slids to a stop, magically the scene is changed to a more open rural area.
Nice that the production took the time to shoot new flying effects showing Ralph carrying the little girl.
In just a handful of minutes we get to see Ralph land on his feet on the boat, and he does it again while holding the girl, showing in this as in other episodes that he was learning how to control his flights better.
More new flying effects are seen as Ralph flys through his records that are blowing in the wind.
Of course then when Ralph flies over his house carrying the case full of money, it's stock footage, and no briefcase can be seen.
With this first run show the middle break episode bumpers were changed back from Ralph using his powers on Pam's car, to the normally used billboard crash from the pilot.
The Sherwin's house is the same location used in 200 Mile-an-Hour Fastball, it's the house Ralph and Bill go to negotiate Ralph's baseball deal.
When Dennis Madalone as Ralph takes off from the Sherwin's house you can see the "air ram" used to launch him spring up from behind the bushes.
Immediately after that take off we get to see a old Ralph effects shot matted into a new background of what looks like a white sky and bare leafless trees going by. This is the only episode this shot ever appears in.
While preparing to snatch another child, you gotta love Armus as he says "You don't think that Captain Video or whoever is gonna show up again do you?" Then he gets into it with Martel over the "flying guy." A nice touch showing the effects on normal people after seeing Ralph.
Once again we get to see the incredible flight up to the top of the billboard first used in 200 Mile An Hour Fastball (plus a angle from the bottom looking up as stuntman Dennis Madalone flys towards the top, not used in Fastball) when Ralph stops Martel from snatching the kid.
When Maxwell slides into the scene of the botched kidnapping he's driving his normal box shaped tan sedan, as you see him chase Armus and they smash cars together Maxwell's has changed to a older model and different shaped vehicle, then after Ralph saves the bad guys car, Maxwell's has changed back to the regular tan sedan.
Most of Ralph's flight with Bill up the side of the building is stock effects from the pilot with new backgrounds matted in.
After all the action seen in this episode, you would have thought the ending with "Mr. Fatty" and his goons would have been more extensive.
THE GOOD SAMARITAN
Production #96222 Air Date: March 31, 1982
Bill wants Ralph's help in chasing down a pair of escaped convicts, while Ralph has decided it's time to use the suit for human interest type missions.
Written By: Rudolph Borchert
Directed By: Bruce Kessler
Guest Cast: Keenan Wynn (Ira Hagert), Dennis Lipscomb (Dave Tanner), Carmen Argenziano (Murph), Harry Grant (Nino), Sandra McCully (Judy), Bill Quinn (Harlan), Ron Thompson), Will MacMillan, Wendy Wessburg (TV reporter), Pat Wilson (woman), Joshua Miller (Jonathan)
Watch as Dave Tanner pulls up in his van listening to the police scanner (it looks like a CB radio instead of a mobile scanner), look as you see the close up of the device it's not even on!
Following the take off towards Ira's house the effects shot of Ralph flying up towards the camera with the grassy background below was first seen in Now You See It.
The effects shot of Ralph flying over the rooftop is stock first used in Reseda Rose.
Nice reverse film effect showing Ralph inhaling the gas from the SWAT team smoke bomb. Look the second time the shot is shown (when he finishes) you can see the smoke is shown just above Katt's upper lip giving the you the true position (the other side of Katt's head) of where the device really was that shot the smoke out.
When Ralph vanishes from Ira's side as the SWAT team comes in, no cartoony sound effects are heard. I think it was more impressive in the scenes that DIDN'T use the sound.
While chasing the escaped thugs, the flying effects show Ralph above a busy street passing cars, pedestrians, even a guy on a motorcycle! It would have been nice to see some sort of surprise reaction from the normal "man on the street."
A crowd is watching the scene as it's filmed of Bill and Ralph outside the police station when Bill comes out with the stocking hood.
After Ralph first holographs on the missing boys hat, he jumps up and there's a shot through the trees of him running, you can see he doesn't have the cape on. This is BEFORE he finds the boy and takes the cape off.
Kudos to the production for taking the time to rig Culp's coat sleeve with the "smoke tubes" to get the burned hand effect.
The stuntman's leap onto the luggage cart could have been better if he would have fell out of the top of the screen, instead of coming in from the side. It looks like he just ran and jumped on the moving cart.
