Wednesday, March 04, 2009

First To Finish, Last To Show

First to Finish, Last to Show
January 8, 1980
Music: Jimmie Haskell
Writer: Robert Wolterstorff & Paul M. Belous
Director: Leslie H. Martinson

Crooked race horse owner Clayborn (John Anderson) and equally crooked veterinarian Peterson (Jack Ging) comes to Orly County to auction off legendary champion race horse Top Purse. After selling the horse to Big Joe Wabash (John Myhers) for $7 million, they try to burn down the barn holding Top Purse to disguise the fact that they auctioned off a fake. Deputy Perkins (Mills Watson), among his usual bumbling, including knocking down the tent holding the auction, actually does something reasonably competent in getting Top Purse to safety. I suspect Perkins must have been drawing a fan base of some sort by this time, as a lot of this episode is Mills Watson falling down, losing his drawers on a barbed wire fence, chopping a tree down on his police car, and other feats of idiocy. Sheriff Lobo (Claude Akins), always smelling a scam, keeps Top Purse's rescue a secret long enough to use it to mate with a mare he intends to buy.

The first of three MISADVENTURES OF SHERIFF LOBO scripts by story editors Wolterstorff and Belous is not bad, though the bad guys are given no backstory and exist only as plot conveniences. It's possible, however, that many of their scenes were cut in the syndicated version of the episode that I watched. Someone should add up the hours of television Martinson directed—I wonder if it's close to 1000. So many that I guess he didn't realize how corny is the old gag where a drunk sees a horse walking through a hotel lobby and then shakes his head, thinking he's having an alcoholic hallucination. Though, to be fair, it's hard to argue that any joke is too corny for THE MISADVENTURES OF SHERIFF LOBO.

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