The Greatest American Hero “The Hit Car” (part 5 of 9)

Bill introduces Ralph as his backup man (not partner, mind you—Remember That For Later). Starlet lets them into her fleabag hotel room, bitching the whole time about how they should have seen her gorgeous digs in Vegas, particularly the artwork she had on her walls.

Ralph allows that he’d have liked to have come up and seen her etchings. Bill gruffly butts in to say he’s been there, done that—seeing the paintings in her Vegas apartment, that is—and it left him limp, empty, and bereft of hope. The paintings, I mean.

Bill tries to get everyone headed for the airplane waiting in Oakland, but Starlet, establishing her credentials as a high class broad by removing her gum and sticking it to the side of the hideous brown lamp by the bed, says she won’t fly. Her astral chart says she shouldn’t go on airplanes.

Bill is a little put out by this, pointing out that driving to L.A. would be suicide, and during his dialogue we get our second instance of a Highly Audible Landmark, as the clang-clang-clang of the San Francisco trolley is foleyed in to remind us that we’re not currently in L.A. Yeah, we totally filmed this on location! And we’ve got the sound effects all set up for next week’s “trip” to New York, too! Track 1: “Due to necessary maintenance, all Q trains are bypassing your destination, whatever that is.” Track 2: “For your comfort and convenience, please do not urinate on the escalator.” Track 3: “Excuse me, officer, is the Statue of Liberty in Times Square, or is it just next to Times Square?” Track 4: “Malkovich. Malkovich malkovich malkovich? Malkovich!!”

Caption contributed by Mark

”Look, is someone gonna take advantage of me here, or what?”

Bill isn’t buying the astral crap, so Starlet aims her headlights at Ralph and saucily asks if he believes in the stars, all the while doing that alternating-shoulder thing that a person does when they’re crawling through the desert and they have no arms. Ralph sputters helplessly, causing Bill to break in with a string of classic Billspeak:

Bill: Okay, boys and girls, over here please. Let’s put a dimmer on the goo-goo eyes and try to hold a thought! We got killers on our tails. In the immediate vicinity!

Only Robert Culp could get away with dialogue like that. Though, at the moment, I’m imagining it being delivered by Nancy Kulp instead of Robert Culp, and I’m having a great deal of fun with that. In fact, I may mentally replace Bill with Miss Hathaway for the duration of this episode.

Caption contributed by Mark

”Why yes, Miss Wild, it so happens that the carpet does match the drapes.”

And if that “immediate vicinity” bit sounds tacked on to you, that’s because it’s Startlet’s cue to pooh-pooh Bill’s paranoia by going over to the window, pulling back the drapes, and shouting, “Here I am! Yoo-hoo! You can go ahead an’ shoot me!”

And a nearby rifle says, “Hiya, toots! I’ve got something inside me that’d like to be insida you!”

Everybody dives for cover. There’s a brief shot of two suit-clad thugs on a rooftop, blazing away with a high powered rifle at the brightly lit window. The bad guys in this show are such snappy dressers! I guess they all went to Princeton.

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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 "The Hit Car"

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