Butch Cassidy Rides Again
The NYPD demonstrates a bank robbery on live closed-circuit TV, and is bushwhacked by a gang of antiquated outlaws.
Harvey’s Electric Construction Co.
The purpose of the demonstration is to educate bank officials nationwide and the press on the proper way to behave during a robbery, and also show a masterful police response. McCloud does the deed, abetted by Sgt. Broadhurst in the getaway van.
This exemplary script is very closely related to Ken Russell’s Billion Dollar Brain, and is in some ways an archetypal McCloud episode. Shear does all he can, going flat out, and gets some New York shots early on like a deep breath before the dense script and complicated action demand his energies.
The two main themes are computers and nostalgia, with a vital theme of journalism (print and television) in counterpoint.
It isn’t “the road that he’s traveled, but the trail up ahead” that ought to concern a man, says McCloud in one of those aphorisms which Chief Clifford here calls “hickory-smoked scriptures.”
Two wrong uses of the computer are shown: statistical dreams and pre-programmed alibis, but McCloud is wise to them. “Programmed—that’s computer talk, I picked it up in New York—seems like you can program people and things to think anything you want them to think.” He uses the Brinkman Security computer for information, and solves the case.
There’s an interesting side note, among many, of the “give and take” of privacy and security.
McCloud’s girlfriend Geri is a columnist, and has an enchanting fight in her apartment with Samantha Johnson, a television reporter, over a false lead.
“You can’t stop an armored car with a shotgun,” observes McCloud. No, says the leader of the gang, surprise is what you need, “something so outlandish they put their guard down” in a moment of hesitation.
The detail work is quite extensive and well thought out. For example, the gang’s van belongs to “Harvey’s Electric Construction Co.”
Pat O’Brien Mac Ferguson
Stefanie Powers Samantha Johnson
William Daniels Clayton Gillis
Roger Davis Virgil
Linda Evans Geri Marsh
Lloyd Nolan Elroy Jenkins
James Millhollin 1st Executive
Herb Voland 2nd Executive
William Bryant Courier
Robert F. Simon Tobey Harris
Clete Roberts Charles Price
Buddy Lester Hotel Clerk
Rick Weaver 2nd Gang Member
Artie Shaw Fire Chief
Larry Carroll Helicopter Pilot
Written by Glen A. Larson
Directed by Barry Shear
CLAYTON GILLIS: Heuristics is the science of
hunches, of making educated guesses.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: It may interest your boys to know that the police have been doing that for years.
CHARLES PRICE: You were always a strange girl, Sam,
even when you did the weather.
SAMANTHA JOHNSON: Thank you.
(The gang robs their commuter train.)
2ND EXECUTIVE: I told you Westerns are coming back.
1ST EXECUTIVE: Sit down you idiot!
(The fight begins.)
GERI MARSH: He did all that to you? How sweet!
SAMANTHA JOHNSON: Sweet? I’ll show you sweet! I’ll show you sweet!
CHIEF CLIFFORD: Tell me it isn’t happening, Joe.
McCLOUD: (To Virgil.) By the time you get back out on the streets, these whiskers’ll be real.