I burst out laughing the first time I saw this on TV, the end, and stil laugh every time I see it.
This past Friday I covered Lou Cameron’s original novel based on The Outsider. Today I thought to post on the pilot for the series. Written by Roy Huggins, best known for Maverick, 77 Subset Strip, The Fugitive, and The Rockford Files. For my money anyway, THE OUTSIDER ranks among the top three P.I. series. Most agree, though not always in the same order. The character’s name is David Ross.
The pilot, which appeared in 1967, opens with L. A. at night, a mass of car headlights moving, then to a pair sailing along on a lonely road, the forward with blinking headlights. A bit of voice over narration by McGavin informs us he’s in the one with the blinkers on. The car stops and a man gets out. We only see him from the waist down. “That’s not me,” McGavin says as the back car door open and him half fall out, unconscious. “That’s me.”
The man and a woman from the trailing car wrestle him into the front seat and push the car off a hillside. Ross comes to and begins steering as best he can, but the car flips and roll numerous times, coming to a rest at the bottom on it’s side, then catching fire. McGavin’s narration continues with “You’re probably wondering how I got into this situation.”
From there the story flashes back to tell us.
Ross had been hired by Marvin Bishop to check out one of his employees, Carol, on the quiet. He’d heard rumors that she was spending more than she earned and he wanted proof before he blew the whistle. We got the idea there was more to the story. So did Ross. Bishop visits him the morning after he trails Carol around. She met with a man, Colin, who hasn’t much history other than shaking down homosexuals.
Ross figures what’s really, Bishop is having an affair with Carol and wants to know if she’s stepping out on him. Ross can’t figure Colin though and keeps following the couple, though not good at the job as he thought. That’s brought violently to him when he suddenly has piano wire tight around his throat and Colin wanting to know why he’s following them. The only thing that saves him is Carol screaming and running off, Colin dropping him to follow. Ross rolls under a car before they return.
He heads first to Colin’s place, empty, then heads to Carol’s where he finds her dead on her bed. It’s only been fifteen minutes or so since the piano wire incident. Ross calls the cops, gives his name ans explains, letting them know he won’t be there. His voice is a little rough, his throat bleeding, and he has a date with a few stitches. Before he can leave, the phone rings, he picks it up, and recognizes Colin, the background full of dance music.
Hitting the clubs with his sometime girl friend, rich Honora, he finds him in one with another girl. A fight in the parking lot soon follows and he leaves Colin for the police. Unfortunately he has an alibi that Ross unwittingly corroborates. He was in a club at the time of the murder. Not satisfied, Ross is out to prove the alibi is faked and goes to the club asking around. There he sees Colin come in with Bishop’s personal secretary, a pretty blonde.
In the course of the film, Ross is nearly garroted, is drugged, slugged in back of the head, shot at, and returns fire, killing the shooter. By the time the pilot was okayed for series, NBC was screaming for changes. Robert Kennedy had been assassinated in June of 1968. They wanted his gun gone and the violence toned down.
The show lasted one season, twenty-six one hour episodes, and was highlighted by fine writing. A pity it could have lasted more seasons.
As always on Tuesdays, drop in on Todd Mason at SWEET FREEDOM for all the latestr overlooked movies, TV, and other related items.
L. Frank Baum first introduced us to his enduring creation in 1899. telling tales to children. He was already a published writer when it was suggested that he write them in a book and THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ was published soon after that. And the rest, as they say, was history. It has spawned numerous other books. Ruth Plumley Thompson took over the series after Baum’s death(the fourteenth Oz book was published posthumously) and wrote twenty-one novels, with a book of Oz poetry appearing in the early nineties. Other writers have taken up pen to add to the rich world as well.
And of course that fine film introduced Oz to folks that don’t read and know not what they miss. Some find fault with Baum’s work. But remember children of that previous and early Twentieth century weren’t nearly as sophisticated as those of today’s world. Education wasn’t as wide spread either.
I read all of Baum’s Oz books many years back in new editions. All fourteen of those books, as well as THE WOGGLE BUG BOOK, are collected here with the wonderful artwork of the original publications by W. W. Denslow. I haven’t read all the titles yet this time around, but enjoyed paging through them checking out those great black and white sketches in the interior, the covers, even on the title pages of each book.
Those alone are worth the price the good folks at DOMA PUBLISHING HOUSE are asking, never mind fifteen novels on top of that. Visit their site. They offer collections of Jules Verne, Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens as well at the same modest price of $.99. It’s a great way to add those respected authors to your Kindle.
Highly recommended and available HERE. Check out some of the artwork below.
