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Ironside: The Taker

Our look back on the debut season of Ironside continues.


Episode 6: The Taker

Airdate: 12 October 1967

Plot: It's a foggy day in Frisco Town when a fedora-sporting cop named Andrew Anderson is gunned down by an acquaintance on a deserted street. After an incriminating amount of cash is found on his body and certain improper relationships come to light, it appears as if Anderson was on the take. The police commissioner is hoping to keep the crooked cop story under wraps and the best way to do that is to keep Ironside, the force's best detective, off the case. Fat chance.

Guest stars: Mark Richman, Robert Alda, and William Schallert

Long forgotten "special guest star": Jan Shepard as Adrienne May

Music to murder by: Harpsichord and dulcimer music paired with long notes on an electric organ make anything seem menacing. A Ford Fairlane traveling at 2 mph has never been so foreboding.

That eerie Night Gallery vibe without the night: In the background of the funeral scene, the creepiest pair of statues stands on a hill overlooking Anderson's burial plot. Since everyone is decked out in black, these glowing white Plaster of Paris figures look especially odd, like a pair of golfers frozen on the final tee.

Color Me Beautiful: After the funeral, Ironside says, "We can't do any more for Andy here. Let's go . . . (to) headquarters. I want to get out of this dark suit and start doing my homework." Obviously, Ironside does his best thinking in a blue suit.

Fashion moment #1: Adrienne May is wearing a flowing polyester pants suit that disguises itself as a flowing polyester dress. It's white with black ovals spotted all over and an orange scarf tied at the waist. Hoop earrings and bracelets made of orange plastic complete the look.

Drink up, for tomorrow we go to jail: Once again, a suspect in a murder investigation offers the presiding detective a drink. In the event that Chief Robert T. Ironside should appear on your doorstep to ask you a few questions, I suggest you stock your bar with bourbon. He prefers it straight, on the rocks.

Acting = breathy line reading: It takes me 10 minutes to figure out just who it is Jan Shepard reminds me of - a low-rent, bleach-blonde Elizabeth Taylor.

It's Casual Day at the office: Ed looks peculiar sporting a Mr. Rogers sweater in lieu of his usual suit coat.

On-the-job flirtation between Ken and Barbie:
Ed: So, I'm a heel for trying to prepare him in case he's wrong about Andy?
Eve: You're not a heel Ed. Just a stinker. (Insert coy smile here.)

Fashion moment #2: In his second scene, the Commissioner (Gene Lyons) looks like Orville Reddenbacher - all giant horned-rim glasses and bow tie, minus the suspenders.

Well, of course he's not the murderer: William Schallert portrays Photographer Simon Arkoff. Obviously, a character played by the actor best known as the father of both Nancy Drew and Patty Duke couldn't possibly be the killer, even if he does have an accent that's, ah, er, um, Russian? Polish? "European"?

Nothing kills the action faster than a rotary phone: The scene grinds to a complete halt after Ironside leaves and Arkoff rushes to the phone to make a call. We never learn whom he's calling. Instead, we watch as he dials the number (dial--whirr times seven) and listens to it ring. And ring. And ring. Twenty seconds (I counted) of watching someone place a phone call. Can you imagine 24 in the age of rotary phones?

Get hep to the lingo: Hophead

He must have made a deal with the devil: The yacht club commodore is played by Cyril Delevanti, a perpetually elderly British character actor with a familiar face; every time he'd pop up in some movie or TV show, you'd think to yourself, "Oh my gosh, I thought he was dead."

Eve's yellow-and-black plaid suit: I'd describe it for you but it hurts my eyes to look at.

Burn rubber: Every time Ed's car comes to a stop at the curb, the tires squeal on the pavement. The funny thing is, he's never going more than 10 mph.

Thank God for Quincy Jones' soundtrack #1: I'd be willing to guess that one-eighth of this episode consists of nothing but shots of Ironside's gray wagon cruising the streets of San Francisco. That makes for a lot of jazzy variations on the Ironside theme song.

Thank God for Quincy Jones' soundtrack #2: I'm lovin' all the maraca shake-shake-shakin' going on in this episode's score.

Shootout at the O.K. Yacht Club: Ironside and Mark arrive at the Belvedere Boat Club to question their No. 1 suspect, Daryll Frazer. Rolling up alongside a large powerboat, Ironside peeks through the porthole to see Frazer (Mark Richman) sitting behind a desk, hilariously spinning the barrel of a gun.

Congratulations Mark, you've been promoted: Ironside sends his legman Mark on board to find out what Frazer and his compatriot Johnny Utrecht (Robert Alda) are talking about; he hands his driver a handgun, instantly promoting Mark to backup.

Attention Village People: Do rich guys who own yachts (not boats, mind you, but yachts) really dress like faux captains, with white pants, a navy blue captain's jacket, and nautical cap? Because on TV it looks absolutely ridiculous. Unless of course, you're Thurston Howell, III.


* A Cop and His Chair
* Message From Beyond
* The Leaf in the Forest
* Dead Man's Tale
* Eat, Drink and Be Buried


Posted on September 10, 2008

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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