Monthly Archives: September 2015

Steele Trap – 7

Time for dinner!

franksandbeans

Well. That looks … appetizing. Still beats the eats at the Grievey Mansion, I guess.

lauralikescampingfood

Laura, ravishing in red, is amused. “Franks and beans. On Wedgewood. Shades of Citzen Hearst.”

behindthescenesPresumably, Laura refers here to Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton, RKO Studios, 1941), a thinly-veiled portrait of newpaper magnate William Randolph Hearst.

Feldman has an explanation for the low-brow fare:

culinarytriumph

“It’s all poor Cindi could handle. Just getting the can open was a major culinary triumph.”

Laura wants to know if their host will be joining them. (My guess is he’s laying dead in an elevator someplace.)

housethatsmutbuilt

“No, no. Ambrose is giving us sufficient time to be properly awed by the house that smut built.”

Suddenly Steele appears, bearing wine. He interjects himself between Laura and Feldman – did he think they seemed a little too congenial?

thankyoudoctor

“Thank you, Doctor,” Laura says. Is that a warning look he’s giving her?

doesnthavetoapprove

“You don’t approve of Devil magazine?” Laura asks her dinner companion.

Feldman tells her he doesn’t have to approve. “All I have to do is defend it against charges of pornography.” He adds that he’s a very busy boy. Meanwhile …

ajollytime

Miss May, Jane Junior and Doc Art are having a jolly old time.

deathglare

Laura is NOT having a jolly old time.  “Quite a pair, eh?” Feldman comments.

“That’s what I’ve heard,” quips Laura.

Oh, no! Now Laura is making the cheap jokes!

stopdoingthat

Really.

sosincerelaura

Now that’s what I call a sincere smile!

steadycompanion

Feldman reports that Randi was Ambrose’s steady companion (Wait. Is that like an inamorata?) until Miss May blossomed a couple of years ago.

“He likes them young- and dumb.”

agoodjoke

The ladies are still enjoying Mr. Steele’s company.

holdagrudge

“She doesn’t seem to be holding a grudge,” Laura notes. Something tells me Laura DOES hold a grudge.

Feldman has an explanation. “Randi? She can’t hold a thought in her head for three seconds, much less a grudge.”

He moves on to the next guest down the table:
michael
“Michael Dominic. Mr. Ambrose’s business partner. Ultra silent variety.”

ultrasilentvariety

Thanks for the exposition, Feldman!

disembodiedvoice

Suddenly a disembodied voice announces, “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. And welcome to the Devil’s Playground.”

The dinner party breaks up abruptly as they guests hurry toward the sound of the voice.

nodinnerforpianist

Oh, look! It’s the piano player who doesn’t take requests. What, she doesn’t like franks and beans?

delightedyoucould

As the dinner guests enter …

ultracheese

We see someone – apparently our genial host – on a big screen TV. “I’m delighted you could all accept my invitation,” he says.

memorable

“And I promise each and every one of you a memorable weekend. But for now, enjoy your meal- pass a pleasant evening- and when you least expect it – I will make my presence felt.”

ambrose

 

click

He uses a remote and the screen goes blank.

WTH

Madeline, still looking profoundly bored, nevertheless manages to convey strong emotion. “What the HELL did he mean by that? Make his presence felt?”

ambroselovesdrama

“Well, you know Ambrose,” Feldman reminds us. (Actually, we don’t.)  “He loves the dramatic, so let’s just sit back and enjoy the suspense.”

enjoyingthesuspense

As the rest of the guests drift off, Laura and Steele exchange a meaningful look. Think they’re enjoying the suspense?

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Steele Trap – 6

We left Mr. Steele cooling his heels …

steelesurveys

Maybe he sees a spider on the ceiling? Just then, another unwelcome creature scuttles in:

mrsroeperreturns

Hello again, Mrs. Roper! “Yoo hoo!” she calls. (Yoo-hoo? Is that what the kids are calling it these days?)

umnose

Steele seems a little unnerved. Perhaps he’s discerned that Miss Holt won’t be up for a menage a’ trois this weekend.

faceisfamiliar

“You don’t remember me, do you?” she asks.

