Thursday, August 21, 2008

Disco Fever Comes To Orly

04 Disco Fever Comes to Orly
October 16, 1979
Music: William Broughton
Writer: Richard Landau
Director: Daniel Haller

Women's lib comes to Orly County in this episode written by Richard Landau, who began penning B-movie screenplays in the early 1940s and compiled credits such as VOODOO ISLAND, FRANKENSTEIN 1970 and THE GIRL IN BLACK STOCKINGS. Moving to television around 1960, Landau continued to have a prolific writing career, which also involved producing such series as THE RAT PATROL and THE WILD WILD WEST. One of his last regular TV jobs was as THE MISADVENTURES OF SHERIFF LOBO's story editor, which led to his cranking out this high-concept episode.

Dixie (Joyce Bulifant), an old flame of Lobo's who spent ten years in prison for a crime we never learn about, but for which Lobo (Claude Akins) arrested her, arrives in Orly with a scheme to blackmail the sheriff out of revenge. Vamping him into becoming a one-fourth partner in her new strip joint, Dixie neglects to tell her new associate that the club offers male strippers, which leads the Orly men, including the mayor (George Murdock), to call for Lobo to shut the place down. Afraid for his reputation, but too avaricious to turn away his share of the profits, Lobo half-asses an attempt to close Dixie down, only for the town's women to organize a strike that results in some severely undersexed husbands and boyfriends. In a good use of a character drastically underused to date, the leader of the local women's movement is Rose (Cydney Crampton), Lobo's sister and the battleaxe wife of deputy Perkins (Mills Watson).

Not exactly heady material here, "Disco Fever," which isn't really about disco, is an able attempt by Landau to take topical material and dumb it down for LOBO's audience. Obviously, the series isn't interested in tackling politics as it is in having Perkins fall down a lot, so don't look for any subtext buried within Landau's script. Haller, a former art director who began his directing career making horror flicks for AIP, handles the material just fine, although his action scenes seem a bit hamstrung by the limitations that go with shooting car chases on the Universal backlot. Bulifant, who usually played perky housewives, has fun as a conning sexpot, and Warren Berlinger is her partner.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You forgot to finish what you started: Dixie suggests to Lobo that she sells the place to people who live there to ease the tensions and Lobo agrees. THen a woman tells Birdie that she bought 2% and a friend bought 10% and they were told to keep it a secret so nobody else finds out there is more of it available. Perkins has now decide to leave his job as a deputy to persue a career in show biz and bought a piece of as well as her sister and someone else for 54%. Then Birdie suspects something is wrong and searches the storeroom of Dixie's. They then find out that the boxes,which are supposed to have liquor are empty and Dixie and her associates are scamming the investers. Not only that, the strippers that performed there are being sent to Florida. So Lobo, Perkins, Rose and Birdie scheme to get Dixie before she and her associates abscond. Lobo reluctantly exonerates Dixie from willingly participating because there are photos of Lobo speaking with Dixie in investing in the place. Afterwards Rose decides to emcee the place now that Dixie is gone.