Watch as Ralph pulls the tractor to a stop, Nino pulls a lever (hand brake?) before Ralph grabs and throws him on one of the luggage carts.
Great flying effects in the final shot as we see Ralph leaving the airport! Flying straight, and fast up from the ground, and out the right side of the screen. We never see this shot or this flying effect matted into a new background any other time in the entire series. Funny how a handful of the best effects scenes of Ralph flying straight were only used once.
CAPTAIN BELLYBUSTER AND THE SPEED FACTORY
Air Date: April 7, 1982
While tracking down drug runners using fast food supply trucks to distribute drugs, Ralph gets some unexpected help from Captain Bellybuster, plus finds a photo of himself flying in a tabloid newspaper.
Written By: Stephen J. Cannell and Frank Lupo
Directed By: Arnold Laven
Guest Cast: Chuck McCann, Anthonly Charnoto (Mike), Colin Hamilton, Stanley Grover, Danny Wells, Rex Ryon, Jim Greenleaf, John Roselius (passenger), Janet Winter (receptionist), Bob Jacobs (kid)
Anthony Charnoto appears again in the series as a mobster type thug.
Nice touch when Bill says "Don't break a door on me now, be careful!" Maybe refering back to when Ralph ripped the door off of Bill's car in There's Just No Accounting. Frank Lupo who co-wrote this episode with Cannell also wrote Accounting.
The reverse film effect is used once again as Dennis Madalone Katt's stunt double grabs the front of the speeding Hamburger Heaven truck.
Take a look a the double's feet as he skids to a stop while holding on to the front of the truck. Possibly due to the wet pavement, some sort of thicker sandle type footwear was added. If you look close the back of it extends out past the bottom of the stuntmans foot. It's not the normal red shoe.
In the scene where the gang confronts Warful about his newspaper story, we see Warful start recording the conversation, but when Bill suggests to Ralph to show an example of the suit's power, right before the tape recorder explodes you can see the tape is no longer moving. Probably because the batteries or some of the other insides had to be removed by the effects guys to add the explosives for the shot.
This is the only time in the series run that we see blue screen work when showing the cast driving in a car. I'm sure it was done this way to show Katt landing in the backseat while the car is supposed to be moving. All other times the cast was really outside on city streets or shot on a dark soundstage.
Great shot in the scene that shows the Captain leaping out of the limo. If you watch in the background as the limo speeds away, Dennis Madalone as Ralph is still clutching the bumper.
Great dialogue after Ralph and Bill save Mickey, they walk back through the park, and Mickey questions Ralph as to why the costume if he's not the Captain's replacement.
McCann's Captain gives Ralph a great pep talk about the superheroes of yesteryear, and their impact on society.
Cool scene when the forklift tries to crush Ralph, but watch as he pushes the forklift back to a stop, Katt stops pushing and immediately steps to the right to grab the thug driving. The blades of the lift must have been removed for Katt to get in there, because if not he would have had to stepped back to get out from between the blades then around to grab the thug.
Because of the 7pm timeslot and the non-violence Cannell was famous for, when Bill shoots Don in the arm there is no blood stain.
Listen as during the last scene, Bill is excited that Carlisle has bought the Bellybuster story, and Katt can be heard saying Captain Billybuster.
WHO'S WOO IN AMERICA
Air Date: April 14, 1982
Ralph's mother comes to town with plans on marrying a international courier, who's being sought by Arabs, a crazy oil tycoon, and government agents.
Written By: Patrick Burke Hasburgh
Directed By: Bob Bender
Guest Cast: Barbara Hale (PaulaHinkley), Tom Hallick (Phillip Kaballa), Michael Prince (Prentice Hall), Jon Cedar (Heller), Hugh Gillin (C.C. Smith), Dave Cass (Goodwin), Daniel Chodos, Don Maxell (Brockman), Daniel Dayden (Haffa), Gerald Jann (Dr. Woo), Milt Tarver (computer clerk), Terri Hanaver (Jill), Ted Richards (waiter), Brian Sheehan (racquetball clerk) Dinah Lindsey Smith (woman)
This is the only episode in which the teaser/preview uses the longer version of the instrumental theme runnig approx. 1 minute.
Used again during the guest credits is the helicopter view over L.A. From the pilot movie.
