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Murder on Stage 17

This is an episode I tend to like more and more, every time I see it.




My station was showing "The Crying Child", which I've already reviewed, so I decided to go backwards and do a fun one on youtube that I haven't done yet.

First, I think Jeff Goldblum is terrific in this as movie director Harry Markham.  He's just the right mixture between cool professionalism and forced patience.  

Of course, as soon as they first appear on the set, Hutch launches into a lecture about Markham's legendary skills, while Starsky fumbles through trying to figure out who the attractive lady is beside Markham -- including wondering if she's Kate Jackson, and Hutch waves him off hopelessly.

The initial stunt scene is hilarious.  Both guys play the clueless newbies so well that's hard to know if that's "really" Starsky and Hutch being clueless, or just playing at being clueless.  They are just so "on", so into each other, and having so much fun with it all.  And don't miss a beat when the real stuntmen decide to teach them a lesson and not pull their punches.

It's sweet, too, the way they collapse on a bench together in exhaustion, with their arms intertwined, as though holding onto each other.  And as they stand up to meet Julie, Starsky is still hanging onto Hutch a lot.  And they're still showing the effects of the fight later in Steve Hanson's bungalow.  In fact, they almost fall over each other when Hutch reaches to help Starsky up.

It should be against the law to kill innocent little doggys in standard dramatic television fare.

Steve Hanson seems to have a subtle, agitated undercurrent about him at times that's hard to pin down as to the reason.  It would be easy to view him as a suspect, except that he just plain isn't.

Of course, the gem of the episode is when Hutch gets his line.  This is almost a pick-up right from the tag of the prior episode with Lynn Anderson.  Starsky is the relentless cheerleader, while Hutch is a complete bundle of nerves, accompanied by paralyzing stage fright.  In both cases, Starsky's over-board support and enthusiasm (normally a wonderful thing) ends up messing things up for Hutch.  Except, in this episode, Starsky's interference comes off as overly contrived.  Hutch stated his line too slow and stilted, so they couldn't use it anyway.  So, what did Starsky cracking his knuckles have to do with messing it up?  For that matter, I never understood just exactly what it was that Starsky did wrong, until a fan friend pointed out that the weird background noise was Starsky cracking his knuckles.

Anyway, it's such a beautiful and unexpected moment when Hutch looks directly at the camera and smiles self-consciously.

If Dobey had to get up in the middle of the night to heed the guys' request about the water bottle company, how come he's dressed in a three-piece?

The episode gets rather dry from this point forward.   Though the manhandling Hutch does after Starsky gets hit with the chair in the bar scene is pretty funny.  And then there's the scene with Wally Stone's sister -- all those exaggerated noises with the spoons and teacups, to say nothing of the little gestures and movements.  Interesting that Hutch wants sugar in his tea.

It is rather comforting that Wally ends up letting Julie go.  That was an unexpected twist.

The tag is unique with the mention of Hutch's mother.  ("My mother probably told everybody back home about this thing.")  And what's with wearing sunglasses while watching in a darkened theater, lol?   Plus, Starsky is the one with the advice this time, and Hutch actually considers taking it.