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Ironside: A Very Cool Hot Car

Our look back on the debut season of Ironside continues.

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Special Note: This installment of our Ironside Episode Guide is dedicated to the memory of Don Galloway (Detective Ed Brown), who died January 8th at the age of 71.

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Episode: A Very Cool Hot Car

Airdate: 30 November 1967

Plot: Years ago, when I saw Spinal Tap for the first time and laughed my head off at the song (Listen (shhhhh) to the) Flower People, I had no idea there was a hippie faction that actually called themselves the Flower People. And according to this episode of Ironside, they also named themselves after flowers and dressed like rejects from Willy Wonka's candy factory. But how many of them were trafficking in stolen cars?

Guest stars: Bernie Hamilton (Capt. Dobey on Starsky and Hutch), Arch Johnson, and J. C. Flippen.

If you want the job done right: You have to call in Chief Robert T. Ironside. At least that's what Commissioner Randall decides when the recovery rate for stolen vehicles in his city takes a sudden dive.

Guess who's coming to auto theft? Lt. Adams, the new man in charge of auto theft, is up against it. Falling stats, the Commissioner is losing faith in him, and to top it off, he's a black man on a white man's police force. He can't catch a break until Ironside agrees to help solve the case of the missing cars.

Gone in 60 seconds: Eve's background research discovers that somewhere in the United States a car is stolen every 60 seconds, day and night. And Nicolas Cage was three years old in 1967.

Supercop: The previous lieutenant in charge of auto theft (who was forced into early retirement) must have had the most amazing arrest record of any cop on any force in the entire county. According to him, in all his years, he failed on exactly one job.

He also has a racist chip on his shoulder: "If I couldn't beat this one, that college boy from Africa can't, and you can't," Lt. Muldoon (of course) says to Ironside.

Lt. Muldoon's reasons for attempting suicide (choose one):

A. Early retirement
B. Dirt
C. The LSD
D. The things that are going on
E. The graft in high places
F. All of the above

The correct answer: F

When duty calls for a trip to the beauty shop: After Eve is assigned to dig up information on "the Dunne family of Burlingame," she grabs her purse and heads for the door, off to change clothes and get her hair done before dropping in on the Burlingame Country Club.

Jazzing it up: Quincy Jones' soundtrack hits a dramatic high as the Ironside van pulls into a junkyard.

The entire episode is worth watching for this moment alone: At about the fourteen-minute mark, we meet Rosemary and Alfred Dunne, twins in every sense of the word. They're wearing matching bright red velvet suits, with pink-and-white striped shirts, and white boots. They each sport round-framed hippie glasses, a fake pink flower in their lapel, and dangling gold necklaces that include a peace symbol.

Alfred: We're flower people and we don't believe in shaking hands with policemen.

Ironside: Are you brother and sister, husband and wife, or do you just cross-pollinate?

(Throughout this scene, it looks as if everyone involved is trying not to laugh, in character and out.)

Alfred: I use the name Dandelion and my sister uses the name Pretty Weed. We belong to a group of people that wishes to emulate the flowers of the field.

Rosemary (AKA Pretty Weed): Meaning that we do not kill, threaten with guns or truncheon or handcuffs or napalm, or jails or courts or judges. Like dandelions and pretty weeds we enjoy the sun in the short time that's allotted us and try briefly to beautify a corner of the dung heap which humanity's made out of God's world.

Ironside (pauses, looks down, suppresses a smile): I see.

Alfred (AKA Dandelion): I did a year in Vietnam, so I earned the right to be non-violent.

Sgt. Brown: You earned the right to be non-violent because there's a ring of Fuzz around you protecting you.

Junkyard dog: Mark lobbies hard to work the inside job at The Mid-City Salvage Company, telling Ironside, "I'm an American citizen and I can take my vacation anywhere I want."

Undercover brother: Wearing a silver hard hat and wielding a crowbar, Mark is nearly brained by a car wreck dangling from a crane. We're treated to a few more minutes of smashing scrap metal and crushing cars before a new-model, powder blue Cadillac with the front half gone is towed into the yard. Bingo!

I'm just a slogger: Sgt. Breen is a real team player. He never gives his own opinion when asked. Instead, he uses the slog defense. I don't know nuthin, "I just slog along."

Old school: Mid-City Salvage uses a steam whistle to announce the end of each shift.

The not-so-clean-cut Detective Brown: Ed's been sitting in his car all night, working surveillance at the airport. He looks pretty hot with that five o'clock shadow.

Look out, look out, look out, look out! As Ed tails a stolen vehicle up along a mountain road, another car quickly overtakes him and begins forcing his car off the road. Screeching around the turns, Ed fights to avoid plunging over the side while keeping in radio contact with Ironside. We never get a good look at the fedora-wearing driver of the other car. The scene ends when Ed crashes into a guardrail. The smashed windshield is plunged into red by a camera filter and there's a quick cut to a bloody hand.

It's nothing a stiff belt of scotch can't help: Back at Ironside's lair, Ed sits with his arm in a sling sipping a scotch. Not a hair on his head is out of place as he and the team review recent events.

Ironside's mobile crime lab has a new toy: A high-tech listening device the size of a small rocket launcher has been mounted to the roof of the van. Wobbling left to right and back again as it supposedly tracks sound, it looks like twenty pieces of PVC tubing bundled together like a child's version of a multi-barrel machine gun.

Please ignore the fact that the surveillance van is parked about 30 feet away from the target: The directional listening device, sensitive enough to "hear a man breathing," starts freaking out with high-pitched feedback (coming from the electro-magnet crane used to pick up cars and scrap metal.) The technician is initially baffled by the source of the sound and Ironside barks at him to fix the machine and figure it out - because it would be too difficult to pop their heads outside the van, look across the street, and see that the damn crane is working.

Call in the dogs: On Ironside's command, uniformed backup arrives with two snarling German Shepherds in tow, which they release at the junkyard gates. A pretty risky prospect if you ask me. Of the four brawling men - including Mark and Lt. Adams - how exactly are the dogs able to determine just whom they should sink their teeth into?

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Previously:
* A Cop and His Chair
* Message From Beyond
* The Leaf in the Forest
* Dead Man's Tale
* Eat, Drink and Be Buried
* The Taker
* An Inside Job
* Tagged For Murder
* Let My Brother Go
* Light at the End of the Journey
* The Monster of Comus Towers.
* The Man Who Believed



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Posted on January 13, 2009


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