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.
“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
(Sgt. Broadhurst is temporarily assigned a squad car.)
SGT. BROADHURST: 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?