Showdown at Times Square

The Chief (Clifford) is running a weekly bull session, that is, the detectives squawk and he gives them a talk. McCloud notices smoke signals coming from a nearby roof. The Chief (Stillwater) is seeking his grandson Johnny, who has followed a gang of thieves to New York. Johnny’s father is in jail back home in Phoenix, framed by the gang.

The Chiefest of These

The gag material is opulent and fairly extensive. McCloud makes his entrance carrying a kitten which he’s just rescued from a tree. At Chief Clifford’s weekly bull session, in New York’s fiscal crisis, Sgt. Broadhurst presents a scheme for installing a gym next to the locker room. McCloud, bored, looks out the window and begins notating the smoke signals he sees coming from the Endicott Building—they’re evidently in Apache (White Mountain), but as he reads back his notes out loud at Chief Clifford’s behest, he concludes they “don’t make much sense.”

Chief Stillwater is seated cross-legged on the roof, wearing a strangely familiar feather head-dress and holding a tomahawk which McCloud says is “about as dangerous as a baby’s first goo” (it develops that this Chief is merely seeking publicity so as to locate his missing grandson, and purchased the articles “from a costume shop on 42nd Street,” he says, “they guaranteed them to be genu-wine”).

The gang robs the safe deposit boxes at the Antoine Hotel, and afterward is eliminated piecemeal by mischance. Donald is accidentally stabbed in a fight with Johnny Stillwater (the Chief’s grandson, whose father was an employee at the hotel in Phoenix robbed by the gang before the episode begins). At a Las Vegas casino, B.G. gets in the line of fire and is shot by Linus’s hit man when McCloud ducks. Cookie is tricked into revealing his beloved suitcase full of money, which bursts open on a New Orleans street during Mardi Gras, and he dies when a float runs him over.

Donald’s mistress, Holly Dayton, a failed actress and musician (a brilliant performance by Sharon Farrell), auditions at a dive (singing “I Remember April” at the piano) and is hired. “Most of the people start drifting in about ten,” Fields tells her, “come in about eight, we’ll have a little dinner in back first, get acquainted.” Her face is a studied mask of recognition.

On the other side there is unusual drama in the confrontation with Chief Clifford, which ultimately brings McCloud to turn in his badge and pistol. The gang kills Johnny Stillwater, his grandfather resolves to die (“my purpose is over”) and is taken to a hospital, where Dr. Brand is mystified.

Satlof shows his mettle in fine aerial shots which characterize the piece, and a particularly fine view of Central Park from several stories up, panning-and-tilting up to the Plaza Hotel (standing in for the Antoine). The cast is remarkable for its assurance in difficult roles such as Henry Gibson’s Cookie, of poor background but obsessively frugal (“Hey Cookie! Let me see one of your fives,” they used to say, “I’d like to see what Lincoln looked like when he was a boy!”), and Don Meredith’s Linus, a vicious killer who’s also a black belt. He takes on McCloud in the finale, and gets rocked and socked like a robot.

McCloud tells Holly that he bought a “brand spanking new” trombone as a young man, and thought he could “play the fool out of it.” His lesson was perseverance. “Made it in my senior year.”

McCloud’s time off the force (a technicality, Chief Clifford tries to counter) entitles him to share the reward with Holly, but they have something else in mind, as Holly says: “Are you a sucker for Indian Chiefs and trombone players, too?”


Chief Dan George Chief Stillwater
Sharon Farrell
Holly Dayton
Don Meredith
Linus Morton
Henry Gibson
Cookie Watkins
Ted Hartley
Donald Williams
Allan Miller B.G. Clarkson
Joshua Shelley
John Kauffman
Sandy Brown Wyeth
Cookie’s Sister
Noel Shire
Dr. Brand

Story by Sidney Ellis
Written by
Lou Shaw

Directed by Ronald Gilbert Satlof

43305, 10.19.75

Though McCloud has been required to turn in his pistol with his badge, he’s armed in the last scene, but evidently he’s now back on the force and working with Chief Clifford and Sgt. Broadhurst.

After the robbery, the press fails to report an additional $100,000 which the robbers have taken. The latter wonder where it came from, but the script is silent on this point henceforth.


McCLOUD: No, Chief, I think that, uh—
CHIEF CLIFFORD: Stop bragging!

(On the rooftop of the Endicott Building.)
McCLOUD: (To Chief Stillwater.)
This is not some kind of publicity stunt is it, for a Hollywood motion picture?

CHIEF STILLWATER: (To McCloud.) A man must do what he can.

McCLOUD: Chief?

(At headquarters, McCloud arrives to question Holly.)
They went thataway.
McCLOUD: Who did?
HOLLY: The rustlers. Aren’t you with the posse?

McCLOUD: If you think I’m gonna to stand around scratchin’ my navel while some kid—
CHIEF CLIFFORD: Johnny Stillwater and Chief Stillwater are still in Deep Water, New Mexico as far as you’re concerned. I gave you a direct order. Follow it!

CHIEF STILLWATER: (To McCloud.) When hope is gone, life is over.

(Chief Stillwater keening in Central Park.)
That’s not a chant for the dead, it’s for the dyin’. Who’s dyin’? It’s for you, isn’t it? You can’t do that, Chief. You can’t just give up.

(Dr. Brand can find nothing wrong with Chief Stillwater.)
(To McCloud.) Look, what’s the gag, free examination?

DR. BRAND: (To McCloud.) Look, Slim, anything less than Intensive Care is out of my realm.

FIELDS: (To Holly. Terms of employment.) Tell you the way it works around here. Most of the people start drifting in about ten. Come in about eight, we’ll have a little dinner in back first, get acquainted. I got some good wine.

HOLLY: Can’t you do something?
DR. BRAND: All I know—is medicine.

McCLOUD: Friendship is like wine, it takes a little time to get good.

B.G.: (At the roulette table.) You know I could bet on Napoleon winning at Waterloo and they’d have to rewrite history? I can’t lose!

B.G.: We’re not so dumb after all, are we?
HOLLY: Well, how smart do you have to be? I need money, and I don’t want to die.

HOLLY: (To McCloud.) If you think you’re going to get B.G. to sign that confession, then you’re crazier than I think you are, and that’s going some.

HOLLY: Every producer I make out with says he’s going to make me a star. People will tell you anything.

DR. BRAND: Look, I don’t know a damn thing, and that’s the honest truth.

(McCloud isn’t listening.)
And then I swam up Niagara Falls with my hands tied above my head, blindfolded.

COOKIE’S SISTER: If you’d give me a couple of dollars, then maybe I could get some decent food.
COOKIE: It’d still taste like slop.

COOKIE’S SISTER: Hey! What do you want?
McCLOUD: Lookin’ for Cookie.
COOKIE’S SISTER: What do you think this is—a store? Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

HOLLY: (To McCloud.) I never could keep my hands off trombone players.

HOLLY: Oh! You scared ten years out of me.
LINUS: It won’t matter.