Wednesday, June 28, 2006

RrrrrrrrrrrACKET SQUAD!

The head of security where I work loaned me two discs of an oldie that is probably mostly forgotten by all but the die-hards like my compadre Ivan over at "Thrilling Days Of Yesteryear" (see the link at left):

'Racket Squad'.

There were only four episodes on each disc, so it's hard to make an assessment of the series based on just eight shows. But there was a nostalgic charm to the atmosphere of the series which put me in mind of 'The Adventures Of Superman'. It was as if the lifestyle of that time period was pervasive in Toobworld; I could believe that the citizens of Metropolis could easily blend in with the characters seen in the 'Racket Squad' episodes. By the same standard, I think you could easily find 'Lassie' living on a farm just outside of town.

The only thing missing to make it 'The Adventures Of Superman' was the Man of Steel himself. And with a couple of the cases, they seemed like the kind of scams that Clark Kent's alter-ego might have become involved in.

These were the episodes I saw:

"Kite High"
"One More Dream"
"The System"
"Take A Little, Leave A Little"
"The Long Shot"
"Romance Unlimited"
"The Case Of The Dancing Lady"
"The Case Of The MIracle Mud"

(Titles like those two sound like they belonged on the docket for 'Perry Mason'!)

What helped the mental connection to 'The Adventures Of Superman' was the appearance of Noel Neill in "The Long Shot" as Peggy Dawson. And there was nothing about the plot that might contradict the contention that Peggy and Lois Lane could be identical cousins.

There were several familiar faces in these shows that brought a smile to this fan of Toobworld's character actors: Hugh Beaumont, Timothy Carey, Will Geer, and the too under-appreciated Robert Easton.

Another show I was reminded of while watching 'Racket Squad' was 'Hustle'. "One More Dream" was the type of long con that Mickey and his cohorts would have pulled, but there was one big difference - attitude. As we watch the gang try to pull off the scam in "One More Dream", we are led to view them as the criminals they are. That sensibility would be missing from 'Hustle' and instead we would be rooting for them to succeed.

There are also two theoretical links that can be made to other TV shows, based on just these eight episodes.

First off, in "Take A Little, Leave A Little", the action took place in Springfield and featured a character named Anderson. Who's to deny that it's pozz'ble, it's pozz'ble that he was related to Jim Anderson, Robert Young's character in 'Father Knows Best'?

And then there was "The Case Of The Miracle Mud" which took place in Fairview, California, which is better known nowadays as the hometown of the 'Desperate Housewives'.

Was 'Racket Squad' a great show? Not really, and it's understandable why it's mostly forgotten today. But it made for a pleasant diversion, watching two episodes at work each night and knowing that I was getting paid over 26 dollars to do so........


The security chief has now loaned me three boxed sets for 'Naked City' to get me through the slow spot at the hotel each night. I'm golden for at least the next two months!

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