This Must Be the Alamo

During a heat wave, Chief Clifford is called away and leaves Sgt. Broadhurst in charge. A football gambling ring that scores with “inside dope on injuries” loses a little black book and begins eliminating witnesses in a search for it, leading to an assault on precinct headquarters.

Irrefutable Negative

“Return to the Alamo” exactly one year and one week later carried forward the work to the fullest McCloud potential, but even here it’s a flabbergasting production, excruciatingly funny when it’s not exquisite, and handled by TV veteran Kessler (I Dream of Jeannie, The Monkees) with cool professionalism (which is to say, he misses nothing).

This peculiar style of extenuated comedy requires the finest acting, and for television there must be exceedingly quick takes. The model is in the range of Captain Newman, M.D., a sequential comedy by comparison.

Kessler adopts the classic technique for this virtuoso melding of plot strands, and is always there at the scene for each new development, or monitoring pivotal junctures (which are given as conversational meetings in the squad room between two or more characters).

Obviously the study to be made is of Walter Doniger’s adaptation of these means to the three-ring circus of discrete simultaneous tales or facets this became. Kessler’s treatment is the solid basis, the “irrefutable negative.”

He has no leisure to design shots, but none are faulty; at the same time, the features of the comedy spell out what was required: a sure hand at registering a string of nuances as thin as beaten gold or Stan Laurel.


Van Johnson Dan Kiley

Ray Danton Chet Mason

Jack Kelly Manny Donner

Laraine Stephens Shannon Taylor

Marc Hannibal Elton Packer

Gregory Sierra Patrolman Rico Cross

Eugene Roche Rockford

Robert Weaver Scoop Henderson

Michael Pataki Officer Rizzo

Booth Colman Medical Examiner

Mary Carver “Queen” Mary

Clete Roberts Newsman

Written by Glen A. Larson

Directed by Bruce Kessler

38009, 3.24.74

(Sgt. Broadhurst is temporarily assigned a squad car.)
I want my detective’s car back.

CHIEF CLIFFORD: Everything changes when you get to be the boss. You have no more personal friends, no more buddies, no more sidekicks. That’s the way it has to be.

SGT. BROADHURST: From now on, this is The Alamo, and there is no back door!

(Inspecting the crime scene.)
SGT. BROADHURST: (Holding up wine bottle.)
Think this is good?
DET. SIMMS: Château Lafite! (He pronounces it “Lafeety”.) That must be an off-brand, I never heard of that.
SGT. BROADHURST: (With irony.) Must be.

SGT. BROADHURST: Boy, with this kind of help, who needs criminals? The system alone will whip us!

McCLOUD: Well, to tell you the truth, Chief, we’re just jumpin’ around here like ticks on an angry skunk.

OFC. RIZZO: Well, I’m not saying nothing. Even McCloud outranks me.

SGT. BROADHURST: What is this, a siege?