(Not surprising; “The Ropers” only lasted two seasons.)
Steele plays it diplomatic: “The face is somewhat familiar.”
ataloss.jpog
“It’s not the face you were familiar with,” oozes.

Mr. Steele confesses himself at a loss.

maybethis

“Well, maybe this’ll get the old crank turning,” (Crank turning? Oh, THAT’S what the kids are calling it these days.)

sheflasheshim

Mrs. Roper opens her caftan. Is she going to try to sell him a stolen watch?

 

surprise

“Miss Russell!”

behindthescenesI have to wonder if Randi’s last name is a sly nod to Jane Russell, the buxom actress. I recall Carol Burnett once commenting, “In 1943, Howard Hughes discovered two of his greatest assets: Jane Russell.” Hughes even designed a special bra to emphasize her bountiful bosom. Jane_Russell_in_The_Outlaw
The more famous Ms. Russell, displaying her talents in “The Outlaw.”

furtherdisrobes

“They’re YOURS,” Jane Junior purrs.

theyremine

“Mine?” (What gentleman could resist such an invitation?)

telleveryone

“I tell everyone they’re a work of art.”

lookingforLaura

Despite being a connoisseur of fine art, Mr. Steele is unimpressed terrified. “Um, could you put them away now?” He glances toward the bathroom, where …

ahMyrtle

… Miss Groggins, who is dressed rather more formally than their visitor, has emerged.

justgoingover

“Ah, Myrtle, uh, so glad you could join us,” Steele stammers. “That is, we were just going over her … er …”
bodybybellows
“Isn’t it GREAT having a body by Bellows?” Randi interjects.

shewouldntknow

Laura snipes that she wouldn’t know.

steelenapoleon

“You oughta try it,” Randi suggests. “It really gives you a LIFT.” Judging from the level of her gaze, she thinks Miss Holt’s tuckus could use a little work, too.

givesyoualife

Perhaps sensing that Laura isn’t prepared to receive guests, Jane Junior decides to withdraw. “We’ll be seeing more of each other over dinner.”
steeleexplains
“How much more can there BE?” Laura grows after she departs.

“It’s all right,” Steele reassures her. “I’m a doctor.”

noyournot

Laura reminds him, emphatically, that he is NOT. She grabs some gear from her bag and heads back to the bath. Is she going to sleep in the tub?

renovatedher

“Well, as a matter of fact, she thinks I… uh … renovated her,” Steele persists.

shewasapatient

Laura quickly spots a hole in this explanation. “She was a patient of Arthur Bellows? And she doesn’t know you’re a fraud?”

throwninalobotomy

“They must have thrown in a lobotomy at no extra charge.”

thatwentwell
Oh, dear. Isn’t this where we came in?

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Steele Trap – 5

We rejoin our intrepid duo, Art and Myrt, about to be escorted to their quarters.

takingupluggage

Looks like Artie’s going to carry all the bags. Always the gentleman!

CRIMEOFFASHIONlogansrun I’m pretty sure the costumer for this episode picked up Miss May’s outfit from a garage sale on the MGM lot. It looks like she just stepped off the set of “Logan’s Run.”

steeletakesthebaggage

As they head upstairs, Miss May makes chitchat. “Funny … Ambrose never mentioned you, Doctor.”

“Yes, well, I  hardly ever mention Ambrose,” Steele quips.

lauralooksup

As Laura gazes heavenward, perhaps hoping for divine deliverance from Mr. Steele’s incessant schtick, Miss May expresses the hope that the so-far-unseen Ambrose isn’t sick.

Laura explains that Dr. Bellows isn’t that kind of doctor.

Ispecialize

“I specialize in … remodeling,” Steele fills in. Miss May seems satisfied with that explanation.

MissMayistickled

She thinks he’s adorable!

oneofthesethings

As Miss May leads them down an ornately decorated corridor, we notice that one of these things is not like the others.

lauraisnotamused

.Myrt is still moody! Her inamoratum finally notices and sobers up.

steelesobersup

There, now. Isn’t that better? Everybody’s having fun!

