The Encounter With Aries ->->->-> DOWNLOAD (Mirror #1)
Original Title: Encounter With Aries
The kidnapping of a woman who is married to a wealthy astrologer -- and the appearance of her kidnapper, who claims she is being held in a room with a ticking time bomb -- spur the woman's husband to bash in the kidnapper's head with a vase, leaving McCloud, Clifford and Broadhurst with a limited time to determine where the woman is and who is really behind the kidnapping.
As this episode opens Chief Clifford has Marshal McCloud dealing with the nut complaints over at police headquarters. After giving some of his sage and sagebrush advice to Elisha Cook, Jr. about using wax paper to end those alien transmissions to his brain he gets involved in a real case of kidnapping.
Peter Haskell has grabbed Louise Latham the wife of celebrity astrologer Sebastian Cabot and wants some big bucks for her. If not she's all rigged up with a bomb set to detonate by 7:00 PM.
It's an interesting story which I'm not going to begin to tell because it's nicely thought out. Susan Strasberg turns out to be the key to the whole affair, she's Haskell's girlfriend.
I will say though there is a very funny scene with Dennis Weaver and Jill Jaress who plays Cabot's secretary. He manages to worm out of her information that confirms his suspicions.
He also risks the wrath of Chief Clifford in following through his theory. J.D. Cannon was never more put out in the series than he is in this episode. He's actually ready to send McCloud back to Taos.
But our Marshal as he always does gets it right.
Sam's 1st "big city kidnapping" involves the wife of Richard Cantrell (Sebastian Cabot), who has gotten rich writing a syndicated astrology column, and who also does personal horoscopes for a large number of clients. The kidnapping occurred in front of a store where the wife was running an errand for her husband, and the wife has been left, unconscious, in an abandoned warehouse where a bomb is set to go off at 7 PM unless the husband comes up with the ransom money, which the kidnapper (Peter Haskell, a familiar face in early-70's TV) has shown up in person to collect! But after the husband goes berserk and attacks the kidnapper, sending him into a coma, McCloud begins to piece things together and suspect that the husband set the whole thing up, so he could gets his hands on his rich wife's inherited money.
After 1 short season of 60-min. episodes as part of NBC's "FOUR-IN-ONE" (which also featured "NIGHT GALLERY", "THE PSYCHIATRIST" and "SAN FANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT"), "McCLOUD" returned as part of the new "NBC MYSTERY MOVIE" cycle, which also featured "COLUMBO" and "McMILLAN AND WIFE". I got hooked on "McCLOUD" during the summer reruns of its 1st season, and was delighted to see it back, albeit in a different format. I came to love the 90-min. "MYSTERY MOVIE"s. They were very much like a revival of the "B"-movie series of the 1930's and 40's, like "CHARLIE CHAN", "THE FALCON" and "BOSTON BLACKIE". By making fewer episodes per season, each series could whittle out bad scripts, and each story had more room to develop and include more character development and humor, along with the crime and mystery angles.
While there had been 2 "COLUMBO"s before (a pilot in 1968, and a 2nd pilot in early 1971), "McCLOUD" was the only series that year that was actually having a 2nd season. But it was a strangely different 2nd year. Glen Larson, who'd overseen Season 1 (and would return for Season 3) was replaced by Dean Hargrove, and Peter Allan Fields wound up writing 5 out its 7 episodes. The 2nd season had a much more "mystery movie" feel to it-- laid back, slow-paced, relaxed (maybe too much so), with far less emphasis on action or comedy as the show had both before and after it.
But "ENCOUNTER WITH ARIES" takes that even further. For a season opener, this is not really representative of the series as a whole, and even feels a bit odd next to the other 6 this season. Sam McCloud, who we keep being told has been "assigned" to the NYC Police Dept. to "learn big city procedures", tends to bring more of his own style of intuition, initiative and lateral thinking to any situation, and is often at odds with his supervisor, Chief Clifford (the always-wonderful J.D. Cannon) for ignoring procedure en route to solving a case faster than anyone else in the department seems capable of managing.
However, in this one, he seems more dull-witted and slow of mind than usual. Of course, it's an act, but a far more pronounced one than on display in ANY other episode of the series. In short, Sam is doing a "cowboy" version of LT. COLUMBO. Peter Falk dealt with a murder passed off as a supposed kidnapping only 6 months earlier in his 2nd pilot, "RANSOM FOR A DEAD MAN". Dennis Weaver deals with a variation on that here, the difference being that the kidnap victim is still very much alive this time, though the clock is running out.
It's been pointed out by some that when some NBC exec decided that all the "MYSTERY MOVIES" should be 2 hours instead of 90 minutes (instead of only those "special" stories where the longer length was called for), that far too many of the stories felt hopelessly "padded out", and this is no doubt true, especially if some of the scripts had to be expanded after they were already written for the shorter length. I have the strongest suspicion that "ENCOUNTER WITH ARIES" was written for the 1-hour format, and then expanded when they found out it would be 90 minutes instead. Too much of it feels PAINFULLY padded out, stretched beyond endurance to fill the 90-min. slot. I guess I should be happy it wasn't stretched to fill a full 2 hours!
Joe Broadhurst (Terry Carter, another major favorite of mine) returned from the 1st season, but was only given limited screen time, and strangely, would be missing from most of this season. Thankfully, he came back for the 3rd, and had his role expanded. Although Diana Muldaur's "Chris Cauflin" would come and go (she was missing from the whole of Season 2), I can't imagine "McCLOUD" without Dennis Weaver, J.D. Cannon AND Terry Carter!
This was another rough start (for a series with one of the worst pilots I've ever seen), but as before, things would get better.
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