Apr 3, 2018
Mister T “Mystery of the Golden Medallion” (part 5 of 6)
Cut to a restaurant with the words “L Aventure Continental Cuisine” painted in the window. Note the lack of an apostrophe between “L” and “Aventure”. Maybe it’s a restaurant for people craving an adventure that involves the letter L. The Big Bus pulls up and Woody disembarks with the dog [?], expositing that this is the last address on the list. Mr. T tells him to scope the place out while he and Mrs. Kravitz “find a parking place.” [!] ‘Cuz I pity the fool who uses a valet!
Mr. T turns to Mrs. Kravitz and growls, “Drive!” Kravitz immediately rebukes him. “Not until you say please!” [!!] A defeated Mr. T growls, “Pleeeeease.” Hmm. I think the two of them are having an affair. You have to admit, that’s the only possible way anyone besides his momma could wield enough power over Mr. T to get him to behave.
Woody heads into the restaurant, and naturally, he runs into a Snooty Maitre-De as soon as he steps inside. Violins are heard as Snooty Maitre-De says they’re closed for a private party. I guess Snooty Maitre-De just can’t get enough of being snooty, because he adds that a jacket and tie are required, and dogs aren’t permitted at all. The dog starts full on barking at him. After a while, the dog stops barking and turns to the door to indicate that… Mr. T has arrived! They found a parking spot! Yes!
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Mr. T says, “You got a problem?” Snooty Maitre-De has now completely changed his tune and begins groveling and quickly allows them in. I’m assuming this is because—in the universe of this cartoon, at least—Mr. T is still Mr. T, and a relatively big celebrity. Still, even in 1983, would anyone have let Mr. T into a private party dressed like that, with no questions asked? I mean, with a dog even? A dog with a Mohawk, even? I doubt the presence of Mr. T would make a snooty Frenchman suddenly become less snooty. As they walk away, Snooty Maitre-De even offers the dog a steak [!!], “compliments of the house”. The dog licks his chops while the Maitre-De nervously laughs. He is so fired.
Anyway, T and Woody enter a banquet room where a banner announces these are the “Sherman Widget Company 12th Annual Sales Performance Awards”. Behind the podium, a guy with a big chin announces the winner of the “Best Salesmanship Category”. And he’s hefting—wouldn’t you know it—a big golden medallion. He puts it around the neck of a guy named Herb Samuels. Wow. Widget companies are giving their employees medals now? And all I got for my accomplishments was a stupid balancing desk toy. I mean, it might not be Newton’s Cradle, but it’s pretty damn lame.
Woody and T then have lines to point out that there are more medallions here, and that Woody was right about the list of addresses. Well, duh.
Next, the guy behind the podium announces it’s “entertainment time!” Suddenly, a giant pink cake is wheeled out. Podium Guy says it contains “two of the most talented and lovely dancers [!!] you’ll ever see, the Marshall Sisters!” Okay, what? They hired strippers at a company function? Sounds like a certain widget company is going to be having yet another round of sensitivity training sessions come Monday morning. (Okay now, what’s with all the blatantly adult concepts being “cleverly” planted in this script? I don’t know who’s responsible, but Steve Gerber’s name in the credits, as well as all those Howard the Duck magazines published without CCA approval do give me an inkling.)
Anyway, the joke is that instead of dancers, two standard-issue goons jump out of the cake. They hurl themselves at poor Herb Samuels, dogpiling him and ripping away his medallion. “Nooo!” Herb thinks to himself. “All that excellent salesmanship for nothing!”
A goon with a black shirt and white tie pounds Herb’s medallion with a hammer. He exclaims, “We got it!” It’s always in the last place you look, isn’t it? Meanwhile, his hand is wrapped tightly around the object, preventing us from seeing exactly what it is. But later on, when we actually do see it clearly, we still won’t be able to tell what it is, so I don’t know why they’re hiding it here.
Mr. T suddenly appears. “Good! Now give it to me!” [??] What? I guess Mr. T likes to dip into the contraband himself from time to time. Remarkably, they don’t give it to him, even though he is Mr. T and all. I guess the cult of personality only afflicts Snooty Maitre-Des. Instead, they run away.
Woody thinks he knows how to take care of them. He launches himself forward in a head roll, only to end up literally sliding across the floor on his head. Eventually, he has a very messy landing near the stage. I have no idea what he was attempting to do with that maneuver, but whatever it was, it sure didn’t work. One goon heads out the exit, while the other rolls the giant pink cake at Mr. T. “Hah!” the goon must be thinking to himself, “Not even the powerful Mr. T can withstand oversized pastry on wheels!”
However, he’s proven wrong when T easily grabs the cake and hurls it high in the air, bouncing it off the ceiling [?]. And when it lands, it makes a big gooey puddle that the goon slips in.
The goon slides across the floor and ends up with his head beneath a pedestal, and then there’s a bowl of fruit [?] on the pedestal, and naturally, an orange falls off and goes splat on his head. I won’t even get into how much force it takes to make an orange actually go splat like that in the first place, so I hope you’re grateful.
Mr. T checks on Woody, who’s okay, except for the fact that one of the goons got away. “Yeah,” Mr. T says. “But one of ’em didn’t!” Mr. T sees the Goon Glass as half-full, apparently. Meanwhile, the dog has jumped on the goon and is now growling at him. Hey, so I guess the dog did save it for the dudes who got Spike!
T comes along and demands to know where Spike is. And while he’s on the subject, “Why are you wreckin’ those medallions? I said, talk!” And in some of the most slipshod animation I’ve ever seen, we actually see the goon’s mouth move to Mr. T’s line “I said, talk!” [!!!] I swear, Mr. T’s voice is coming out of the goon’s mouth. So, not only is Mr. T a bad-ass mofo with super strength who can swing crocodiles around over his head, he’s also a ventriloquist!
