Plot – Well? Have you seen Mike Kelly?
See, the thing is – Gene hasn’t. Not for a fair while, actually, and he’s starting to get a bit worried about his faithful chum that we’ve never heard of or from before.
That’s all, really. Still, how about that current event, huh? Wow.
Starring – “Gene Barry and Barry Morse as Mr Parminter.” Two men, one character. Or not.
And yeah, it’s the helicopter. Again.
Guest Cast – Sandor Eles (Gerard Laroche), Anouska Hempel (Milena Corri), Eric Pohlmann (Luigi), Michael Forrest (Dino), Rio Fanning (Mike Kelly), Barrie Cookson (Carl), Robert Raglan (Beavis), Lionel Murton (Chris Jefford), Ronald Chenery (Edwards), Christopher Sandford (Lanik), Norman Chappell (Janitor), Sue Gerrard (Jane), Laraine Humphrys (Co-Star).
Writer – Tony Williamson.
Director -Val Guest.
Locations – Stock footage tells us that Gene’s on location in Switzerland at the start of this episode, but he clearly isn’t at that point. It does look like location work was done somewhere in Geneva, but as we don’t get a clear look at Gene’s face in any of these shots he himself might not have gone out there.
The only location shooting Gene is involved in seems to take place in England, as he cunningly escapes from a helicopter by hiding in a nearby tunnel. Oh, and there’s also a scene set at a real airport, but I don’t know where. Nor am I interested in learning, thank you very much.
Mission Briefing – Again, no real mission briefing as such. Gene has a chat with some random guy on a film set about the disappearance of Kelly, but that doesn’t really count…
The Bradley Way – Gene’s in Switzerland, filming another motion picture classic. The film set is actually the standard ITC ‘street in a foreign country’ set that The Saint used to get a lot of use out of. You know the one I mean, it looks like it was made out of cardboard. I might be generous and say that using a real film set to represent a pretend film set is kind of post-modern and ironic, or something, but I wouldn’t really credit the makers of The Adventurer with that level of thinking. Plus I don’t actually really know what post-modern really means anyway – and come to that, I suspect you don’t either. Come on. You can be honest with me.
Anyway, this little film features Gene and some random lady pulling up in a car, then walking past a cafe where some random gent suddenly makes as if to attack Gene. With a cry of (what sounds like) “Ah, come on, ya suck!” Gene makes short work of this stunt fellow, who falls back over a table before pulling a gun and firing it…and then the lady comes along and hits him with a prop chair. That’s Gene, not the stunt man. It was meant to be the stunt man, but she got confused and hit Gene instead because, y’know, girls, huh?
“Cut it out.” whines Gene to the stunt guy – who seems to be grinning like a loon, for some reason. I don’t really know why, so I’m just going to assume that the gun was loaded and that this guy tries to kill Gene on a daily basis. Y’know, just to keep him on his toes.
Anyway, this actress is all upset about ruining the shot, and the Quincy-lookalike director comes over and first checks that Gene’s alright before having a go at this poor unnamed actress (the only name she appears to have is ‘Dollface’). But it’s alright – Gene’s there to hold her, and comfort her, and kiss her, and then (presumably) send her off to make him a nice cup of tea. Aww.
But there’s another take! Oh yes. And this time, Gene shoves a table onto the thug chap before he can pull his gun. Then the actress comes along, and – “Hold it!”. Seems that she was about to attack Gene with a real chair, rather than a prop one. Oh yes…it was an accident, mmm. Genuine misunderstanding, I’m sure. You go, girl! “You can kill more stuntmen that way.” Big Gene notes. Well, maybe. But it would take a very long time, surely?
Oh, and the name of this movie, as seen on the clapperboard? ‘Countdown’…directed by one ‘M Berman’ with camera by ‘F Watts’. Ha ha…heh…oh, and the date seems to be 8 / 10 / 7C. Well, it looks like a C…anyway, according to the credits the ‘director”s name is Chris Jefford, so obviously these little details weren’t mean to be spotted, despite the fact that the board was held right up close to the camera…hmm.
Gene’s secretary Jane is on set too. She was the only one of Gene’s helpers from Love Always, Magda that I actually named in that guide, and she’s in this episode too…which…yay. Anyways, she’s wearing a snazzy…dunno, really. But one of her nipples is very visible, so…yeah.
And ah!!!!! Wait wait wait wait a minute!!!!!
I’ve just realized – she’s in the opening titles! Of every single episode!!! That’s…well, that means that she’s in the same number of episodes as Schell, Hagon, Price and Damon put together. Crikey.
You can see the level of research you’re dealing with here, can’t you? Frightening…
Mr Parminter is a Very Cautious Man – 01846 4316. That’s the number to call if you fancy getting hold of Mr Parminter in the middle of the night (and don’t we all, eh?). Had this taken place later in the series, when the character of Parminter had become the ‘chinless twit’ Barry Morse remembers him as, I’m sure we would have seen him wearing a silly nightcap with a furry ball attachment. As it is, he’s just wearing a sensible pair of pyjamas when Gene calls him twice to talk over plot points.
“What About Diane?” – What about me? What about my needs, for once?
“And Gavin?” – Stopping avoiding the question. We have issues to deal with.