Can’t believe I missed it. May 9 was the blog’s fifth birthday. As I’ve stated before, that day I logged into my computer and began checking in on my favorite blogs. I came to one and got the response “Blog shut down by the owner(said author has started and shut down another blog since then).” After that was the invitation to “start your own blog.”
On a whim I did.
Now five years and 1888(this one) posts, here I am.
I’ve delved into books, movies, music, politics, family, and myself. made a lot of friends along the way as well.
1: Complex 90 – Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins: the latest Mike Hammer novel completed by Collins from a large chunk left in Spillane’s papers.
2: Dismal River – Wayne D. Dundee: I don’t know why I waited so long to pick up this western from a favorite author.
3: Butch Cassidy: The Lost Years – William W. Johnstone & J. A. Johnstone: a novel based on the idea that Butch wasn’t killed in South America, but returned to the States and lived a life of anonymity, dying of old age.
4: The Family Jensen: Hard Ride To Hell – William W. Johnstone & J. A. Johnstone: latest novel to feature Smoke Jensen, Matt Jensen, & Preacher.
5: The Avenger: Roaring Heart of The Crucible: the third collection of short stories from Moonstone Books that feature the pulp character from the thirties/early forties.
6: Once Upon A Murder – Robert J. Randisi & Kevin D. Randall: a mystery novel with a noir/fantasy setting.
7: Leverage: The Zoo Job – Keith R. A. Decandido: a novel based on the TNT series: a young woman with a failing zoo, in her family for generations, needs help when two Black Rhinos lent to the zoo never arrive. On the hook for thousands of dollars, the crew setes out to find the missing animals.
8: Impulse – Steven Gould: third novel of people who can teleport with mind control and the folks who hunt them for their own uses.
and the ebooks:
9: Dead Fall – Matt Hilton
10: Red Stripes – Matt Hilton: two short stories featuring Joe Hunter. These stories are a little more personal for Hunter. He’s usually helping people in need. In these, he’s extricating himself from his own predicaments.
Giuliano Gemma started out as a stunt man in Italian cinema in the early sixties, then starred in a picture or two before getting into the burgeoning Italian western genre(not yet known by the spaghetti western sobriquet yet). ADIOS GRINGO was his fourth western in 1965. The Ringo pictures(A Pistol for…and The Return of) had already made him a star. This one was his biggest box office hit to date. It was based on a Harry Whittington western(Adios in the IMDb credits it says based on the novel Adios though I can find no listing for Whittington under that title).
ADIOS GRINGO has a more Hollywood look than most spaghetti westerns. the manner of dress of all the characters, the less cynical outlook of our hero, and the overall look of the film.. But it is loaded with violence in the form of fist fights(several) and gunfights(also several) like any good spaghetti western should. And in the manner of a lot of spaghetti westerns, most actors and crew names were Americanized. Gemma often used Montgomery Wood.
Brent Landers(Gemma) is a man out to clear his name. A cowpuncher who’d just bought a small piece of land, he’s looking to buy some cattle. He runs into an old acquaintance with a small herd to sell. Jack Dawson(Nello Pazzafini, billed as Ted Carter) even has a bill of sale. Brent checked. When he drives the cattle into Johnson City, he learns they were stolen from the big rancher in the area. The man doesn’t want to hear anything about his buying the cattle. He rips the bill of sale, a fake, to shreds and draws his gun, firing three times. Brent is rolling around and finally realizes if he doesn’t do something, he will be dead.
The rancher’s wife is there and knows the true story. Still she screams bloody murder and the townspeople have a lynching in mind. Brent fights his way clear and rides off, vowing to bring proof that Jack Dawson is ultimately responsible. The new widow puts a five thousand dollar bounty on his head.
He begins following a trail, the last direction he saw Dawson heading, and keeps finding clues. A blacksmith in one town admits putting a new shoe on the right fore hoof. He’s also traveling with two other men now. He’s about a week behind them.
While investigating an old campsite, he hears a moan and finds a young woman staked out naked and burned badly, as well as having been raped repeatedly. We learn her name is Lucy Tillson(Ida Galli, billed as Evelyn Stewart), the daughter of a preacher who was returning from the East where she’d been to school. The stage she was on had been held up and she’d been taken by the three outlaws, then left to die after they had their way with her.
When he gets her to the nearest town for treatment, Doctor Verne Barfield(Roberto Camardiel)is very helpful. When she’s situated, Brent plans to leave and continue his hunt. But Lucy has fixated on him and he’s convinced to hang around for a while. In a month, they are stepping out when the stage arrives, prompting her to faint. She says three men behind the stage were the ones who’d raped her.
