The Girls Want to Go to the Nightclub
I Love Lucy

The boys want to go to the fights for Fred and Ethel’s anniversary, the girls want to go to the Copacabana. It’s a standoff, so the girls announce they’ll get dates of their own.

The unseen character, Ginny Jones, comes to the boys’ rescue when they need dates to keep an eye on their wives, “she knows every girl in town.”

The girls come up dry in their search, all the men they know are married, etc. Ginny Jones knows every man in town, and fills them in on the boys’ plan.

The girls arrive as horrible rubes putting the make on Ricky and Fred. “Guadalajara” fends them off barely, then the trick is seen through. The boys give Lucy and Ethel “the wolf treatment”, have the last laugh, and all attend the fights (boys happy, girls unamused).


Lucy Thinks Ricky Is Trying to Murder Her
I Love Lucy

Lucy is so wrapped up in The Mockingbird Murder Mystery that it flies out the window when she’s approached.

Ethel reads her fortune: queen of hearts and ace of spades. Her death is foretold.

Ricky at two a.m. had made a joke about the book, “it was the husband.” Lucy overhears him canceling his girl singer for a dog act (“Ann, Mary, Helen, Cynthia, Alice, and Theodore”). She wears a garbage can lid behind and a frying pan in front, against the gun in his desk.

“A mickey from Ricky” at Fred’s suggestion hardly fazes her, after a do-si-do and death scene. She and Ethel take the gun to the Tropicana, where all is explained and the gun says “Bang”.

The book still flies out the window, but now it’s on a string.


The Day They Stole County General
Ben Casey

Greek shipping magnate visits niece, sees Dr. Casey as good catch, outfits new office for bridegroom.

A ship’s steward, really. The items are taken from general supply, missed, found, and returned.

The girl is narcoleptic but misdiagnosed by Dr. Casey’s colleagues.

Howard da Silva as Pagoras, Cliff Norton his fellow steward and chauffeur, Sharon Farrell the niece, Mary Wickes in charge of inventory (Larry Hovis the elevator operator watching the items come and go).


The Man Trap
Star Trek

An amazing invention to begin the series, a creature that devours salt and hath power to assume a pleasing shape.

Desert planet, archĉological digs, ruins marked by wyverns and lions in stone.

The creature is the archĉologist’s wife, Dr. McCoy’s old flame, someone else to another person, etc.

In the absolute realm of Star Trek’s naval architecture, a harbinger of things to come, universal fixations, visions, gravities and force-fields.

Daniels establishes the unknown metals and new fabrications of the Enterprise as well, on design elements proceeding from William Cameron Menzies and so forth.

By attempting to make the process shots and sets appear more realistic, i.e., more familiar, the remastered version deprives the conception of its characteristic style and force. Aside from which, it is an act of vandalism plain and simple.


The Naked Time
Star Trek

The station on a dying planet is filmed like Kaarna’s residence in Billion Dollar Brain.

The variegated malady contracted there makes Crewman Riley a Mickey Finn, Sulu a gay blade, Nurse Chapel a romancer and Commander Spock a weeper.

It begins with Tormoleon in a recreation room, doubting the whole basis of civilization and stabbing himself with a table knife. Captain Kirk is the last victim, made to resent his constant duty and relentless attentions to his female ship, “no beach to walk on” with pretty Yeoman Rand, say. Dr. McCoy finds a vaccine.


The Ultimate Weapon
Hogan’s Heroes

New prisoners, shot down over Zuglitz. Fighter planes have to be diverted. Schultz knows all the answers on the Russian Front, Allied bombing raids, the works.

He’s the ultimate weapon, “a military genius”. The Reich sends a security policewoman to investigate his prognostications (fed by Hogan).

He predicts, Sgt. Schultz, a raid on Berlin. Fighters are dispatched form Zuglitz. Next day, the ball-bearing factory is “flat as a pancake”. Lubitsch is in Gen Burkhalter’s happy proclamation, “I have wonderful news,” an earlier prediction, “Düsseldorf has been completely wiped out.”

The policewoman makes love to Hogan on a pretense of fellow-feeling, tells him a sincere lie, goes to Zuglitz. “Just doing my job,” he repeats back to her after the raid.

