Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Treasure Of Nature Beach

The Treasure of Nature Beach
March 5, 1980
Music: Jimmie Haskell
Writer: Mark Jones
Director: Daniel Haller

Less than two weeks after showing up on BJ AND THE BEAR in “The Girls on the Hollywood High,” actresses Rebecca Reynolds and Heather Thomas (THE FALL GUY) made their first and only guest appearance on THE MISADVENTURES OF SHERIFF LOBO. Series creator Glen A. Larson obviously had big dreams of getting the girls their own show, but this busted pilot fared just as well as the first two attempts (Reynolds teamed with Lorrie Mahaffey in the BJ episode “The Eyes of Texas”) did.

Private eyes Heather Fern (Reynolds) and Caroline Capote (Thomas), motivated by BJ McKay’s assurance that the lawman will do almost anything for money, come to Lobo (Claude Akins) with a scheme. For 20 percent of their take, Lobo will clear the local beach, Lost Cove (played by a process screen of ocean waves), of on-lookers while Caroline and her crew dig for a treasure of Spanish gold coins she claims is buried there. Of course, Perkins (Mills Watson) fumbles the job of clearing the bikini babes from the beach, arresting them for indecent exposure and spurring a nude protest that draws more attention to Lost Cove than ever before.

It’s all too good to be true, of course. Caroline and Heather are on an assignment to recover the treasure before it can be dug up by the couple who stole it in the Caribbean: Brian Delaney (Lewis Van Bergen) and Erika (Kathrine Baumann). Meanwhile, Birdie (Brian Kerwin) is in the dumps after he is confronted by an old flame, Susie (Jenny Neumann), who informs him that she’s pregnant with his baby. Birdie has no memory of getting anywhere near a bedroom with her the night of their high school reunion, but he’s a standup guy and willing to do the right thing with Susie.

For an episode short in car stunts (a good jump into a lake) and pratfalls (Perkins tumbles through the jail’s skylight), “The Treasure of Nature Beach” is still entertaining. Mark Jones, a former Hanna-Barbera writer who graduated to the LEPRECHAUN horror films, creates a plot-driven narrative that gives the guest stars enough to do, while still providing character moments for Kerwin (in a B-story unusual to SHERIFF LOBO) and Akins, whose Lobo may be avaricious, but still cares about his young deputy.

The episode also provides tantalizing clues as to Orly’s location: somewhere in Georgia on an ocean coastline where the Spanish treasure ships sailed. Well, that narrows it down.

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