Ralph's address on his mother's postcard reads:
8907 Burke St.
L.A., CA 90282
...but the exterior used for Ralph's house on location reads 13216, which is the real life house number. Using Burke was probably an “in” joke named after writer Patrick Burke Hasburgh.
When the Arabs grab Ralph and hook him up to the polygraph, notice the insert shot of the polygraph's armband being attached to Ralph. A double for Katt was used for this insert shot. I'll leave the you the fan to watch the episode and figure out how you can tell.
The effects shot of Ralph catching the falling man is actually the shot of Ralph catching Agent Tim Liter with just a new background plate of the helicopter in the sky matted in. By the way, just who is the guy that C.C. Smith orders thrown out of the chopper? The script answers that question, it's a random stable groom at the ranch/estate. The script also confirms there's a bit of missing dialogue in the episode. After the pilot says "We've got something closing in on us C.C." There's supposed to be a line from C.C. Smith "God only knows...lose it!" and then the pilots reply of "I can't he's on us"
After crashing into the motor lodge, you can clearly see the jumpcut after Ralph grabs the tux, walks out of frame, then before he reappears.
The costume department must have been running low on capes for this episode. Watch after Ralph crashes to the ground with C.C. (who is an obvious double with dark hair) as Katt's double starts to leap into the air you can see the cape isn't even made from a solid material, you can see through it!
Watch as the two thugs are leading Bill away up the stairs at gunpoint. The second thug is very aware that the stuntman is about to crash into them, right before the falling double leaps onto them, he tenses his shoulders up, preparing for the impact.
Robert Culp doesn't appear much in this episode.
Many flying stock footage FX shots are used in this episode as Ralph flies to the motor lodge. Jimmy Giritlian used to "fly" Ralph a bit longer in episodes that came up a bit short on running time.
LILACS, MR. MAXWELL
Air Date: April 28, 1982
Bill meets and falls for a woman who's a double agent, planted to find out how he mantains his spectacular success rate.
Written By: Robert Culp
Directed By: Robert Culp
Guest Cast: Ted Flicker (David), Adam Gregor (Yuri), Arnold Turner (insurance man), Dixie Carter (O’Neil), Gay Rowan, Trisha Hilka, Gary Pagett, Craig Shreeve, Judd Omen, Robert Alan Browne, James Lydon, Dabbs Greer, Nick Shields, Stefanie Faulkner (Jane), Ralph Clift (Mr. Bunker), Gary Pagett (Mr. Rogers), Craig Shreeve (Mr. Newton), Trisha Hilka (Annie)
In the teaser/preview the shot of Ralph crashing into the doghouse and saying, "I'm sorry puppy, is that your house?" is not seen in the finished episode.
Great idea to search through all the items from old FBI cases, but if Maxwell started solving not only cases assigned to him, but also cases the feds couldn't break, wouldn't that draw even more attention to him?
Culp does a outstanding job showing us a side of Maxwell we are not used to seeing....."uh, Ralph, just keep walkin', don't say....anything."
What was going through the producers' minds when they OK'd the adding of the stupid yelps that Ralph is supposed to be screaming as he crashes into the room with the Russian bad guys?
We learn in this episode the official total of Bill's wrecked cars at the time was 5 cars in 18 months.
This episode had a interesting scene that I wish would have been followed up on in the third season. Carlisle walks in with three men who are visiting from D.C., two are schmoozing with Maxwell, and one, Mr. Williams, is highly suspicious. He isn't impressed with Bill, and says so. He tells Carlisle to keep in touch about this matter. It would have been a nice running thread to tie the series together.
We get a rare piece of background material on Bill in this episode, when he mentions "not wanting anything like this, not since my wife."
The stupid yelps/screams return at the end of this episode when Ralph leaps into the air to stop the surfers with the guns. The rest of the end is sort of a cop out, with Ralph, who is invisible stops all of the bad guys. I expected a better ending.
At the end of this episode it seems as though Bill is not going to let go of O'Neil, it looks as though Bill is not going to testify against her, so there would be no case against her. It ends with a freeze frame of them hugging with a pissed Ralph in the background. By the end of this second season Ralph and Bill, although having their differences now and then, had become good friends. Throwing O'Neil in as a monkey wrench would have been a welcome adult theme in the third season.