Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Mob Comes To Orly

05 The Mob Comes to Orly
October 23, 1979
Music: William Broughton
Teleplay: Glen A. Larson and Michael Sloan
Story: Chris Lucky
Director: Mel Ferber

Getting Raymond Burr to guest-star on THE MISADVENTURES OF SHERIFF LOBO had to have been a real coup for executive producers Glen A. Larson and Michael Sloan. One of the few men to ever star in two long-running dramatic series (PERRY MASON and IRONSIDE), Burr rarely did episodic guest shots, and it's perplexing to consider why he would make an exception for LOBO. Perhaps he knew it would be a good time. The role certainly wasn't particularly taxing, and I'm sure he was paid well to stand around the Universal lot for three days and take part in the silliness.

A consortium of mobsters, led by Bates (Joey Forman), congregates in Orly to plan the murder of their leader, the Godfather (Burr), so they can move in on his territory. The Godfather somehow learns of their secret meeting, and heads to Orly himself to confront the mutineers. Meanwhile, Lobo (Claude Akins) believes the gangsters are legitimate businessmen in town to purchase land, so he and Perkins (Mills Watson) scheme to trick them into purchasing some worthless swampland outside of town.

Outside of Burr, this relatively action-free episode is prominent only as a drinking game, in which you tip one back every time Perkins falls down. You'll be well oiled by the time the third act commences. Watson and his stunt double were very busy getting punched or falling off things in this show. Busy stuntman/actor Bob Minor (SWITCHBLADE SISTERS) has a neat bit where Perkins peels out and speeds away in his police car, while Minor, as a mechanic, is still under it.

Carl Ballantine (MCHALE'S NAVY) shows up as a hitman, but is unfortunately given too little to do. Jim Antonio and John Kerry (not the politician) also play gangsters, and blond Karen Carlson (THE STUDENT NURSES) is an undercover agent. Director Mel Ferber's credits range from DIFF'RENT STROKES to HALLMARK HALL OF FAME—a broad range that nevertheless failed to distinguish him as a director. Writer Chris Lucky, who contributed THE MOB's story, went on to do a BJ AND THE BEAR and a FALL GUY for Larson.

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