Miss May drops them off at their room and departs.

handsonhips

Ah, Laura finally has Steele alone. Can we expect a romantic interlude?

monkeesnope

tryingtoinject

Laura wants a point of clarification: “Myrtle Groggins?”

“Laura, we’re on the thin edge with this masquerade, you know? I’m simply trying to inject a little reality into the proceedings. I mean, Tracy would have sounded as manufactured as Cindi and Randi. Whereas Myrtle has such a – dull, plodding,  HONEST ring to it.”

happydance

That’s right. Just keep dancing, Mr. Steele.

honestring

I think that explanation worked well, don’t you?

quitearoom

They enter the room. Laura seems … delighted?

jamesbondbed

Classy!

notcomfortablewithambiance

“It’s disgusting,” Laura pronounces. “Like some cheap, gaudy, adult motel.” She closes the door.

“I take it you’re not comfortable with the ambiance,” Steele answers.

totalturnoff

“It’s a total turn off.” I suppose … if you find Pepto Pink repellent.

Steele is disappointed. He was so hoping …

whatwereyouhoping

“WHAT?!”

Laura’s hair has that Breck bounce, doesn’t it?

bestnottodiscuss

Mr. Steele decides his inamorata isn’t in the mood for love. “Best not to discuss these matters on an empty stomach,” he declares. “It will wait until after dinner.”

laurastompsoffmad

Laura stomps off to the bathroom. Does she have to attend to a matter of feminine hygiene? No wonder she’s cranky.

steelesurveys

Steele takes the opportunity to check out the digs more closely. I’m afraid it may be a lonely view in that ceiling mirror tonight, Mr. Steele.

 

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Steele Trap – 4

bigdoor

Dr. Bellows and Nurse Lord have arrived at a substantial-looking edifice. Steele addresses the knocker. Speaking of impressive knockers …

hippiechick

The door is answered by a buxom lass who seems to have escaped from the local Renaissance Faire. Let me guess: This is the gal from “Earth Girls Are Easy,” right? Giggly girl wants to know if the apparently over-dressed pair at the door are expected.

theyhaveaninviation

Steele produces his entry card: “We have an invitation.”

inthatcase
“Well. In that case …

entrevous

“… , entre vous,” she gushes. Ah, she’s French!

toomuchforLaura

She invites them in. Strangely, Mr. Steele seems a LOT more excited to be here than Laura.

missmay

“I’m Miss Mae,” she tells them.

EllieMae

Hm. I thought THIS was Miss Mae.
notmissmay
Steele, at least, is happy to meet her. “A pleasure, Miss Mae.”

“No, not MISS Mae. Miss MAY.”
WOF_Bandana_One-Sided
Ooh, I know this one! Who’s on first?
devilsdisciple
“Cindi Sikes. The ‘Devil’s Disciple’ for May.” My, what a large mouth you have, Miss May.

arthurebellows

Mr. Steele introduces himself.  “And I’m Dr. Bellows. Dr. Arthur Bellows.”
shesgladsheshere
Miss May suddenly develops an apparent interest in the contents of Mr. Steele’s nostrils. She tells him she’s glad he’s here, and drags him away.
lauraisannoyed

I don’t think Laura is pleased to be ditched like this.

lauraisworried

Nope. Definitely not pleased. In fact, she looks sad. 😦

steeleisamused
Miss May whispers in Steele’s ear. “Sorry,” he tells her. “No.”

steeleshrugs

Miss May is disappointed. Mr. Steele is … shruggy.

After the devil’s disciple leaves, Laura rejoins her companion.

birthcontrolpills
“What was that all about?”

“She forgot her birth control pills,” he tells her. “Thought I might have an extra supply.”

takesherbyarm

Suddenly, piano music is heard nearby. Dr. Bellows takes his nurse’s arm and they seek the source of the sound.

boredladypianist

They discover a bored-looking lady sitting at the piano. Miss May-Not?

delightfultouch.

“Delightful touch,” Mr Steele charms. “I’m Dr. Bellows. Dr. Arthur Bellows.”

