Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Finders Keepers

06 Finders Keepers
November 6, 1979 (2 hrs.)
November 13, 1979 (1 hr.)
Music: William Broughton and Stu Phillips
Story: Glen A. Larson, Sidney Ellis, Robert L. McCullough, Frank Lupo and John Peyser
Teleplay: Michael Sloan, Sidney Ellis, Robert L. McCullough and Frank Lupo
Director: Bruce Bilson

THE MISADVENTURES OF SHERIFF LOBO's magnum opus, "Finders Keepers" needed three hours, six writers, the city of Las Vegas and practically the whole cast of BJ AND THE BEAR to tell. Truthfully, the basic plot could have been told in a single segment, but the large cast of hammy character actors and director Bruce Bilson's brisk pacing keep the sprawling epic eminently watchable, no matter how absurd it becomes.

Anyone with a collection of TV Guides could probably clear them up, but Internet sources are muddled about "Finders Keepers"' original airdates. I'm pretty certain this is due to LOBO's syndication history. BJ AND THE BEAR and THE MISADVENTURES OF SHERIFF LOBO went into syndication briefly after their original NBC runs as THE BJ/LOBO HOUR, and the two series' combined 86 hours were rolled together. The first two hours of "Finders Keepers," as best I could tell from my reference library, aired on LOBO November 6, 1979, with the one-hour conclusion airing a week later. When LOBO and BJ went into reruns, the three hours were broken into three one-hour episodes, which were retitled "Run for the Money," with the middle segment "becoming" a BJ AND THE BEAR.

If anyone can correct this information, please feel free to do so in the comments. I don't know why Universal would have reshuffled the shows or retitled them to the point where LOBO star Claude Akins was called in to provide a "now presenting the conclusion of 'Run for the Money'" voiceover.

"Finders Keepers" is quite a reunion of BJ McKay foes. Sheriff Lobo (Akins), Deputy Perkins (Mills Watson) and Deputy Hawkins (Brian Kerwin) leave Orly for Vegas to attend a sheriff's convention, where they bump into Sheriff Masters (Richard Deacon), Sgt. Wiley (Slim Pickens) and The Fox (Conchata Ferrell), as well as Captain Cain (Ed Lauter) and Oscar Gorley (J.D. Cannon), last seen financing "Cain's Cruiser." Also in Vegas, coincidentally, is BJ McKay (Greg Evigan), who was hired by Gorley to deliver a truckload of police paraphernalia, including two canisters of nerve gas that are hijacked en route by a hottie on a hangglider.

Mastermind Paul Vane (James Olson) and his two sexy associates (Renne Jarrett, Jeannie Wilson) use the nerve gas to put to sleep an entire casino, including BJ and all of the cops. Of course, BJ is framed for the $1.5 million heist, but after he's bailed out of the joint by his good buddy Glen Campbell (!), he turns the city upside down to find the real thieves before all the conniving lawmen can find the money for themselves.

Benefiting from location shooting at the Dunes and at Lake Mead, "Finders Keepers" has just about all you want in a LOBO, including dopey slapstick, cars crashing and jumping things, Perkins acting like a dolt and plenty of sexy women (the stunning Deborah Shelton, later in BODY DOUBLE, plays an FBI agent). The bad guys are never truly threatening, and the good guys save the day. Even Perkins gets the girl at the end.

1 comment:

Allan Cole said...

Hi, Allan Cole here. I wrote the pilot episode of Lobo, along with my partner, the late Chris Bunch and G.L. It appeared September, 1979. So, other than the previous appearances of Lobo in B.J., I'm pretty sure that was the first episode. Chris and I also wrote "What's A Nice Girl Like You Doing In A Bank Like This..." or something like that. The pilot was titled: "The Shark That Ate Lobo" and it was pretty silly, although it reruns constantly. It was our second sale to TV - the first being "The Money Plague," for Quincy M.E.

Allan Cole