The Greatest American Hero “Here's Looking at You, Kid” (part 2 of 6)

Ralph is now rushing out of the school, only to be intercepted, much to his annoyance, by his teeth-gritting FBI partner Bill Maxwell. Ralph fusses, whining that he has to meet Pam’s folks at the airport, but Bill tells him about the high-tech super Supervoltimeter being stolen. Apparently, it can “hit a beer can from five miles out”, which, Bill scoffs, is certainly not as important as Mr. and Mrs. Davidson visiting from “East Dogbreath, Nebraska”. Hey, my Great Aunt Hazel is from West Dogbreath, Nebraska! So you watch your mouth.

Ralph stridently (and unwisely) corrects Bill, explaining that they’re from Minnesota, where Mr. Davidson runs a hardware store, and is in fact “the mayor of Deer Lick Falls.” Make up your own dirty joke… now.

Actually, it turns out this is an in-joke: this episode’s writer, Cannell’s longtime associate Juanita Bartlett, was also a writer on The Rockford Files, and this is a reference to a season 5 episode called “The Mayor’s Committee from Deer Lick Falls”, in which Jim is supposed to prevent a small-town IRS audit. So there you go, the joke’s on us.

Back on topic, Ralph reasonably wonders why the army isn’t out looking for the Supervoltimeter, and Bill explains that they are, along with every other branch of the federal government. Thing is, Bill is certain that they’re all “looking in the wrong place”, but no one except Ralph will even listen to him. Right. So, scores of highly trained government officials and military brass are dead wrong, and one loose cannon FBI agent is the only who’s figured out the truth? Actually… I guess that isn’t so hard to believe.

Caption contributed by Mark

“I got the goods on Hoffa, too, kid, but no one will believe that he’s really Claude Akins!”

Ralph calls Pam from Bill’s car phone to tell her he can’t make it to the airport, and that he’ll explain later. They then establish that Bill’s car phone has a crappy connection (gosh, Mr. Peabody! We’re back in the days before cell phones!), but do nothing with this other than a few “What? I can’t hear you”s and a snide comment from Ralph after he’s hung up.

I’d dwell on this more, but my “interim” has caused me to forget what a horribly winsome actress Connie Sellecca can be, so I’m eager to move on so I can stop cringing, if you don’t mind.

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Mark "Scooter" Wilson

Mark is a history guy, a graphics guy, a guy for whom wryly cynical assessments of popular culture are the scallion cream cheese on the toasted everything bagel of life. He spends his time teaching modern history at Brooklyn College, pondering the ancient Romans at the CUNY Graduate Center, and conjuring maps and illustrations for ungrateful bankers at various Manhattan monoliths. Readers are welcome to guess at reasons why he's nicknamed Scooter, with the proviso that all such submissions are guaranteed to be rather more interesting than the truth. Mark lives in the Midwood section of Brooklyn with a happy-go-lucky, flop-eared dog named Chiyo who is probably, at this very moment, waiting patiently for her walkies.

Multi-Part Article: The Greatest American Hero "Here's Looking at You, Kid"

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