Anyway, the goon shakes his head, and remarkably, that orange stays stuck to his head [!]. He says T and his gang have failed, because his partner found what they were looking for. T tells Woody to call the cops. Before he does that, however, Woody reminds Mr. T that they still have to meet the others at this week’s other Highly Visible Landmark, Fisherman’s Wharf.
Cut to the wharf as the group meets up. Jeff says, “Not even I… I mean, we couldn’t find Spike either!” Wow, only Jeff would be stupid enough to take the credit for total failure away from the rest of the group. They complain they have no other leads and no idea what to do next, which makes me wonder why they’re all currently walking and where exactly they’re going.
Woody, acknowledging that he’s the “new kid”, humbly makes a suggestion. Somehow, he has two halves of a medallion that fit perfectly together. When he puts them together, it reveals the “name and address of the trophy manufacturer that made the medallions!” Yeah, uh, not that those two halves would be evidence that the police might want to look at, or anything like that. So go ahead, kids. If you ever witness a crime, just stuff a couple souvenirs in your pocket. Bring them home. Take them to school the next day for show and tell. It’s really not a problem.
Anyway, all the medallions were made by the same company, and the list is really a list of their customers. So, Kim, Jeff and Robin decide to head over to that trophy manufacturer. They walk a little ways before Robin turns around and goes, “You too, Woody.” Wow! He actually got the stuck-up white chick to acknowledge his existence as a total afterthought! Way to go! As they walk off, Mr. T grins and tells Woody he’s “lookin’ good!” Okay, T. This is no time to be hitting on him.
On the ride over (and the bus here looks like it’s cruising along at a top speed of maybe 3 MPH), Robin wonders if the “owner of that trophy factory” will reveal who’s been smashing medallions and why. Mr. T responds, “He will if he knows! May not want to! But he will!” Because T ain’t above using torture! I pity the fool who adheres to the Geneva Convention! To punctuate this statement, we see T and Kim and Jeff all get big cheesy smiles [??]. Meanwhile, the dog groans [!] and sticks out its tongue. Okay, what? I’m almost tempted to figure out what all of this means, but I’m pretty sure it’s just filler.
Anyway, they get to that “trophy factory” and Mr. T says, “Pull over, Miss B!” Apparently, Mrs. Kravitz’s name is actually Miss Bisby, and it only took about three quarters of the episode for me to figure that out.
Miss Bisby notes that “it’s a no parking zone, Mr. T!” What is the obsession with parking spaces in this cartoon? But this, as it turns out, is the last straw for T. He yells, “Pull over!” Bisby gives a “hmmph!” but knows the sound of a raving lunatic on the verge of a violent episode when she hears it, and pulls over.
Outside the bus, Jeff notes that this is the “Hanson Mint” and so it must be “the place”. Of course, he’s looking at the list of addresses when he says this, not at the medallion, which is where they found this particular address, but I’ve just about given up here. They find the door unlocked and the place ransacked. Jeff puts a hand to his chest and proclaims, “They have almost as many trophies as I do!” Yeah, he really cleaned up at the Dickwad Awards last year.
Robin hears muffled cries coming from behind a door marked “Private”, so she sticks her fingers in her ears. I guess she intuitively knew that T was about to break down the door with his shoulder. And when I say “break down”, I mean he literally breaks the damn door apart, running right through it and sending shards of wood flying everywhere.
Inside, they find WKRP‘s Gordon Jump tied up, with a handkerchief in his mouth. So, that’s his gag, huh? A handkerchief? Dude, you know you can spit that out, right? Anyway, T takes out the “gag”, and Gordon immediately spews out some exposition. He’s the owner of the mint, and it turns out the goons made him hide a “strip of microfilm” in one of the medallions. For what purpose, we can only imagine.
He doesn’t know what’s on the microfilm, though. Jeff points out this was lucky for Gordon, because if he had known, they might have “done something worse than tied [him] up!” And I bet Jeff knows all about that. Don’t you, Jeff? Robin demands more details, while right behind her, Kim is standing there without her eyebrows. Oops! What do you mean that’s an animation mistake? She just left them on the bus.
Anyway, the owner explains, “The medallion got mixed in with another shipment! And!” I guess this is another line that was supposed to be cut off in mid-sentence, but there’s about a three-second pause between that and what happens next. And would you believe, what happens next is a van bursting through the brick wall [!!] of the factory? Just a simple van, not armored, and certainly not driven by Mr. Freeze? I don’t quite believe it, either. But that’s what happens. And that takes us to our next commercial break.
When we return, a dark blue van is actually speeding through the factory, and the kids all cartwheel out of the way. Mr. T then picks up Gordon Jump, slings him over his shoulder, and strolls on out of the way.
Woody hops up on some kind of shelving unit, and Kim pleads with him to help her up there, too. Woody says, “Motion denied, Kim!” See, it’s a stupid reference to how he said he wanted to be a lawyer. That might be obvious to you, but I definitely did not get it the first time I watched this. Or the second or third time, to be honest. I guess Mr. T’s humor is just way over my head. Woody says, “We gotta split before we end up as somebody’s hood ornament!” They leap out of the way just in time, as the van smashes into the shelving unit. So, uh, why did Woody jump up there? And why did Kim want to get up there, too? Screw it, I’m moving on.
The driver, a stock goon type in mirrored sunglasses with a big mustache, sees that he’s missed the kids and actually raises his fist in a “curses again!” gesture, before shifting into reverse. His van almost backs right into Robin and Jeff, who also cartwheel out of the way just in time. So instead, the van backs into some cylinder things covered by a conveyer belt. I have no idea how to describe the thing any better than that, so you’ll just have to deal with it.