Monday, August 28, 2017

This Week in Television History: August 2017 PART IV

As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history,
the more that fact and legend become intertwined.
It's hard to say where the truth really lies.


August 29, 1967
The final episode of The Fugitive aired. 
The two-part final episode, titled The Judgment
Part 1
The one-armed man, going by the alias "Fred Johnson," is arrested after tearing up a Los Angeles strip bar. When Kimble reads about it in a newspaper while working in Arizona, he travels to Los Angeles. However, Gerard has already arrived in Los Angeles and is working with the local police, convinced Kimble will come to LA. Gerard is spotted by an old friend of the Kimble family, a woman named Jean Carlisle (Diane Baker), who is working as a typist with the Los Angeles Police Department. She immediately contacts Kimble's sister Donna, who, after failing to reach Kimble at his last job in Tucson, manages to find out and tell Jean where Kimble might be arriving in Los Angeles. Jean manages to reach Kimble just as the police start searching the area and gets him safely away to her apartment. Later, she reveals that she has been fond of him since she was a child, when her father's arrest for embezzlement and disgrace left her family with no friends save the Kimbles. Meanwhile, Gerard interrogates Johnson and begins to question that Kimble may be telling the truth after all. (It is mentioned that Johnson worked near Stafford, two weeks before Helen Kimble was murdered.) After Kimble learns that Johnson has been arrested, he elects to turn himself in in a final hope of confronting Johnson and making him tell the truth. Before he can carry out his plan, Johnson is bailed out of jail by a corrupt bail bondsman who formulates a plan to blackmail the person who supplied the bail and who is himself killed by Johnson after revealing that the money came from someone in Kimble's home town of Stafford, IN. Kimble decides that he must leave Los Angeles and head back home immediately. Just as he is about to catch a taxi to the airport, Gerard moves in and arrests Kimble after years of pursuing him. "I'm sorry," Gerard tells him, "you just ran out of time."
Part 2
While taking the train back from Los Angeles to Stafford, Kimble informs Gerard that he found something that might lead him to the truth and that he believes Johnson is going to Stafford to use the information for which he killed the bail bondsman. He asks Gerard to allow him to try to find Johnson and prove his innocence. Gerard sets a 24-hour deadline for Kimble to do so once the train returns to Stafford, and Kimble vows to turn himself in if he does not find what he is looking for.
The key piece of evidence Kimble has is the bail bond slip signed by a man using the name "Leonard Taft," the name of Richard's brother-in-law, married to his sister Donna. The man is actually the Tafts's neighbor, Stafford city planner Lloyd Chandler (J. D. Cannon). Chandler learns from Donna that she had received a phone call from someone who claimed that he knew who really killed Helen Kimble and arranging a meeting that night at an abandoned riding stable. While Donna and Leonard dismiss the call as a prank, Chandler keeps the meeting. Even though Chandler is armed with a loaded pistol, Johnson easily overpowers and disarms him and blackmails him for $50,000. Later, after learning from Donna about the phone call, Kimble and Gerard investigate the stable, but find only a dropped, unfired cartridge from Chandler's gun.
Chandler tries to get the money while hiding it from his wife, Betsy (Louise Latham), even resorting to putting his house up for sale. Eventually, he cracks and tells her what he had done and why, revealing that he had actually witnessed the murder of Helen Kimble. In a frightful panic after her husband had driven off and after drinking heavily, Helen had called Chandler and he had come over to the house to try to calm her down. While upstairs with Helen, both she and Chandler heard Johnson breaking into the house and witnessed his attempted robbery. Chandler watched as Helen confronted Johnson, but he quickly turned on her and began beating her with a lamp. Frozen in shock and fear at what he saw Johnson did, Chandler watched Helen being beaten to death by the one-armed robber and did nothing to stop it from happening. Johnson spotted him as he was leaving, but seeing that Chandler was too stunned to act, he left the Kimble residence. Chandler never told anybody out of shame because he was afraid that his standing in the community would be ruined; he had fought in World War II and earned a Silver Star while in combat, and feared that if anyone found out about his moment of cowardice in the Kimble home he would never live it down.
