Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Dirtiest Girls in Town

The Dirtiest Girls In Town
December 30, 1980
Music: Stu Phillips
Writer: Glen A. Larson
Director: Corey Allen

When THE MISADVENTURES OF SHERIFF LOBO began its second season in December 1980 (the fall season was pushed back because of a Writers Guild strike), it had a new title, a new setting, a new theme song, new producers, and a new premise. Now dubbed simply LOBO, the series’ new direction was set in the season premiere, “The Dirtiest Girls in Town.”

The governor of Georgia (whose voice is dubbed by William Schallert) has the brilliant idea that the crime rate in Atlanta is so high because the police department is too sophisticated and organized. He creates a special task force to fight crime in Atlanta and appoints Sheriff Elroy P. Lobo (Claude Akins) to run it with deputies Birdie Hawkins (Brian Kerwin) and Perkins (Mills Watson). Lobo encounters immediate resistance from his new boss, hard-nosed Chief of Detectives Carson (Nicolas Coster), and Carson’s assistant, Hildy Jones (Nell Carter).

What better way to confound their new co-workers’ prejudice than to break a big case? And that’s how Lobo, Birdie, and Perkins end up at a sleazy nightclub featuring underage prostitutes and mud wrestlers. “Special guest star” Richard Anderson (THE BIONIC WOMAN) is nicely sleazy as Crandall, who owns the club and strongarms the girls into stealing their clients’ credit cards. Amy Botwinick and Tara Buckman (CANNONBALL RUN) plays Peaches and Brandy, two of Carson’s undercover officers posing as wrestlers.

Surprisingly, Lobo has no ulterior motive in solving the case—not a reward or a scam anywhere. The episode is also surprisingly non-judgmental about the fact that one of the teenage club girls, Lori (Philece Sampler), is a single mom. Sparks fly between Hildy and Lobo over the lack of black officers on the Orly police force. Despite these unusual touches, the episode is a good start to LOBO’s new direction.

Some credit should go to new supervising producer Jo Swerling Jr. (THE ROCKFORD FILES) and new producers Bill Dial (WKRP IN CINCINNATI) and Frank Lupo (GALACTICA 1980) for making a smooth transition between two relatively disparate series concepts.


R.A.M.'67 said...

The decade of the '70s seemed to be the biggest one of Claude Akin's career: from Movin' On to B.J. and the Bear to Lobo. Too bad people seem to only remember his Poligrip commercial more. He was a criminally underrated actor whose film and TV work is just beginning to be rediscovered. (His performance on "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street" episode of Twilight Zone is brilliantly underplayed.)

To my knowledge, there are not many write-ups about Lobo, so kudos for acknowledging this nearly forgotten kitsch classic!

Marty McKee said...

Well, That's why I'm writing about it, because nobody else is.