Daniels has a thematic sequence of shots on Hogan’s line, “good thing we have the Russians with us”, Klink’s war map is on glass, Hogan stands behind the USSR, Klink before the thousand-year Reich (the positions are later taken by Klink and Burkhalter, respectively).


Mission: Impossible

Elena is a spy gone wrong who must be sorted out or eliminated. The question settles down through filters of meaning from an espionage drama to a political one (her father was president, brought terrorists into the government), then psychological (an atavistic nightmare involving the Inca god Viracocha, children’s hearts ripped out), finally artistic (union of opposites).

An “old family friend” is practicing upon her with hallucinogenics and post-hypnotic suggestion, she is to denounce the current president as a traitor during a live television broadcast announcing a new cultural center, her mother’s pet project (concert hall, theater, library).

Briggs knows Elena, sends Rollin for objectivity. An assassin gives Rollin 36 hours (Seaton’s film, not coincidentally).

Barbara Luna has a job with the disordered mind of the operative in turmoil. Abraham Sofaer is the family friend.


The Returning

Gunman turned unsuccessful farmer joins robbers to meet the mortgage, escapes with it all.

Marshal Dillon gets the word, return the money and all is forgiven.

The farmer’s innocent wife has spent a portion paying debts.

The rest of the gang want their cut.

The farmer makes amends.

Michael Ansara, Lois Nettleton.


Mission: Impossible

A magnificent work oddly anticipating J. Lee Thompson’s The Evil That Men Do in certain respects.

Barney Slater’s script is inspired and ferocious, meticulously detailed, refined to the last degree and ideally surreal. The fraudulent couple of fundraisers keep the money in platinum bars concealed beneath the pool table (he’s a shark) in their Riviera home, where he fiddles rich old ladies while she burns.

The Impossible Missions Force further divide and conquer the miscreants, abstract the platinum and smelt it into car ornaments, have him pursue her to the border, and prick her bubble.

Daniels knows all the angles and directs this with astonishing skill. Where a close-up can diminish a medium shot, he eschews it, and where two close-ups are better than a two-shot, he fills the screen with them.



Deadly Doubles
Hawaii Five-O

In the previous season, Douglas Green allowed himself to direct an episode (“The Two-Faced Corpse”) which, by virtue of correct camera placement, is inspired with Hawaii itself, the sounds and smells. This laid the groundwork for Daniels’ masterpiece, a thoroughgoing work of art, in which every nuance and tic of the unit’s technique is imperceptibly brought into correct relation with everything else, and a continuous inspiration produces very heady effects (McGarrett’s car turns a beachfront corner as a wave crashes behind it, seen from a high angle).

The essence of it is the director’s eye for images, which he goes for and obtains with very easeful skill. Along the way, his cogent script is dealt with most handily.


The Story of Tony Cimo

Daniels starts from nothing, nowhere, a rural market and gas station by the side of the road down South. This is where the murders shortly occur. It’s all kept very simple and cut rather dry, until the beneficent appearance of William Conrad as a friend of the family and retired public defender.

You will think this is a feature film, so leisurely and spacious in a sense is Daniels’ treatment, after his lickety-split zeroing-in on the problems of series production. His shots are generally close-cropped. When the camera moves, there is an ample sense of precision. An exterior conversation between Brad Davis and Conrad reveals a continuity of technique, they might be Ricky and Fred.

The peculiar constellation of this work depends on script, direction and actors telling less than they know. As organized by Daniels, the story is told in a kind of suspension between them.

Lighting constructions, for example, carry a very technical weight, but serve a dramatic purpose. The foreground in the gardening shed is left unlit for Davis’s fit of pique, a dark house under construction is lit from behind by daylight when he proposes his vengeance. The master convict (Brad Dourif) is unobtrusively haloed in red by a neon curio on the wall of his cell.

The game is realism (it’s a true story), but a good deal of merciful reserve is applied to make the point. Hence the close cropping, a small detail of some larger picture.

Daniels’ control is so perfect that only once does he deliberately let the gears slip, so that Conrad’s plane is seen to land while he’s promising on the telephone to board it.