Jean Carlisle returns to Stafford and she and Kimble are briefly reunited. However, because Kimble is unsuccessful in finding his evidence within the 24 hours he was given, he is about to leave with Gerard when Donna finds a bullet hidden in one of her sons's dresser drawers. Shown the bullet, Gerard identifies it as being identical to the one they found at the riding academy the night before. Donna tells her husband and the lieutenant that the bullet must have come from Chandler, who had taken a group of boys to a shooting range the day before. Kimble and Gerard head over to the Chandler residence and learn that Chandler has headed to an abandoned amusement park and is luring Johnson there so he can make up for his earlier unwillingness to talk by killing Johnson.
By the time Kimble and Gerard arrive at the amusement park, Chandler and Johnson are shooting at each other, Johnson's pistol against Chandler's rifle. Gerard is shot in the thigh by Johnson, temporarily disabling him. The lieutenant tosses Kimble his weapon, and Kimble heads off to finally confront his wife's murderer. Chandler is forced to help Gerard walk, and during the whole time Gerard tries to convince him to speak up so Kimble can be exonerated.
The climax takes place on top of a carnival tower where Kimble has chased Johnson. They engage in hand-to-hand fighting, while Gerard and Chandler watch from the ground. Kimble is able to extract a confession from Johnson, as he desired. Johnson then tells Kimble that he plans to kill him next, as he has grown tired of being chased. Johnson picks up Gerard's pistol, but before he can shoot, Gerard uses Chandler's rifle to hit Johnson with a well-placed shot from the ground, and Johnson falls to his death.
Kimble climbs down and informs Gerard that he was able to get Johnson to confess, but the confession is no good because nobody else heard it. As Kimble resigns himself to fate decreed to him four years earlier, Chandler after being prodded by Gerard decides to testify in court as to what he witnessed.
In the final scene of the series, an exonerated Kimble leaves the courthouse and, after hesitating, shakes Lt. Gerard's extended hand. Dr. Kimble walks off toward his new life, accompanied by Jean Carlisle. Narrator William Conrad intones, "Tuesday, September 5th. The day the running stopped."
According to Ed Robertson's book The Fugitive Recaptured (the first book written about the series), the final episode aired in Canada on September 5, 1967. The "Special Features" DVD states that the final episode was interrupted in some parts of the U.S. This version was also seen in some areas in syndication and was later released on VHS tape. Both versions are available on DVD.
Part two of the finale was the most-watched television series episode up to that time. It was viewed by 25.70 million households (45.9 percent of American households with a television set and a 72 percent share), meaning that more than 78 million people tuned in. That record was held until the November 21, 1980 episode of Dallas, titled "Who Done It," viewed by 41.47 million households (53.3 percent of households and a 76 percent share), which was later surpassed by the series finale of M*A*S*H, titled "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen," on February 28, 1983, viewed by 50.15 million households (60.2 percent of households and a 77 percent share). According to producer Leonard Goldberg, the network was simply going to end the series with a regular episode without any kind of denouement, as network executives were totally oblivious to the concept that a television audience actually tuned in week after week and cared about the characters of a TV series. The timing of the broadcast was unusual: Rather than ending the regular season, the finale was held back while suspense continued through the summer reruns.
In 1997, "The Judgment, Part 2" was ranked No. 23 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.

August 31, 1957
Children's show Kukla, Fran and Ollie airs its last episode on prime-time network TV. 

The show featured beloved puppets Kukla, Ollie (a dragon), and others, with live actress Fran Allison as host. The show began as a local Chicago program and moved to NBC in 1948. It was one of the two most important series made in Chicago, along with Garroway at Large, during the city's brief period as an important production center for network programs in the late 1940s. After its network cancellation, PBS revived the series from 1969 to 1971.

SEPTEMBER

September 1, 1922
Yvonne De Carlo, Canadian-born. 

American film and television actress, dancer and singer was born. Her most prolific appearances in film came in the 1940s and 1950s and included her best-known film roles, such as Salome Where She Danced and The Ten Commandments, opposite Charlton Heston. In the 1960s, she gained a whole new generation of fans, playing "Lily Munster" on CBS television series The Munsters, opposite Fred Gwynne.

To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".


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Tony Figueroa
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