Piano Lady says her name is Madeline Vickers. And she DOESN’T do requests.
doesntdorequests
Well! The detectives are taken aback by her rudeness. So far, this place isn’t fun at all!

wornshoes

They notice some random dude reading a paper on the couch. I thought this was supposed to be a place of reckless abandon and unparalleled hedonism. Well, it IS a white couch. That’s pretty damned crazy.

Imrandy

Suddenly a woman appears Big hair and a loud caftan.

MrsRoeper

Hello, Mrs. Roeper!

Mrs Roeper introduces herself as Randi.

comfortingtoknow

“That’s comforting to know. Especially on these long weekends,” Steele says.

badumtish

That’s a good one, Mr. Steele!

elbowtoribs

Laura doesn’t think so. She gives him a sharp elbow to the ribs. He falls into line. “I’m Dr. Bellows. Dr. Arthur Bellows.”
beensolong
“Dr. Bellows,” Randi oozes. “It’s been so LONG.” Is that another lame innuendo?

thatswhatshesaid

Uh huh.

anewsuspect

Now somebody else arrives. “Did I hear you say you were a doctor?” he asks.

Steele confirms.

proctologist

“My brother’s in the medical profession,” the man informs him.

“Really?”

“Yes. He’s a proctologist.”
interestingarea

“Interesting area,” Steele comments.

pleasestop

Oh, Mr. Steele. Please stop.

badjoke

Pretty sure Laura agrees with me. Meanwhile, Randi gets handy.

enamorata

Perhaps affronted by Laura’s lack of appreciation for his scintillating wit (or maybe just smarting from that elbow to the ribs), Mr. Steele springs his trap.

“Permit me to present my current enamourata …”

funfacticonInamorata (n): a woman who loves or is loved; female sweetheart or lover.

Awwww. That’s so sweet!

myrtlegroggins

“Myrtle Groggins.”

randomalertAt least eight people calling themselves “Myrtle Groggins” have Facebook pages.

The man with Randi introduces himself to Miss Groggins as Feldman.
wantstodance

Randi suddenly asks Dr. Bellows if he wants to do it.

“I beg your pardon?” he responds.

“Dance?”

enough

Sigh.
anytimeheis
Steele demurs.
“I’m ready anytime you are,” Randi says, making her exit.
impressiveedifice

“Impressive edifice,” Steele remarks as she walks away.

nosir

Oh, dear. Am I going to have to get firm with you, Mr. Steele?
chewinggummagnate
Feldman agrees, explaining that the mansion was “former retreat of a chewing gum magnate before Ambrose turned it into a Devil’s Playground Club.”
ambroseblinn
“Ah, Ambrose Blinn,” Steele comments. “Publisher of Devil magazine. Quite an interesting logo: For Satyrs of all Ages.”

“I didn’t know you read Devil magazine, doctor,” Laura snarks.

didntknowheread

“Only for the occasional medical article,” he assures her.
cocktailbeforedinner
Oh, look! It’s Miss May again. She offers Dr. Bellows an aperitif.

judicioususe

The good doctor hesitates.”A man in my profession must be exceedingly careful where alcoholic spirits are concerned, young lady.”

perhapsaflagon

“However, the judicious use of alcoholic spirit is actually a tonic for the body.”

afterdinnerdrink

“I’ll have a cocktail or two now, perhaps a flagon of wine with the meal, then an after dinner drink …”

irishcoffee

“…followed by some Irish coffee.”

afterall

“After all,” he expounds …

operateinthemorning

“I might have to operate in the morning.”

Oh, you’re an operator, Mr. Steele.

Feldman and Miss May retreat, leaving Bellows & Groggins alone.

alittlethick
Laura turns to Steele. “Poured it on a little THICK, don’t you think?” she grouses.

hopelessalcoholic
“The man IS supposed to be a hopeless alcoholic,” he reminds her.
hopelessallright
“You’re HOPELESS, all right,” she tells him.

