Buckle up for our next exciting adventure, Steele Belted!
Steel-belted tires have a steel wire mesh between the tread and body ply of a tire. They are more durable, but offer a rougher ride, than tires without this feature. It will be interesting to see how the title of this episode relates!
We open on a close up of a gloved hand/ID braceleted wrist/leather-clad arm doing bad things to the back of a painting.
Behind the episode’s title card, we see that much damage is being done. Tell me it’s not the Five Nudes of Cairo again!
We finally see the perpetrator: a bearded fellow wearing a suede hat – it features a jaunty little green feather in the band. I guess that’s what all the best-dressed cat burglars were wearing in 1982!
It becomes apparent that we are in Mr. Steele’s swank penthouse (that chandelier gives it away). While Bad Guy starts destroying the best china, we discover that Andrew Bloch is a guest star on tonight’s episode.
Andrew Bloch has had a long career as a character actor, guest starring in series ranging from MASH to Barney Miller to Designing Women. According to imdb, he is best known for his work in “Jason Goes to Hell.” He continues to act and is also an acting coach in Los Angeles.
Bad guy has just about emptied Mr. Steele’s armoire. Meanwhile, we’re informed of another guest star.
The ruggedly handsome son of icon Dick Van Dyke, Barry has often worked with his Dad, most notably on the long-running series Diagnosis: Murder. In 1986, Stephanie Zimbalist guest-starred on that show (along with Philip Casnoff, our old pal Ben Pearson from “License to Steele.” What a small world Hollywood is!)
Meanwhile, the agency limo pulls up outside Steele’s apartment. And Raymond Singer is another guest star.
Steele and a woman get out of the limo, which Steele waves away; we see that Ilene Graff, best known as the mom on Mr. Belvedere, is also in this episode.
En route to the apartment, Steele pauses to point something out to his companion. I wonder what?
Back in Steele’s apartment, it’s becoming apparent that this fellow isn’t part of the housekeeping staff.
He picks up some light reading from Steele’s coffee table. It seems our detective subscribes to The Saturday Evening Post!
The Saturday Evening Post was founded in 1821 and was once the most widely circulated magazine in America. It’s particularly known for the cover illustrations by Norman Rockwell. The magazine ceased publication in 1969, but was revived in early 1982. This is the May 1982 issue, which featured an article titled, “Tom Selleck: Modest Man of Magnum.”
Just then bad guy hears laughter in the hallway. Someone’s coming!
He makes a quick getaway out the door to the balcony.
Mr. Steele and his date enter. Oh, ficus plant. You’ll come to be a beloved member of the cast.
“Did they take anything?” the woman asks.
“How can you tell?” responds a perturbed Mr. Steele.
The lady isn’t bothered by the mess. “We musn’t let this put a damper on the evening,” she insists.
Steele seems to have lost interest.
“Why don’t we check the bedroom?” The lady is persistent!
Mr. Steele puts his sleuthing skills to use as he peers around the balcony door.
What’s this? Someone loitering down on the street!
He sees Steele looking at him and gives a little wave.
“I can see all this has made you a little tense,” the lady says. By the way, she’s a little tense herself!
“Why don’t just untense one another,” she suggests. (Have a little self respect, girl! Haven’t you ever heard of playing hard to get?)
Steele is in a hurry – and not to get to the bedroom!
The lady isn’t going to let him get away without a fight: “Then, we’re all relaxed, we can view this in a calm and rational …”
(Steele returns and gives her the old “just a sec” sign)
“… way,” the lady says, as the door slams behind Steele.
Meanwhile, we see someone shimmying down the fire escape.
The loitering guy sees him.
Loitering Guy decides discretion is the better part of valor and hits the road.
He is pursued by Shimmying Man, looking dapper (?) in his leather jacket and suede hat.
Steele appears in the doorway, his hair billowing. We see that the name of his building appears to be the Savoy Plaza.
Steele strikes his favorite heroic pose. But it’s too late; the bad guy and loitering man have vanished.
The scene ends, inexplicably, on a shot of the sign for the Christian Science Center. Are they this week’s sponsor?
Well, quite an action-packed opening, no? There is some seriously disturbing stuff here – and by that I mean, who is this chick Steele is bringing back to his place for nookie instead of Laura? She certainly is direct in what she wants, perhaps a refreshing change for Steele from Laura’s ambivalence. Still, one can’t help but be a little disappointed. You’ll never win Laura’s heart that way, Mr. Steele! I’m not sure the Bad Guy is an experienced cat burglar; he doesn’t really dress the part. What do you suppose he was looking for in Steele’s apartment? And who’s going to pick up that mess? Stay tuned!