Brent has already seen that one of them was Jack Dawson. One of the others was the son of the richest rancher in town. His name is Avery Ranchester(Massimo Righi, billed as Max Dean) and, as we used to say when I was younger, not playing with a full deck, a couple of cans short of a six pack, two bricks shy of a load, the elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top. You get the idea. Daddy Clayton(Pierre Cresoy, billed as Peter Cross) doesn’t believe it at first, but finally realizes the truth. He also wants to protect little son and sets out to make Brent the bad guy, one of the three outlaws that took her. For that plan to be bought, Lucy has to be taken care of, as well as Brent.
The only allies the pair have in town are the Doctor and Sheriff Saul “Tex” Slaughter(Jesus Puente), a gruff sort that has seen Brent’s wanted poster and muses that five thousand dollars would come in handy with a wife and child. But he’s much to honest and believes Brent’s tale of the truth of the poster.
I liked this one a lot. As mentioned, this seemed a hybrid of American and Italian westerns. It was on Youtube, both broke down in then minute chunks and whole(which is what I watched). The sound track for sound effects( fist fights, gun shots) was a bit off in parts of the film. It was amusing to see Gemma throw a punch, then hear the slap of fist to face a second later. Same with gunshots. And whoever wrote the lines for the English dubbing didn’t pay a lot of attention. In one breath, Gemma’s character tells Dawson to walk this way, then in the next yells “don’t come any closer!”
And finally, the title. It’s the first I’ve seen that’s the same in Italian as the American release, though there are variations for other countries. It also didn’t make sense, the Gringo part I mean. No where in the picture did I see a Mexican looking character. All Caucasian types.
I rank THE OUTSIDER as the third best P.I. series ever made for television, Just behind The Rockford Files and Harry O. Created by Roy Huggins, it only had twenty-six episodes produced and this original novel.
David Ross is your prototypical private eye. Money is always a problem, but he is that eye that will help people who need it. He himself served six years in prison for murder until his name was cleared.
In this novel, Ross is headed to meet his new client, movie producer Leonard Caldwell, when an attractive redhead jumps into his car begging a ride. She then refuses to get out of the car at her previously announced destination, She starts screaming when he refuses and attracts a Beverly Hills police cruiser.
It turns out she’s a P.I. herself and wants to find her partner, Tex McCloud who’d disappeared shortly after going to work for Ross’s new client.
Caldwell wants his wife found. Ex-actress Vania Dare had dropped out of sight shortly after her first husband, long thought dead twenty years now, had reappeared and seemed on a course to exact revenge on everybody that had wronged him in the past.
Caldwell simply wants to know if she left willingly or was kidnapped. If the former that was fine. Caldwell also seemed interested in keeping quiet that she might be a bigamist, even an unintentional one, as he is aiming for a run in the California Senate.
Ross soon has someone following him in a corvette with lethal intent. The “dead” husband grabs him and seems interested in adding him to the growing list of people who had “wronged” twenty years earlier. And the cops are giving him a hard time.
Liked this one.
For more forgotten books, check in over at PATTINASE on Fridays.
I knew as soon as I heard the first clip below who had been a big influence on this South African band formed in 1999 under the name Saron Gas. Their first major label release was in 2002 with Disclaimer. It was apparent to me the grunge sound of nineties Seattle, specifically Alice In Chains, were a favorite of the band. Especially in that first clip, singer Shaun Morgan sounds very much like Alice vocalist Jerry Cantrell
A western motif here:
Reading DEAD LIONS sent me back to my early years. Though a big fan of the Bond novels, I also loved John Le Carre’s work and this book puts me in mind of some of those classics. The spies here are not pretty boys/girls that have members of the opposite sex falling all over them. Mind you, they get their share though. Just hard working folks who do what’s necessary to keep their country safe.
Slough House was where disgraced MI5 agents, whether by screw-ups, ineptitude, or just in someone’s way got shuffled off to finish their careers. Or quit for something in the private sector, the preferred move.
Dickie Bow wasn’t one of the upper level even back in his day. Now long retired, when he’s found dead on a bus, ruled a heart attack, Slough House’s leader, Jackson Lamb, is suspicious. Even more so when he finds Dickie’s mobile phone stuffed into the cushions where he’d died with a one word text, not sent, that read Cicadas.
He puts his folks into looking into it, himself as well, and starts turning up disturbing facts.
I really liked this one. Author Mick Herron has written a novel that paces nicely as he builds his story with each revealed piece and kept me interested all the way.
What more can one ask of a thriller? Can be ordered HERE.