Well! Laura is a grumpy Groggins, isn’t she? Mr. Steele, on the other hand, is in his element. In an environment where everybody seems as phony as a $2 bill, he feels perfectly at home.  Still, things aren’t looking good for his plan to play around with Laura on the Devil’s Playground …

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Steele Trap – 3

titlecard

At last! The credits! How we’ve missed you, darling.

someisland

We’re up in the air, looking down at a small island. We can tell it’s off the coast of California, because it’s kind of smoggy.

helicopterflyby

Now we’re on the island, watching the approach of a helicopter. From what we can see, the place looks as bleak and barren as James Read’s and Janet Demay’s prospects for meaningful airtime in this episode. Sorry, guys.

Lynnerandall

Back in the helicopter again. I’m getting a little motion sick. Speaking of queasiness, we’re at last getting to see who will be featured guests in this episode. First up: Lynne Randall.

behindthescenesLynne Randall here makes the first of three appearances on the series. She must be an extraordinary talent to warrant such attention! Nope. She’s the wife of series creator Paul Gleason.

paulhecht

Back on the island, we see that the helicopter’s name is Paul Hecht. What a coincidence! That also happens to be the name of another of this episode’s guest stars.

behindthescenesPaul Hecht has had a long career, mostly in television. His first role was as “Johnny Cypher in Dimension Zero” (1967), which seems like the sort of cheesy show I’d enjoy very much. JohnnyCypher

Johnny Cypher, presumably at home in Dimension Zero.

brucekirby

Here comes the helicopter! And here’s our next guest star.

behindthescenesBruce KirbyIn a long career dating back to 1955, Bruce Kirby has played many cops and other authority figures. He also played Pete “The Crank” Frank on Punky Brewster. Do you think that’s who he’ll be in this episode?

kempstilwell

Since our final two guest stars don’t merit a title card of their own, I’ll address them together.

behindthescenesBrandis Kemp has had mostly minor guest roles on various series, and Diane Stilwell is best known for her small-but-pivotal role in “Earth Girls Are Easy.” (1988)

copterlands

The helicopter finally lands in a muddy clearing. Wait … what island is this again?

gilligansisland

Hurray! No?

gilligan

Aw.

disembarking

Mr. Steele helps Laura out of the helicopter as Lynne Randall’s husband and some other woman’s husband get their due.

notFred

Mr. Steele tells the driver (Hey! That’s not Fred!) to pick them up on Monday morning.

doctorkit

A stylishly dressed Steele and Laura mince away from the helicopter as we discover that Michael Gleason wrote (and presumably cast) this episode.

highheels

Steele and Laura, who apparently missed the shuttle bus to the hotel, head off into the jungle. Mr. Steele is wearing sensible shoes. Laura is not.

chiccouple

Laura sets the agenda for the weekend: “The first thing we do is introduce you as Dr. Bellows.”

whatifsomeoneknows

“What if someone knows the real Bellows?” Steele wants to know. Good point.

I-Dream-of-Jeannie-Wallpaper-i-dream-of-jeannie-4878870-1024-768

“I Dream of Jeannie” was very popular in its day.

lauraplaysnurse

“We’ll hit him with the suicide and gauge the reaction.” Laura informs Steele that she will be playing the role of his nurse, Tracy Lord.

tracy

“I’ve always loved that name: Tracy. It’s so … shimmery.”

behindthescenesTracy Lord was the name of the character played by Katherine Hepburn in the classic film, “The Philadelphia Story.” (Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, James Stewart, MGM, 1940) I wonder if Laura was aware of this when she selected that alias? Kate was certainly shimmery in the role.

Katharine-Hepburn-Tracy-Lord

Tracy Lord, shimmering.

steelelaughs

Mr. Steele seems intrigued with this information, or perhaps the discovery of Laura’s shimmery fantasies.

We’ll leave Dr. Bellows and Nurse Lord being welcomed to the Devil’s Playground …

 

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Steele Trap – 2

murphsdressingbetter

Our next scene opens on Murphy, who seems to have stepped up his wardrobe. Trying to be more like a certain smooth operator you claim to despise, Murph?

fingerpointing

Bernice (long time no see, Miss … Wolf? Fox? OMG, even I can’t remember any more!) directs the associate investigator into the executive office.

dustingthegallery

Finances must be tight this month, as we find Laura and Mr. S doing some light housekeeping. They’re dusting the many photos of the illustrious detective with his grateful admirers. Murphy, having just come from the coroner’s office, natch, has some information for them:

arthurbellows

“I’ve got a preliminary background check on our … almost client.”

