02 Dean Martin and the Moonshiners
September 25, 1979
Teleplay: Glen A. Larson & Frank Lupo
Story: Thomas Szollosi & Richard Christian Matheson and Glen A. Larson & Frank Lupo
Director: James Sheldon
Twenty years after sadist Claude Akins forced down-and-out drunken deputy Dean Martin to dig a coin for a desperately needed nip out of a spittoon, the two performers reteamed for the second episode of THE MISADVENTURES OF SHERIFF LOBO. The title neatly spoofs Dean's former co-stars on his long-running variety show, the Golddiggers. As was his custom, it looks like Martin refused to rehearse or even memorize his lines, as his performance playing himself lacks verve, though I'm sure his guest-starring role—much more than a cameo—gave the fledgling series a ratings boost.
For the first time, Sheriff Lobo (Akins) faces re-election against a candidate even more corrupt than he: a local attorney (Ben Cooper) who runs a local moonshining operation that employs two redneck brothers (Dennis Fimple, Bruce Fischer). If Lobo can bust the moonshiners, he'll be able to run for office unopposed, which everyone knows is the only way he can win honestly. Leaving Deputy Birdie Hawkins (Brian Kerwin) and comely new deputy Margaret Ellen (Janet Lyn Curtis) in charge of staking out the moonshine ring, Lobo schemes to trap Dean Martin into performing at his campaign rally by setting a speedtrap for his limousine and convincing him the show is to benefit a local orphanage.
Lowbrow humor, to be sure, but also amusing and fun, as veteran director Sheldon (whose career went way back to MR. PEEPERS) throws in a couple of nice car chases and close-ups for sexy female behinds—something for everyone. Co-writer Lupo, who started with co-writer/executive producer Glen A. Larson on SWORD OF JUSTICE, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and BJ AND THE BEAR, soon switched his allegiance to fellow uber-creator Stephen J. Cannell, who hired him to produce THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO. Young writers Szollosi and Matheson (the son of acclaimed fantasy novelist and screenwriter Richard Matheson) also joined the Cannell stable, story editing THE A-TEAM.