Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Eyes Of Texas

16 The Eyes of Texas
November 10, 1979
Music: Stu Phillips
Writer: Glen A. Larson
Director: Bruce Bilson

Executive producer Larson wrote this backdoor pilot for a potential series called THE EYES OF TEXAS that would have starred Lorrie Mahaffey (HAPPY DAYS) and Rebecca Reynolds as two private-eyes-in-training working for a small Texas-based agency run by Roger C. Carmel. Even though the two detectives are literally unable to find New Orleans on a map, Carmel assigns them to find a gigolo (Peter Haskell) who is swindling older women of their life savings and sharing the dough with his gangster boss, played by the too-classy-for-this Raymond St. Jacques (COTTON COMES TO HARLEM). BJ (Greg Evigan) is dimmer than usual, first being used by the girls to squire them from one fancy N'awlins eatery to the next in search of Haskell, and then being convinced by them to help Haskell steal his latest mark's boat with the promise that the police have them under surveillance (they don't).

The girls try hard and they're certainly attractive enough, but the idea apparently didn't catch on with the networks. It doesn't work as a very good BJ AND THE BEAR either, as its content of action and laughs is lower than usual. Screen legend Anna Lee (BEDLAM) plays Haskell's victim, and Dick Yarmy (Don Adams' brother) manages to turn his two-minute bit into an effective little character arc.

For whatever reason, Larson was unable to let the idea for his CHARLIE'S ANGELS ripoff go. A couple of months later, he again used BJ to make a second EYES OF TEXAS pilot, replacing Mahaffey and Carmel with different actors. It didn't sell either.

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