See? This is why you get a credit card number before you start the work so you can at least recoup the cost of the drive across town. You kids need a good financial manager

 

spoileralert emoticonMildredKrebs

baseballguys

Murphy makes a rather startling (to any classic TV fan) announcement: “Arthur Bellows was a cosmetic surgeon.

Dr-Bellows-i-dream-of-jeannie-6921734-720-576

You’re slipping Murphy. I’m pretty sure Dr. Bellows was an Air Force psychiatrist.

But apparently he relocated from Cape Canaveral to LA and began a new practice.

drunkkenness

“You know, lift this, tuck that.”

Niptuck_season_2

Guess I missed that season.

Sounds like Dr. Bellows was as lousy a cosmetic surgeon as he was a shrink; Murphy reports he’s recently lost three malpractice suits and drinks like a fish.

whatsdevilsplayground

Laura wants to know if Murphy’s found out what this Devil’s Playground is.

“Some kind of resort. It’s on an island off of Baja California.”
StMartin

Hm. This is the only island I found off Baja, California: Isla San Martin. Looks a little bleak for a resort.

steeleisinterested

“Resort?” Steele asks, suddenly attentive. “On an island? How intriguing.”
7-1-fantasy-island-Facebook

Sorry, Mr. Steele. It’s not this island.

guykilledhimself

Murphy’s done wasting time on this. “Forget it, Laura. The guy killed himself. The reasons aren’t important.”
callousmurphy

Mr. Steele is offended by Murphy’s callous disregard for the late Dr. Bellows. “How cold, Murphy. How callous. Perhaps you’ve been at this too long.”

atthistoolong

Mr. Steele, having learned a thing or two about how to pique Laura’s interest, continues: “You’re asking yourself – could that invitation have triggered his death?”

skinnysteele

“And you know- the only place to find the answer is in the Devil’s Playground.” He heads for the door.

littleblackbags

Mr. Steele briskly commands Bernice to “run out and get me one of those little black bags Robert Young used to carry around.”

Jim Anderson

Wait. I thought Jim Anderson was an insurance salesman?

marcuswelby

Oh, THIS Robert Young. Steele also wants medical paraphernalia.

Laura declares herself clueless. “Appropriate props are the key to any convincing characterization,” the master of disguise explains.

murphyiobjects

Murphy is all appalled again. “You’re going to IMPERSONATE Dr. Bellows?”

steeleprotests

Steele declares this is the only way to get to the bottom of the tragedy. A man of compassion, is our Mr. Steele.

gettingawayfromus

“Laura, it’s getting away from us again,” Murphy warns.

justascurious

“Laura, you’re as curious about this as I am,” Steele persists.

hasustheremurph

“He has us there, Murph,” she admits.

Steele-1, Murphy-0. Par for the course, I’d say. Poor Murphy.

anhourtopack

“Give me an hour to pack,” Miss Holt says, with a fair amount of enthusiasm.

Oh, ho! Laura is going to accompany him to this sordid soiree? I didn’t think she was the type!

impersonatingsteele

Perhaps sensing Murphy’s disapproval, Laura explains. “If I allow him to go out there on his own, impersonating Remington Steele IMPERSONATING Arthur Bellows, can you imagine the outcome? Give me twenty minutes,” she explains.

steeleissmug

Steele is pleased. Murphy is NOT.

murphsontohim

“I know why you’re so hot to pursue this nonexistent mystery,” Mr. Michaels accuses.

perishthethought

“You want to get Laura alone on that island, don’t you?”

quickeyebrow

“You know what I most admire about you, Murphy?” Steele says.

“What?”

Is it possible for Mr. Steele to be any more smug? Yes! It is!

steeletriumphant

“Your perception.”

Oh, Murphy. You can dress like the master, but that doesn’t make you the master.

murphdefeated

Murphy throws down his coroner’s report in disgust.

reluctantadmiration

Game, set and match to Steele!

And STILL no opening credits …

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