The Oldest Swinger in Town – Gene dons his patchwork coat for his trip to Geneva, and puts the moves on Milena the moment he meets her. She’s taken over Kelly’s hotel room, and he seems rather enamored of her. She leaves him alone to pour a drink, and, clearly excited, he seems to spill the ice all over the place – steady on, Gene. She’s only just got out of the shower..
Later, when Gene ambushes Gerard in a tunnel, he demonstrates a rather crafty new fightin’ move. He hides just behind his car, and as Gerard walks past, Gene grabs his leg, rolls over, and twists his ankle right the way around, which causes poor Gerard to spin, throw himself against a wall, and fall down. Obviously.
But that’s not all. Gerard is straight back up again, pulls his gun then just watches Gene as charge towards hims – and headbutts him in the balls. You might say that Gene doesn’t really fight fair, but Gerard was armed. And the whole thing is very funny.
Now then – end of the episode, Gene’s facing a potentially explosive situation on the plane, what with a lot of armed men sitting next to crates of guns and explosives. How does our hero tackle this impossible situation?
He comes in squirting.
That’s actually Kelly getting it full in the face there. Way to protect your friend, Gene.
“Alright, old friend – let me see you!” – “Mike Kelly unavailable just doesn’t make sense, he’s one of the sights of this city. If you ever need him, you just shout Mike. Mike!”
Yes, it’s Mike Kelly, Gene’s faithful friend who turns out to be a hostage of those dastardly baddies. They’re using his reputation as a first-class fellow in order to smuggle guns and other things to Africa. The swines.
We also get to see Gene’s reunion with bar owner Luigi. He’s a bit on the chubby side, and so Gene mocks him affectionately for it. Bless.
“Shall we take them?” – There’s Gerard, who appears to be the head of this operation, and Milena. They also have a pair of thugs (one of whom looks like Victor Borge when hanging around in shadows) and some other guys who I don’t know who they are, though one of them’s a helicopter pilot. Every scene seems to give a new villain and I don’t care because they don’t seem to have names and they all look alike in their Seventies-ness.
Leave me alone.
Quotable Quotes –
SOME GUY ON THE SET: “When were you supposed to see him?”
GENE: “Yesterday, right here on location.”
SOME GUY ON THE SET: “Maybe he forgot.”
GENE: “Mike Kelly doesn’t forget.”
Now, these lines in themselves are perfectly fine…it’s just the delivery that’s a little screwy. The first line actually sounds more like “When d’ya wa supposed to see him?”, which is odd, and also Gene’s last line sounds more like “My Kelly doesn’t forget.”, which is rather hilarious, actually.
JANITOR: “What is this? Who are you?”
GENE: “I’m the fella who tripped on your bucket.”
“Ah yes, the ancient janitor legends do tell of the man who would appear to one of us, wearing a dead rodent on his head…”
GENE – “They have Kelly as a potential hostage. They could do anything – even kill him.”
Isn’t that sort of how hostage-taking works? You have to give in to our demands otherwise we do nasty things to the hostage?
On the other hand, if they kill him, they’ve got nowt to bargain with, so…
GENE: “Parminter – brush your whiskers. I can’t stand it when you’re messy.”
“It makes it so difficult to kiss you…”
Cracking Cliffhangers – Gene’s gone into Kelly’s office, and he sits down at his desk.
Yeah, I know, my heart was in my throat there too.
The Irony of It All – Um…no, sorry, I’ve got nothing. I have failed you, I…am…sssoooo…reee….
“What’s it all about, Gene?” – This isn’t really a specific problem with this episode, but rather with the series generally – why do the baddies never ask themselves why a famous movie star and businessman is trying to scupper their plans? Why don’t the pilots in this episode ask why a movie star is going to be flying the plane? They all just seem to accept it without question, and I can’t understand why…
Anyway, as I mentioned above, it might have been nice if we had any idea who these baddies were, how they got their claws into Kelly, and what happened to the ones who weren’t arrested on the plane at the end of the episode. Other than that, it’s another typically watertight plot.
“It’s all rather difficult.” – As the plane takes off near the end of the episode, it’s completely blue outside Gene’s window. No-one’s put a background in so he tries wobbling his head to simulate the movement of the plane, which is just wonderful.
This episode’s title, writer and director captions are in white. You remember me saying back in the guide for Double Exposure that episode was the only one to feature the captions in white…well, I have a confession to make…
(I was wrong.)
The Defining Moment – Gene arrives at Mike Kelly’s hotel room, struggles for ages to pick the lock, and then lands flat on his face when a fresh-from-the shower Milena opens it from the other side.
It’s the little things, really…
Ramblings – I don’t really have anything to say here…nope, sorry. Um…hang on…ooh, yes, Anouska Hempel is pretty. I suppose.
Rating – 1/5. Um…I just watched this, obviously, but I don’t remember it. There were actors delivering lines, characters talking to each other on telephones and…that was about it. The first half is OK, but the basic central mystery of “Where’s Kelly, hmm?” soon gives way to a fight scene, then a chase scene, then another fight scene. Gene’s classy new fire extinguisher / testicles related fighting moves can’t really save this rather dull installment.
The first real failure in this second phase of the series. Sadly, I think there are a fair few more like this to come…