Friday, August 08, 2008

Panhandle Pussycats Come To Orly

03 Panhandle Pussycats Come to Orly
October 2, 1979
Music: William Broughton
Writer: Harvey Bullock
Director: Charles Rondeau

Not that THE MISADVENTURES OF SHERIFF LOBO was ever a master of subtlety, but casting ex-L.A. Rams quarterback Roman Gabriel and THE LONGEST YARD co-star Ed Lauter in a story about a football game between rival sheriff's departments isn't exactly imaginative. Veteran sitcom writer Harvey Bullock, whose credits range from THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW to THE JETSONS, served as LOBO's executive script consultant and also penned this slapstick episode that pits Sheriff Lobo's (Claude Akins) deputies against those of neighboring county sheriff John Sebastian Cain (Lauter).

Of course, Lobo has no interest in letting the "best man" win. After stocking his roster with the biggest, meanest roughhousers in Orly County, he announces that the world-famous Texas Cowgirls cheerleading squad will perform at halftime, ensuring the gate receipts intended for the local children's hospital will go through the roof. He also lays down a huge bet, so that he can snare big winnings, while looking look a hero for organizing a charity event.

Meanwhile, con artist Slick Willie (Harold Gould, who had starred as a conman on the shortlived THE FEATHER AND FATHER GANG), whose pursuit by both sheriffs had caused the football challenge, plans to rob the Orly Stadium box office, while every cop in two counties is on the playing field. Why he doesn't leap at the opportunity to rob someplace else far away from every cop in two counties, we'll never know.

Bullock's plot-heavy script is handled cleanly enough by journeyman director Charles Rondeau, who keeps the pace from flagging and doesn't hesitate to have Deputy Perkins (Mills Watson) fall down every three minutes for a cheap laugh (it's a good thing Watson is okay at the Lou Costello shtick). Faded silver screen star Gloria DeHaven guests as a stripper with a heart of gold. A couple of weeks later, Lauter would again play Captain Cain on BJ AND THE BEAR, which needed a new arch-enemy for its trucker hero (Greg Evigan) after Akins' defection to his own series.

3 comments:

Thaddeus Gunn said...

Your profile says you're a copywriter. So'm I. I'm the Senior at McCann-Erickson in Seattle. Whoodja write for? Your blog shows that you have an astounding knowledge of obscure films. I'm speechless.

Marty McKee said...

Hi, Thaddeus, thanks for stopping by. I'm a senior copywriter at Horizon Hobby, Inc. in Champaign, Illinois. We produce, distribute and market radio control hobby products, such as airplanes, helicopters, cars, buggies, trucks and all their accessories--engines, radios, batteries, etc. We do all our marketing in-house.

Hal said...

Hey, Marty. I'm doing my best to follow along and just watched this one a couple a nights ago. :)

Rondeau was the best F TROOP director by far so he's a good choice for this material. I actually spoke with him for about 30 minutes by telephone in 1989...I was working on a writing project. He was a good interview. Lots of interesting info from him.

The "Texas Cowgirls"; of course the Cowboy Cheerleaders were all the rage in 1979. Gould as a conman yet again (the John Dehner of the 1970's!), strippers....hey, populist entertainment at its finest! :)

Watching these I have to wonder why Mills Watson just dropped off the face of the earth in the early 1990's. He was a busy character actor for nearly 20 years, then just vanished.